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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Poetry Friday, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. POETRY FRIDAY: A Little Autumn Poetry


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The weather can change fast in September in New England where I live. One day it may be hot and humid with the temperature rising into the mid to high eighties. The next day, the temperature can dip into the low sixties...or fifties.

I love this time of year in New England—especially as summer gives way to autumn and the leaves begin to change color…and the days are drier and cooler.

Yesterday, I was reading through some of my old poetry files that I hadn’t looked at in a long time. That’s when I found the following “tidbit” of a poem titled September. I have no memory of ever having written it. I thought I’d post it today.

SEPTEMBER

Summer sighs
as it grows old.
The brassy sun
is not so bold.
Nights start to entertain
the cold.


Here is an autumn list poem that I wrote years ago:

AUTUMN

Crickets sighing
Birds goodbying
Pumpkins growing plump and round

Apple picking
Football kicking
Chestnuts thudding on the ground

Bright leaves falling
Wild geese calling
Honeybees huddling in their hive

Trick-or-treating
Turkey eating
Winter’s waiting to arrive

**********

Here is an excellent book of autumn poems written by Douglas Florian, which I am happy to say, is still in print:

 AUTUMNBLINGS
poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books, 2003

Autumnblings is the third in Douglas Florian’s series of seasonal poetry collections. The twenty-nine poems in this book touch on a variety of autumnal topics: apple picking, Indian summer, pumpkins, falling leaves, the first frost, the migration of geese, and Thanksgiving. Readers will find a plethora of short, light-hearted poems that speak about animals and the changes in nature that take place during this season.

As in Winter Eyes, Summersaults, Handsprings and Florian’s collections of animal poems, including Insectlopedia, Beast Feast, Mammalabilia, and In the Swim, there’s also plenty of clever wordplay in Autumnblingsto delight old and young readers alike. The book contains poems with the following titles: HI-BEAR-NATION, AWE-TUMN, and SYMMETREE(Autumn is the only season/The leaves all leave./Call it tree-son.) In his poem BRRRRRRR!, Florian writes about Octobrrrrr’s cold, Novembrrrrr’s chill, and Decembrrrrr’s freeze. In TREE-TICE, Florian speaks of the number of leaves falling from trees--one leaf…then two…then three…and so on. It’s, according to the author, A tree-tice on/Arithmetics.

Autumnblings includes a few shape poems and several list poems with the following titles: What I Love about Autumn, What I Hate about Autumn, The Wind, Birds of Autumn, The Owls, The Colors of Autumn, What to Do with Autumn Leaves, Thanksgiving, and Autumnescent.

The collection concludes with NAUGHTUM, a poem that relates how The trees are bare./The birds have flown…./The leaves fall down/And then get burned,/As autumn slowly gets winturned.

Florian’s illustrations done in watercolor and colored pencils add just the right touch of color and humor to this collection that is a “must have” for elementary classroom library collections.

**********

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Michelle has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty.

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2. Poetry Friday with a review of Beastly Verses

Animal characters play important roles in many children's books, allowing authors to connect with their young readers on many levels. Children begin with Babar the elephant in picture books and work their way up to to the gripping animal-rich adventures in the Redwall novels. Poets also love to write about animals, and in today's poetry title animals of all kinds can be found on the pages to offer children a wonderful poetry-filled book experience.

Beastly VerseBeastly Verse
Poems selected and illustrated by Joohee Yoon
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Enchanted Lion, 2015, 978-1-59270-166-7
Children love poems about animals, especially ones that are about creatures that a big and scary. Over the years poets have chosen to write poems about animals of all kinds, including those that we love to be afraid of. In this collection Joohee Yoon has brought together some of these poems and paired them with her colorful print illustrations.
  We begin with Lewis Carroll’s poem about the “little crocodile” who seems to grin so “cheerfully” and who “neatly spreads his claws.” So friendly does the crocodile seem that it is as if he is welcoming fish to swim into his “gently smiling jaws.”
   Another creature with claws and teeth is a tiger and William Blake’s famous poem about a tiger perfectly captures the awe that the poet feels for the animal that has fire in its eyes. He wonders what “immortal hand” created the tiger’s “fearful symmetry.”
   The mood is lightened in the poem that follows, where we meet a happy hyena. This animal can play the concertina and is very particular about his appearance. A master of sartorial elegance, the hyena even has a flower stuck into his lapel.
   A few pages later we encounter someone who is trying to tell us about an elephant who “tried to use the telephone.” It turns out that a trunk is not the best of appendages to use when one is trying to make a telephone call. It also turns out that the narrator of this poem cannot help getting his or her words frightfully, and hilariously, mixed up.
   For children who fancy having an unusual animal for a pet there is the poem The Yak. In it we hear about how a yak is a perfect pet for young people. After all it “will carry and fetch, you can ride on its back, / Or lead it about with a string.” The Tartars who live in Tibet have been keeping yaks as nursery pets for centuries, so if they can do it why can’t you?
   Animal loving children are sure to love this clever collection of poems. On the pages they will find verses that are often humorous, that offer up wonderful descriptions, and that sometimes give readers cause to pause.


