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Back in 2011, I wrote a blog post about, Dare to Dream…Change the World, a poetry anthology that was to be published in the fall of 2012. The book was edited by Jill Corcoran and published by Kane Miller.
Here is Jill’s description of Dare to Dream from the book’s website:
Dare to Dream … Change the World pairs biographical and inspirational poems focusing on people who invented something, stood for something, said something, who defied the naysayers and not only changed their own lives, but the lives of people all over the world.
Janet Wong and I “paired” to write poems about the experience of an older woman who had contracted polio when she was youngand Dr. Jonas Salk, respectively. I chose Salk as my subject because I remember how frightened parents were back in the 1950s that their children might contract the dread disease—one that had crippled so many. Highly infectious, poliomyelitis—also known as infantile paralysis—chiefly affected children.
Jonas Salk changed the world for me and millions of others when he developed a polio vaccine that was both safe and effective.
The Dare to Dream anthology also includes poems about other well-known "dreamers"--including Temple Grandin, Anne Frank, Ashley Bryan, Georgia O'Keefe, Christa McAuliffe, and Steven Spielberg.
Last Tuesday, Jill announced The Dare to Dream…Change the World Annual Writing Contest for Students. Here is an excerpt from her announcement:
The Dare to Dream ... Change the World
Annual Writing Contest
for students grades three to eight will launch January 25th!
Grand prize winner receives $1500 worth
of Kane Miller and Usborne books
for a library of their choice
the top 30 poets will be published by Kane Miller Books
A couple of weeks ago, I posted some pictures of the built-in bookcases that we had installed at our new home. I’ve already begun filling the shelves—even though we haven’t moved yet.
Julia likes to visit my “library,” look at all the pictures books, pull books off the shelves and “read” them. Sometimes, she insists on taking one of the books back over to her side of the house.
(BTW, we're planning to have another built-in bookcase made for our upstairs hallway. One can never have too many bookcases!)
I often grab my “gram cam” to snap pictures of Julia reading books.
Julia reading Miss Mary Mack.
Julia reading Merry Christmas, Ollie!
One of Julia’s new favorites isn’t a picture book. It’s Grace Lin’s Dumpling Days. One night last week, she refused to go to bed without the book. On Wednesday afternoon, she sat on the floor of the family room quietly flipping through the pages and looking at the illustrations/sketches that Grace included in her novel. That night, her dad told me she chose Dumpling Days over her favorite stuffed animal when he put her to sleep.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about “home”—a place where one lives and shares years of memorable experiences with family and friends. At my new home, I’ll have a lot more outdoor space—more than three acres. I’ll have beautiful gardens and a pool. Still, I know I’ll be sad about leaving my home of nearly thirty-seven years. I’ll definitely miss living close to the water…and in the place where my daughter grew up. I’ll be sorry to leave decades of happy memories behind. Yet, I’m also looking forward to moving on and living next door to my granddaughter Julia, my daughter, and my son-in-law...and to "making" new memories there.
The renovations on our new place are nearly complete. The custom-made bookshelves and china cabinet have been installed—so have the hardwood floors, the tiled floors in the bathrooms and entry way, the quartz countertops, the glass and slate backsplash, the new kitchen sink and faucet. Everything looks great. Now, we just need to buy a new refrigerator and do a little painting. We also have the awful task of cleaning out our “old” house.
We loved the built-in china cabinet so much that we may have a media/book/storage center built too. Since we’ll be downsizing from a seven-room house to a four-room in-law apartment, I want to make sure that we’ll have a place to put every little thing we need. I hate clutter!
It may take me forever to transport my children’s books to my new abode! I have already started filling the shelves. The other day, I sat on the floor with Julia as she pulled books from the bottom shelves and began looking through them. Two of the words she says most often now are “book” and “read.” That warms her Grammy’s heart.
Here are two pictures of Julia "reading" books this week:
Written by David Elliott & illustrated by Holly Meade
Here is a memoir poem that I wrote many years ago about the home of my maternal grandparents--a place where I had many of the happiest experiences of my childhood.
A HOME FOR THE SEASONS
My grandparents’ house seems to hug their shady street.
