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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Poetry Friday, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,827
1. Poetry Friday: A tourist (Sidewalk Poetry)

A tourist
in the cathedral
of your silence
I am reverent
for all the wrong reasons

This is one of many poems imprinted on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota:



The St. Paul project has inspired a similar Sidewalk Poetry project in Cambridge.

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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2. Poetry Friday with a review of Favorite Poems Old and New

Some children's poetry collections only really appeal, long term, to children. Some however, contain collections that adults also enjoy; they are books that can be shared and passed down from generation to generation. Today's poetry book is just such a title, and it would make a wonderful gift to a family.

Favorite Poems Old and NewFavorite Poems Old and New
Selected by Helen Ferris 
Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard 
Poetry Book
For ages 5 and up
Random House, 1957, 978-0-385-07696-8
Many years ago, when Helen Ferris and her brother Fred were little, their parents made poetry “as much a part of their children’s every day as getting up in the morning.” Helen and Fred absorbed poetry, learning many of the poems they heard by heart. Their poetry journey began with Mother Goose rhymes, and went on to include the poems of Alfred Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Shakespeare. Helen’s mother felt very strongly that even if her children “could not understand all the words,” they could still “enjoy the beautiful sound of them.” Helen and Fred and their parents moved several times, and their lives changed in many ways, but they never stopped enjoying poetry and sharing it with others.
   Out of her love of poetry grew Helen’s wish to create a book that celebrated this form of writing, that brought together the writings of many, and the favorite poems of many more. In all there are over seven hundred poems in this collection, both classic and modern. The poems are divided up into eighteen categories, making it easy for young readers to find poems that suit their interests. The topics include “My Family and I,” “It’s fun to play,” “Animals, Pets and Otherwise,” and “Almost any time is laughing time.”
   Many children will naturally gravitate to this latter section, for here they will find old favorites like The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Owl and the Pussycat. Here too is The Song of Mr. Toad, which is the song that Mr. Toad sings in The Wind in the Willows when he is feeling rather pleased with himself. Edward Lear and Ogden Nash’s nonsense poems are also here.
   Poems with a patriotic feel appear in the “Sign of my nation, great and strong,” section. Here children will find Paul Revere’s Ride,and The Gettysburg Address, along with The Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.
   This is the kind of collection that has something for everyone, no matter what the age of the reader. It is a book to grow old with, and a book to pass on to the next generation so that they too might grow up with a love of poetry, just as Helen Ferris did.


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3. Poetry Friday - Rock Me To Sleep

To say I'm exhausted is putting it mildly. Work is overwhelming at the moment, but I know all this will pass and the semester will end far too soon. Before I know it I will be bemoaning the dearth of students on campus.

While I work to catch up, I will dream of sleep. Those dreams and a strong desire to see my mother have brought me to this poem today.

Rock Me to Sleep
by Elizabeth Akers Allen

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—    
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,—    
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,—  
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,—  
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;—  
Rock me to sleep, mother – rock me to sleep!

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 Jone of Check It Out. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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4. What Would We Do Without Libraries?


Today, I continue our Teaching Authors series on libraries: how we use them, why we love them, and what we love about them.

Whenever I hear about a book I want to read—on a listserv, on the radio, in a conversation—I search the library catalog online. I can reserve books from anywhere in our county library system and pick them up from my local branch. For research, it’s priceless. I've even emailed articles to myself. Wonderful resources! And free!

Our library offers an amazing array of services from read-aloud programs for little ones to candidate forums for voters to book deliveries for shut-ins. Miss Heide, the children’s librarian, raises monarch butterflies every summer for visitors to watch.

I stopped in yesterday to drop off books I had read, pick up books I had requested, browse a bit, and take a few pictures for this post. Alas, although I can see the photos on the camera, my laptop will not read the disk.

Don’t we love technology?

Only when it works. I’ll leave you instead with some lovely spring flowers, photographed with my phone.

You’ll have to imagine the community bulletin board, the student art on display, the helpful staff. Imagine Miss Heide herding a flock of chirpy kids through the picture book area. Imagine two rambunctious boys rifling through a pile of books on a little black cart. They inspired this poem.