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3. POETRY FRIDAY: Two Poems about Pledges



PLEDGE
By Elizabeth Powell

Republic, your cool hands
On my schoolgirl shoulders.
Not sure what allegiances meant
Until the vows were held by heart,
By memory, by rote, by benign betrothal.
Republic, you were mine, I knew
Because of Mother’s religious pamphlets:
Lindsay for Mayor.
McGovern for President.
How to Register Voters.
I didn’t ever want to go to school
On Saturdays. The baby-sitter said
If Nixon won, I’d have to go…

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

 **********

flag
by Jacqueline Woodson

When the kids in my class ask why
I am not allowed to pledge to the flag
I tell them It's against my religion but don't say,
I am in the world but not of the world. This,
they would not understand.
Even though my mother's not a Jehovah's Witness,
she makes us follow their rules and
leave the classroom when the pledge is being said.

Every morning, I walk out with Gina and Alina
the two other Witnesses in my class.
Sometimes, Gina says,
Maybe we should pray for the kids inside
who don't know that God said
"No other idols before me." That our God
is a jealous God.


Click here to read the rest of the poem.

********** 

A little history about the Pledge of Allegiance (UShistory.org):

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
In its original form it read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added. At this time it read:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy's daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

**********

Amyhas the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.

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4. Poetry Friday with a review of Somewhere Among

Many adults and children in the Unites States can remember where they were on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked targets in the United States using commercial airplanes. What we sometimes don't realize is that the ripple effects of the tragedy spread far from our shores to people all over the world, many of whom were profoundly effected by what happened.

Today's title is a novel in blank verse that takes us to Japan where a young girl, a half Japanese and half American girl, is facing a lot of personal problems of her own in the months leading up to the September 11th attacks. The appalling events of that day add to what is already a painful situation, and we see, through her eyes, how violence damages people's ability to hope, and takes away their ability to feel safe.

Somewhere AmongSomewhere Among
Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu
Poetry
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2016, 978-1-4814-3786-8
Ema lives “between two worlds.” Her father is Japanese and her mother is American, and sometimes being “half this / half that” is not easy to manage.  Though her mixed heritage makes her life interesting at times, the fact that she is different also means that at times she feels “alone / on an island / surrounded by multitudes / of people.”
   Every August Ema and her mother go to California for a month to spend time with Ema’s maternal grandparents. This year is going to be different. Ema’s mother is pregnant and it has been a very hard pregnancy with scares and all-day-long morning sickness. Her mother has lost babies in the past and so this time they are going to be very careful, which means that the family is going to go and stay with Ema’s paternal grandparents, Obaachan and Jiichan, until the baby is born. Thanks to these new arrangements Ema will miss six months of fifth grade in her school, she and her Papa will not be having a vacation by the sea, and she and her Mom will not being to California.
   Ema and her parents travel to western Tokyo to Obaachan’s house, and it isn’t long before Obaachan stars fussing, criticizing, and complaining. She likes everything to be just so and she has very strong opinions about how things should be done. Often she does not understand that Ema’s mother, being an American, does things differently. For example, Mom does not like to use bath water that other people have used, and she prefers western cakes to Japanese desserts. The differences between the two women creates tension and this tension only becomes worse when Ema’s father goes back to the city. Commuting to and from his parent’s home simply isn’t going to work and so Ema and her mother are going to have cope being in Obaachan’s world as best they can. Ema often wishes that she and her mom could be back at home, even though home is only a small one-room apartment. At least the TV is not on all day long, and at least there they don’t have to deal with Obaachan and her persnickety, old-fashioned ways.
   The summer is hot and hard on everyone but when school starts things get even harder for Ema. There is a boy at school, Masa, who goes out of his way to make Ema miserable. He hits her, steals the NASA space pen that Grandpa Bob gave her, trips her, and is generally disagreeable as much as possible. Ema is not sure how she is going to cope with this and then something happens that makes everyone forget about the little things. Terrorists attack the Twin Towers in New York City and in two other places. Mom is distraught, Ema is upset, and everyone is in shock over what has happened. Ema, Papa and the grandparents all worry that the anxiety and distress that Ema’s mother is experiencing will hurt the baby. How can all the hurt, both in their home, and in the wider world, not affect them? Ema wants to protect her mother but it would seem that there are some things that she cannot prevent. Sometimes Ema wishes she could escape the world and go out into space where she won’t have to “see or hear or feel / any more sadness.”  

