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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 had a long list of P-inspired words but kept coming back to this one, largely because kept thinking of Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
uttering (while shot!) "Only the penitent man shall pass." (He did say it earlier in the movie, but this is scene that sticks in my head. It's a great example for vocabulary learning for all you visual learners!
PENITENT - feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong
Let's start with the poem that the books today build from.This Is Just To Sayby William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Poem ©William Carlos Williams. All rights reserved.
There are some who call this "the dreaded plum poem." I happen to like "This is Just to Say". Was the speaker truly remorseful? It's hard to say. Would I have forgiven the writer? Eventually, but I would have been really aggravated to find and read that note. I can just imagine it scribbled on a Post-It note stuck to the refrigerator. (See, visual imagery!)
After sharing this poem there's no way you could skip a reading of Joyce Sidman's incredible book THIS IS JUST TO SAY: POEMS OF APOLOGY AND FORGIVENESS
. This book is a direct result of Sidman's work as a writer-in-residence at schools, where she uses the poem as a model. The book is written in the voices of school children and is organized in this fashion.
- Table of Contents
- Introduction written by Anthony K., a "student" in Mrs. Merz's class
- This Is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams
- Part 1: Apologies
- Part 2: Responses
There is a wealth of material here, with seventeen apology and seventeen response poems. Here's a poem that reminded me a lot of my childhood relationship with my older sister (though I never stabbed her with a pencil!).
The Black Spot
(written by Alyssa for her sister Carrie)
That black spot on your palm.
It never goes away.
So long ago
I can hardly remember,
I stabbed you with a pencil.
Part of the lead, there,
still inside you.
And inside me, too,
something small and black.
I don't know what to call it,
the nugget of darkness,
that made me stab you.
It never goes away.
Both marks, still there.
reminders.Roses Are Red
(written by Carrie in response to Alyssa)
Roses are red,
violets are blue.
I’m still really
pissed off at you.
Poems ©Joyce Sidman. All rights reserved.
The topics and emotions related in these poems are those that any child today might deal with. There are apologies for making fun of the dress a teacher is wearing, breaking a mother's precious glass deer, not winning a spelling bee, hitting a friend too hard with a dodge ball, and more. Some of the poems revela the writer to be truly remorseful, while others are only slightly apologetic.
To learn more you should check out the particularly useful reader's guide
at Sidman's web site. You may also want to take a moment to watch and listen
to her read from the book.
This next book
Since it borrows
I had to include it.
Please read on
and chastise me
FORGIVE ME, I MEANT TO DO IT: FALSE APOLOGY POEMS
, written by Gail Carson Levine and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, is a collection of poems connected with nursery rhyme or fairy tale themes and characters that borrow Williams' form but include apologies that are conditional or utterly insincere. Some of these poems are dark, but they're all entertaining and some are downright funny. Here's one of my favorites.
This Is Just to Say
I have shortened
with your saw
is so much fun
I don't care
a real boy
Poem ©Gail Carson Levine. All rights reserved.
That's it for P. See you tomorrow with some O inspired poetry ponderings.
Here we have another letter that often flummoxes alphabet book writers. I, however, cannot be thwarted and have the perfect word in mind.
QUILTED - (of a garment, bed covering, or sleeping bag) made of two layers of cloth filled with padding held in place by lines of stitching
The books I'm highlighting today are all gorgeously illustrated in quilts.
PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS & QUILTS
, written and illustrated by Anna Grossnickle Hines, is a collection of 20 poems that span the seasons. When you open the book you won't know whether to marvel over the poems quilts first, as each is lovely. Together, however, they pack quite a punch. Here's a bit of info from the flap copy about Anna.
Anna did not do any serious quilting until she decided to use quilts to illustrate the poems in this book. Inspired by her mother, who has been making prizewinning quilts since her retirement, Anna made her first quilt for the book in 1996. Working between other projects she pieced four more over the next two years, and from April through November 1999 made the fourteen remaining quilts.
Are you amazed? If not, you should be. Before even reading the poems I recommend reading "The Story Behind the Quilts", a two page illustrated description of the process. You'll be surprised to learn that each of the finished quilts is only 12 x 18 inches! Given the detail in the quilts, this must have been painstaking work.
PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS & QUILTS, isn't just a gorgeously illustrated book, but a beautifully written one. In fact, Pieces
was awarded the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
in 2002. This annual award goes to the best book of children's poetry published in the United States in the preceding year. Here are two of my favorite poems from the book.
Our lawn is astronomical
with dandelion blooms.
A green sky filled
with a thousand suns
a thousand moons
that with a puff
of wind become
a hundred thousand stars.
The trees are wearing
and golden crowns
and bits of them
are falling down.
The quilts for this book turned out to be much more complicated than I expected, particularly those done with the tiny twisted triangles. The finished quilts, including the borders, are 31 by 19 inches--about twice as big as this book--so the pieces are very small. It took almost two and a half years and eleven and a half miles of thread to complete all fifteen quilts. This time, even I think I'm crazy . . . but I'm not sorry. (Click on the book cover for a better view.)
WINTER LIGHTS celebrates a variety of winter holidays and traditions, including Yuletide, Santa Lucia, Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. The quilts that illustrate the poems move from light to dark and back again, each one a perfect backdrop for its poem. Here are two of my favorite poems.
an icicle grew,
catching the stars
above my window.
in the sunlight
How can this be?
The sun tires out
so long before me.
You can learn more about how Winter Lights was created
at Anna's web site. Teachers will also find a helpful Activity guide
for use with Winter Lights,
as well as a terrific set of general quilting resources and lesson ideas on Anna's Quilts in the Classroom
Anna's newest book PEACEFUL PIECES: POEMS AND QUILTS ABOUT PEACE
, is a collection of 28 poems that explore the meaning of peace in varied forms. Readers will find poems about quiet peace, the peace of nature and home. There are also poems about the peace that comes from prayer and acceptance. Finally, there are poems that look at what happens when we don't know peace. those poems speak of anger and war. The back matter of the book contains short biographies of "The Peacemakers" and includes information on Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, and others.