Little Black Cart 
Are you done with your books?
Please don’t put them back.
Shelving is tricky,
and we have the knack. 
Whatever you’ve finished—
The Farm Almanac,
Training Your Yak,
Baking a Snack,
Riding Horseback,
Ducklings that Quack,
Your Zodiac,
How to Kayak,
Programming a Mac
belongs in this stack. 
If you’re not checking out
that collection of art,
decided against
the novella with heart,
don’t need the recipe
for strawberry tart,
leave your books here
on the little black cart.

Not sure what your library has to offer? Check out the web site. Better yet, stop in and visit!

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is at Reading to the Core. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken

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5. Poetry Friday -- Hatch


Wikimedia

SACRIFICE

How does
the buzzing
hummingbird
sit still enough to hatch

the two
(not three)
(size of a pea)
eggs that are in her batch?


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015




Happy Spring!

This poem is my fifteenth (!!) in Heidi's MarCH CHallenge. You can browse through all my CH poems here.

If you're curious, the list of emotion words for my Poetry Month 2015 project PO-EMotions is here. Formal unveiling ceremony will be next week.

Catherine is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Reading to the Core.


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6. Poetry Friday with a review of The Popcorn Astronauts and other Biteable Rhymes

We humans invest a great deal in the food that we eat. We enjoy trying cuisines from around the world, spend hours cooking meals, and love going out to eat in restaurants and diners. Food is often at the center of our holidays and celebrations. In today's poetry title you will find poems that are deliciously "Biteable," and that celebrate food in many creative ways.

The Popcorn Astronauts and other Biteable Rhymes
Deborah Ruddell
The Popcorn Astronauts and other Biteable RhymesIllustrated By Joan Rankin
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2015, 978-1-4424-6555-8
As spring shifts into summer, summer into fall and so on, we do, of course notice the changes in temperature and weather. We notice the changes in the flora and fauna around us, and enjoy the celebrations that come around as the year progresses. There is another thing that changes with the seasons, if we are lucky: our food. There are certain fruits, vegetables, and dishes that we look forward to all year because they taste best when they are enjoyed at a certain time of year.
   In this rip-roaring poetical celebration of food, the author takes us through the seasons, and throughout the book we encounter wonderfully delicious foodie poems. For example, in spring we meet the strawberry queen in a poem of that name. We are told that we will “know her the minute she enters the room / by the first little whiff of her springtime perfume.”
   Summer is when, if we are ants and we are lucky, we encounter a “Watermelon Lake!” We are invited to “jump right in” to enjoy this seasonal treat. The cool, sweet, pinkness is fantastic of course, but there are also “small black boats for summer fun” all over the watermelon lake to play on. Summer is also the time when, should you feel so inclined, you can make raisins. Fear not, for the recipe for making raisins can be found in this book. All you have to do is to hang grapes out to dry and leave them there until they look like “wrinkled rubber rocks” and have the taste of “well-worn pirate socks.”
   Some of the poems talk about food items, such as brownies, apples, toast, and peaches. Others tell funny food-centric stories that will delight and amuse young readers. All the poems are accompanied by Joan Rankin’s amusing and expressive illustrations, which perfectly capture the delightful goofiness of Deborah Ruddell’s poetry creations.


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7. Poetry Friday - Two For the Madness

For those of you not following Ed DeCaria's March Madness Poetry, you've missed some terrific poems by a number of Poetry Friday regulars. Today I'm sharing some thoughts on my process and the two poems I wrote before bowing out (rather ungracefully). 

If you don't know the particulars, each participant is given a word that must be used in a poem. In the early rounds, poems must be 8 lines or less. A participant's "seed" number indicates the difficulty of their words. I was a number 12 seed.

Round 1 - incalculable 
Given the "big" words in this one, I like to call it my SAT prep poem. If I'd had my wits about me when I wrote it, I would have dipped into the Princess Bride well and used the word inconceivable instead of unfathomable. I also wanted "life without chocolate," but darn chocolaty goodness had too many syllables! 

Mysteries of the Universe

We ask question upon question, curiosity untamed
Find answers steeped in numbers, though some cannot be named
     Digits of Pi? - Innumerable
     Number of stars? - Incalculable
     Distance to you? - Immeasurable
     Life without love? - Unfathomable
Indeterminate mathematics, from matters most humane


Round 2 - machinations
When I got the word machinations, I immediately thought of fairy tales. I began writing about the evil queen in Snow White. Here are the lines I wrote and then tossed.

