Charles Waters: Poetry in Motion

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Charles Waters, actor, educator, and poet to the children’s set, came to Poets House last month and before his audience got in one squirm, he had them snapping their fingers to the beat.

“The rhythm of a poem can slide, slip away to the go go beat of the rhymes,” he rapped in his melodious voice, “Dance to the hippity hop sounds of life while breaking out in chimes.”

This was no ordinary poetry reading. Waters’ poems have names like “Mosquito Bite,” “Sack Lunch” and “Charm Bracelet.” His audience gets to rub their stomachs, make fun­ny noises and sit on the poet’s lap.

The poems made the parents smile too.

“I wear Mommy’s dress,
I wear Mommy’s heels,
I wear Mommy’s hats
To feel how mommy feels...

Waters says he likes to write about everyday kids’ activities like walking to school or eating lunch with friends. His goal, he said, is for kids to see the “extraordinary moments in the ordinary circumstances of their lives.”