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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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My last thematic list focused on water and the water cycle
. It did not include books on clouds or any form of precipitation. These things are integral components in the water cycle and are necessary for returning water to the earth's surface.
Here's an annotated list of books that examine clouds and precipitation and the role they play in the water cycle and weather. You'll also find books here that celebrate rain and snow with lush images and sensory descriptions.
Nonfiction Picture Books
The Cloud Book
(1984), written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola - This text focuses on different types of clouds: cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and other combinations of these three main types. The cloud types are described and presented with illustrated examples. Also included are myths about clouds and popular sayings inspired by clouds and the weather. Clouds
(2008), written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Frane Lessac - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes clouds, what they are made of, what they are called, and much more. The simple, engaging text in this stage 1 book makes the content accessible to a range of age groups.
Vapor, Rain, and Snow: The Science of Clouds and Precipitation
(2011), written by Paul Fleisher - At nearly 50 pages, this book is filled with information about clouds and precipitation. It opens by explaining that "Weather is what happens in the air around us. But a lot of weather is really about water." In four chapters Fleisher describes water in the air, clouds, precipitation, and atmospheric phenomena like rainbows, halos, and sun dogs.
Down Comes the RainSplish! Splash! A Book About Rain (2003), written by Josepha Sherman and illustrated by Jeff Yesh - This book uses fun pictures and simple vocabulary to explain where rain comes from and why rain is important to the earth and to humans. Sherman also delves into what happens when too much rain (flooding) or not enough rain (drought) occurs.
(1997), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by James Graham Hale - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series follows the rain as it falls, evaporates, condenses, and falls again.It's Raining!
(2014), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - A perfect book for young readers, Gibbons explores rain with simple definitions, basic facts, and interesting bits of information. Readers will learn what rain is, where it comes from, and why it is necessary. Includes maps that show annual rainfall amounts around the world and information on storms.Raindrops Roll
(2015), by April Pulley Sayre - Gorgeous photographs accompany a lyrical text about water in the form of rain. Though the text is economical, it conveys a sense of wonder and beauty. Back matter examines the science of rain and includes facts about clouds, raindrop shapes, and the "abilities" of raindrops (hydrating insects, magnifying objects, and more). with facts about cloud formation, the shapes of raindrops and what they’re capable of—magnifying their surroundings, reflecting light, hydrating insects and more. Also included is a reading list for learning more.
(201), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - A perfect book for young readers, Gibbons explores snow with simple definitions, basic facts, and interesting bits of information. Readers will learn what snow is, how it forms, regions where snow falls, and how to prepare for a snowstorm. Also includes information on
the ways in which snow falls to the ground, such as sleet, flurries, and a winter storm.
Snowflake BentleyThe Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder
, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian - This Caldecott Medal winner tells the true story of Wilson Bentley, a farmer who spent the better part of his life studying and photographing snowflakes. Willie's story is told from his childhood through his death. Accompanying the biography are a series of sidebars that contain additional facts about Bentley. The last page of the book contains a photo of Bentley at his camera (the same one at the top of the Wilson Snowflake Bentley
home page), a quote about his love for photography, and three of his renowned snowflake images. This is the story of a remarkable man who pushed the limits of science and technology to create groundbreaking images of snowflakes. If the book inspires an interest in further study, you can view a number of his amazing photographs at The Bentley Snow Crystal Collection
(2009), written by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson - Mark Cassino is a fine art and natural history photographer. Jon Nelson is a teacher and physicist who studies ice crystals and clouds. Together they have given us a stunning volume on the formation of snow. A perfect mixture of art and science, Cassino's photographs are accompanied by clearly written text that explains a very complex process in terms kids will understand. Readers will learn what snow is made from, how it forms, what shapes it takes, and more! Photos of snow crystals are included with a comparison of the enlarged images to a snow crystal of actual size. In the back matter you will find directions on how to catch snow crystals and examine them. For more ideas for extending the text, download a teacher's guide
for this title at the Chronicle web site. Snow is Falling
(2000), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by Holly Keller - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes the benefits and importance of snow, as well as the danger of too much of it. Back matter includes experiments and activities for cold, snowy days.