Here's one of my favorite poems.
I have never fired a gun
but have shouted words
that pierced and stung.
I have hurled cutting remarks,
ignited flames with hateful sparks.
I've shot daggers from my eyes
at those I momentarily despised.
I have never fired a gun
but want to learn
to hold my tongue.
All poems ©Anna Grossnickle Hines. All rights reserved.
That's it for Q. See you tomorrow with some P inspired poetry ponderings.
Let's get right to it today with the adjective of the day!
REVERSIBLE - able to be reversed, in particular able to be turned the other way around
Today I'm highlighting a poetic form and two books by Marilyn Singer. The coolest thing about the poems is that whether you are reading them forwards or backwards, they work! (Hence the word reversible and Marilyn's name for the form, Reverso.)
Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Massee, is a collection of poems based on fairy tales that tell two sides of the same story. But wait, there's a catch! The paired poems are inverses of one another, meaning the second poem is created by reading the first poem in reverse (hence reverso).
Here's what Marilyn had to say about this title.
When I was a kid, my parents read me lots of fairy tales and poems, so I have both in my blood. Therefore, it’s no big surprise that I ended about writing an entire book of poems based on these tales, MIRROR, MIRROR. Now, when I was little, I was not a big doll person, but my uncle gave me something called a “Rags-to-Riches doll.” She was dressed in a peasant costume with a patched dress, shawl, kerchief on her head, and no shoes. You took off the shawl and pushed down her skirt (gathered with a drawstring) and, presto, it was a ball gown! Under the kerchief was a crown. Dancing slippers completed the transformation. I’m convinced that that doll influenced this book because for it, I came up with a new poetry form: the reverso.
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. To create reversos, I spend many hours at the computer (I write most poems with pen and paper, but not these!) playing with words and lines--shifting them around, seeing what makes sense and what doesn't. But first I start with the fairy tale. I have to be able to find two points-of-view in it that will make a good reverso because the hardest aspect of this form is that when you flip it, the second poem MUST say something different, not just the same message in reverse.Another big influence on this book and these poems is my love of word games, as well as old-fashioned board games such as "Clue" and computer adventure games where you solve puzzles. And I love to challenge myself. Writing MIRROR, MIRROR gave me the chance both to create and solve puzzles. And now I've written a second, as yet untitled, book of fairy tale reversos. Told you--I love a challenge!
The author's note Marilyn provides also gives readers some insight into the form and her process. Here's what she says.
We read most poems down the page. But what if we read them up? That's the question I asked myself when I created the reverso. When you read a reverso down, it is one poem. When you read it up, with changes allowed only in punctuation and capitalization it is a different poem.
The first reverso I wrote was inspired by my cat, August:
The sequel to MIRROR, MIRROR (or should I say follow up?) is the book FOLLOW FOLLOW: A BOOK OF REVERSO POEMS
, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse. While I continue to be awed and enamored of the form, I find I also enjoy greatly the twist and change of perspective afforded by reading in another direction. Here's one from the new collection.
Poems ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.
|Houses made of bricks|
call for a wolf’s tricks.
huffing and puffing!
Cheers to clever Mr. Big and Bad
when he comes down this chimney!
Who’ll be boiled or roasted,
That one little piggy,
by the hair of his chinny chin chin.
|By the hair of his chinny chin chin,|
that one little piggy
“Who’ll be boiled or roasted,
when he comes down this chimney?
Cheers to clever Mr. Big and Bad,
huffing and puffing
A wolf’s tricks
houses made of bricks.”
These books are a delight to read and will have coming back again and again.
That's it for R. See you tomorrow with some Q inspired poetry ponderings.
I knew when I decided on this project that many of my words would have Latin roots. Although I am constantly embarrassed by my mono-lingual status, I do not regret a single second of the years in high school and college (5 of them) that I spent studying Latin.
SYLVAN - consisting of or associated with woods; wooded
DARK EMPEROR AND OTHER POEMS OF THE NIGHT
, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen, is a collection of 12 poems that highlight nocturnal animals and events in the forest. Here are the first two stanzas from the introductory poem.Welcome to the Night
To all of you who crawl and creep,
who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
who wake at dusk and throw off sleep:
Welcome to the night.
to you who make the forest sing,
who dip and dodge on silent wing,
who flutter, hover, clasp, and cling:
Welcome to the night!Poem ©Joyce Sidman. All rights reserved.
Each double-page spread contains an illustration, a poem, and informational text about the subject of the poem and the life of the forest. In one section of text (facing the poem Cricket Speaks
), the text begins "Night in the woods is noisy."
The poems and illustrations are lovely, giving readers a real sense of the nighttime forest. The informational text is clearly written, engaging, and interesting.
Let's start this next book with a trailer.
FOREST HAS A SONG: POEMS
, written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Robbin Gourley, is a collection of 26 poems about the flora, fauna, and seasons of the forest. One time through will have readers puling on their boots and ready to take a slow, watchful walk through the woods. It opens with this poem.Invitation
a pinecone fall.
a spicy breeze.
friendly trees.I'm here. Come visit.Please?
Poem ©Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. All rights reserved.
One of my favorite poems in the book, Forest News
, speaks of the stories that animal tracks tell when left in mud or snow. There are poems here about lichen and moss, as well as the owl, deer and woodpecker. For young and old alike, this is a lovely introduction to the forest.A WHIFF OF PINE, A HINT OF SKUNK: A FOREST OF POEMS
, written by Deborah Ruddell and illustrated by Joan Rankin, is a collection of 22 poems about forest life. It begins with this poem:EAU DE FOREST:A WOODSY COLOGNE
and dogwood trees,
a muddy trail,
a blue-green breeze.
A nest, a leaf
a sycamore trunk.
