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A teacher educator discusses children's literature and issues related to teaching children and their future teachers.
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I've been reading Mary Oliver and any other dog poetry on can get my hands on. This weekend I read this gem at American Life in Poetry.
Dog in Bed
by Joyce Sidman
Nose tucked under tail,
you are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.
If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.
Read the poem in its entirety.
It hasn't been a week yet, but I'm particularly inspired by the newest addition to our family. Say hello to Hemingway.
He's very sweet and in need of lots of love and affection. He'll get all of that and then some! Right now we're just trying to put some weight on his skinny frame. His hips and ribs are visible, but we'll have him right as rain in no time.
Since I'm home today for another snow day (this makes 9 so far this year!), I'm reading and writing do poetry. Won't you join me this week? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Since my mother entered a nursing home last fall I've been writing more cards and letters. Letter writing is a lost art. I wish I could say my short missives are interesting or important, but they're more like the grade-school version of the "how I spent my summer" paper.
I've been pondering writing, postcards and letters and think this might be a good topic for a poem. (My choice is serendipitous, as today's Poem-a-Day from the American Academy of poets is the poem Postcards by E. Ethelbert Miller .)
I hope you'll join me this week in writing about writing. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
While reading through some of these poems I started thinking a bit about fairy tale poetry. We've actually written quite a bit about the stories and characters for stretches, but never really about some of the more memorable items, like the magic mirror, magic beans, a poisoned apple, red cape, golden ball, spinning wheel, and more.
So, let's write about a magical or fairy tale item, one of those things you can't imagine a story without. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
I know I'm a week early, but I read this poem a few days ago and just had to share it.
by Laura Elizabeth Richards
Oh! little loveliest lady mine,
What shall I send for your valentine?
Summer and flowers are far away;
Gloomy old Winter is king to-day;
Buds will not blow, and sun will not shine:
What shall I do for a valentine?
I’ve searched the gardens all through and through
For a bud to tell of my love so true;
But buds are asleep, and blossoms are dead,
And the snow beats down on my poor little head:
So, little loveliest lady mine,
Here is my heart for your valentine!
Do check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Renee at No Water River. Happy poetry Friday friends.
Haven't you heard that Tuesday is the New Monday? No, it wasn't a Super Bowl hangover. Between hosting Poetry Friday and the work that had piled up, I completely forgot to post!
Since I'm feeling a little blue (it's the time of year and lack of sun), I'm in need of poetry for the funny bone. A clerihew is a short verse that is biographical and humorous. Here are the rules for writing a clerihew.
- The poem must be four lines long.
- The rhyme scheme must be a/a/b/b.
- The first line should consist of the name of a person.
- The poem should be biographical and humorous. Often times clerihews poke fun at famous people.
The enemy of Harry Potter
Was a scheming plotter.
I can't tell you what he's called; I'd be ashamed
To name "he who must not be named."
So, what kind of clerihew will you write? Will your subject be literary or political? I hope you'll join me this week in writing one (or two!). Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
I haven't hosted Poetry Friday in ages, so welcome. I'm happy to have you here today! I'll be rounding up old-school style (no Mr. Linky), so leave me a note about your contribution and I'll update links to posts throughout the day. Without further ado, here's my contribution to poetry goodness today.
It's no secret that I love math . . . wait! Where are you going? If you love poetry then by association, YOU LOVE MATH! In reading and writing poetry you can't escape patterns (just think rhyme scheme or look to forms like the sestina, villanelle, roundel, and more!), counting (how many syllables in a line of iambic pentameter or lines of haiku?), geometry (some poems are beautifully shaped, either intentionally or by serendipity), fractions and measurement (where exactly should I break this line?), and probably so much more.
My love for math means I have an affinity for poems that touch upon numbers. Among them you'll find Child Margaret, Number Man, and Arithmetic (see this amazing video) by Carl Sandburg, Take a Number by Mary O'Neill, Equations by Patricia Hubbell, The Magic of Numbers by Kenneth Koch, and Cardinal Ideograms by May Swenson.
Today I'm sharing an old favorite by Mary Cornish and a new favorite by Jared Harel.
Do you have a favorite mathematically-inclined poem or a book of mathematical poetry? If so, please share and I'll include them here!
Numbersby Mary Cornish
I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.
I like the domesticity of addition--add two cups of milk and stir
Read the poem in its entirety
by Jared Harel
My grandmother never trusted calculators.