The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes
, written by Kenneth Libbrecht - The author of this book is a physicist at Caltech known for his passion for snow crystals. In this book aimed at 9-12 year olds, but appropriate for a much broader (and older) audience, Libbrecht teaches readers what snow crystals and snowflakes are, where they come from, and how these amazing structures are created out of thin air. His own photographs beautifully complement the text.
All snowflakes begin with water vapor in air, but as they begin their journey toward the ground, changes in temperature and humidity determine their exact and unique shape. Libbrecht answers questions that many children (and adults) are apt to ask, such as "Why is snow white when the crystals that comprise snow are clear?" Libbrecht's web site, SnowCyrstals.com
, provides a wealth of images and even more information for those readers who finish the book and want to learn more. I recommend starting with the Snowflake Primer
and the Snow Crystal FAQs
One Big Rain: Poems for a Rainy Days
(2014), compiled by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke - This collection of 20 poems about rain through the seasons opens with a haiku about the season. Four additional poems follow. Gray includes eight haiku, two poems translated from other languages (Norwegian and Spanish), works by well-known poets like Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Eve Merriam, as well as works by poets whose names may not be familiar to readers. The illustrations in muted browns, grays, blacks and greens beautifully capture the mood and subject of the poems. The book opens with an introduction that describes rain through the seasons. Following the introduction is a note about haiku translations. Adapted from a work by poet and translator William J. Higginson, the emphasis is not on counting syllables, but on finding the best rhythm for the haiku in the new language.
Snow, Snow: Winter Poems for Children
(2005), written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple - This collection of 13 beautifully crafted poems, inspired by stunning photographs of snowy woods, skiers, a snowmobile, and much more, will lead readers to see snow the wonder of snow and maybe even view it in a new way. One of my favorite poems in the collection begins "Somebody painted/The trees last night,/ Crept in and colored them/White on white."
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (2001)
, written by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers - Frost's poem is beautifully imagined in this picture book adaptation.
There are many, many books about snow and rain, and far too many to mention here. Instead, I am sharing my very favorite on each subject.
Listen to the Rain
(1988), written Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by James Endicott - This is a lyrically written and gorgeously illustrated book that celebrates the beauty, the mystery, the sounds, and the silences of the rain.Snow
(1998), written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz - Even though the adults believe that it will not snow, a boy and his dog don't give up hope. This is a Caldecott honor book that beautifully portrays the transformation of a city when it snows.
For additional resources, consider these sites.
That's it for this essential part of the water cycle. Since we've hit upon important components of weather, that will be the topic of the next list. See you soon!
, in response to a competition challenge, set out to write a poem consisting only of three-letter words. And in order to add to the interest, he decided on a form in which there were three three-letter words per line, and the lines came in groups of three.
What an interesting idea! Here is how the resulting poem begins.
by John Fuller
Who are you
You who may
Die one day
Who saw the
Fat bee and
The owl fly
Read the poem in its entirety (scroll down the page to find it).
This amazing poem has me wondering what kind of poems can be crafted using only three-letter words. That is your challenge. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
I'm wrestling with writing a villanelle or two, so I've been reading some for inspiration. Sometimes I find this helpful, as it gets me thinking about the importance of those first and third lines. Other times I worry it will influence my writing too much.
When I set out to write a villanelle I always begin with the final two lines, largely because I want them to make sense together and the poem to "work." Because this is the way I write a poem in this form, it's also where I start when I read them. (Don't worry though, I'm not one of those "read the last page of the book first" kind of girls. I would never spoil the ending.)
Here are the first two tercets of a villanelle I'm quite fond of.
The House on the Hill
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.
Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tara at A Teaching Life
. Happy poetry Friday friends!
I was thinking about selecting words for a prompt today, but then decided it might be more fun if you could pick your own, within some parameters. So, here's the challenge. Head over to the New York Public Library and check out the titles on the list 100 Great Children's Books: 100 Years
, or try the Cybils nominations for 2014
. Pick a title with at least three words
. Write the words in the title down the page and use these words as the first lines in your new poem.
For example, if I chose IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN, my poem starter would look like this.
And the starter for MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS would look like this.
Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me in writing a poem that starts with a children's book title. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Did you know that January is National Puzzle Month
? In honor of this month-long celebration I'm sharing a wonderful poem by Russell Hoban
. You can find it in A New Treasury of Children's Poetry
, selected by Joanna Cole (p. 210).
by Russell Hoban
My beautiful picture of pirates and treasure
is spoiled, and almost I don't want to start
to put it together; I've lost all the pleasure
I used to find in it: there's one missing part.
I know there's one missing -- they lost it, the others,
the last time they played with my puzzle -- and maybe
there's more than one missing: along with the brothers
and sisters who borrow my toys there's the baby.
There's a hole in the ship or the sea that it sails on,
and I said to my father, "Well, what shall I do?
It isn't the same now that some of it's gone."
He said, "Put it together; the world's like that too."
Now that you've read it, see and hear the poem
in this amazing little video by Michael Sporn Animation
We're big puzzle fans in my house. Here's a closeup of the puzzle we completed on New Year's eve to help bring in 2015. It's a Liberty Puzzle
of a Blue Whale
. Liberty Puzzles are wooden puzzles in which every piece is a different shape and many of the shapes feature whimsical items. This one included a sailboat, octopus, seahorse, scuba diver, and more.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
. Happy poetry Friday friends!
Water is a miraculous substance. It is the only compound that commonly exists in all three phases (solid, liquid, gas) on Earth. The unique properties of water are a major factor in the ability of our planet to sustain life.
Here's an annotated list of books on our most precious natural resource.Nonfiction Picture Books
A Cool Drink of Water
(2002), written by Barbara Kerley - This gorgeous book from National Geographic highlights the importance of water in our daily lives while showing how people around the world use and conserve water.
Did A Dinosaur Drink This Water?
(2006), written and illustrated by Robert E. Wells - Wells tackles the water cycle and the idea that the Earth's water has been recycled since before the time of the dinosaurs. Readers see water move through all three states as it moves through streams, rivers, oceans, clouds, rain, and more. The text is written in a kid-friendly, understandable manner and asks and answers good questions. For ideas related to using this book in the classroom, check out the Robert E. Wells Science Series Teachers' Guide
A Drop Around the World
(1998), written by Barbara McKinney and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak - Follow one drop of water as it makes its way on an amazing journey around the world emphasizing how essential water is every environment and how it is necessary for life. Traveling with Drop, readers see water underground, in plants and animals, clouds, ice and snow, and more. Told in verse, readers get a hefty dose of science and view water in all three forms as a solid, liquid, and gas. With four pages of back matter on the science of water, this book provides a good introduction to water and the water cycle.
A Drop in the Ocean: The Story of Water
(2004), written by Jacqui Bailey and illustrated by Matthew Lilly - This title in the Science Works series follows a water droplet from the time when it evaporates from the ocean and becomes the water vapor that makes up clouds, to the moment it falls as rain. Readers learn how water is cleaned and used before being returned again to the water cycle. Back matter includes an experiment, facts about water, and useful websites.
A Drop of Water
(2006, OP), written and illustrated by Gordon Morrison - This book begins with a child exploring the water in a creek and imagining how a drop on his finger made its journey through the water cycle. Water connects everything in the story. Without it there are no clouds, no stream, no pond, no rain, no meadow, and none of the living things that rely on water for life. An illustrated appendix in the back describes the plants and animals encountered in the text.
A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder
(1997), written and photographed by Walter Wick - This book is a stunning exploration of water in its many forms. Inspired by science books written for children more than 100 years ago, Wick was inspired to try the experiments listed and photograph them. The photographs show readers water in a way most have certainly not seen before. Wick carries out a number of these "old" experiments and in doing so captures water in stop-motion and highly magnified. The text that accompanies these photos is clearly written and not only informs but encourages exploration. Photos and text explore water's elastic surface, floating and sinking, soap bubbles and bubble shapes, moving molecules, ice, water vapor, condensation, evaporation, how clouds form, snowflakes, and much more. There is so much to learn here! Back matter includes ideas for readers to carry out their own observations and experiments.
Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean
(2000), written and illustrated by Arthur Dorros - This title in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series clearly illustrates where water comes from, how it travels, and where it goes. Readers will learn that water is always on the move, shaping our earth. They will also learn why it is important to keep water clean. (Check out this lesson
from the Georgia Aquarium which contains good guiding questions to ask at specific points while reading the book.)
