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A library media specialist who writes mostly about books by and about people of color. I also frequently post original haiku and photography.
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1. Edphrastic Poetry with the Seven Sisters

This month my Poetry Sisters and I decided to try Ekphrastic poetry, which is simple poetry written in response to an image or work of art. Laura found this amazing image, and we all wrote about it in whatever form we chose. I reverted to blank verse, having defaulted to my old favorite. The image is taken from a tumblr blog linked here. The original blog posting (Carnival of Dogs) gave this

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2. Etheree poems for October

This month the Poetry Sisters have been working on producing Etheree poems. This form consists of ten lines; and the poems grow by add one syllable to each line. There are no rhymes. Trisha got us started early in the month by posting about the form on here Monday Poetry Stretch. I submitted my first poem there, and then later worked on a few others. You might be able to tell I am in the fall

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3. Found Poem in The Scarlet Letter

Our poetry project for this month, cats and kittens, is to create a "Found Poem". This type of poem is drawn from text you find, or stumble over, in any context, that strikes you as rich in potential. Sometimes one can find irony, or humor, or surprising wisdom. Sometimes it's just fun. I happened to run across an old copy of Norton's Anthology of American Literature, vol. 1 on the library Free

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4. WANTED: Haiku or Senryu. Must take me there. Mindful reward.

Mid-August. When the crickets sing all day in the long grass and the sky invents blue every morning. A lovely time to savor the moments with small bites of haiku, no? That's what I was thinking when we made the proposed schedule for a year of playing with poetic forms, my Poetry Sisters and I. Then someone threw a wrench in it last month, and suggested we try writing haiku in the form of

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5. poems written in the style of e. e. cummings

For the past month my Poetry Sisters and I have been working on writing poems modeled after poems written by e. e. cummings. He is one of my favorite poets, so when we were throwing around names trying to chose a focus for our work I was delighted when everyone jumped on his. Something about his mix of irreverent, unconventional diction and grammar built on top of an exceptionally sharp wit and

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6. Writing Odes this past month

My Poetry Sisters and I have been scribbling down Odes all through the past month. Every month this year we are working on writing different forms of poetry in a group challenge. It's been both fun and frustrating at times! But Odes are pure fun. We agreed to take a light-hearted look at things this month, and some of these are downright funny! Check out my compatriot's Odes at these links:

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7. The Flight of Sons; a pantoum

This month my Poetry Sisters and I are working on writing Pantoums. Pantoums are an old form of poetry with four line stanzas, where the second and fourth line of each stanza is repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza. They can be any length, and don't have a set rhyme scheme. The last stanza reapeats the third and first lines of the first as the second and fourth lines. The

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8. Raccontino with the Poetry Sisters

My online poetry group is working our way through the year by exploring a new poetic form each month. In April we are posting a form called "Raccontino". My friend Trisha explains: Here are the requirements of the form. composed of couplets (any number) even number lines share the same end rhyme the title and last words of the odd numbered lines tell a story  I love a poem that tells a story

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9. The Poetry Seven Attempt Sestinas

This month my poetry sisters and I are working on writing Sestinas. It's a very difficult form to get the knack for, partly because the end words are extremely restricted. Each of the six-line stanzas use the same words in a spiral repetition. The best sestinas, IMO, tell a story. My favorite one is this by Elizabeth Bishop. Kelly has a wonderful explanation with tips on how to write one here.

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10. A Small Child's Book of Verses

I found this lovely old gem on my shelf today. Here are a few pages in honor of Valentine's Day: Is t that delightful?  Now be sure to visit Merely Day by Day today for the Friday Poetry Roundup!

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11. Trying my hand at a villanelle

At the start of the year my online group of poetry sisters decided to challenge ourselves with writing and posting poems all year with a different form for each month. January was triolets, and February has been all about Villanelles. I have to confess I have really struggled with this one! I had a story I wanted to tell about my young son and his first taste of hot peppers, but try as I

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12. Triolets

Happy New Year!  2015 is off to a great start already. Here is my brand new Poetry Journal for 2015. I need this journal because... It's time for the Poetry Seven to swing into action once again! This year we have set ourselves up to meet a huge challenge. We are going to work on a different poetry form every month, and post original poems on the last Friday of each month. I am excited

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13. Angel Island; Gateway to Gold Mountain

by Russel Freedman. Chinese poems translated by Evans Chan. Clarion Books, 2014. (Library copy). This nonfiction text for young people covers the west coast immigration center Angel Island in San Fransisco Bay. Between 1910 and 1940 more than half a million people from 80 countries passed through this station. After being examined medically and interrogated, they often waited weeks or months in