She would crunch numbers in a spiral notebook
at the kitchen table, watching her news.
Work harder and I’d have more to count,
she’d snap at my father. And so my father worked
harder, fixed more mufflers, gave her receipts
Thanks to Ed DeCaria for sharing the poem Slumber to Numbers by Eric Ode, an entry in last year's MMPoetry competition.
I'm THRILLED that Mrs. Bennett has shared links to two recent posts on ways that math and poetry intersect. These posts show how the Common Core standards in ELA and Math can come together. Check out her thoughts on this in the posts "Do Not Go Gentle' with that Math Practice Standard #7 and A Sestina Follows a Pattern.
Thanks to Laura Shovan for sharing this AMAZING video showing the graphing of a sestina!
And now, on to the round-up.
Steven Withrow at Crackles of Speech is sharing an original poem entitled City of Birds
Linda Baie of Teacher Dance is sharing a "chalky" poem
. (You'll just have to read to find out what that means!)
Greg Pincus of GottaBook is sharing a hilarious poem entitled Notes on Spirit Day at My School (Part 1)
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of The Poem Farm is sharing an original poem entitled Once Somebody Asked Me
Mary Lee of A Year of Reading is sharing a climbing rhyme entitled Sweet Little Kitty
Liana Mahoney of Commas Have Wings is sharing an acrostic poem for the word Clutter
Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche shares an original chalky poem and two from her students
Laura Purdie Salas is sharing an audio of her poem Blush
from STAMPEDE!: POEMS TO CELEBRATE THE WILD SIDE OF SCHOOL.
Heidi Mordhorst of My Juicy Little Universe is sharing a poem entitled tenebrio molitor
. Don't let the mealworms scare you away. There is beauty in this one.
Liz Steinglass shares a poem about her cat entitled Song and Dance
Anastasia Suen of Poet! Poet! has posted an original poem entitled The Learning Curve
Keri Lewis of Keri Recommends is sharing an original mask poem entitled Dollar Bill
Briget Magee of wee words for wee ones is sharing an original poem entitled Resolution Reflection
April Halprin Wayland of Teaching Authors is sharing her mask poem entitled Gardenias Ask the Night
. April reminds us that today is the last day to enter a contest to win Jill Esbaum's rhyming picture book I HATCHED!.
Diane Kendig of Poemeleon posted a comment to a very old poetry stretch of mine and I felt her poems were too good to pass up, so I'm posting them here for you. She shares two nesting poems entitled Nesting and Winging It
Betsy H of I Think in Poems and the hostess (instigator?) of Chalk-A-Bration shares her first chalky poem of 2014
. Visit her blog Teaching young Writers to learn more about Chalk-A-Bration
Lorie Ann Grover of On Point: Writing Through Life shares her original haiku entitled Headlight
Joy Acey of Poetry for Kids Joy is sharing her original poem entitled Friday
Carlie of Twinkling Along is sharing an original poem about homesickness for your ancestors entitled My Roots Are Showing
Doraine Bennett of Dori Reads took up this week's poetry stretch and is sharing her climbing rhyme entitled Snow Day
.The Poetry of Others
Jone of Check It Out is sharing the poem Poetry from ASK ME: 100 ESSENTIAL POEMS by William Stafford
Tabatha Yeats of The Opposite of Indifference is sharing poems of empathy and encouragement
by Robert Frost, Wendell Berry, and Robert Bly.
Renee LaTulippe of No Water River shares the poem Soccer Ball by Joan Bransfield Graham
. If you write a Winter Olympics themed poem that "speaks" to a piece of sporting equipment and leave it in the comments, you'll be entered in a giveaway to win Joan's new book!
Tara Smith at A Teaching Life shares the poem Mindful by Mary Oliver
Diane Mayr of Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet is mindful of the Chinese New Year and is featuring a poem by the classic Chinese poet, Li Bai. The poem, Drinking Alone With the Moon
is translated by Vikram Seth.
Irene Latham of Live Your Poem is sharing some snow poems by Karla Kushkin
Little Willow of Bildungsroman is sharing the poem Snowy Night by Mary Oliver
Becky Shillington of Tapestry of Words is sharing two poems by Robert Burns
. She also shares an original poem entitled Snow Day
Karen Edmisten is on the same wavelength as Tara today and is also sharing Mindful by Mary Oliver
. The road that took these women to this poem is different, so be sure to visit them both. While you're visiting Karen, be sure to wish her a happy 30th anniversary!