I Get Wet
(2002), written by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Julia Gorton - This title in the Science Play series looks at water. Using simple text and hands-on activities, Cobb encourages kids to explore and experiment to learn about the most basic properties of water. The boy in the book learns by pouring water into different containers, observing it drip and flow, and trying to absorb it with waxed paper and paper toweling. The interactive format of questions and answers guides readers through these activities using everyday objects.
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
(2007), written by Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Rosemary Woods - In this book, Strauss tells the story of our planet's most precious resource and provides an instructive and often-times inspiring look at water. She reminds us that the amount of water on Earth hasn't ever changed. Since this water has been around for billions of year, it is entirely possible that the water you drink may have "quenched the thirst of a dinosaur" more than one hundred million years ago. The double page spreads provide both informational paragraphs and short, factual boxed insets, beginning with the distribution of water on earth, the water cycle, water's essential role in life on Earth and watery habitats. From here, the author looks at how people use, need and access water. The book concludes by looking at demands on the well, pollution, and saving our water.
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story
(2003), written and illustrated by Neil Waldman - In this book about the water cycle, water takes many different forms, but it's the form of snow in which this journey begins. In January a snowflake lands on the peak of a mountain. Over the course of year the snowflake changes both location and form. In February it's blown into a mountain pond, where it melts in March. This tiny droplet sinks into an underground stream where it continues its journey. That water drop travels to a farm and evaporates into the clouds before it comes back down to the ground to travel even further. Eventually it becomes a snowflake once more. This book emphasizes the idea that resources on Earth are finite. Kids have a hard time with this notion, but Waldman makes this message clear as readers learn that the water we drink, wash in, and play in is part of an amazing cycle that repeats itself over and over and over again.
Water Picture Books
(2002), written by Emily Neye and illustrated by Cindy Revell - In this Penguin Young Reader, Neye introduces beginning readers to water in its many forms. The text combines simple words, repetition, and visual clues to help readers learn about the properties of water.
The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks Poetry Books
(1988), written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen - This very first book in the series takes Ms. Frizzle's students on a field trip to the waterworks. On their trip they learn that water is a substance that can naturally be found as a solid, liquid or gas. They also come to know the water cycle (personally!) and how water evaporates into a gas to form clouds, and how it later liquefies and falls to the ground as rain.
All the Water in the World
(2011), written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson - Where does water come from and where does it go? In this book length poem using occasional rhyme, readers learn who uses water, what it's used for, and why all living things depend upon water. The language is this one is exquisite with lines like this: "Thirsty air / licks it from lakes / sips it from ponds / guzzles it from oceans . . ." A terrific title about all the water in our world.How to Cross a Pond: Poems About Water
(2003, OP), written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Meilo So - This collection of poems is one of three in a series of nature books. The trim size is small, but don't let that fool you. These little gems are filled with Meilo So's gorgeous India ink drawings on rice paper (all shades of blue in this work) and Singer's fabulous poems that in turn will make you laugh then nod and smile in agreement. Composed of 19 poems, Singer deftly captures water in a range of forms and places.
(2001), written by Joan Bransfield Graham and illustrated by Steve Scott - This collection of 21 concrete poems shows and describes water in a myriad of forms, including crocodile tears, ice cube, popsicle, snow, hail, dew and more. You can preview a number of the poems at Google Books
Water Can Be...
(2014), written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta - This is a book length poem that begins with spring and cycles through the four seasons looking at the importance of water. The text is economical, but it doesn't miss a beat in highlighting the important functions and characteristics of water. For example, otter feeder relates to the fact the water in rivers sustains many of the life forms that otters eat. Back matter in the book does a terrific job of explaining the meaning of each water "nickname."
(2003), written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple - Inspired by gorgeous photos, this collection of 17 poems in a variety of forms lyrically examines water in a range of forms, including soap bubbles, icicles, rivers, waterfalls, rain showers, and more.