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14. Three by Zetta Elliott

The Magic Mirror by Zetta Elliott. Illustrations by Paul Melecky. Rosetta Press, 2014. Review copy. Kamara suffers from the mean words of a boy at school until her Gramma comforts her and shows her the ancient mirror kept in a back bedroom of her old house. Kamara willingly cleans Gramma's mirror and discovers a magical storytelling window into her own family history. Generations of brave,

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15. Josephine; The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

by Patricia Hruby Powell, pictures by Christian Robinson. Chronicle books, 2014. Review copy. This adorable 8" x 10" full color hardback book is a treasure trove of inspiration and information on the glorious life of Josephine Baker. Baker was born in a hard scrabble life in East St. Louis in 1906. Growing up with poverty, discrimination, race riots, and a family that loved ragtime music and

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16. Game World

by Christopher John Farley. Black Sheep, 2014. Middle grade fantasy with an inclusive cast of characters. Sixth grade gamers are sucked into their favorite video game and have the chance to become heroes battling giant spiders, evil hummingbirds, and plant people. Heavily drawn from Jamaican culture and video game story lines. Farley's children and their friends read the drafts and gave

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17. Upsidedown in the Middle of Nowhere

by Julie T. Lamana. Chronicle Books, 2014. Every time I think about Katrina now, I think about this book. Armani lives in the Ninth Wards of New Orleans with her family. She's looking forward to celebrating her 10th birthday with a big party, cake and presents, when Katrina hits. Her party is canceled and her family is rocked by the storm that brings tragedy and intense challenge for all of

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18. 48 Hours Later...

I have finished the 48 Hour Book Challenge 2014! I read from Friday, June 6, 7am to Sunday, June 8, 7am. I read 8.5 hours on Friday, 8.25 hours on Sat., and 2.25 hours on Sunday morning, for a total of 19.25 hours. That is the most I have read in one weekend in over 11 years!! My eyes are tired but I am happy. I am looking forward to spending today and tomorrow reading all the blogs of other

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19. Giving Thanks; Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving

Edited and with reflections by Katherine Paterson, Illustrations by Pamela Dalton.Chronicle Books, 2013. (review copy) I was delighted to receive this lovely, timely book in the mail the other day. It is absolutely gorgeously illustrated with paper cut done by Dalton in a sixteenth century German and Swiss technique called "Scherenschnitte" or "scissor cuts," which was brought to the States by

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20. The Poetry Sisters Write Pantoums

We've been at it again. My poetry sisters have been up to hijinks once again. I've been privileged to be schooled in several poetic forms by these fabulous and talented women before, when we challenged each other to write a crown sonnet , villanelles, and rondeau redoubles. Liz got us going this time by challenging us to write pantoums sparked by the line "I've got better things to do than

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21. Rock Climbing Haibun

  Last weekend we went hiking in a state park where there is a large outcropping of rock towering above a creek that winds through the valley. We ate lunch on the top of the ridge with a view that scanned the clouds floating on the horizon, the forest hills, and the tumbling whitewater far below. could be trout far out of casting distance; rushing stream We climbed down the trail

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22. 48 Hour Book Challenge 2014

It's been a while since I've blogged here, but I have been reading, honest! I am coming back to blog about the 9th Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge organized by Mother Reader. It's happening this weekend, June 6 - 8. Basically you read as much as you can for the whole weekend. I am going to be focusing on early Friday morning through Sunday morning, and plan to skip as much housework as possible

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23. 48 Hour Book Challenge: And We're Off!

This is my starting line for Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge 2014!  I am going to spend as much time reading as possible in the next 2 days. I've already blocked off my calendar and prepped my kids. I can't wait to dig in! here's my TBR book pile:  And here's my spot: What are you doing this weekend? It's not too late to Drop Everything And Read!!

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24. The Great Greene Heist

by Varian Johnson. Arthur A Levine / Scholastic. 2014, Review copy. This is a fun read about a crew of Middle School kids trying to win a Student Council election. The have a history of pranking and conning the adults at school, but are determined to reform their ways and play by their own version of an honor code called "Rules of Conduct". It's a fast and clever story full of fun and games. A

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25. Summer of the Short Bus

by Bethany Crandell. Running Press Teens, 2014. Review copy.  Cricket Montgomery, a teen used to a privileged life, is sent to work at a summer camp for special needs middle schoolers. She can't be more dismayed and disgusted, until she meets the hottie who becomes her summer love. This is a fun, fast read that reveals healing and a hopeful, empathetic turn around for our princess. The language

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