Meredith Henning of Sweetness and Light is sharing the poem Address To a Haggis by Robert Burns
Fats Suela from Gathering Books is sharing The Princess: Sweet and Low by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
.The Writing Life
Ed DeCaria of Think, Kid, Think! is sharing some wonderful thoughts on writing in a post entitled 10 Writing Tips From My Junk Drawer
Diane Mayr of Kurious K's Kwotes is sharing a quote/poetic excerpt from Li Bai
and encouraging poets to "recognize their green mountains."
Before you go, please considering stopping by yesterday's blog tour post with Joan Branshfield Graham
to learn a bit about her and her new book, THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END. At the end of that post you can enter to win your very own copy.
Enjoy your weekend and all the poetry goodness shared today!
What happens when poetry takes over your life? Ryan O'Brian finds out when he spouts poetry and writes poems all day long!
While at recess he says:
I beg you, won’t you help me?
Please help me, be a friend.
Rescue me, I’m captured—
this poem will not end!
Then later in the evening while taking a bath he proclaimed:
My brain went into overdrive,
I started writing faster,
careening wild at breakneck speed—
a poetry disaster.
Early the next morning he laments:
I spent a restless night and thought,Whatever can I do?
When I woke up, I found my pillows
covered with . . . haiku!
While the rhyming text of the story keeps readers moving forward, it's the poems written in the illustrations that make you stop to soak in all the poetry goodness. You’ll find a villanelle, sonnet, acrostic, haiku, limerick, and many more forms. This triolet describes just how caught up Ryan is in writing poetry.
|’m captured, won’t you help me find a way,
to free me from this urgent need to write?
|t follows me and hounds me night and day.
|’m captured, won’t you help me find a way,
to toss aside this curse—| want to play!
You must admit . . . this is a scary sight.
|’m captured, won’t you help me find a way,
to free me from this urgent need to write?
All poems ©Joan Bransfield Graham. All rights reserved.
While reading this book I found myself thinking back to MATH CURSE
, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. In it, readers follow a nameless student who lives a day filled with math problems. This book is different in that Graham has given readers a boy with a name, a family, and an ordinary life filled with poetry. Kids will love the story, while teachers will love the fun poems and poetic forms that are introduced.
Reading this had me wanting to ask folks around me, "how do you use poetry in your own life?" I think that’s a great question to put to the very talented author of this book. Here are her thoughts about that and some more on her poetry writing process.
How have you used poetry in your own life?Joan: I make my own cards with my original photos and poems. Isn't poetry what we reach for in life's most important, emotional moments? But I think poetry is how you see the world. It expands our vision, helps us see higher, wider, deeper . . . longer. It captures a moment in time. Sometimes life can take over your poetry. I found if I didn't make poetry an important part of my life, I wasn't the person I was meant to be. It can be a continuing challenge to fit everything in . . . a juggling act. While POEM is written in a humorous vein to let children see that poetry is FUN, I hope it also makes some small statement that we must embrace our creativity, our uniqueness, and weave it into our lives; we are all richer for it. Ryan O'Brian, in the end, does "make it work." I love how poetry connects us to ourselves, to each other, to the world. We have such a vibrant poetry community! Here's to celebrating each other's imagination, sharing a healthy, joyful creative "Fever," and staying connected. When was the main text/poem of the book composed? How did it start? Joan: Many years ago, and "It started with a rhythm,/ a rhythm and a rhyme." and I couldn't stop--I kept adding more ideas. The line "My mom called up, "Are you in bed?" is directly from my life. I was a "night owl" even as a child and was probably reading a book or writing poetry as late as I could. I never wrote on the mirror with toothpaste though.
Did you share your drafts of the poems before you finished the book? Is there an individual or a group of individuals with whom you regularly share work? Joan: Yes, I did. When I first moved to California, I met some wonderful poets (They were writing for adults.), and they are still dear friends. I'm in a terrific, helpful critique group of fellow SCBWI writers (I'm the only poet.), and we meet at my home once a month. I'm also a founding member of the Children's Authors Network (CAN!)--a marvelous group of authors and illustrators, which includes poetry dynamos Janet Wong and April Halprin Wayland (also with Teaching Authors). If you click here, and then again on "Classroom Resources," http://canetwork.weebly.com/joan-bransfield-graham.html, you'll find my Teacher Ideas, across the curriculum, for POEM and other useful guides. As Co-coordinator of Ventura County for our SCBWI Central-Coastal California region, I help to plan a variety of events throughout the year for writers and artists in our area.