Water Rolls, Water Rises Water Rolls, Water Rises: El agua rueda, el agua sube
(2014), written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Meilo So. In a series of free verse poems in English and Spanish, water rolls, rises, slithers, hums, twists, plunges, slumbers and moves across the Earth in varied forms and places. Mora’s three-line poems are filled with imagery and emotion. “Water rises/ into soft fog,/ weaves down the street, strokes and old cat.” (In Spanish: “El agua sube/ formando suave neblina/ que ondula pro la calle, acacia a un gate viejo.”) The lyrical movement of water described in verse is accompanied by Meilo So’s gorgeous mixed-media illustrations highlighting 16 landscapes from Iceland, to China, to Mexico, the United States and more. Back matter includes an author’s note and information about the images in the book. A joyous, bilingual celebration, this collection brings water to life.
For additional resources on water, consider these sites.
I also have a Pinterest board on this topic with many ideas and activities for instruction.Follow Tricia's board Water/Water Cycle on Pinterest.
You'll notice that books on rain, snow, and clouds are sorely lacking in this list. That is the subject for the my next thematic list, so stay tuned!
P.S. - Put the following book on your TBR pile. It comes out in May and looks fabulous.
Water is Water
, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin.
Welcome to 2015 and the first poetry stretch of the new year!
is a sestet (six lines) written in syllabic form. The syllable count is 3/5/3/3/7/5. Not much is known about the origin of this form, but you can learn more about it at Wikipedia
That's it! Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing a shadorma. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
I'm pleased to host the first Poetry Friday round-up of the new year, but even more excited to share some work the Poetry Seven have been working on.
Last year for my birthday in late August I suggested that writing poems together would be an amazing gift. Kelly Fineman picked up on that, Liz Garton Scanlon made some suggestions, and we were off writing triolets on the topic of beginnings and endings. Our goal was to share with each other some time in October. During that time my life was in a bit of an upheaval and I was dealing with the approaching death of a beloved colleague. The poems that came out of that time were all dark and depressing. I lost my friend and mentor just 43 days after he was diagnosed with cancer. He'd probably be mortified that I was writing about him, but the poems helped me get through those days. Here are the first and current drafts of my triolet.
First Draft (untitled)
I dreamt of you last night
Knowing nothing ever stays
Past wrongs not yet made right
I dreamt of you last night
Saw you loosed and taking flight
Slipping towards the end of days
I dreamt of you last night
Knowing nothing ever stays
37th Draft ... or something ridiculous like that. After all, "A poem is never finished; it is only abandoned." (A paraphrase of Paul Valéry by W. H. Auden)
I dream of you each night
knowing nothing ever stays
glimpse that smile despite your plight
I dream of you each night
watch you loosed and taking flight
slipping towards the end of days
I dream of you each night
knowing nothing ever stays
Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.
You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below.Tanita DavisKelly FinemanSara Lewis HolmesLaura Purdie SalasLiz Garton ScanlonAndi Jazmon Sibley
I am happy to be free of 2014 and ready to embrace 2015 and all it will bring. I hope you'll help me ring in the new year by celebrating all the amazing poetry folks are sharing this week. I'm and old-school style host, so please leave a note with a link to your offering in the comments. Happy new year and happy poetry Friday all!
It was hard keeping quiet about this amazing list of books. Here's what the round 1 judges, a lovely group of women to work with, chose to send along to the round 2 judges.
Brown Girl Dreaming is many things in one rich collection – memoir, history, biography – and lyrical, exquisite poetry. Events of the author’s personal and family history provide the framework for a series of individual poems. Woven throughout are key events of the Civil Rights journey and also personal effects of racism and discrimination. In this beautiful and powerful tapestry of verse, one hears the poignant reflections of Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, who kept on dreaming through tough times and good times and who keeps on writing in mesmerizing verse.
Blurb written by Nancy Bo Flood, The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children’s Literature
Dear Wandering Wildebeest’s poetry bounces with the impala and peeps like the meerkat. With childlike illustrations by Anna Wadham, Irene Latham takes us on a journey to the water hole of the African grasslands. Each poem is accompanied with factual information that will inform even the oldest readers.
To All the Beasts who Enter Here, there is word play with “Saw-scaled viper/ rubs, shrugs,/ sizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzles,” form experiments in Triptych for a Thirsty Giraffe
, humor with “Dung Beetle lays eggs/ in elephant poop,” and even danger, “Siren-howls/ foul the air./ Vultures stick to task.” Children and adults alike will love the language and learning that wanders in this book along with the animals of the watering hole.