A whiff of pine,
From the serious to playful and silly, Ruddell's poems invite reader's into the forest and sometimes the minds of the animals living there. Here's one where we get to hear an animal's thoughts.A Wild Turkey Comments On His Portrait
I find it most insulting
that you traced around your hand
and colored all my feathers
either plain old brown or tan.
Where's the copper? Where's the gold
that a turkey should expect?
Where on earth is raw sienna,
and where is the respect?
Finally, I'm baffled
that you've made me look so dumb.
My head is quite distinguished
and it's nothing
like your thumb.Poems ©Deborah Ruddell. All rights reserved.
That's it for S. See you tomorrow with some R inspired poetry ponderings.
First, forgive me for being a bit late today. I've learned that I'm not too keen on blogging on my iPad, and since I was flying most of the day, I needed to get home to my trusty laptop to finish this post!
There were so many terrific words for T that I had trouble choosing. However, since I ate poorly this week (grocery store meals, hospital cafeteria food, and alas, fast food), the word that spoke to me was tasty.
TASTY - (of food) having a pleasant, distinct flavor
I'm starting with two books that are, sadly, out of print. However, they are gems that are well worth searching out.
Let's start with the "introduction" to Chocolate Dreams
(1988), written by Arnold Adoff and illustrated by Turi MacCombie.
We will be watching very lovingly to make sure that no on licks any of these pages, bites the binding, or chews the covers of this chocolate book.
Once you have finished some sweet pieces, get up and go to some room or store. Visit very full refrigerators. Get something c h o c o l a t e to stuff in your mouth. Then come back to this book and read some more. The best way to read this writing is by biting and chewing in unison (all together now) with these delicious words.
Please do not drip any chocolate juice from your mouth onto these pages. Please do not lick these pages, bite the binding, or chew the covers of this chocolate book. Just laugh and look and be hungry always for that chocolate love so sweet and pure.
Now taste these happy chocolate dreams.
Is there anyone who can resist an entire book of poems about chocolate?! I don't think so. Here's one of the poems from the book.
Her She Bar
Poem ©Arnold Adoff. All rights reserved.
(1979), written by Arnold Adoff and illustrated by Susan Russo, is a collection of poems that beautifully describe and celebrate growing, tending, cooking, and, of course, eating food. While the book has many wonderful poems, here is one I particularly like.
is on the top
of the tree
or apple is
the top branch
of the tree
and i am
me on the ground
Poem ©Arnold Adoff. All rights reserved.
Lettuce Introduce You: Poems About Food
, written by Laura Purdie Salas, is a collection of 15 food-themed poems. Each one is accompanied by a gorgeous photograph. Here is one of my favorite poems from the book.
I bite into sweet
summer—it drips down my chin
Poem ©Laura Purdie Salas. All rights reserved.
This book not only includes poems, but also an informational section on the language of poetry that includes definitions of poetic forms and devices. These descriptions are connected to examples in the book. After this you will find a glossary of words from the poems that early readers may not know, and a list of related books and Internet sites.
©Jorge Argueta. All rights reserved.Guacamole: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem
|Now, at last,|
Everything is ready.
Heat the tortillas,
Take out the deep bowls
And the spoons.
Decorate the table
With flowers and smiles
Call your mother and your father
Your brothers and your sister
And eat up
The loving, lovely
Ya todo está listo
Calienta las tortillas
Saca los platos hondos
Y las cucharas
Adorna to mesa
Con flores y sonrisas
Llama a tu mamá y papá
A tus hermanos y hermana
Y a comer se ha dicho
Sopa de amor
(2012), and Tamalitos: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem
(2013) are the latest titles in Argueta's food inspired poetry. Here's a glimpse of Guacamole: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem.
Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!: America's Sproutings
, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López, is a book that combines factual information about edible plants native to the Americas with crisp, sense-filled poems all in the form of haiku. (HAIKU! This title should have made my Just Haiku post
!) Kids reading this book will be hungry to try out some of the foods so deliciously described. Here is one of the poems and informational text that accompanies it.
Marsh-floating hard bead
simmers then POPS! in hot pot.
Cranberries are tart fall fruits. They may be native to Wisconsin, where about half of the United States crop grows on woody, trailing vines in sandy marshes or bogs. The berries were used by Native Americans for food, dyes, and medicines. Some say they were called cranberries because cranes liked to slosh through the bogs looking for a bright red snack. Others say they were called cranberries because their pink spring flowers look like a crane's head. These fruits were also called bearberries and bounceberries. Can you guess why?
Poem and text ©Pat Mora. All rights reserved.
That's it for T. Are you hungry for something tasty now? I know I am! See you tomorrow with some S inspired poetry ponderings.
When I was in college one of the most interesting classes I took was celestial navigation. I was a sky watcher long before this, but a class that combined my love for maps with a love of the stars seemed a match made in heaven.
Ever since that time I've loved the word ursine (think Ursa Major if you don't know what it means). Given my love for this word, it is my topic for the letter U.
URSINE - of or pertaining to a bear or bearsTHE EARTH UNDER SKY BEAR'S FEET: NATIVE AMERICAN POEMS OF THE LAND
, written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Thomas Locker, is a collection of 12 poems telling what Sky Bear (the Big Dipper) sees and hears as he circles the Earth each night. Each of the poems comes from the tradition of a different tribe. Includes poems inspired by the Anishinabe, Chumash, Cochiti Pueblo, Inuit, Lakota, Lenape, Missisquoi, Mohawk, Navajo, Pima, Pawnee, and Winnebago. Navajo, and Pawnee. In an author's note at the end, Bruchac explains the stories that inspired the poems. Here's the poem about Ursa Major.
three hunters and their little dog
found the tracks of a giant bear.
They followed those tracks
all through the day
and even though it was almost dark
they did not stop, but continued on.
They saw that bear now, climbing up
a hill, which glittered
with new-fallen snow.
They ran hard to catch it,
but the bear was too fast.
