My Poetic Journey

From “The 2023 poster was designed by Marc Brown, creator of the popular Arthur book and PBS television series.” “Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.”

My Poetic Journey
By: Andrew Kutt

My relationship with poetry started early in my life. Maybe as young as seven or eight years old, I remember writing a specific poem for each member of my family at Christmas. I put the poems into an envelope addressed to each of them. I decorated the front of the envelope with a little bit of artwork with colored pencils or crayons.

Since that time, I fell in love with words. As a junior in high school our year-end assignment was to combine as many figures of speech as we possibly could into a single piece of creative writing. My English teacher Mr. Prusachuk announced to the whole class that my submission was the best piece of writing he had ever received in his career, and I remember feeling so proud of myself at that time. Since those years until this day, I have loved reading and writing poetry. In my travels around the world, I never went anywhere without my journal.

Meanwhile, I started writing songs soon after I picked up the guitar at the age of 15. I couldn’t imagine going through life without composing and singing. In most of my songs the lyrics play a central role and I immensely enjoy the interplay between melodies and words. To date I’ve written about 150 songs and produced 6 albums. I’m excited to be working on my first new album since the Covid-19 pandemic.

I’ve come to realize that poetry is a way of seeing the world. I’ve come to think about it in terms of how I approach life each day, how I can remain in my poetic mindset – a mindset that feels the flow of life, that sees the whole of things as well as the minute beauties in the moment, even if those beauties are not readily apparent.

The poetic mindset helps me expand my heart of empathy and my gratitude for life, for being on planet earth. For all these reasons, as a Montessori educator and leader, I am always keen to encourage poetry in our schools and classrooms. Montessori environments are naturally “language rich” environments. Montessori students are immersed in a world of words from a young age. They learn the nomenclature for science and culture, and they build their reading and writing skills via the language materials. So, the Montessori classroom is a ready-made “laboratory” for poetry-making.

The starting point for creating this poetic environment is to allow students to experiment with language. When I notice they are being creative, I try to check my inclination to immediately correct spelling or grammar. Rather, I feel it will best serve the child if I try to connect with what they are trying to express in that moment. I don’t want to stifle their creativity by forcing them to make everything “right”. The students will learn proper spelling and grammar in time as they matriculate through the Montessori program. I like to encourage students to write creatively about the curriculum subjects we explore in the classroom, such as science and culture, as well as themes related to the time of year. For instance, the theme of spring is ripe for all kinds of poetic expression!

It is very helpful to share with the students examples of creative, playful and descriptive language. One of my favorite things to do is to share with the elementary students printed lyrics of my songs. I invite them to follow along with the lyrics as I sing, and then I ask them to tell me any words or phrases they like or that they have questions about. This always leads to very lively discussions. Some students like to underline, circle or highlight the words or phrases that piqued their interest. This activity has the added benefit of engaging their brain on multiple levels due to the element of music, which means that students generally remember more of what they learned.

Our students love to see their poetry and other writing displayed in the classroom or on hallway bulletin boards. Of course, some students like to decorate their poetry pieces with artwork or to make frames for their piece of writing. Each spring our senior elementary students make booklets of their original poetry, which include examples of many different poetic forms and genres. They read aloud examples of their poems at a public event called Bard Night. Parents and teachers are also invited to share poems (either original or not) at the event, and they sometimes read poems in a language other than English and then share a translation. This event is a major highlight of the school calendar.

Inviting poets to come and share their poems can be a powerful way to inspire the students. We have an alum, Taylor Johnson, who is an award-winning poet. He has come to our high school to read from his latest poetry book. These readings have made a huge impression on our students and inspired them to think more about poetry even if they don’t consider themselves writers. Taylor’s visits have also given students a tangible example of what it means to follow your dreams in the Montessori spirit.

In the end, as Montessori educators, we can nurture a love of language and a spirit of creativity in our classrooms even if we don’t consider ourselves poets. Share some poetry with students on a regular basis. Read to them, and when they are able, let them read aloud to each other. Show them beautiful books of poetry or story books that are poetically written. Tell the story of the authors. Reading fosters writing but writing also fosters more reading. We can make our classrooms places where the written and spoken word is treasured and celebrated.

Happy National Poetry Month!


The Academy of American Poets Announces Programs for National Poetry Month, the Largest Literary Celebration in the World. March 30, 2023. Retrieved from: April 2, 2023

Kutt, A. (2021). Flamed Epiphanies: Collected Poems to Celebrate the Soul’s Light. Blurb Publishing

About the Author

Andrew Kutt is the Head of School and Founder of Oneness-Family Montessori School located in Chevy Chase, MD. He has over thirty years of experience as a Montessori teacher, administrator, teacher trainer, leadership consultant, speaker, and performer. Andrew is the author of numerous articles on education, child development, neuroscience, 21st century skills, and modern society. He has created curriculum materials for personal reflection, positive discipline, conflict resolution, diversity, world religions and other extensions to the Montessori classroom. He is an accomplished poet and songwriter, with six albums and over 100 songs to his credit. He has performed at schools and venues across the globe. Andrew’s song “Montessori Child” is dedicated to the mission of Maria Montessori and his latest volume of poetry is entitled Flamed Epiphanies: Collected Poems to Celebrate the Soul’s Light.