Prolific anthologist Paul B. Janeczko brings the old and the new together in Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems. The collection of 36 poems contains poems by classic poets such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Intermingled with these are poems by well known children’s poets including J. Patrick Lewis and X. J. Kennedy. Firefly July takes readers through the seasons beginning in spring and ending with winter. The poems take readers to different locations as well. Both city and country settings appear in the poems. As the subtitle states, the poems are short, but the images they evoke are almost tangible. Melissa Sweet’s mixed media illustrations are colorful, playful, imaginative, and whimsical. They draw readers into the poems. Firefly July is a stellar collection that will likely be a family favorite for years to come.
Inspired by his twins, Muth wrote a haiku book that doesn’t followe the often used three line, 5-7-5 syllable form. This made this title a stand out among other haiku books.
Readers take a seasonal journey from summer through spring by Koo the panda. (Thus the pun in the title: Hi Koo!) Beginning with a simple observation about the wind: /found!/ in my Coat pocket a missing button/ the wind’s surprise, to the last haiku: becoming quiet/ Zero sound/ only breath/ Muth offers to young readers a new way to experience haiku.The watercolor and ink drawings complement the text. The subtle alphabet theme adds another dimension to the book.
The author’s note at the book’s beginning sets the tone: “…haiku is like an instant captured in words–using sensory images. At its best, a haiku embodies a moment of emotion that reminds us that our own human nature is not separate from all of nature.”
This book of poetry will help readers to slow down to appreciate the small moments of nature and daily happenings.
Who knew that among his many talents, Santa was an expert at writing haiku? In this collection of 25 poems using the 5-7-5 format, Raczka brings us Santa’s many observations, some about his job: “Wishes blowing in/from my overfilled mailbox–/December’s first storm” and others about the weather, the time of year, and Christmas preparations: “Clouds of reindeer breath/in the barn, steam rising from/my hot chocolate”. A fun read all at once, or one per day in anticipation of Christmas, some of the haiku work for winter in general as well: “Just after moonrise/I meet my tall, skinny twin–/’Good evening, shadow.'”
Blurb written by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman, Writing and Ruminating
Voices from the March is a historical novel in verse that focuses specifically on the momentous march on Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech. Six fictional characters (young and old, black and white) tell their tales on this historic day in cycles of linked poems alongside the perspectives of historic figures and other march participants for a rich tapestry of multiple points of view. It’s been 50 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin became against the law. In this powerful work, Lewis and Lyon tackle issues of racial and social justice in 70 lyrical poems that reflect the perspectives of young people and adults struggling with taking action for positive change in peaceful ways. In addition, extensive and helpful back matter includes a guide to the fictional and historical voices, bibliography, index, and list of websites and related books.
In a series of free verse poems in English and Spanish, our most precious natural resource takes center stage. Water rolls, rises, slithers, hums, twists, plunges, slumbers and moves across the Earth in varied forms and places. Mora’s three-line poems are filled with imagery and emotion. “Water rises/ into soft fog,/ weaves down the street, strokes and old cat.” (In Spanish: “El agua sube/ formando suave neblina/ que ondula pro la calle, acacia a un gate viejo.”) The lyrical movement of water described in verse is accompanied by Meilo So’s gorgeous mixed-media illustrations highlighting 16 landscapes from Iceland, to China, to Mexico, the United States and more. Back matter includes an author’s note and information about the images in the book. A joyous, bilingual celebration, this collection brings water to life.
Another year is ending and a new one beginning. It seems the perfect time to try our hand at writing a reverso.
The form, invented by Marilyn Singer, is described by the poet in this way.
A reverso is two poems in one. Read the first down and it says one thing. Read it back up, with changes just in punctuation and capitalization, and it's a different poem.
Here's an example Singer provides in her note about the form.