   This remarkable book takes us into the life of a Japanese child whose world is in a state of flux. The things that make her feel safe and secure are taken away from her and then, just to add to her distress, the attacks on 9/11 take place. Written in blank verse, this extraordinary narrative is touching and often painful, but ultimately Ema comes to learn something very valuable that she is able to pass on to the grownups in her life.  Anyone who has had their life disrupted by change and loss will appreciate what Ema goes through.

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5. Poetry Friday - September

Today I'm sharing an aptly titled poem by William Wordsworth.

September
by William Wordsworth

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.

No faint and hesitating trill,
Such tribute as to winter chill
The lonely redbreast pays!
Clear, loud, and lively is the din,
From social warblers gathering in
Their harvest of sweet lays.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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6. POETRY FRIDAY: Sun and Moon Poems


In early May, I sent out a collection of mask poems to a publisher. The collection takes the reader through the day on a farm. Most of the poems are written in pairs (mare and foal, father sheep and lamb, cows and bull, mother duck and ducklings). A couple of weeks ago, I received a rejection via email. The editors, however, gave me hope that they would like to see more of my work. They wrote: Lovely language, especially our favorite, Mother Duck. Does not fit our needs right now. Please keep us in mind for future projects. 

I have a trusted poet friend who did a critique on the manuscript for me. After speaking with her, I have decided to do some revisions. I have already cut the first and last poems as I feel they are unnecessary…and add little to the collection.

I decided to post those two poems for Poetry Friday this week.


SUN

I’ll arise and brighten the sky.
I’ll bid the night and dark goodbye.
I’ll shine
shine
shine…
and light the way
for arrival of a brand new day.


MOON

Now that the sun has left the sky.
It’s time for ME to shine on high…
To spread my gentle pearly light
For all the creatures of the night.

***************

Penny has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Penny and Her Jots.


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7. Poetry Friday with a review of What a day it was at school!

For many children a new school year has started and they are getting used to new schedules and teachers, and making new friends. When they get home many children chatter away busily, telling their grownups about the things that they did during the day.

In today's poetry picture book you will meet a little cat who has some wonderful school stories to share with his mother when he gets home.

What a day it was at school!
What a Day It Was at School!Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Doug Cushman
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
HarperCollins, 2009, 978-0060823375
The school day is over and the little cat heads home. When he gets there, he and his mother sit at the table and the little cat has some milk and cookies. As he sips and snacks, the little cat tells his mother about his day, the details of which are all noted down in his journal. Now the journal is full of stories and commentaries that we get to read.
   In the first one we get to hear about how put upon the young cat feels because his “backpack weighs a thousand pounds.” Sometimes it is so heavy that he tips backwards and has to stop and rest by leaning against a wall. No matter how much he pleads, his teacher refuses to let him “lighten” his load.
   In another entry we hear about how the cat and his friends had a loud and rambunctious time making music together. They shook maracas, beat drums, tooted on kazoos, and played every noisy percussive instrument that they could get their paws on. They had a wonderful time, and to them the sounds they made were “so sweet.”
   The cat also tells us about a field trip that he went on the day before. This year the field trip was “really special” because they visited a factory “To watch candy being made / And saw a million lollipops / On colorful parade.” They saw so many fabulous things, and got lots of samples to try. One can only imagine what the experience was like for their teacher and for the people who worked at the factory.
  During library time the little cat read a book about knights. Having a powerful imagination he began to imagine that he was the one who was a “knight / On a powerful steed.” He would be the kind of fellow who would “conquer a dragon” and “vanquish a troll.”
   Children are going to thoroughly enjoy this collection of poems. Each poem is accompanied by amusing illustrations, and together they capture moments in a little cat’s school day, some of which are everyday sort of events, and some of which are deliciously outrageous.


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8. all the world...