How long do you let your poems “sit” before you let them go? Do you finish poems or abandon them?Joan: As long as they need. Rather than "abandon" poems, I think of them as being in various stages of incubation. It does help to let a poem "cool" for a few days and then look at it anew with "fresh eyes."
Do you have a favorite poem from the book? Or a poem that you loved that didn’t make it into the final manuscript? Joan: I'm fond of "Bike," the poem from yesterday's prompt. Couldn't "Bike" be a metaphor for poetry? When you "step on," you are in for a ride that can "take you anywhere." I hope "the road ahead" is filled with poetry for all your readers. Tricia, you are doing an incredible job of seeing to that for both the fans of your blog and your students!
Would you like to share the details of any new poetry project(s) that you’re working on?Joan: So many things! Lee Bennett Hopkins has a new book, MANGER, scheduled for Sept., 2014, and I am fortunate to have a "Rooster" poem included--in fact, I see my rooster is on the cover! I have many other poems in forthcoming anthologies. When a friend whose son teaches high school English mentioned his students wondered why they needed to study poetry, I started writing an article--FIVE REASONS TO GIVE CHILDREN THE GIFT OF POETRY. I'm not sure where I'll send that piece when it's finished, but I need to write it. I guess I'm Ryan O'Brian.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Joan nearly 5 years ago for a National Poetry Month series. You can read more about her and her poetry at Poetry Makers - Joan Bransfield Graham
.THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END
is a welcome addition to the world of children's poetry. I do hope you get a chance to enjoy it.
Thanks so much to Joan for inviting me on this blog tour. You can check out the other stops on this electronic journey at:
Monday, Jan. 27 - Poetry for Children
Tuesday, Jan. 28 - Tales from the Rushmore Kid
Wednesday, Jan. 29 - Double Olympic Poetry Challenge
and Teaching Authors
Friday, Jan. 31 - Jama's Alphabet Soup
So now for the fun! If you'd like to win a copy of THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END, please enter below. A winner will be chosen on February 5th.
The form for this week's stretch is climbing rhyme.
Climbing Rhyme is a form of Burmese poetry containing a repeated sequence of 3 internally-rhymed lines consisting of 4 syllables each. Since Burmese is monosyllabic, this works well, but in English this might be difficult. Instead of 4 syllable lines, let's try writing in lines of 4 words. (If you're feeling brave, go ahead and try four syllables!)
The rhyme scheme for climbing rhyme is internal. That means the position of the rhyming word changes. The rhyme appears in the 4th word of line one, 3rd word of line 2, and 2nd word of line 3. The pattern continues as a new rhyme appears in the 4th word of line 3, the 3rd word of line 4, and the 2nd word of line 5. This continues on, giving a stair-step feel to the poem, hence the name climbing rhyme.
For those of you who need to see this visually, here it is. Each x stands for a word. The letters stand for rhyming words. Just remember the 4-3-2 pattern.
x x x a
x x a x
x a x b
x x b x
x b x c
x x c x
x c x x
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a climbing rhyme. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Anaphora is "the repetition of the same word or phrase in several successive clauses." Whitman uses anaphora in the poem Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. Here is an excerpt.
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,You can learn more about anaphora at Poets.org.
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as
if they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and
fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as
if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem that uses anaphora. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
On this day in which we honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am pleased to share this poem by J. Patrick Lewis.
The Ballad of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
Ten thousands join ten thousands
Without goading police.
The singers sing, their anthems ring,
The speakers say their piece.
Around the world astonishment—
The ceremonies heard
Or seen on every continent,
And still to come: The Word.
Spectators waving handkerchiefs,
Small children, hearts to seize,
Will tell it taller years from now,
Grandchildren at their knees.
Blue sunshine worships morning,
No cloud would dare to rain
For in his jacket mercy
And in his pocket pain.
Equality his brother
And sisterhood his pride
Meet common sense, nonviolence,
The means he’s deified.
The afternoon is dying down,
The Reverend takes the stage.
George Washington spreads out the book,
Abe Lincoln turns the page.
He reads his notes religiously,
An old familiar theme.
“But please, Martin,” Mahalia yells,
“Tell ‘em about the dream!”
And first he puts away his speech
Then sweeps away the crowd:
The memory of his remarks
Peals like a thundercloud.