The coolest thing about these is that whether you are reading them forwards or backwards, they work! You can learn more about the reverso and the book that started it all by checking out this post at Seven Imp
and this post at Writing and Ruminating
So, what do you think? It seems an impossible task, but perhaps we could try writing some short poems similar to Marilyn's example. That, my friends, is the challenge. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
If you know OWL MOON by Jane Yolen, you'll want to follow along with Owl Count 2014, which begins at midnight on December 14th. Heidi Stemple will be live tweeting (perhaps on this occasion it should be called hooting) @heidieys and reporting on the Facebook page. In honor of the count, I'm sharing this lovely poem.
Snowy Owl Near Ocean Shores
by Duane Niatum
A castaway blown south from the arctic tundra
sits on a stump in an abandoned farmer’s field.
Beyond the dunes cattails toss and bend as snappy
as the surf, rushing and crashing down the jetty.
His head a swivel of round glances,
his eyes a deeper yellow than the winter sun,
he wonders if the spot two hundred feet away
is a mouse on the crawl from mud hole
to deer-grass patch.
Read the poem in its entirety.
Visit the Audubon Society to learn more about the Christmas bird count.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Paul at These 4 Corners. Happy poetry Friday friends!
This weekend I was savoring Wallace Steven's wonderful poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. I began to think that looking at winter in this way might be an interesting thing to do. Now, you don't need to come up with 13 stanzas of your own. Perhaps we could write this as a modified renga, each contributing a verse or two.
Here is the stanza I'm starting with (I think).
the coldest of seasons
heralds the approaching light
However you want to approach it, the challenge this week is to write a few stanzas (or more!) about winter. I hope you'll join me. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Mother nature hasn't decided what the weather will be, with 70 degree days followed by 40 degree days. I'm enjoying advent and the slow approach of winter. Here's an old poem (late 16th to early 17th century) for the season.
by Thomas Campion
Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o'erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love,
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep's leaden spells remove.
This time doth well dispense
With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Anastasia Suen at Booktalking #kidlit. Happy poetry Friday friends!
Invented by Craig Tigerman, the editor for the online poetry journal SOL Magazine, the pleiades is a 7-line poem in which each line begins with same letter as the first letter in the one-word title. There are no rhyme or meter requirements for a pleiades, though some have suggested the lines be limited to six syllables.
You can read more about this form at Super Forty and The Poets Garret.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a pleiades. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
An etheree is a poem of ten lines in which each line contains one more syllable than the last. Beginning with one syllable and ending with ten, this unrhymed form is named for its creator, 20th century American poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong.
Variant forms of the etheree include the reverse form, which begins with 10 syllables and ends with one. The double etheree is twenty lines, moving from one syllable to 10, and then from 10 back to one. (I suppose a double etheree could also move from 10 syllables to one, and then from one back to 10.)
You can learn more about the etheree at The Poets Garret and Shadow Poetry.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing an etheree. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
A septolet is a 14-word poem written in two stanzas and connected by the same idea.
I've not seen any consistency regarding number of lines (I've seen 5, 6, and 7) or where the break between stanzas should be (some recommend between lines 4 and 5 if the poem is 7 lines long).
You can read more about the septolet at The Poets Collective and Super Forty.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a septolet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
I've been privileged to know many veterans over the years, and I am eternally grateful to them for their service to our country.
Today I'm honoring a veteran close to my heart, my dad. Here are some pictures from when he was stationed at Kaneohe in Hawaii.
Here's a little something I found packed away with a letter to my grandparents saying that my dad was being discharged and would be coming home soon.
And here's a form letter from Truman.
Thanks to my dad and all the other veterans who have served. We owe you more than we can ever repay.
Early this year we wrote poems that used the device anaphora. Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive sentences or clauses. Epiphora (or epistrophe) is the exact opposite, where this repetition occurs at the end of successive sentences or clauses.
Here are a few examples.
The Gettysburg Address
“… that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.“
From "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
And am not stuck up, and am in my place.
(The moth and the fish-eggs are in their place,
The bright suns I see and the dark suns I cannot see are in
The palpable is in its place and the impalpable is in its place.)
From THE MERCHANT OF VENICE by William Shakespeare
Bassanio: Sweet Portia,
If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring
And would conceive for what I gave the ring
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
Portia: If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honor to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
So, your challenge for the week is to write a poem that uses epiphora. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Yesterday at lunch my son and were having a major discussion (that included math) over the check and tip. As I was explaining my thinking, the conversation took an unexpected turn.