...has entered my classroom in the form 16 children who are, in three cases literally, angels. (I have an Angel, an Angela, and an Angelina!)  This year, in addition to my old favorite Roxaboxen, I began the year with the picture book poem All the World by our friend Liz Garton Scanlon.  This poem (even without the Caldecott Honor illustrations by Marla Frazee) touches the sacred for me, and the way I explained it to the shiny new second-graders children sitting on my shaggy spring green carpet is that it gathers up many small, ordinary things to make us feel one big true thing.  Here's an excerpt.

All the World | Liz Garton Scanlon

Rock, stone, pebble, sand
Body, shoulder, arm, hand
A moat to dig, a shell to keep
All the world is wide and deep.

Hive, bee, wings, hum
Husk, cob, corn, yum!
Tomato blossom, fruit so red
All the world's a garden bed

Tree, branch, trunk, crown
Climbing up and sitting down
Morning sun becomes noon-blue
All the world is old and new
....
Everything you hear, smell, see
All the world is everything
Hope and peace and love and trust
All the world is all of us

**************************
After I read this, there was this long pause, and then Andy (yes, I have an Andy too), raised his hand to say, "That book almost made me cry."  There was reverence in the room.

And that, my friends, is what they are ALL like this year:  full of hope and peace and love and trust, open-hearted and ready.  It's another miracle.

Just in case someone had thought to set this beauty to music, I searched a little and found my way to this, which plays with the end of the book to fit the music but comes out pretty wonderful.



Thanks to Liz, and thanks to Penny at A Penny and Her Jots for hosting today, and thanks be to the ebb and flow of the world that every year is different!


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9. Poetry Friday: Cake and Clogyrnach

We got married in August, 1984. The heat it was hot, even for a ceremony at 8 PM. But we didn't melt, and neither did the cake:

Carrot cake, my husband's favorite


I'm sure there was a toast given, too. Which brings me to this month's poetry challenge: the clogyrnach, a traditional Welsh ode with a decreasing syllable count and a simple rhyme scheme:

8 syllables - x x x x x x x a
8 syllables - x x x x x x x a
5 syllables - x x x x b
5 syllables - x x x x b
3 syllables - x x b 
3 syllables - x x a 
(you may combine last two lines into one line)

When I did a light Googling of the form, I learned it's used at weddings and funerals (I haven't confirmed this beyond the Internets, however.) I also gleaned that you may repeat the rhyme scheme for as many stanzas as you like, creating a longer story--or perhaps, an ornate toast to a happy couple. Something sweetly humorous, perhaps dolloped with archaic language---and yet filled with well-wishes. Something a Bard (or Bardess) might compose to earn his/her supper--or a slice of cake.



A Clogyrnach to be recited before Cake

Dearly beloved, gathered here,
witness this cake, built tier by tier:
may layers of sponge
shallacked with mauve gunge
flaws expunge, and endear

bride to bridegroom; bridegroom to bride;
grant stomachs for swallowing pride
and spleens to filter
rivals’ false philter;
Ne’er jilt her—but abide;

ne’er salt his cutting grief, but fold
each into each; thus love raids old
age of bitter rhyme;
cake dissolves in time;
naught left fine; but behold:

Dearly beloved, gathered here,
witness these lives, built tear by tear:
pray layers of sponge
give strength for the plunge;
fear expunge; knots tie dear.

                       ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved, but hey, yeah, sure---I'll let you recite it at a wedding, no charge. Just email me a picture of your cake.)


My Poetry Sisters attempted the clogyrnach, too, both in short and long forms. As usual with this brave crowd, after a tad of griping and floundering, some fine poems stepped onto the page.  Here's a toast to that!
Liz
Tanita
Kelly
Laura
Andi
Tricia

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Penny at Penny and her Jots.

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10. Poetry Seven Write Clogyrnach

This month the Poetry Seven crew wrote in the form of the clogyrnach (clog-IR-nach). The clogyrnach is a Welsh poetic meter that falls under the poetic form of awdl (odes). They are composed of any number of 6-line stanzas. Each stanza has 32 syllables. The first couplet is 8 syllables with an end rhyme of aa, the second couplet is 5 syllables with an end rhyme of bb, and the final couplet is is 3 syllables with an end rhyme of ba

I had several false starts as I noodled around with this one. I'll admit I'm not a fan of this form, and I generally love form. Ultimately, it was the earthquake in Italy that I kept coming back to as a topic.