They ran and they ran, climbing
up and up until one of the hunters said
"Brothers, look down."
They did and saw they
were high above the Earth.
That bear was Sky Bear,
running on through the stars.
Look up now
and you will see her,
circling the sky.POLAR BEAR, ARCTIC HARE
, written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, is a collection of 24 poems about the flora and fauna of the Arctic. Spinelli teaches readers much about the adaptations that allow organisms to survive there in both the text of the poems and back matter of the book. Readers will learn about the polar bear, narwhal, musk ox, caribou, and more!
THE TRURO BEAR AND OTHER ADVENTURES: POEMS AND ESSAYS, written by Mary Oliver, is a terrific collection of 45 poems (35 classic and 10 new) on wild animals of all kinds, as well as her poorly behaved pooch Percy. There is such joy and reverence in these poems. It's clear Oliver has watched closely and captured the natural world in all its glory. Here's the title poem.
The Truro Bear
There’s a bear in the Truro woods.
People have seen it - three or four,
or two, or one. I think
of the thickness of the serious woods
around the dark bowls of the Truro ponds;
I think of the blueberry fields, the blackberry tangles,
the cranberry bogs. And the sky
with its new moon, its familiar star-trails,
burns down like a brand-new heaver,
while everywhere I look on the scratchy hillsides
shadows seem to grow shoulders. Surely
a beast might be clever, be lucky, move quietly
through the woods for years, learning to stay away
from roads and houses. Common sense mutters:
it can’t be true, it must be somebody’s
runaway dog. But the seed
has been planted, and when has happiness ever
required much evidence to begin
its leaf-green breathing?
That's it for U. See you tomorrow with some T inspired poetry ponderings.
P.S. - I am working from my iPad while away. Please forgive the wonky formatting and lack of images. I'll fix this when I get back home to my trusty laptop.
There were so many great V words to choose from, but I kept coming back to one word - visual. I love to read poetry aloud and listen to it, but some really clever folks have made poetry that relies on what you see as well as hear something really special.
VISUAL - of or relating to seeing or sight
What is a concrete poem? On his web site John Grandits
says that "Concrete poems are poems that use fonts, and shape, and texture, and color, and sometimes motion." Concrete poems are truly about the marriage of words and form. Therefore, you need to SEE them to truly appreciate them
. That means you'll find LOTS of links in this post to examples of the poems. Do click those links to check out the VISUAL aspects of these poems.
Let's start the ball rolling with a nod to yesterday's post on dogs and cats.
A CURIOUS COLLECTION OF CATS
(2009) and its follow-up, A DAZZLING DISPLAY OF DOGS
(2011), both written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Michael Wertz, are collections that explore the peculiarities and absurdities of cats and dogs in wildly energetic ways. First, just look at those covers! If the use of animals in forming the letters of the titles doesn't immediately suck you in, then hopefully a few of these interior shots will. Michael Wertz has generously posted images from the books on his Flickr stream. Take a look at these images from CATS
and these from DOGS
MEOW RUFF: A STORY IN CONCRETE POETRY
, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Michelle Berg, is the story of a dog and cat trapped under a picnic table in a rainstorm. Since much of the verse forms the images on the page, readers will enjoy searching for the buried verses while reading the story. I can't find any good images for this one, so you'll just have to visit your library for a view!
, written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Lisa Desimini, uses wordplay and surprising "movement" to make the topics come alive. The 19 poems in this book cover a variety of subjects, including giraffe, weeping willow, skyscraper, baseball, basketball, the oyster family, and more. Synchronized Swim Team
uses the legs of upside-down swimmers to make its point, while Creep and Slither
appears in the shape of a snake, until midpoint when the bulging word bull frog announces what's been eaten. You can view some poems/images
from the book at Lisa Desimini's web site.
Two books written by Joan Bransfield Graham, SPLISH SPLASH
(2001) illustrated by Steve Scott, and FLICKER FLASH
(2003) illustrated by Nancy Davis, are collections of concrete poems about the physical world. SPLISH SPLASH is a collection of 21 poems about water in a myriad of forms, including crocodile tears, ice cube, popsicle, snow, hail, dew and more. FLICKER FLASH is a collection of 23 poems that explores natural and man-made light sources, including the sun, birthday candles, an incubator bulb, lightning, a firefly, and more. At Google Books you can see examples from both SPLISH SPLASH
and FLICKER FLASH
.LEMONADE: AND OTHER POEMS SQUEEZED FROM A SINGLE WORD
, by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Nancy Doniger, might not be considered concrete poetry by some, but to really see the genius of what he's done you must LOOK closely! As the jacket flap says, "Play with your words! Part anagram, part rebus, part riddle--this brand new poetic form turns word puzzles into poetry. Using only the letters from a single word, each of the poems in this collection capture a scence from daily life and present a puzzle to solve." Check out the Macmillan Books' photostream
to view a number of images from the book.
TECHNICALLY, IT'S NOT MY FAULT
(2004) and BLUE LIPSTICK
(2007), both written and designed by John Grandits, are two collections designed for older readers. The first book is written from the point of view of a young boy named Robert. The poems reveal Robert's concerns with all things adolescent. He is at turns smart then immature. Poems topics include his older sister, the school bus (dubbed TyrannosaurBus Rex), ordering pizza for dinner, mowing the lawn and more. The second book is written from the point of view of Robert's older sister, Jessie. Her concerns are those of a typical teen, but Jessie is anything but typical. She is funny, sarcastic, and totally her own person. Poem topics include a bad hair day, a pep rally, volleyball practice, Advanced English, her mother's birthday and more. Both books use graphic design in unusual and surprising ways. You can see a few of the poems from TECHNICALLY
on Grandits' web site. You can see a few more images using Google Book Preview for both TECHNICALLY
. Finally, be sure to visit Grandits' concrete poetry page
often, as a new concrete poem is posted each month. Right now the poem being shared is "My Stupid Day."A POKE IN THE I: A COLLECTION OF CONCRETE POEMS
, selected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka, includes a wide range of poems that are cleverly shaped and written. Eskimo Pie
are both poems in the shape of ice cream. Swan and Shadow
looks exactly like its title and is a lovely piece of work. You can view an inside spread
from the book and download an activity page
from the Candlewick web site. You can also get a brief preview
from Google Books. Notice that the table of contents is in the form of a table!