Son: Mom, did you just do all that math in your head?
Me: Yes, I did.
Son: Wow. If I were a zombie I'd totally eat your brain first.
A strange compliment if I ever heard one, but I know exactly what his 13 year old mind was thinking!
That conversation got me thinking about zombies and poetry. (Yes, I know my mind works in strange ways!) Did you know there was a book of zombie poetry?
Finally, while doing a bit of searching, I came across this little gem.
by David Piper
The sound of plate and glasses clinking
Woke me up quite late last night.
And from the kitchen something stinking
Gave me, well, as nasty fright.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids
. Happy poetry Friday friends!
Welcome friends to Poetry Friday! I'm thrilled to be your host this week. Today I'm sharing a bit of Robert Frost. He's the one poet I revisit every fall. Whether it's Gathering Leaves, Nothing Gold Can Stay, or Apple Picking, Frost puts me in the mood for my favorite season.
by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
Read the poem in its entirety.
I'm rounding this one up old-school style, so please leave a note with a link to your offering in the comments. Happy poetry Friday all!
I looked back over the last month and realized I have failed to post a stretch for several weeks now. Mea culpa, mea culpa. If you only knew about all the crazy things happening in my life! Please forgive my absence here. I've missed writing with you! I have been working on a project with the Poetry Princesses that I hope will be unveiled in a few short weeks.
That said, today I'm thinking about the lipogram. A lipogram is a piece of writing that avoids one or more letters of the alphabet. You can read more about lipograms at A.Word.A.Day.
Here is an example of a lipogram. It comes from Gadsby, the 1939 story (more than 50,000 words!) by Ernest Vincent Wright that does not contain the letter E.
"Now, any author, from history's dawn, always had that most important aid to writing: an ability to call upon any word in his dictionary in building up his story. That is, our strict laws as to word construction did not block his path. But in my story that mighty obstruction will constantly stand in my path; for many an important, common word I cannot adopt, owing to its orthography."
Here's another form of lipogram favored by JonArno Lawson in A VOWELLER'S BESTIARY
. This alphabet book is based on vowel combinations rather than initial letters. The lipograms in this book exclude certain vowels from each set and include each of the vowels in the word. Here's an example.
Excerpt from "Moose"
lope somewhere close, rove homeless over broken slopes,
overwhelm moose's forest home.
Moose seldom welcome wolves.
So, which letter or letters will you slight? Write a poem this week omitting one or more letters. I Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
Over the last few weeks I have been scanning slides and revisiting old family photos. My uber-cute brother and sister are in the picture below! Don't you just love those Easter basket sunglasses?
While immersed in this project I've been reminded me of a story NPR ran a few years ago about a photo historian who found an archive of more than 14,000 photos taken by Charles W. Cushman. Cushman began using Kodachrome soon after it came out and used it to capture the world in ways it had never been seen before.
Our family slides are not great works of art, but they contain an awful lot of history. I'm amazed that this array of images has captured the evolution of the television, clothing, hairstyles, and cars. So, today I'm thinking about old kodachrome and photographs. I hope you'll join me this week in writing about them. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
As if I could post anything else today ...
Rap from Thriller
by Rod Temperton
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'all's neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse's shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller
If you have some time, here's the video of the song.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
. Happy poetry Friday friends! And Happy Halloween!
I've been inconsistent in posting stretches this semester, so I'm trying to get back on track with a new form.
The rondelet is a 7-line French poetic form that contains a refrain, strict rhyme scheme, and distinct syllable pattern. The structure is:
Line 1 : A— 4 syllables (refrain)
Line 2 : b—8 syllables
Line 3 : A—repeat of Line 1 (refrain)
Line 4 : a—8 syllables
Line 5 : b—8 syllables
Line 6 : b—8 syllables
Line 7 : A—repeat of Line 1 (refrain)
You can read more about this form at Shadow Poetry
and LOTR Rondelets
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a rondelet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
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Last week for Halloween I was persuaded to post the rap from the song Thriller. What I really wanted to post was this.
Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
Read the poem in its entirety.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Diane at Random Noodling. Happy poetry Friday friends!