Terremoto in Amatrice

Under the olive tree we stand
among the ruins of this land
cradling hearts numb
as aftershocks come
our hearts drum
out of hand

We mourn those lost in rubble heaps
toppled homes wet by tears we weep
medieval town
broken and cast down
tarnished crown
pain so deep

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2016. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Penny Parker Klostermann. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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11. The Poetry of Summer

Every week, poets, book bloggers, librarians, and other bookworms share their original or favorite poems as part of Poetry Friday. (Learn more at Poetry Foundation.) I participate at my blog, Bildungsroman. I tend to select poems based on my mood or recent events. This month, I shared four Mary Oliver poems, including her aptly-titled piece August:

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.


What poems or poets make you think of summer? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Special thanks to my friend and fellow writer Courtney Sheinmel for introducing me to Mary Oliver's poetry a few years ago!


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12. POETRY FRIDAY: End of Summer






Well, the hot days of summer...and endless hours of freedom are coming to a close for school-aged children. On the first day of school each year, I presented my students with little booklets of end-of-summer and back-to-school poems. For this Poetry Friday, I am posting some of the poems that I included in those booklets

Here is the first stanza of Eve Merriam’s poem  Leavetaking:

Vacation is over;
It's time to depart.
I must leave behind
(Although it breaks my heart)

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


Now
by Prince Redcloud

Close the barbecue.
Close the sun.
Close the home-run games we won.
Close the picnic.
Close the pool.
Close the summer.
Open school.


Here is the last stanza of Judith Viorst’s poem Summer’s End:

And all the shiny afternoons
So full of birds and big balloons
And ice cream melting in the sun are done.
I do not want them done
.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


Here is the first stanza of Bobbi Katz’s poem September Is:

September is
when yellow pencils
in brand new eraser hats
bravely wait on perfect points–
ready to march across miles of lines
in empty notebooks–

Click here to read the rest of the poem.


From Aileen Fisher’s poem The First Day of School:

I wonder if my drawing,
will be as good as theirs.

I wonder if they'll like me,
or just be full of stares
.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

**********

My granddaughter Julia is really enjoying her summer this year. She is learning how to swim...and loves jumping into the pool! 




**********


Heidi has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.


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13. Poetry Friday: August by Mary Oliver

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

- August by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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14. Poetry Friday with a review of What’s for dinner: Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World

For most of us humans, the process of getting our food is relatively simple. We go to a shop or a market and buy what we need. For animals, this process is more complicated. Food has to look for , which can take hours or days. If the animal eats meat, a prey animal needs to be caught and killed.

In this poetry title children will find unique poems that explore what animals eat. The sometimes 'ick' worthy poems combine humor and facts to give children an entertaining and educational experience.

What's for Dinner?: Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World What’s for dinner:Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World
Katherine B. Hauth
Illustrated by David Clark
Poetry
For ages 6 to 8
Charlesbridge, 2011, 978-1-57091-472-0
Animals spend a lot of their time looking for food. After all, if they don’t forage or hunt for their meals they will “croak,” and therefore “finding food / is no joke.” Some of the things animals eat might not seem at all palatable to us, but to them they are vital, and no doubt delicious as well.
   In this book young readers will see how animals of different species are connected through their need to eat. One of things that we humans forget sometimes is that all animals are part of a food chain. Perhaps we forget because we are at the top of our chain most of the time. In the poem Food Chain, we see how a butterfly gets eaten by a lizard, which gets eaten by a garter snake, which then gets eaten by a roadrunner. Every animal has a place in a chain, and every food item that they eat has its place as well.
   We may think that animals that eat dead things are disgusting, but in fact their dining choices serve a very useful purpose for the rest of us. The vulture for example, who is “No dainty vegetarian,” loves carrion, and this is a good thing too because if they didn’t disease-ridden dead bodies would be lying all over the place.
   Nighthawks and little brown bats both love to eat insects, and they have different strategies to catch their preferred dinners. Both animals hunt at night or in the early evening and they catch their meals on the wing, swooping, and in the case of the bat scooping, the insects out of the air.
   Some animals have come up with quite complicated strategies to get their food. When it is hungry the wood turtle goes around “Stompin’ its feet / and slammin’ its shell.” All the commotion causes worms to “pop up / to see who’s jamming,’” which is when the turtle eats the worms.
   Children who have a fondness for things that some would consider unsavory are going to love this book. The interesting thing is that a great deal of information is wrapped up in these poems. For readers who would like to know more about the animals mentioned in the book, the author provides notes at the back of the book that are packed with more facts. 

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15. POETRY FRIDAY: Two Summer Poems by Lilian Moore


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This week has been free of nanny granny duties for me as my “grandgirls” are up in Maine with my daughter and son-in-law. I thought I’d post a couple of summer poems written by Lilian Moore—one of my favorite children’s poets—for them.


