Dear Toi Derricotte,

I enjoyed reading your poem because I thought it was unique. I love how you started off by saying that Telly’s favorite artist is Alice Neel. I love how you just started with a fact about him! I have a fish too, and his name is George. George does unique things like Telly. George loves rocks and will eat them sometimes. I also like when you talk about Telly first noticing you. He acted a little different. Your poem reminded me of my fish, and the things Telly does are things that my fish would do. I think that George and Telly could be friends. I chose your poem because I felt great pleasure in reading a poem like yours. I liked every part of it! It was funny, and I also learned some things. I learned that when writing, it’s okay to break the rules, like starting a poem with a fact instead of an opening sentence, like when you said Telly’s favorite artist is Alice Neel.

What made you buy Telly? Do you think Telly likes poetry as much as you? Who inspires you as a poet? What style of poetry do you embrace the most? How did you find your voice as an American Poet? What made you join the American poetry group that you’re in? Your poem inspired me and maybe I will write about my fish in the future.


Grade 6
Sacramento, CA

dear poet letters