Her royal highness sat in jail
facing trumped up allegations
Poisoned apple, girl gone pale
what could be her motivation?

When I couldn't make this work I decided to try writing an ottava rima. Ottava rima is an Italian form that consists of an eight line stanza with the rhyme scheme abababcc. In English these lines are usually written in iambic pentameter. Once I chose a form, I changed my focus to the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel. I wanted to give her a name, but that presented a problem. In some forms of the tale she is called the Gingerbread witch, but in others she is unnamed. In the German opera she's named Rosina. Neither of these names worked with the rhyme and meter of the poem, so I randomly chose Helga.

Before Hansel and Gretel

With skill and care she built a house to eat
deftly made with saccharine temptations
Deep in the woods where people rarely meet
the townsfolk questioned Helga’s motivations
Why build a home far from the county seat?
Unless your heart hides evil machinations
But Helga built a house with kid appeal  
the perfect trap for catching every meal

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.


I'm pretty happy with my efforts given the time constraints and imposed words. Regardless of the outcome, it was fun and I enjoyed the challenge.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Catherine of Reading to the Core. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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8. Poetry Friday with a review of Animal Crackers: A Delectable Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Lullabies for the Very Young


Finding ways to present old material in a fresh new way is something that some children's book authors and illustrators do very well. Jane Dyer is just such a person. In today's poetry title she brings together wonderful nursery rhymes and other poems for little children and pairs them with her own lovely artwork to give us a book that will delight the young and old alike.

Animal Crackers: A Delectable Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Lullabies for the Very Young 
Jane Dyer
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 3 to 5
Little Brown, 1996, 978-0316197663
Animal Crackers: A Delectable Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Lullabies for tMany little children are captivated by the rhythms and rhymes in poetry, which is why so many nursery rhymes and other little sing-song poems have been written for them. Often they learn their letters using a poem, and their numbers and colors as well. They learn little stories for the first time, and connect with characters such as Humpty Dumpty, Peter Piper and Little Jack Horner. They learn to empathize with the characters who have a hard time, and laugh at the silly situations that they get into.
   In this charming picture book Jane Dyer pairs her warm, beautiful and often cozy paintings with some of the world’s most popular poetry for little children. There are poems for the nursery and the playroom, for bedtime and naptime, and for sick days and rainy days. The poems are divided into seven sections, and we begin with learning poems, such as One, Two Buckle my Shoe and A Apple Pie.
  Then we move onto poems about the seasons. The poem The Months of the Year takes us through the year with a series of rhyming stanzas, each one of which is paired with delightful little illustrations that capture the essence of that month. For example, we read about June, which “bring tulips, lilies and roses / Fills the children’s hands with posies,” and there, next to these two lines, is an illustration of three children, whose arms are overflowing with bouquets of flowers.
   The third section looks at food and drink, and here we find old favorites such as Hot Cross Buns, Pease Porrige Hot, and Polly Put the Kettle On, which many children like to sing together accompanied by the clapping of hands.
   We then go on to poems about animals, nursery rhymes, playtime, and finally wrap up with “Lullaby and Good Night” poems, all of which are perfect to share with a small tired child at the end of a day.

  


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9. Poetry Friday -- Announcing My Poetry Month Project!



SKEPTIC

Head tilted,
one eyebrow arched,
lips pinched:

Are you sure?
Seven days a week?
Really?


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015



That skeptic lives inside my head, but I'm going to ignore her. 

Will writing a poem a day that either uses an emotion word or evokes that emotion be any harder than writing a poem a day about obscure wonders of the world

("Um...yes," says my skeptic in my ear.)

Sorry, skeptic. We're doing this. And any of YOU who want to come along for the ride are invited to join us for an April that will LITERALLY be an emotional roller coaster!

I've created a list of 30 emotions that various researchers have identified, using this resource.  I'll publish the list next week. I made my graphic for this year using a public domain, no-attribution-necessary image and the graphic design site Canva

My poem today is for Heidi's MarCH CHallenge.