IF YOU CATCH A FIREFLY

If you catch a firefly
            and keep it in a jar
You may find that
            you have lost
A tiny star.

Click here to read the rest of the poem


MINE

I made a sand castle.
In rolled the sea.
            "All sand castles
            belong to me—
            to me,"
said the sea.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

I miss Julia and Allison SO much. I can't wait to see them tomorrow. Fortunately, my daughter has been sending pictures of the girls to me and "Papa."

 JULIA

 ALLISON

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Dori Reads today.


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16. Poetry Friday: Breakage by Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred -
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
      full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

- Breakage by Mary Oliver

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17. Poetry Friday: Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End? by Mary Oliver

Don't call this world adorable, or useful, that's not it.
It's frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.
The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.

- the beginning of Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End? by Mary Oliver

Read the poem in its entirety.

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18. POETRY FRIDAY: "In Summer Time" by Paul Laurence Dunbar


We have had a lovely summer up here in my neck of the woods...until now. A humid heat wave has recently hit us...and I hate that type of weather!

Today, I'm posting a poem that speaks to the joys and pleasantness of the hottest season of the year.

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IN SUMMER TIME
By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
NOTE: The following poem is in the public domain.
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When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow’rs aflush,—then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,—
To walk with Nature heart by heart,
Till wearied out at last I lie
Where some sweet stream steals singing by
A mossy bank; where violets vie
In color with the summer sky,—
Or take my rod and line and hook,
And wander to some darkling brook,
Where all day long the willows dream,
And idly droop to kiss the stream,
And there to loll from morn till night—
Unheeding nibble, run, or bite—
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
The birds’ song and the water’s drone,
The humming bee’s low monotone,
The murmur of the passing breeze,
And all the sounds akin to these,
That make a man in summer time
Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.
Joy springs all radiant in my breast;
Though pauper poor, than king more blest,
The tide beats in my soul so strong
That happiness breaks forth in song,
And rings aloud the welkin blue
With all the songs I ever knew.
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.

***************

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About Paul Laurence Dunbar
(From the Academy of American Poets)

Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition. His parents Joshua and Matilda Murphy Dunbar were freed slaves from Kentucky. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. By the age of fourteen, Dunbar had poems published in the Dayton Herald. While in high school he edited the Dayton Tattler, a short-lived black newspaper published by classmate Orville Wright.


Click here to read more about Paul Laurence Dunbar.

***************

Julianne has the Poetry Friday Roundup at To Read To Write To Be.







 

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19. Poetry Friday - Poetry Seven Write Ekphrastic Poems

This month the poetry gang wrote poems to images selected by Sara. I was thrilled with her choice, having read about this particular exhibit in the New York Times way back in November. (See the article Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery Reopens With a New Focus.) Here are a couple of photos.

Artwork © Jennifer Angus, photographs © Sara Lewis Holmes 

You can find additional photos on Jennifer Angus' site. You can also read about the ethics of working with insects. And here's one more bit ...
After spending a lot of time looking at the artwork, I couldn't get Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, out of my mind. In fact, I was so stuck on it that I've included excerpts in this poem. So, with apologies to Jennifer Angus, because I do love her wall, here is my poem.


In The Midnight Garden
“I never saw a worse paper in my life.
One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.”
It’s a wonder
this pink wall
curious and unrestrained
with its friendly swarms
whirling rosettes
starry-eyed skulls

Listen closely
you may just hear
the low hum of
their wings
the hiss of
their breathing

Stare long enough
and they’ll take on
a life of their own
crawling towards you
and taking flight
“I’m getting really fond of the room in spite of the wallpaper. Perhaps because of the wallpaper.”
It’s not psychosis that
makes me love this wall
It’s getting nose to nose
with Earth’s most repugnant
and abundant creatures
awakening a new reverence
for nature’s least loved
in all their resplendence

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2016. All rights reserved.


You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tara at A Teaching Life. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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20. Poetry Friday: WONDER

It was an Instagram darling during its run. People couldn't stop posting pictures of themselves with the re-constructed trees, walls of bugs, glass marble-encrusted waterways, index card mountains, and hobbit-ish nests that had been installed inside the newly-renovated Renwick Gallery in DC.


Me, wondering


Each artist had a whole room to work with. No other art was displayed. It was a playground for both creators and viewers alike.





No wonder the exhibit was called WONDER.  I was lucky enough to catch it before it closed in June, and shared a few photos with my Poetry Sisters to inspire our poems this month.

For my poem, I chose to be look closer at In the Midnight Garden, created by installation artist Jennifer Angus. She works entirely with bugs.