That's it for V. See you tomorrow with some U inspired poetry ponderings.
Since my son's name starts with the letter W, I let him pick today's adjective from a long list. Included were words like wacky, wild, wet, and winged. Since he's crazy for animals, he chose warm-blooded.
Now, this word could go in many directions, but for today I'm focusing on warmblooded creatures of the domestic type. Settle in, because this could be a long one! There are so many wonderful books here that today you'll get some brief annotations and a few poems.
WARMBLOODED - relating to or denoting animals (chiefly mammals and birds) that maintain a constant body temperature, typically above that of the surroundings, by metabolic means; homeothermic.
Part 1 - Dogs
"Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell." --Emily Dickinson
A Dazzling Display of Dogs, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Michael Wertz, is a series of 34 concrete poems that illustrate a variety of dogs in a range of situations doing things like riding in the car, escaping from home, chasing their tails, and more. (Here's a little tip, you'll see this one again tomorrow!) Diamond Willow
, written by Helen Frost, is a verse novel told in a series of diamond-shaped poems. The story follows Diamond Willow, a young girl living in the Alaska wilderness who convinces her parents to let her take their sled dogs to her grandparents' house. Along the way tragedy strikes and Willow must do whatever she can to help her dog Roxy survive.
, written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Tim Bowers, is the story of a stray dog told through a series of 17 haiku.
, written by Maya Gottfried and illustrated by Robert Rahway Zakanitch, is a collection of free verse poems in which 16 breeds express their personalities.I Didn't Do It
, written by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider, is the follow-up to ONCE I ATE A PIE. In it a group of adorable puppies describe what they do and see.The Hound Dog's Haiku: and Other Poems for Dog Lovers
, written by Michael J. rosen and illustrated by Mary Azarian, introduces readers to 20 breeds of dog from bluetick coonhound to dachshund. Back matter includes information about the breeds.It's About Dogs
, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Ted Rand, is a collection of more than 40 poems that pay tribute to man's best friend.
Little Dog and Duncan
, written by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by June Otani, is the follow-up to LITTLE DOG in which a very large dog named Duncan comes to visit little dog.
Little Dog Poems
, written by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by June Otani, contains 30 poems in which a young girl describes her little dog.
Once I Ate a Pie
, written by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider, is a collection of poems in which dogs of all types tell us how they see the world.
Part 2 - Cats"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this." --Terry Pratchett Stella, Unleashed: Notes From the Doghouse
, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Paul Meisel, is a book of poems told from Stella's point of view. They cover topics as varied as her rescue from the pound, selecting a name, the family members, other pets, eating, sleeping, the dog park, and more.
The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices
, written by Joyce Sidman with photographs by Doug Mindell, contains poems in a variety of forms that explore the world of the dog. Interspersed throughout are essays about dogs written by teens.
Here's one of my favorite dog poems from STELLA UNLEASHED.TWO SCOOPS, PLEASE
Vanilla is delicious, yes.
But could I ask a favor?
Next time we're at the ice-cream store,
let's try the liver flavor.
Poem © Linda Ashman. All rights reserved.
, written by Dave Crawley and illustrated by Tamara Petrosino - This collection contains 24 rhyming poems that describe cats and their often hilarious behaviors.
Cat, What Is That?
, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Wendell Minor - The poet answers the question posed in the title, never using the word cat, but by describing their antics and behaviors.
Cats Vanish Slowly
, written by Ruth Tiller and illustrated by Laura Seeley - This collection of 12 poems introduces readers to the cats at grandmother's farm, each one with a personality of its own.A Curious Collection of Cats
, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Michael Wertz - This collection of 34 concrete poems describes in words and form a variety of cats, including fat cats, princess cats, kissy cats, and more. I particularly like the poems focused on cat anatomy, like their tails and tongues. (Here's a little tip, you'll see this one again tomorrow!)I Am the Cat
, written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Mark Buehner - Alternating between haiku and longer poems, this collection captures the essence of the cat in all it's complexity.Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
, written by T.S. Eliot and illustrated by Edward Gorey - Forget everything you've heard about the musical and read the book! Eliot included these poems in letters to his godchildren. Though written in the 1930s, they ever get old.
So, What's It Like to Be a Cat?
, written by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin - The poems in the book make up a "conversation" (perhaps interview is a better word) between a young boy and his cat.Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
, written by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin - This is the story of a shelter cat and how he acclimates in his new home, told entirely in senryu, a form focused on “the foibles of human nature--or in this case, cat nature.” Whether you call it haiku or senryu, the short verses are entirely fitting for the tale Wardlaw tells.
Here's one of my favorite cat poems. It is from the ALL THE SMALL POEMS AND FOURTEEN MORE
by Valerie Worth.catby Valerie Worth
The spotted cat hops
Up to a white radiator-cover
As warm as summer, and there,
Between pots of green leaves growing,
By a window of cold panes showing
Silver of snow thin across the grass,
She settles slight neat muscles
Smoothly down within
Her comfortable fur,
Slips in the ends, front paws,
Tail, until she is readied,
Arranges, shaped for sleep.Part 3 - Dogs and Cats Together!"If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer." -- Alfred North WhiteheadI Am the Dog I Am the Cat
by Donald Hall - This free verse poem alternates between the voice of a rottweiler and the voice of a tabby cat.Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry
by Joyce Sidman - A dog and cat are trapped under a picnic table in a rainstorm. Since much of the verse forms the images on the page, readers will enjoy searching for the buried verses while reading the story.Raining Cats and Dogs
, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by, is a collection of poems that can be read from both directions. Tired of poems about dogs? Flip the book over and read about cats. (This one's out of print, so check your local library for a copy. You can also find copies online
Let's close today with two acrostic poems from the book A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
, selected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka.