A white duplex, its twin front doors
stand side by side
just three steps up from the sidewalk.
We always enter the house through the side door.
Stepping into the kitchen,
we find Babci sitting at the far end of the table
spooning filling onto circles of homemade dough
and making pierogis, crocheting afghans,
or snipping lacy designs from paper—
a traditional folk art she learned in Poland.
Sometimes we see her painting flowers on the cupboard doors
or hanging starched curtains she embroidered by hand.
The aroma of stuffed cabbage or babka baking in the oven
often greets us at the door.
Most days, Dzidzi spends outdoors tending to his garden
or painting the shutters green
or mending the picket fence
or building a backyard fireplace for summertime barbecues.
My grandparents always busy themselves
making their place a special place
for the family to gather throughout the year,
making it a home for all the seasons.
One of my all time favorite books in verse, Castles,Caves, and Honeycombs, is about the different kinds of homes where animals live. It was written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Lauren Stringer. The book's text is spare, its vocabulary is rich, the rhythm is flawless, and the illustrations are gorgeous. It makes a wonderful baby gift!
Here is how the book begins:
Many places make a home -- A heap of twigs. A honeycomb. A castle with a tower or two. An aerie with a bird's eye view.
I was recently contacted via email by a freelance permissions consultant who was writing on behalf of the international section of the Educational Division of Oxford University Press. The consultant requested my permission to use two short poems that I had written and posted on Laura Salas’s blog. The publisher wants to include the poems in a 352 page, paperback textbook for students aged 14-16. Here’s the funny thing: I had forgotten that I had written the poems back in 2008 for one of Laura’s “15 Words or Less Poems” challenges.
Have any of you ever done that--forgotten poems that you had written? I hate to admit that I’ve done it more than once.
For Poetry Friday this week, I have another of my “forgotten” poems. I found it this morning when I was reading through one of the drafts of my unpublished poetry collection titled Docile Fossil. It’s a mask poem.
My granddaughter Julia loves books. That makes her grandma smile! One of her new favorites to look through is a poetry collection that I gave her for Christmas—Christmas Presents: Holiday Poetry. Yesterday, she even sat in my lap as I read her some of the poems in the book.
Another one of her favorite books is Jamberry. Here are some pictures that I took of her reading it recently.
I hope Julia will continue to love books. I’m happy that she doesn’t chew on them now.
Here’s a list poem that I wrote some time ago. I’m dedicating it to my granddaughter Julia today.
THINGS TO DO IF YOU ARE A BOOK
Be filled with words that tell a tale
of a little mouse and a giant whale of a runty pig and his spider friend who was true and loyal to the end of a child who ate just bread and jam of a funky guy, green eggs, and ham of a spunky girl named Ramona Q. of a Jabberwock that a young boy slew. Be filled with words and tell a tale that will let my imagination sail. Be a mystery or a fantasy and sing with sounds of poetry. Between your covers let there be a story that’s just right for me.
I know I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog that I LOVE writing animal mask poems. I have written dozens of them. A few years ago, I took the advice of my friends Grace Lin and Janet Wong and culled out all the poems about smaller animals and insects that children might observe in their backyards or find close to home for a collection. I also wrote some new poems. I had tentatively titled the collection Backyard Voices. Then I changed it to Listen! Listen! after I wrote the following poem to introduce my collection of animal mask poems:
Listen. Listen. Cup an ear.
Little creatures living near
Speak in voices we can hear.
One of the new poems that I wrote for Listen! Listen! is about insects that we hate to find invading our homes—TERMITES.
The seasons come and go. The harvest is all gathered in And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain, So open wide the doorway— Thanksgiving comes again.
When all the leaves are off the boughs, And nuts and apples gathered in, And cornstalks waiting for the cows, And pumpkins safe in barn and bin, Then Mother says, "My children dear, The fields are brown, and autumn flies; Thanksgiving Day is very near, And we must make thanksgiving pies!"
Click here and here and here to read some more Thanksgiving poetry for children.