Last, but not least, Laura (who coincidentally shares a perfect PO-EMotion for today) has the Poetry Friday roundup at Author Amok.



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10. Poetry Friday: Pick Offs by Carl Sandburg

The telescope picks off star dust
on the clean steel sky and sends it to me.

The telephone picks off my voice and
sends it cross country a thousand miles.

- from the poem Pick Offs by Carl Sandburg

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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11. Poetry Friday: A Good Boy by Robert Louis Stevenson

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

- A Good Boy by Robert Louis Stevenson

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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12. Poetry Friday with a review of Noisy Poems

Children love noise words and noise sounds because they are funny. For today's poetry title I have a book that is jam packed with noise words. It is the kind of book that children find amusing, and they will love having the poems read to them again and again.

Noisy Poems for a busy Day
Noisy Poems for a busy DayRobert Heidbreder
Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Kids Can Press, 2012, 978-1-55453-706-8
   The sun is rising and it is time to get up. With a “Riffle-rustle” a little boy jumps out of bed, his feet making a “down-pound” sound as they hit the wooden floor. Another day has “rolled around” and there are so many things to do.
  In this sounds-filled book of poetry we join some children as they make their way through the day from sunrise to sunset. Every page gives young readers little poems that are full of sounds and onomatopoeic words, many of which children will love. For example, in the second poem, Off to Breakfast, we encounter “sloppy slurp” and “Big Belch – BURP!” Later in the morning it is time to get dressed and we see a little boy “Twisty-Twiggle / Jump-up jiggle” as he gets his clothes on.
   After getting dressed we venture outside where we play in the grass, get kissed by a dog, do somersaults, look at the clouds, and enjoy doing the kinds of things that children love to do. By the time we are ready to go back indoors we are filthy and need to “Twisty-twiggle” into clean clothes again.
   Throughout this book the poems are accompanied by amusing illustrations that perfectly capture the ebullience of children as they make their way through the day having fun, playing, quarreling, and finally, resting.

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13. Heidi's MarCH CHallenge


Flickr Creative Commons photo by L Church


What to do if You Are a Retriever


Freeze until the command is given.
Explode from the down-stay.
Tear across the lawn at lightning speed.
Catch the frisbee, mid-air.
Hustle back, tail high, ready for more.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015



I am participating in Heidi's MarCH CHallenge at My Juicy Little Universe. Here are my poems for the rest of this week's words:

March

Stretch

Twitch

Punch


Robyn Campbell has the Poetry Friday roundup this week.



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14. Poetry Friday: Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

When twilight flutters the mountains over,
The faery lights from the earth unfold:
And over the caves enchanted hover
The giant heroes and gods of old.
The bird of æther its flaming pinions
Waves over earth the whole night long:
The stars drop down in their blue dominions
To hymn together their choral song.
The child of earth in his heart grows burning,
Mad for the night and the deep unknown;
His alien flame in a dream returning
Seats itself on the ancient throne.
When twilight over the mountains fluttered,
And night with its starry millions came,
I too had dreams: the songs I have uttered
Come from this heart that was touched by the flame.

- Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

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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15. Facts + Poetry = Creative Nonfiction

In this series of Teaching Author posts, we’re discussing the areas of overlap between fiction and nonfiction. Today, I’m thinking about creative nonfiction.

What is Creative Nonfiction? According to Lee Gutkind (known as the “Father of Creative Nonfiction”), “The words ‘creative’ and ‘nonfiction’ describe the form. The word ‘creative’ refers to the use of literary craft, the techniques fiction writers, playwrights, and poets employ to present nonfiction—factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read like fiction so that your readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy.”

One critical point about writing creative nonfiction is that creativity does not apply to the facts. Authors cannot invent dialog, combine characters, fiddle with time lines, or in any other way divert from the truth and still call it nonfiction. The creative part applies only to the way factual information is presented.

One way to present nonfiction in a compelling, vivid manner is to take advantage of the techniques of poetry. When I wrote the nonfiction picture book Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move (gorgeously illustrated by Pam Paparone), I made a conscious effort to use imagery, alliteration, repetition, and onomatopoeia while explaining how seeds get around. When she called with the good news, the editor called it a perfect blend of nonfiction and poetry. Yippee, right?