“The content of our character”
Personifies a sage.
One day in 1963
Belongs to every age.
Poem ©J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
If you are interested in more poems on civil rights heroes, check out When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders
by J. Patrick Lewis. It includes an introductory sonnet and seventeen poems about both women and men who stood up against injustice of every kind. This is how the book begins.
The poor and dispossessed take up the drums
For civil rights—freedoms to think and speak,
Petition, pray, and vote. When thunder comes,
The civil righteous are finished being meek.
Why Sylvia Mendez bet against long odds,
How Harvey Milk turned hatred on its head,
Why Helen Zia railed against tin gods,
How Freedom Summer's soldiers faced the dread
Are tales of thunder that I hope to tell
From my thin bag of verse for you to hear
In miniature, like ringing a small bell,
And know a million bells can drown out fear.
For history was mute witness when such crimes
Discolored and discredited our times.
Poem ©J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
When William was in third grade (spring 2010) his teacher had the class copy and illustrate poems that "spoke" to them in their journals. This poem by Valerie Worth was one of his choices.
As I flipped through the journal this poem came from I found a short entry on the word brave. Here's a portion of what he wrote.
"My dog is brave during a short thunder storm. My dog is brave guarding her cookie."
As some of you may know, we lost our brave girl this week. Just two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer her quality of life began to diminish much more rapidly than any of us expected. I came home from class on Monday night and we made the decision to have her put to sleep the next morning. Though she was with us for 16 years, it felt like our time together was too short and that the end came much too quickly. We weren't ready to let her go, but it was undoubtedly the right thing to do.
The house is unimaginably quiet now, and I wince each morning as the urge to call her works its way up in my throat and I realize she isn't there to hear me. I've spent the last few days thinking of all the milestones she shared with us, including welcoming William to the family, an event that she wasn't particularly happy about!
I am grateful to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
for sharing a poem with me earlier this week that really resonated. That is the poem I'm sharing today.
by Miller Williams
I think the death of domestic animals
mark the sea changes in our lives.
Think how things were, when things were different.
Sometimes I think I'm crazy for feeling so lost over the death of a dog, but then I remember that I'm not the only one to feel the loss of a devoted companion so keenly. If you haven't seen this little piece by Jimmy Stewart, take a few minutes to watch him read a poem about his dog Beau.
Before I wrap up I have one more poem to share.Love That Dogby Sharon Creech
Love that dog,
like a bird loves to fly
I said I love that dog
like a bird loves to fly
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
"Hey there, Sky!"
Thanks for sticking with me through this long post. Do check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Keri at Keri Recommends
. Happy poetry Friday friends.
This week's stretch is a real S-T-R-E-T-C-H. The form I have decided to tackle is the pantoum. I have read a great deal about this form and found many variations. I am not going to try and do this one in rhyme, though you can if you want to attempt it. Are you ready? Here's the form.
The pantoum is a poem made up of stanzas of four lines where lines 2 and 4 of each stanza are repeated as lines 1 and three of the next stanza. The final stanza of a pantoum has an interesting twist. Lines 2 and 4 are the same as the 3rd and 1st of the first stanza, thereby using every line in the poem twice.
Here is an outline for a pantoum with 4 stanzas.
Line 3Line 8
Keep in mind that this form of poetry is of an indefinite length. It could be three stanzas, 4 stanzas or 20!
(Adapted from The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms.)
A fine example of a pantoum is this one by Randall Mann. It has 6 stanzas.
If there is a word in the lexicon of love,
it will not declare itself.
The nature of words is to fail
men who fall in love with men.
It will not declare itself,
the perfect word. Boyfriend seems ridiculous:
men who fall in love with men
deserve something a bit more formal.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a pantoum. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
When William was young and I told him I loved him, he would ask "How much?" The replies began with "More than ..." and included phrases such as: all the tea in China, all the stars in the sky, and all the fish in ocean. After a while it became a game for us to see if we could come up with a new saying that represented something huge.
When I stumbled upon this poem by Carl Sandburg, I was reminded of this. William's almost 13 now, so he doesn't ask "How much?" very often anymore.
By Carl Sandburg
How much do you love me, a million bushels?
Oh, a lot more than that, Oh, a lot more.
And tomorrow maybe only half a bushel?
Tomorrow maybe not even a half a bushel.
And is this your heart arithmetic?