Thanksgiving Song - Mary Chapin Carpenter
Thanksgiving Songs for Children - FIVE LITTLE TURKEYS - Turkey Kids
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. We had a family Halloween party the last weekend in October at “The Farm.” That’s what my husband calls the house that we’ll be moving to at some time in the future. My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter have already been living there for two months now.
My husband and I have plans to have some renovations done on our new living quarters before we move in. One thing that is a must—having a wall of bookshelves built in our upstairs office/den. I have thousands of children’s books that I don’t want to sell or give away. I want to keep them for my granddaughter Julia. She LOVES Books!
Last week, we had to batten down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, the storm didn’t hit my area too hard. This week we had a nor’easter. We got snow here on Wednesday night. The weather is looking up here for the long weekend ahead.
I’ve been so busy taking care of Julia and with our renovations plans that I’ve found little time to blog or write poetry. I did, however, write a poem “in my head” a few weeks ago when I was taking Julia for a walk to a nearby park on a beautiful autumn day. Here it is:
The website of The Academy of American Poets has a special section devoted to Halloween. It features poems about ghosts, haunted houses, vampires, and the underworld. It even includes suggestions for poet costumes.
One of the things I remember most about the autumns of my childhood is the scent of burning leaves. I miss that today. The following poem is based on my memory of a time I spent with two of my cousins at my grandparents’ house. We raked up a pile of autumn leaves and sat on wooden crates watching—and smelling—the leaves burn at dusk on a cool October day.
By Elaine Magliaro
Two tall maple trees grow
in front of my grandparents’ house. In late October they shed their golden crowns. When the fallen leaves curl up like little brown bear cubs, we rake them into a pile at the side of the street. As dusk arrives Dzidzi sets our harvest afire with a single match. We sit on wooden crates at the sidewalk’s edge, watch the brittle leaves blossom into golden flames, smell autumn’s pungent breath. From the pyre summer rises, a small gray ghost, and drifts away into the darkening sky.
Declaration of Interdependencewould be an excellent book to use in a middle grade classroom to spark a discussion about this year’s presidential election, voting and voting rights, electoral votes, and choosing a candidate—and a great way to integrate poetry and social studies!
Here’s one of the poems from the book:
Make Your Ballot Count
By Janet Wong
Darken the circles completely
(neatly, not outside the lines).
If you don’t know what to do
ask the helpers (follow the signs).
When you punch the holes, be firm
(no worm-like hanging chad).
When your vote is done,
your vote is gone.
A wrong vote? That’s too bad.
A wasted vote: so sad.
BOOK GIVEAWAY: I have three copies of Declaration of Interdependence (kindness of Janet Wong) to give away. If you’d like to have a chance to win a copy of the book, all you have to do is to leave a comment on this post. I’ll enter the names of all those who comment into a drawing and announce the names of the winners next Friday.
About the blog: This community is dedicated to exploring topics raised in DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE: Poems for an Election Year by me (Janet Wong). In this book, you'll find topics such as liberty, the election, voting rights of kids, how to choose a president, the electoral vote, and more. Thanks for stopping by, and please jump in with your comments. Whether you're 9 years old or 90, we want to know what you're thinking!
I wrote the first draft of the following animal mask poem last month. I kept fiddling with it over the weeks. I felt it needed a couple more lines—but hit a wall. Then, when I was in bed the other night, two lines just popped into my head.
Here is my most recent draft of that poem--which is told in the voice of migrating geese:
THE SOUND OF FALL
By Elaine Magliaro
So long…farewell. We’re on our way.
We must depart. We can’t delay Our journey to a warmer clime. Mother Nature warned: “It’s time!” We’re heading south before the snow… And winter winds begin to blow. We leave you with our parting call— Honk! Honk! Honk! THAT’S the sound of fall.
Yesterday, I watched my granddaughter Julia as she looked out the side door at two gray squirrels scampering along the old rock wall that serves as the boundary line between our “new” property and the property of our next door neighbors. It’s fun for me to look at a familiar scene like squirrels skittering around through the eyes of little Julia who gets so excited about such things. I enjoy listening to her excited noises when she gets wrapped up in the wonder of things that are new to her young eyes.
