WHITE PLAINS — Charles Ghigna knows there’s still time for some converts.
Growing up, like most boys especially, he despised poetry and preferred sports.
Tuesday, the author of 38 books and more than 5,000 poems from Homewood tried to spark some creative interest in students at White Plains Elementary.
“I hated English,” he told the students, drawing out the subject he disdained in a nasally voice, inducing an echo of giggles.
“I thought poetry was for sissies and grandmothers. Gerunds and participles were green and gooey, waiting there to get me.”
Then came his 10th-grade English teacher, a Mr. Summers, a lover of poetry.
Ghigna bailed on his original topic for his first poetry writing assignment — death.
“I thought you had to write about these big emotions,” he said. “But I had never died before.”
So he chose to harness his affections for a new girl in class and tackle life’s other grand inspiration, love.
The writing — aside from a sprinkling of vocabulary words from that week’s lesson — showed the emotional novice typical of a teenage boy. But when the class applauded that day, and the girl offered a kiss on the cheek after school, it led to a career in verse.
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Learn more about Ghigna here.