Fiona Bayrock’s “Eleven Tips for Writing Successful Nonfiction for Kids” lists more helpful and age-appropriate methods for grabbing kids’ attention, starting with “Tap into your Ew!, Phew!, and Cool!”

Marcie Flinchum Atkins has compiled a helpful list of ten Nonfiction Poetic Picture Books. She points out that these excellent books (including some by Teaching Authors friends April Pulley Sayre, Laura Purdie Salas, and Lola Schaefer) can be used in classrooms to teach good writing skills. We can all learn from such wonderful examples!

Heidi Mordhorst has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken

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16. Poetry Friday with a review of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children


I have always loved poetry anthologies, and the one I have reviewed for this poetry Friday is a wonderful collection of poems that children will be drawn to.

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
Selected by Jack Prelutsky
The Random House Book of Poetry for ChildrenIllustrated by Arnold Lobel
Poetry Book
For ages 6 to 9
Random House, 1983, 978-0394850108
Some people call anthologies treasuries, which is an excellent name to use for books that are full of written treasures. This book is indeed a treasury, packed with no less than five hundred and seventy-two poetry treasures, each one of which is unique and special. The poems are categorized into fourteen sections, so that children can find poems that suit their mood. These categories include “The Four Seasons,” “The Ways of Living Things,” “Nonsense! Nonsense!” and “Where Goblins Dwell.”
   Each section is introduced by a poem written by Jack Prelutsky, a poet who is also the person who selected the poems that are included in this collection. Jack Prelutsky has visited schools and libraries for years and he has noticed that though little children have a natural affinity for poetry and love their nursery rhymes, older children seem to “find poetry boring and irrelevant.”
   Jack Prelutsky has worked hard to figure out which kinds of poems appeal to this more critical audience, and he has determined that poems that amuse or surprise, those that “paint pictures” and that “reawaken pleasure in the sounds and meanings of language,” are the ones that these children tend to like. Armed with this knowledge, Jack Prelutsky set about putting together this collection, which he feels best suits elementary school children. He focused on poems that are relevant today, which means that long narrative or “inspirational” poems that appealed to audiences in the past were not included.
   The collection begins with poems about nature, and here we find poems of all kinds that capture the beauty found in nature. Some of them are gently humorous, while others have a more serious, contemplative feel. There are poems about plants and trees, the wind, rivers and the sea, snow and rain, and those that look at the night, the moon and the stars.  The transition from subject to subject is smooth and has a flow all of its own.
   In “The Four Seasons” we journey through the year looking at the months, holidays, and the weather as the year unfolds. We experience the joys of each season, and appreciate that each one has something special to offer.
   Furry animals come next in “Dogs and cats and bears and bats.” Here we meet creatures great and small. Bears, mice, foxes, elephants, seals, and pigs all appear on these pages, and children will encounter story poems, descriptive poems and so much more. Insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds follow in “The ways of living things.”
   The poets whose creations appear on these pages are both modern poets and poets whose work was written many years ago. For example, Lewis Carroll’s poetry rubs shoulders with verse written by Bobbi Katz. Many familiar names appear, names such as Roald Dahl, Edward Lear, Shel Silverstein, Jane Yolen and Russell Hoban, among others.
   On every page, illustrations break up the columns of text to give the eye something new to look at, and the pictures beautiful complement the poems.


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17. Poetry Friday -- Beastly Verse



Beastly Verse
poems by various authors
illustrations by JooHee Yoon
Enchanted Lion Books, 2015
review copy provided by the publisher

Along with 9 lesser known (to me) or anonymous poets, Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, Wiliam Blake, Hilaire Belloc, Christina Rossetti, D.H. Lawrence, and Walter de la Mare all have poems in this vibrantly illustrated collection of beastly verse.

JooHee Yoon used hand drawing and computer techniques and just three Pantone colors for the illustrations, and each page dances and vibrates with color and creativity. Every four or five pages there is a fun gatefold to open up that completes an illustration, or holds a surprise for the reader.

The spread for Eletelephony has a gatefold with a surprise. Before you open the gatefold, you see a living room scene with a telephone ringing. When you open the gatefold, the elephant has attempted to answer the telephone and is completely tangled in the cord!