Today, I’m sharing an animal mask poem. In it, I tried to capture the voice of a squirrel busy scavenging for food in autumn.
By Elaine Magliaro
I’m a hurrier scurrier scamperer scavenger searching for acorns and maple tree seeds stashing them now for my wintertime needs.
I’m busy. I’ve much work to do. So sorry I can’t stop To visit with you.
Must scurry… Can’t chatter today. I’m busy…too busy Must be on my way.
Here are some pictures of Julia enjoying her first tastes of her Grampy’s yummy homemade lasagna:
Here are two pictures that I took of her when we vacationed in Maine in late August:
Here is a picture that I took of Julia at her first birthday party in August:
Last September, I wrote a post titled Cleaning House and Discovering Old Poems. Well, I’ve been cleaning house again—that’s why I’ve taken a brief break from blogging. This time, I am truly a woman on a mission. I’ve been throwing away TONS of stuff—except for old poems. My library/office in my basement had become so cluttered and disorganized that it was difficult to find things. (That wasn’t the only room in the house that needed attention!) It feels so good to be getting rid of things that I don’t need or no longer use…to be organized…to have room once more in my cupboards and drawers and closets…to be able to locate things easily.
While going through all my stuff, I found some old photographs and newspaper clippings. Memories came flooding back—memories of family…friends…times past…places we have traveled to. I also began to think about all the happy memories the house where I live holds for me. I admit that I have a sentimental attachment to my home of thirty-six years.
There is another house that holds a special place in my heart. It’s the home of my maternal grandparents where I spent many of my of my happiest childhood days. This Friday, I’m taking a stroll down memory lane with the following poem about my grandparents’ house.
A Home for the Seasons
My grandparents’ house seems to hug their shady street.
A white duplex, its twin front doors
stand side by side
just three steps up from the sidewalk.
4 Comments on A Home for the Seasons: An Original Memoir Poem, last added: 7/7/2012
One of my favorite sounds is that of crickets chirping on summer nights. I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to them lately because it has been so hot around here lately that we’ve had to run the air conditioner in our bedroom.
Here’s an acrostic poem I wrote some years ago about crickets strumming on summer evenings:
Every now and then, I like to write poems about a particular subject in a number of different ways. I have arranged the following three mole poems in the order in which I wrote them. The first poem is a “things to do” list poem; the second and third are mask poems.
Backyard Mermaids is a memoir poem. It relates a memory of one of the summer experiences I had with two of my first cousins at the home of my maternal grandparents. My cousins lived on one side of my grandparents’ house. We spent lots of vacation days together—running through the lawn sprinkler, picking vegetables in my grandfather’s garden, playing dress-up in the basement, meeting in our clubhouse under my grandparents’ front porch.
I apologize for being absent from Wild Rose Readerfor so long. It has been an especially busy and hectic summer for me. Just this past month, I’ve attended two family weddings, celebrated my granddaughter Julia's first birthday, vacationed in Maine, and bought a house! My husband and I hadn’t planned on moving because we love the house we are living in at the present time--and we love our neighborhood. I have, however, been spending a lot of time away from home living at my daughter’s and providing daycare for my granddaughter. That has left me little time to read, write, blog, spend with my husband, or visit with friends and other family. My husband, daughter, son-in-law, and I decided a few months ago that it would best for all of us if we could find a home where we could all live together. I didn’t think we’d find the perfect place so soon...but we did. It was the first property that we looked at.
Here are some pictures that I took yesterday of the grounds around the house:
My daughter, son-in-law, and Julia will live in the main house—a Georgian farmhouse built around 1790--with an addition that was built circa 1850. My husband and I will live in the in-law suite--the carriage house that was converted into an apartment in 1999.
The original owner of the house was a woodworker and an apple farmer. In fact, he had an apple orchard on our property. The thought of an apple orchard brought to mind a memoir poem that I wrote about my maternal grandparents and the apples that grew in their yard.
We tasted the green apples of summer,
watched the season pass through Dzidzi’s garden,
shared its bounty.
Now we help harvest the autumn apples.
Dzidzi places two large baskets beneath the tree.
He stands on a ladder and reaches for the highest apples.