This is the way the wind measures the weather.
You can listen to Sandubrg read this poem at The Poetry Foundation.
Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Donna at Mainely Write. Happy Poetry Friday all!
Happy new year! After a short break for the holidays, the Monday Poetry Stretch is back and ready to take on another form.
Trimeric \tri-(meh)-rik\ n: a four stanza poem in which the first stanza has four lines and the last three stanzas have three lines each, with the first line of each repeating the respective line of the first stanza. The sequence of lines, then, is abcd, b - -, c - -, d - -.
At first I thought this would be relatively easy because the first lines of stanzas 2, 3 and 4 are already written (seeing as how they use lines 2, 3 and 4 of the first stanza). Boy, was I wrong! That first four line stanza is so important! The lines must hang together, but they must also be able to stand on their own as introductions to the other stanzas.
There are many examples on Dr. Stone's trimerics page
. Here is one of my favorites.
by Dr. Charles A. Stone
I sent her a secret message on her birthday,
though she thought it was an ordinary card
in an every day envelope
from the innocent boy next door.
Though she thought it was an ordinary card
she taped it to the wall with others she had
received in her eleventh year. Then,
in an every day envelope,
she mailed a simple thank-you note
back to me, but she forgot to sign it.
From the innocent boy next door
to the man I am today, I’ll never forget how hard
I cried because I had forgotten to add I love you.
Published with the author’s permission.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a trimeric. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Knowing I would be hitting the road this holiday, I finished my shopping ages ago. This means that while everyone around me is whipped into a shopping frenzy, I can relax and browse. That's just what I was doing earlier this week (while procrastinating on my grading) when I stopped into my favorite used bookstore and treated myself to this little book.
CRICKET NEVER DOES: A COLLECTION OF HAIKU AND TANKA, by Mrya Cohn Livingston, is a seasonal collection of poems beginning with spring and ending with winter. Here's one of the winter poems.
Here we are, Winter,
just you and I in the snow,
And because I love the book title, here's the poem those words come from.
Not wishing to stop
his chirping the whole night long,
Cricket never does
Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog
. Happy Poetry Friday all! And best wishes to each of you for whatever holiday you celebrate this season.
When I sit down to write I find I am more compelled by form than topic. It's also easier for me to wrestle with form than it is to compose on a specific topic. (I was the kid in English class that stared at my notebook page when told to "free write." Guidance and guidelines do wonders for me!)
That's why I like to tinker with forms in these challenges. This week I'd like to try the nonet. Here's a description of the form.
A nonet is a nine line poem. The first line containing nine syllables, the next line has eight syllables, the next line has seven syllables. That continues until the last line (the ninth line) which has one syllable. Nonets can be written about any subject. Rhyming is optional.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a nonet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
On this Friday the 13th I am sharing a poem by Amy Lowell. This piece was published in 1919 in a volume entitled Pictures of the Floating World.Superstitionby Amy Lowell
I have painted a picture of a ghost
Upon my kite,
And hung it on a tree.
Later, when I loose the string
And let it fly,
The people will cower
And hide their heads,
For fear of the God
Swimming in the clouds.
This poem and the book it was published in are in the public domain and have been digitized and made available by Google. You can read the entire volume simply by downloading a copy
Last week the fall semester came to a close. We still have exams and final projects to wade through, but the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter. It wasn't until Friday that I realized I had completely missed the Monday stretch! Not so this week . . .
I'm quite fond of the poems in Linda Sue Park's lovely book Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems
. Originating in Korea, sijo are poems divided into three or six lines. These poems frequently use word play in the form of metaphors, symbols and puns. Here is a description from AHApoetry
More ancient than haiku, the Korean SIJO shares a common ancestry with haiku, tanka and similar Japanese genres. All evolved from more ancient Chinese patterns.
Sijo is traditionally composed in three lines of 14-16 syllables each, totaling between 44-46 syllables. A pause breaks each line approximately in the middle; it resembles a caesura but is not based on metrics.
And here is the description from the jacket flap of Park's book.
What is sijo?
A type of poem that originated in Korea.
But what is it?
A sijo has a fixed number of stressed syllables, usually divided into three or six lines.
Kind of. But a sijo always has a surprise, an unexpected twist or joke, at the end.
The poems in the book are full of these wonderful surprises. One of my favorites is entitled Long Division. It is the poem that gives the book its title. Another favorite is Summer Storm. It is below.