Eletelephony
by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant, 
Who tried to use the telephant— 
No! No! I mean an elephant 
Who tried to use the telephone— 
(Dear me! I am not certain quite 
That even now I’ve got it right.) 
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk 
Entangled in the telephunk; 
The more he tried to get it free, 
The louder buzzed the telephone— 
(I fear I’d better drop the song 
Of elephop and telephony!)


Heidi has the roundup today at My Juicy Little Universe.





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18. Poetry Friday - A Miracle for Breakfast

Next week the Poetry Seven will share the sestinas we have been working on. This is a tough, tough form. While writing, I looked for good examples for inspiration. The poem A Miracle for Breakfast by Elizabeth Bishop is probably my favorite. In the video below you can hear it read and reflect along with Michael Joyce, Professor of English at Vassar, on the poem's meaning.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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19. Poetry Friday: When I go to orchestra rehearsals by Barbara Newhall Follett

When I go to orchestra rehearsals,
there are often several passages for the
Triangle and Tambourine together.
When they are together,
they sound like a big piece of metal
that has broken in thousandths
and is falling to the ground.

- Barbara Newhall Follett

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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20. Poetry Friday - Birthday Lights

On Monday my son will celebrate his 14th birthday. Please allow me to indulge for a moment and show you how much he's grown, while I have a good cry over how fast these years have flown by.

1st Birthday

4th Birthday

13th Birthday

Monday is also my brother's birthday, but I don't think he'd appreciate me broadcasting his age. Suffice it to say he's my BIG brother. Here's a photo of the two of us on one of his birthday celebrations many moons ago. He's all about the cake while I'm mugging for the camera.

Today I'm sharing early birthday wishes, love, and a silly poem in their honor.

Birthday Lights
by Calef Brown

Light bulbs on a birthday cake.
What a difference that would make!
     Plug it in and make a wish,
     then relax and flip a switch!
No more smoke
      or waxy mess
      to bother any birthday guests.

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 Cathy at Merely Day By Day. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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21. Poetry Friday with a review of City Beats: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem

A lot of people don't like pigeons, but I have to admit that I rather admire them. They thrive, even in places where the odds are against them and where so many people dislike them. Today's poetry picture book is a wonderful bouncy celebration of pigeons and their world.

City Beats: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon PoemCity Beats: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem
S. Kelly Rammell
Illustrator:  Jeanette Canyon
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Dawn Publications, 2006, 978-1584690771
If you have ever lived or stayed in a city you will know that there are often pigeons flying about in-between the tall buildings. You might see them roosting on a window sill or eating crumbs on a sidewalk. They are a part of city life and we are going to spend a day with them; we are going to explore their city world and see what the city looks, sounds, and smells like as they experience it.
   Down on the ground pigeons see a forest of legs and all kinds of different shoes walk by as they nibble on stale doughnuts. Up above, from the air, they see trains rush past, trucks rumble across bridges, and great machines raise buildings from the ground in a cacophony of sound and steel.
   They smell all the treats that street vendors sell: popcorn, ice cream, pizza and hot dogs. They find the parks and the gardens where flowers bloom and bees hum. They even hear the strains of music floating up from the streets, music halls, and clubs.
   In this unique book, children will be able to experience the rhythms, sounds, sights, and smells that fill the streets of cities all over the world. A rhyming text flows from page to page, the words packed with noises and images that almost seem to dance with vitality.
   With her extraordinary three dimensional polymer pictures Jeanette Canyon has created art which perfectly compliments the text. Vibrant colors and extraordinary details make this a book which readers will look at again and again

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22. An Invitation for Poetry Friday

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YOU ARE INVITED
to the launch of my first-ever chapbook,
THE UNIVERSE COMES KNOCKING: poems
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

When? One month from today, on March 13th at 7:00 p.m.
Where? In Mount Holly, NJ, at the Daily Grind, located at 48 High Street.
Cost of admission? Free. Plus I'll be reading, and there will be an open reading afterwards.
Cost of chapbook if you're so inclined? Probably $6.00 or so.

I sure hope you will come. Or send someone you know.