Yup, I'm a dog lover!
That's it for W. See you tomorrow with some V inspired poetry ponderings.
The letter X is the bane of alphabet book writers everywhere. There are many ways to cheat around the letter X (many of them not so eXcellent), but I'm going to take this bull by the horns I tell you! The word I've chosen may not be common, but it does give me some poetry books to play with.
XERIC - (of an environment or habitat) containing little moisture; very dry
When I browsed through my collection, I found a remarkable number of poetry books on the desert. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. While outsiders may view deserts as harsh, barren places, they are anything but, sustaining a wide variety of flora and fauna that are amazingly adapted to their dry homes.
THIS BIG SKY
, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Steve Jenkins, is a book that beautifully captures the American southwest. The 14 poems touch upon everything from deserts and the hot sun to snakes and coyotes, with the landscape taking center stage in words and illustration. Mora also includes a glossary of Spanish words that appear in some of the poems. Here's an excerpt.
Old Snake knows.
Sometimes you feel
you just can't breath
in you own tight skin.
Old Vibora says, "Leave
those doubts and hurts
bussing like flies in your ears.
When you feel your frowns,
like me wriggle free
from I can't , I can't.
Leave those gray words
to dry in the sand
and dare to show
your brave self,
your bright true colors."
, written by Diane Siebert and illustrated by Wendell Minor, is a book-length poem about the life and landscape of the Mojave desert. It begins "I am the desert./I am free./Come walk the sweeping face of me." The illustrations and text breathe life into our views of the California desert and inspire awe at the wonders found there.
, written by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Peter Parnall, contains a series of 10 free verse poems voiced by different desert creatures. Readers hear from the buzzard, coyote, jackrabbit, rattlesnake, and more as they each tell of their lives in the desert. Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite poems. Can you guess who's voice this is?
the same arroyo
that I crossed
when I was young,
the same safe den
to sleep through
I warm myself
in the same sun,
search for the same
long tender blades
and taste the same
ripe juicy cactus fruit.
how I fit in.
WELCOME TO THE SEA OF SAND
, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Laura Regan, is one in a series of 4 books Yolen wrote about different ecosystems. Sadly, this one too is out of print. A book length poem written in occasional rhyme, the text is a blend of poetry and science. In the description of the book on her web site Yolen writes "It takes a lot of research to write a poem about a place. I have been to the Sonoran desert section in Arizona several times, as well as deserts in Israel, California and Australia." In opening the pages of this book readers can travel along with Yolen and marvel at the variety of life in this very dry place.
That's it for X. See you tomorrow with some W inspired poetry ponderings.
Okay, in my excitement over the launch of National Poetry Month and my poetry project, I forgot to post our stretch! *SIGH* Multi-tasking is not my forte these days.
Since my first post of the month was about Z and the zeno, and since Kate Coombs has already gotten us started, let's write a zeno! A zeno
is a 10-line verse form with a repeating syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1. The rhyme scheme is abcdefdghd. You can read some examples Pat Lewis wrote at Poetry A-Z: Z is for Zany, Zoological, and Zeno
I haven't been writing round-up posts of these poems in some time, so be sure to come back (or subscribe to the comments) and see the wonderful pieces folks are sharing.
Why oh why did I start at the end? Perhaps because these were some of the most challenging letters and I thought I should get them out of the way. Silly me!
When I began my research I couldn't help but think of Y as a boyish letter. After all, without that Y chromosome we'd have a world of girls. But alas, the letter Y didn't seem to lend itself to any particularly boyish adjectives or poems. It did, however, keep leading me to a woman of particular note in writing circles (poetry and otherwise). So let's start today with Yolen.
JANE YOLEN - WRITER AND POET OF SOME NOTE!
Jane Yolen has written more than 300 books in an amazing array of genres, succeeding wildly in each one. Many of her poetry books will make an appearance over the course of this month, but the ones I want to highlight today focus on one of my favorite poets.THE EMILY SONNETS: THE LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON
is a collection of sonnets that tells Emily’s story from the points of view of Emily herself, her sister Vinnie, her niece Mattie, her friend Thomas, an unknown critic, and Yolen. Additional information and anecdotes are found throughout the pages. I savored the sonnets on my first read, lingered on the extensive end notes, then re-read the poems with renewed enthusiasm. Yolen lovingly captures and portrays Emily and shows readers quite clearly how much Emily was admired and loved by those around her.MY UNCLE EMILY
is a picture book that tells the story (part fiction, part real) of Emily Dickinson's nephew Gib. This one begins:"One day when we were in the garden, choosing flowers for the table, my Uncle Emily gave me a dead bee and a poem for my teacher. Sometimes Uncle Emily is like that, as if she wants me to see the world one small bee and one small poem at a time."
Gib worries about the reaction of his classmates (rightly so!) to the poem. At recess a boy makes fun of his Uncle Emily, so Gib defends her and slugs him. When Gib goes home with a limp, he doesn't tell his family the whole truth about the day's events. This is a wonderful little story about honesty that may just interest readers in learning more about Dickinson.
YOUTHFUL - typical or characteristic of young people
HERE'S A LITTLE POEM: A VERY FIRST BOOK OF POETRY
I have a fairly tattered copy of a poetry book from childhood. I can't remember what I loved so much about it, but I imagine it appealed to me the way much of poetry for the very young does today. Preschool poetry often gets trapped in the traditional (not that there's anything wrong with classic rhymes), but there are a number of recent collections that tap into the joy of childhood and the exuberance of the really young.