Yes, bugs. (Her fascinating website is here.)

The Renwick Gallery puts it this way: "By altering the context in which we encounter such species, Angus startles us into recognition of what has always been a part of our world."

And that is exactly what I'm interested in: that moment of being startled by art.
Because as much as I love art, I love watching people interact with art even more. I love eavesdropping on their comments and watching them tilt their heads and contort their limbs as the art invades their head space.

I mean, look at this guy...he really, really wants to take it all in, but the room is too small, and soon, he'll figure this out and walk through that next door and look back, but at the moment, he's doing what we do when we're trying to take art home in our pocket.



Okay. After I took that photo of him taking a photo, I slipped through the archway and and took these two photos, trying to take some piece of the experience home in my pocket, too.


Viewing In the Midnight Garden
by Jennifer Angus







Then I wrote a poem about them. To extend the wonder, of course.



Wonder

Are they real? a child
asks. In answer, a woman looks
through the eyes of her cell phone.


Above her, a hot but bloodless red
backs death, the pixilated-eyed
watcher over her shoulder.


What do we capture of art, to port
tidily home in our pockets? Do mandalas
like t-shirt designs, fit into our hive


of possibilities? Look! A compass
rose points the way, as bugs flock
over other bugs, posed for family portraits—


or are they circled in therapy, masticating
unhealed hurts? In an aerial photo, I’ve seen
twenty-five thousand human bodies form


a blurry-edged Liberty Bell, but these flat-backed
bugs, so perfectly symmetrical, so aptly suited
for display, with their fine-wire legs and boldly


faceted bodies, could be fastidiously sewn
to a contessa’s dress. Snap. Snap. Snap.
The woman takes pictures. The child asks


again: Are they real? Yes. They are real—-
and clean, and desiccated, repulsion
removed so we can wonder


at wonder, at a museum within
a museum, at a body of bodies,
wing to wing, our mandibles open.

----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)



NOTE:

If you're curious about that fantastic magenta color of the walls, according to the Renwick website, "The pink wash is derived from the cochineal insect living on cacti in Mexico, where it has long been prized as the best source of the color red."

And that Liberty Bell made by 25,000 human bodies? Here.


See how my Poetry Sisters wondered and wandered through the exhibit with their poems:

Liz
Tanita
Laura
Andi
Kelly
Tricia

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tara at A Teaching Life.


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21. Poetry Friday: The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

- The Journey by Mary Oliver

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22. A Sneak Peak at My First Poetry Book, THINGS TO DO!

Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail. It was an advance copy of Things to Do--my first published book! I have waited a long, long time to hold a copy of it in my hands. It was such a wonderful experience--especially because my granddaughter Julia was with me when I opened the envelope. She sat beside me while I read it to her. I also read her the dedication: For three special ladies who bring joy into my life--my daughter Sara, and her daughters Julia Anna and Allison Mary.

Here are some photos that I took of my book:







Now...I just have to wait until February 7, 2017 when my book will be released by Chronicle Books.

********************

Tara has the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Teaching Life.

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23. Poetry Friday with a review of G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet

 G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet
The opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympic Games takes place today in Rio, and so I thought it would be fitting to bring you a book that celebrates the games. In this title, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork are combined to show readers why the Olympic Games came into being and what it is like to participate in them.

G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet
Brad Herzog
Illustrated by Doug Bowles
Nonfiction and Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 11
Sleeping Bear Press, 2011, 978-1585364626
Long ago in ancient Greece, wars between the city-states were a common occurrence. The only time peace could be guaranteed was every four years, when the citizens of the city-states would lay down their arms for a month and come together to compete as athletes. The games were hosted in the town of Olympia, and the men who won the races and other events were given an olive wreath to wear.
   The modern Olympic Games came into being because Baron Pierre de Coubertin felt that the “a modern version of the Olympic Games would foster peace between nations.” Because of his efforts, there has been a summer Olympic Games every four years since 1896 except in 1916, 1940, and 1944, which were, ironically, all years when the world was being torn apart by war.
   In this fascinating fact-packed alphabet book, Brag Herzog tells us about the Olympic Games from A to Z. Beginning with Ancient Greece on the A page, he goes on to tells us about Baron Pierre de Coubertin on the B page. On the “C is for all the countries page,” we learn that in 2008 two hundred countries sent athletes to the Summer Olympics. Next is D for decathlete. On this page, we learn that for two days decathletes who up to the daunting task compete in ten events. These events include shot put, long jump, high jump, and running.
   For each of the topics explored in this book, the author gives us a poem that introduces the subject. He supplements this with a more in-depth section of text. Young children will enjoy the hearing the poems and looking at the art, while older readers will be interested in reading the longer text sections. This format makes this book suitable for readers of all ages, from age 6 and up.
   This is one of the titles in a series of alphabet books published by Sleeping Bear Press.