Especially since my sweetheart just got scheduled for dental surgery that morning and will likely be unable to attend, and I really, truly don't want to be all by myself in a coffee shop for the launch of my first-ever chapbook (a small paperback collection of poems, which may or may not be sold by peddlers, but is indeed published by a local small press called Maverick Duck Press).

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23. "Just the Facts, M'am"--fiction vs non-fiction on Poetry Friday

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Howdy, Campers, and Happy Poetry Friday! (the link to this week's PF host is below.)

First: welcome, welcome to our newest TeachingAuthor, Carla!  I am in awe of your writer's journey, Carla, because when I learned that we would be discussing non-fiction, my legs trembled and my palms grew cold and damp.  Unlike you and Mary Ann, in her wonderful first salvo on this topic, I am not, by nature, a researcher.  I am NOT a "Just the facts, M'am."

Jack Webb as Joe Friday in Dragnet, from Wikipedia

But... is this really true?

Well...I DO tell my students that real details bring fiction to life, and have them listen to the following short audioclip from StoryCorps.  Talk about bringing a subject to life! The details Laura Greenberg shares with her daughter are priceless--not to mention hilarious.

Still, I struggled to write poems for The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (Pomelo Books).  By "struggled" I mean I read science articles and wrote tons of stinky poems about rocks, astronauts, materials science, the expiration dates on seed packages,electricity, science experiments...and on and on and on.

But...I dread gettting facts wrong--my worst nightmare. (Confession: writing these blog posts scares the bejeebers out of me.)

In fiction, I can fly my fairy-self to Planet Bodiddley and make up all the materials science by myself.  But if I have to convey facts?  And then somehow bake them into a tasty poetry pie?  I get tied up in knots.  My writing becomes stiff as a board.  I'm afraid of...

But finally I stumbled on this fascinating fact, in a review of The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman:"The water coming out of your kitchen tap is four billion years old and might well have been sipped by a Tyrannosaurus rex."

Wow. Think of the water you drink.  Think of the water you take a BATH in!!!! Ten versions of "Space Bathtub" later (with considerable coaching from the ever-patient anthologists, Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell) this fact became a poem for kindergartners:

OLD WATER
by April Halprin Wayland

I am having a soak in the tub.
Mom is giving my neck a strong scrub.

Water sloshes against the sides.
H2O's seeping into my eyes.

The wet stuff running down my face?
She says it came from outer space!

The water washing between my toes
was born a billion years ago.

from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science
(c) 2014 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved

If you're a K-5th grade teacher, this book is so immediately useful, you'll cry with relief when you open it. Trust me. For details, and to watch under-two minute videos of poets (Bobbi Katz, Kristy Dempsey, Mary Lee Hahn, Susan Blackaby, Buffy Silverman, Linda Sue Park and me) reciting our science poems from this anthology, go to Renee LaTulippe's No Water River.  Again, trust me. (A little foreshadowing: Pomelo Books' newest anthology, Celebrations! comes just in time for Poetry Month this year--stay tuned!)

Here's a terrific vimeo of "Old Water" produced by Christopher Alello:


And thank you, Linda Baie, fabulous friend of TeachingAuthors, for hosting Poetry Friday today!

posted safely and scientifically by April Halprin Wayland wearing safety goggles

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24. Poetry Friday -- Sky Poem




Poem for the Golden Sky I See Outlining a Web of Winter-Bare Trees and Contrasting the Blue-White Snow-Topped Roofs When I Open My Eyes All Warm and Drowsy After a Nap on a Day Proclaimed to be Too Cold to go to School

I love you.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015



Linda has the Poetry Friday roundup at TeacherDance this week.




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25. Poetry Friday: The farthest thunder that I heard by Emily Dickinson

The farthest thunder that I heard
Was nearer than the sky,
And rumbles still, though torrid noons
Have lain their missiles by.
The lightning that preceded it
Struck no one but myself,
But I would not exchange the bolt
For all the rest of life.
Indebtedness to oxygen
The chemist may repay,
But not the obligation
To electricity.
It founds the homes and decks the days,
And every clamor bright
Is but the gleam concomitant
Of that waylaying light.
The thought is quiet as a flake,-
A crash without a sound;
How life’s reverberation
Its explanation found!

- Emily Dickinson

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