A LITTLE BITTY MAN AND OTHER POEMS FOR THE VERY YOUNG
, written by Written by Halfdan Rasmussen, translated by Marilyn Nelson and Pamela Espeland, and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, is a volume of poems originally written in Danish. Though a small collection (only 13 poems) is filled with whimsy and rhymes that sing like the best of Mother Goose. This volume is perfect for the littlest readers as much for the appropriateness of vocabulary as the perfectly sweet selections.
, collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Polly Dunbar, is filled with sweet and silly rhymes that fairly sing. The book is oversized and heavy, but it's well worth picking up and sharing with little ones. Organized into the categories Me, Myself and I
, Who Lives in My House?
, I Go Outside
, and Time for Bed
, there is a poem here for most important and everyday events in a child's life. There are also nonsense poems, tongue twisters, animal poems, and more! Since the poems in this volume have been collected from across the English-speaking world, the retention of regional spelling and usage may have you needing to explain some things to young readers. In the back you'll find the contents indexed by poem and poet. Every reader, young and old alike, will find something to love here.WEE RHYMES: BABY'S FIRST POETRY BOOK
, written Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer, is my new go-to baby shower book! While a few of the poems come from Mother Goose, most are Yolen originals. Here's an excerpt.
Mama's hug is gentle,
Daddy's hug is long.
Is warm as a rug.
And Grandma's comes with a song.
There's a lovely blend of playfulness, sing-song treats, and happy rhymes. This one is perfect for the littlest and newest poetry lovers.
That's it for Y. See you tomorrow with some X inspired poetry ponderings.
Z is a wonderful letter. It's zippy and zig-zagged and fun! Before we begin, join me in a little song.
My, oh my what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
While I've never been a fan of the movie this comes from (Song of the South
), I've always liked this song. In fact, I could often be heard whistling or singing it while washing dishes in our first house (you know, one of those older homes with lots of charm and no dishwasher).
Now that the mood is set, let's look at today's poetic potluck inspired by Z.
ZANY - amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic
I wouldn't normally call poetry zany, but the book ZORGAMZOO
by Robert Paul Weston fits this definition nicely. Who wouldn't call a 280+ page book written entirely in rhyming couplets zany? I could also call this one zippy, as the rhythm and rhyme pull readers along at an energetic pace. Weston has created something special here.
Katrina Katrell lives with her guardian Mrs. Krabone (whom Katrina calls Krabby). Krabby does nog appreciate Katrina's natural curiosity or propensity to explore and daydream. One day while waiting for the subway, Katrina sees a large, hairy creature walking in the underground tunnel. Convinced that Katrina is lying, Krabby decides she needs to contact her friend Doctor LeFang to complete a lobotomy. When Katrina runs away she finds Mortimer Yorgle, the creature from the subway, and the adventure truly begins.
ZORGAMAZOO is a novel in verse that begs to be read aloud. I'll admit the first time I read it I was so enthralled with the words and craft behind Weston's writing that I got a bit lost. I had to read it a second time to more thoroughly enjoy the story. Kids will love this one and so will you.
Check out this trailer.
ZOOLOGICAL - of or relating to animals
This is actually an impossible adjective because there are an enormous number of poetry books about animals of all kinds. I could actually write for each of the 30 days of April about animal poetry and not reach the bottom of a very large barrel. This means that zoologically oriented posts will abound in the coming days. But this begs the question, where do I start? How about this year's Claudia Lewis Poetry Award
winner and Cybils poetry finalist
?THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY: 200 POEMS WITH PHOTOGRAPHS THAT SQUEAK, SOAR, AND ROAR!
, compiled by J. Patrick Lewis, contains the photos we've come to love from National Geographic, accompanied by one and sometimes two poems from classic (Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson) to more modern poets (Betsy Franco and Jane Yolen). The book categorizes the poems under the headings “the big ones,” “the little ones,” “the winged ones,” “the water ones,” “the strange ones,” “the noisy ones,” and “the quiet ones.” This is THE book to put in the hands of kids curious about the natural world. It's also the one book that may spark a bit of poetry interest in reluctant readers and writers.
If you are looking for idea for the classroom, download the Teacher's Guide
. In the meantime, take a look at these gorgeous photos and listen to our current Children's Poet Laureate read an excerpt.
ZENO - a poetic form invented by J. Patrick Lewis
In October of 2009 I was lucky enough to debut a poetic form invented by Pat Lewis
. Here's Pat's explanation.
I've invented what I had called a “hailstone," after the mathematical "hailstone sequence." It has nothing to do with Mary O'Neill's Hailstones and Halibut Bones, but it would no doubt instantly be confused with it. Hence, "hailstone" is problematic. So I call the form a "zeno," so named for Zeno, the philosopher of paradoxes, especially the dichotomy paradox, according to which getting anywhere involves first getting half way there and then again halfway there, and so on ad infinitum. I'm dividing each line in half of the previous one. Here's my description of a zeno:
A 10-line verse form with a repeating syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1. The rhyme scheme is abcdefdghd.
Pat was even kind enough to send along a few examples.
A song streaming a thousand miles
may sound like a
but it’s only
coming out of
Why Wolves Howl
Gray wolves do not howl at the moon.
Across a vast
they oboe in
Fur-face, I am
The great horned owl sits in the tree
Poems © J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
There's one more Z that's not in the title, and that's Zimmer. Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
is a teacher, author and poet. She has written three collections of poetry, SKETCHES FROM A SPY TREE (2005), STEADY HANDS: POEMS ABOUT WORK (2009), and COUSINS OF CLOUDS: ELEPHANT POEMS
(2011). She's also written two verse novels, REACHING FOR SUN (2007) and 42 MILES (2008). REACHING FOR SUN was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award in 2008. This award "honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences."
I'm quite fond of COUSINS OF CLOUDS: ELEPHANT POEMS. You can see a bit of it below.
That's it for Z. See you tomorrow with some Y inspired poetry ponderings.
The kickoff of my National Poetry Month project dubbed Poetry A-Z is only 2 short days way. Each day in April I'll share books, poems, poetic forms, and other poetry-inspired topics. The posts may seem a like a potluck of poetry, but that's exactly what I'm going for. I've tossed in a little of this, a little of that, some things old, some things new, and all things fun!