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24. late summer leaving

There's a gentle battle going on at our house...


I Defend a Habitually Rash Action to My Teenager


Yes, daughter, I let the cat out again.
      It’s late summer and the world is
      steaming with sunshine,
      streaming with cloud and blossom
      and voluptuous voles.

He is not wise but filled with the beastly miracle of himself,
filled with the urge to be out,
to make his foolish way.

(You know how he comes back after
two minutes or two days, stands at the threshold,
leans in, steps back, leans in,
then turns and bolts away?)

Yes, daughter, I know there are dangers
out there—sly foxes, cars that run so
      silently we don’t hear them coming,
      other cats who are not kind.

But I have no right to keep him in, happy
as he is in his carpeted climber, curled
in any of his many cozy corners, thrilled
as he is by his kibble.

He knows his instincts.

Disaster may await.  Yes, daughter,
there might be sadness.
I slide the door open, and trust.

 
©Heidi Mordhorst 2016



I can only imagine what it will be like next year, when daughter is 18...

Our Poetry Friday round-up is with Julieann at To Read To Write To Be, where her small commitment to GO AHEAD with poetry in the first days of school has inspired me!

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25. Poetry Friday with a review of Garvey's Choice

I used to consider the idea of a novel written in verse rather intimidating. How could such a thing work? Wouldn't it be hard to read? Then, some years ago I read a wonderful mid-grade novel in verse and I became a staunch fan of this storytelling form. In fact, much gleeful rubbing of hands takes place when a new novel in verse arrives at my house.

Today's poetry title is a novel in verse that moved me so much that I felt compelled to read it twice in one day. There is so much to be found in the words, and so much to consider as one comes to understand what Garvey's life has been like.

Garvey's ChoiceGarvey’s Choice
Nikki Grimes
Poetry
For ages 9 and up
Boyds Mills Press, 2016, 978-1-62979-740-3
One of Garvey’s favorite things in life is books, in particular ones that are full of science fiction stories that transport him to distant galaxies. Unfortunately, Garvey’s dad does not appreciate Garvey’s love of books. In fact he is scornful of his son’s interest in books and constantly comments that Garvey should play sports, and that he should roughhouse the way he did with his dad. Being active in this way is the “normal” thing for a boy to do. He constantly tries to turn Garvey into “someone I’m not.”
   Garvey’s father’s disdain and lack of understanding makes Garvey seek refuge in food and sweet drinks, and so he has gained weight. His father’s words cut into Harvey, and were it not for his mother, his big sister, and his best friend, Jo, Garvey would be completely alone.
   Garvey’s already difficult life gets a lot worse when he goes back to school in the fall. He is teased and bullied about his size and he takes refuge in hummed songs so that he can drown out the cutting words of his persecutors. For Garvey, his own music, or the music he hears around him, soothes and makes his inner pain less acute.
   One day Garvey asks his father about his grandfather and learns that his grandfather was a strong silent type too. It is no surprise then that Garvey’s father is not exactly chatty. He also learns that his father and grandfather connected by talking about football, and Garvey realizes that maybe this is why his father so much wants Garvey to be interested in football too.
   One day at school Jo encourages Garvey to join the chorus club. Garvey goes around humming all the time anyway so why not. In Jo’s opinion Garvey’s voice is “choice,” and he should “let others hear it.” Garvey is afraid to try chorus for a while, but finally he gets up the courage to go to a club meeting. Afraid to the bone he still manages to show the people in the club what he can do and he is accepted promptly. Suddenly Garvey’s life opens up and there is joy in it. The singing is wonderful, and he even makes a new friend, a boy called Manny who, like Garvey, has a father who disapproves of him.
   Though Garvey’s new hobby makes him happy, he refuses to tell his parents about it. What if his father disapproves? Surely it is safer not to give his father more ammunition to use against him.
   Written using a series of tankas, a Japanese poetry form, this incredible novel in verse takes us into the life of a unhappy boy who, as we ‘watch,’ finds a new interest that has a profound effect on his life. Nikki Grimes captures to perfection the way in which music can transform a person, and how it can open doors that have always been firmly closed before.
   At the back of the book the author tells us a little about tankas and how they are written.

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