Lightning jerks the sky awake to take her photograph, flash!
Which draws grumbling complaints or even crashing tantrums from thunder--
He hates having his picture taken, so he always gets there late.
Now that you've read a sijo, you'll know that the challenge this week is to write one. Here is a brief summary of the advice Park gives at the end of her book.
Three line poems should contain about 14 to 16 syllables per line. Six line poems should contain 7 or 8 syllables per line.
The first line should contain a single image or idea. The second line should develop this further. The last line should contain the twist.
I try to think of where the poem would logically go if I continued to develop the idea of the first two lines. Once I've figured that out, I write something that goes in the opposite direction--or at least "turns a corner."
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a sijo. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Two poems for my readers . . . and wishes for a joyful Thanksgiving.
By Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.
By Sophie Jewett
Mown meadows skirt the standing wheat;
I linger, for the hay is sweet,
New-cut and curing in the sun.
Like furrows, straight, the windrows run,
Fallen, gallant ranks that tossed and bent
When, yesterday, the west wind went
A-rioting through grass and grain.
To-day no least breath stirs the plain;
Only the hot air, quivering, yields
Illusive motion to the fields
Where not the slenderest tassel swings.
Read the poem in its entirety.
Well, this week is a no-brainer. Let's write about thanks, Thanksgiving, gratitude, or anything that resembles thankfulness.
For a bit of inspiration you might want to check out these links.
Thanksgiving Poems at Poets.org
The Cranberry Cantos at The Poetry Foundation
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem of thanks. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Back in 2009 the Poetry Seven took up the challenge to write together. Here were the rules.
- We each do a villanelle.
- In one of our repeating lines we use the word thanksgiving, in the other repeating line we use the word friend.
- No other rules, no other similarities. Just those two things.
The villanelle I wrote is a bit of an anthem and appropriate for the upcoming holiday, so I thought I'd share it again.
Dear friends, Thanksgiving!
For glorious oaks and sprawling trees
in winter, summer, fall and spring
For all things green and lush and living
that dance so lightly in the breeze
dear friends, Thanksgiving!
For spiders spinning webs of string
while swinging and dangling on a trapeze
through winter, summer, fall and spring
For sunflowers bold and bright and smiling,
climbing skyward with grace and ease
dear friends, Thanksgiving!
For birds that chirp and peep and sing
while visiting blossoms with bumblebees
through winter, summer, fall and spring
For poems, prose and words that sing
of beauty that brings us to our knees
Dear friends, Thanksgiving
in winter, summer, fall and spring!
Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat.
. Happy Poetry Friday all!
I've been reading a lot of primary source documents for my class and am thinking about transforming a prose document into poetry. Let's consider this a form of a found poem. Take a letter, a speech, a passage from a favorite book, any portion of prose with some meaning, and use words from it to write a poem. (Note that if you use excerpts from poems by other authors that you will be writing a cento
. You can read more about the cento at Poets.org
Hills rose up around me
and in misty weather
loomed like fabulous creatures.
I walked freely
far from the village street,
where I heard the forlorn note
of a hooting owl.
At length the jays arrived,
then the chickadees in flocks,
hammering away with their bills.
And once a sparrow
alighted upon my shoulder.
For a moment,
I was more distinguished
by that circumstance
than any epaulet
I could have worn.
I hope you'll join me this week in turning prose into poetry. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Here's what I need most in my life these days ...
by John Keats
O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed casket of my soul.
Check out other poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy Poetry Friday all!
In thinking about Veterans Day I read over some of the pieces linked at the Poetry Foundation's page on Veterans Day Poems
, as well as some of the entries at The Sandbox
. I have a great deal of respect for soldiers, the sacrifices they make, and the work they do. We wouldn't be who we are without them. That's why this week, I want to write about peace, something we should all be working towards.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem for peace, or perhaps one for soldier. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
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On November 6, 2006 (that was 7 years ago!), I launched this blog. Here's a picture of that post.
At that time I was still teaching our technology course and was looking to expand my work with students.
I've come a LONG way since I started my first web site in the spring of 1995 (yes, you read that correctly). Back then my web pages were all written in HTML. Now this web stuff is so much easier.
I haven't been around much as of late, but am trying hard to reconnect with the community that first embraced me and brought me into the blogging fold. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I've connected with, many of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life.
So, I'm wishing myself a belated happy birthday while thanking you all from the bottom of my heart. I'm so grateful every time you stop by.