Since I'm a lefty in a right-handed world, I tend to approach many things in life from a different angle. This project will be no different. What that means is that instead of starting at the beginning, you can look forward to commencing this journey with Z and winding down to A.
I can't wait for Monday! I hope you'll stop by to see what I've thrown together.
Today is March 25th and we had a snow day in Richmond, VA. Talk about unexpected! I am so ready for spring. This is the second Monday in a row that we've had snow. My son was thrilled about this turn of events, me not so much.
How about we write about the unexpected this week? The unexpected event, turn of a phrase, ending to a book or movie, etc. What have you found lately that was unexpected? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.
All you math lovers out there should know that tomorrow is Pi Day. But should we celebrate pi or tau? Don't know what I'm talking about? Take a look at these two videos.
Last year my plans for National Poetry Month
were put on hold by an unexpected death in the family. It was the first time I'd missed celebrating in several years of blogging. I'd like to say I have something elaborate planned this year, but I'll be traveling during two different weeks to conferences so I have scaled back a bit.
This year my theme is Poetry A-Z. For the first 26 days of the month I'll be highlighting poetic forms, specific poems, books of poetry, and poets according to letter. For the last 4 days I've created a set of "acrostic" themed posts with some additional thoughts on poetry.
I know I haven't been around much, but I do hope you'll join me.
Yes, I'm two days past Monday, but in my defense I was traveling and had little time for online pursuits. I suppose I could always post early, but stretches tend to be inspired by circumstance. I'm not sure it would be much fun to post 52 stretches for the year and just let them launch on their own.
The anniversary of my sister-in-law's death is approaching and we're all facing it with more than a bit of trepidation. Suicide is such a difficult thing. We're still trying make of something that just can't be understood.
I've been writing a lot these days about darkness and fear, so I guess now is as good a time as any to tackle this topic. Are you afraid of flying? Failure? Heights? Spiders? Something more sinister? Let's write about that this week.
Over at my math and science blog I'm celebrating the fact that my Pinterest site has nearly 10,000 followers. I'm a bit shocked to tell you the truth. Pinterest has been a fabulous way for me materials related to elementary instruction. Where I once used Google Sites and Weebly, I now use the boards on Pinterest. I can't emphasize how important the visual aspect of this has been. Instead of reading through lists of bookmarks and site descriptions, I can actually SEE what things look like. To say this has revolutionized the way I organize ideas and resources is an understatement.
In honor of closing in on the 10,000 follower milestone, I am giving away copies of a few of my favorite science poetry books. Here they are.
In the last week we've had a snow day and an early dismissal for snow. It's only been a few inches, but it has been most welcomed by the kids around me. In anticipation of and celebration of snow, we've been reading a few of our favorite books on the subject.
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder
, 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.
, 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. It begins this way.
In the days
when farmers worked with ox and sled
and cut the dark with lantern light,
there lived a boy who loved the snow
more than anything else in the world.
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
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?"
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story
, written by Neil Waldman - While ostensibly not a book about snowflakes, this water cycle book does begin and end with a snowflake. I like this book because it makes understandable 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 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 post was written for Nonfiction Monday
. The round up is being hosted by Laura Salas
. Do stop by and check out all the wonderful books being shared today.
We've had a snow day and an early dismissal in the last week due to "snow." I quote snow because as someone who grew up outside of Rochester, NY and lived, worked and went to grad school in Buffalo, I do know a bit about snow. This stuff in Virginia ain't it!
In celebration of seeing a bit of the white stuff, my son and I have been reading books about the science of snow--how it forms, it's shapes, symmetry, etc. I'm focused on hexagons and the number six. If I were insanely creative, I'd invent a poetry form related to snow crystals, but alas, I've tried and come up with nothing. So instead, let's write about snow.
Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.
I've been spending time reading admission files for the University. Every year I'm simply amazed at what these applicants have done and accomplished, most before the age of 18.
There are other things in this world that amaze me. Have you seen this video on underwater astonishments?
Nature amazes me, usually on a daily basis. Last week I walked out into the snow in the early morning hours to hear a woodpecker tapping away. It made me laugh and marvel at the world at the same time.
The sky still amazes me, no matter how many times I look at the moon or stars. I also find it to be quite humbling.
While I continue to read applications and wander through my week in wonderment and appreciation, I thought it might be fun to write about what amazes or humbles us. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.
It's Tuesday, not Monday! I've learned it's awfully hard to read a blog post when you hit save instead of publish! That's what I get for trying to do seven things at once. As I age I seem to be getting worse at multi-tasking.
I've been a little down-in-the-dumps, so I believe some limericks might cheer me up. I'm currently trying to finish this one:
There was a young woman from Bath
Who loved nothing better than math
I am stuck at the moment, but I promising a rousing finish.
What limerick will you share this week? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.
I'm thrilled that BookSpeak!: Poems About Books
is this year's Cybils winner in the poetry category. Go Laura
There are many other very deserving winners. Check them out at The 2012 Cybils Awards
To see the shortlists from which the winners were selected, check out Cybils Finalists Flyer
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners, and thanks to all the hardworking Cybils folks for making it happen.
My son was 12 on Saturday. It was a happy occasion, but these milestones make me sad when I reflect on how quickly he's growing up.
I've written him a poem every year on his birthday, though I've never read or given them to him. I'm saving them for some time in the future. I suppose I've always wanted someone to write me poems on my birthday, and that's why I write for him. Or perhaps I do it just because I'm a sentimental sap!
What do you do to celebrate birthdays an other special occasions. Do you write poems? Do you have a celebratory poem to share? What kind of poem would you like to receive on your birthday? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.
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It's been nearly two years since we visited climbing rhymes, so I think it's time to try again.
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
What kind of climbing rhyme will you write? Leave me a comment about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.