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Thursday, 21 January 2021

Poetry Friday is here this week, my friends. Welcome!

Scroll down to the bottom of this post and Mr. Linky will help you join the round-up of poetry links.

It is Inauguration Week.

As poets, we paid special attention to 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, our country’s first Youth Poet Laureate and youngest person ever to write and recite an inaugural poem.

According to Business Insider, Gorman’s poem, ” The Hill We Climb,” referenced several American poets and leaders, from George Washington and Frederick Douglass to Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. (Read the article here.)

I’ve been thinking about her phrase, “battered and beautiful,” from this section of the poem…

“We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful…”
(from “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman).

Full text of poem from CNN.

To me, “battered and beautiful” speaks not only to our nation, but also to what it means to be alive, to live in a physical body. It reminds me of the pain of childbirth, of illness, of broken bones, and teenage break-outs. It reminds me of the beauty of taking a full breath, of experiencing the world through our five senses, of the joy we feel when we hug someone we love.

Next month marks the 9th annual February Poetry Project. It’s hard to believe that I started this tradition — generating a daily poem on a set theme — back in 2013! Each year, 30-40 poets join me in a private Facebook group where we write on a common prompt each day. The group is a safe space to share our stumbling, glorious, silly, insightful, heart-centered first drafts with each other.

Did you guess this year’s theme?

It’s BODIES.

There are a few spaces left in the group. Let me know in the comments if you would like to join. If you’re not on Facebook, or if you’re feeling shy, I’m trying something new this year. I hope to share most of the daily poetry prompts (written by members of the group) right here on my blog!

If you need a little bit more information about the project, here is an overview from 2018.

Before we get to the links: The two winners of the Bay to Ocean anthology are Michelle Kogan and Mary Lee Hahn. Congratulations to you both! I’ll send you an email soon about mailing out your book.

Do you need some additional Amanda Gorman resources to share with students?

“5 More Amanda Gorman Poems to Share with Your Kids” (Today Show)

Poet Jane Hirschfield on Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem.

I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts.


82 responses to “Poetry Friday: Battered and Beautiful”

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Hi Laura, thanks for hosting this week. I’m excited to plunge into this year’s February theme. I will be sharing Amanda Gorman with my students tomorrow. I know that they will love her — if they don’t already.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I’m looking forward to hearing from educators about discussing this poem with students. What an amazing moment for young people — and young people of color — in our country.

  2. Well my goodness, how exciting to receive this fabulous new anthology, thanks Laura!
    Isn’t Amanda Gorman a fireball of fantastic poetry–I’m so taken with her–my post is mostly about her this week. Thanks for the extra link. …And I’m very much looking forward to your February Poetry Project, and where “BODIES” will take us… Thanks for this energy packed post and for hosting!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Michelle! I’m excited about this February’s prompt. I know the poems are going to be fascinating — they always are.

  3. jama says:

    Amanda Gorman was amazing and I’m anxious to read more of her poetry. Also looking forward to the release of her picture book in September. It was so good to have poetry included in the inauguration. Enjoy your February poetry project and thanks for hosting this week!

  4. Sally Murphy says:

    Happy days. I am far away in Australia, but must confess to getting teary watching coverage of the Inauguration, and seeing Amanda perform. Stunning!
    Thanks for hosting this week.

  5. Thank you for hosting, Dear Laura, and for all these links! I look forward to exploring. Amanda Gorman was simply dazzling, and her words just what we need in these days. Big, virtual hugs from here! (& thanks, Sally, for keeping an eye on us from afar!)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Robyn. In reading that Business Insider article, I appreciate the work — the study — that Amanda Gorman put into the text of the poem, but also into her performance. She honored many of the shoulders that she stands on.

  6. Tabatha says:

    9 years!! Congrats!! “Bodies” is a great topic. Thanks for hosting us! xo

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Tabatha. The best thing I did was change the project from my own daily practice to a community write-in. I look forward to writing with every one each February.

  7. Thanks for hosting! I posted This Most Perfect Hill by Lisa Jarnot at my blog: https://slayground.livejournal.com/915299.html

  8. Thanks for hosting! Amanda Gorman is fantastic!

  9. I thought Amanda did a tremendous job of not only saying what needed to be said, but doing it such a way that she reached across decades – with a style that combined classic free verse elements with a more contempoary, hip hop sort of tone. Very intuitive, very relatable, very important.

    Thanks for hosting! I wish I could do your Project this year, but with new releases needed marketing, otehr books that are working their way through the publishing process, and trying to home-school two kids…there just isn’t enough time in the day!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks for updating us on all you have going on, Matt. I’m happy to host and look forward to sharing this year’s prompts more widely.

  10. I hope Amanda Gorman is ready for the profound change her performance yesterday will have on her life! It will never be the same—she is carrying the hope, and pride of the nation on those skinny black girl shoulders. Thanks for hosting this week, Laura. Your February project sounds as interesting as ever.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Michelle. Gorman seems like a very capable, focused young person and poet. I’m excited to see what she does next!

  11. Linda Baie says:

    Hi Laura, what a special week to host! Thank you for sharing the amazing Amanda Gorman and her words. Among the many times I cried, hers brought more. I watched it over and over through the day! I can’t believe it’s the 9th birthday poem project. Wow. I still have all my files, bringing me some good memories! Happy days ahead, I hope!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Yes, Linda. It is special for our PF community to see a wide audience read, listen to, and appreciate Gorman’s poem and performance. I have my previous years’ poems too and have even polished a few of them!

  12. […] today’s complete poetry Friday roundup, head over to Laura Shovan’s blog where she is celebrating Amanda Gorman’s incredible inauguration […]

  13. Ruth says:

    Thank you for hosting today! Your post is beautiful. I posted about Amanda Gorman too. I haven’t looked yet but I’m betting it’s a pretty Gormanesque day on Poetry Friday!

    I’d really like to sign up for your group, but I know I would be taking on too much with what I’m already doing. It sounds wonderful, though!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Ruth. It’s not every day that poetry captures the nation’s imagination like this! I understand — no pressure to participate, but we’d love to have you give it a try another year.

  14. Great minds think alike, Laura! I, too, was inspire by Ms Gorman’s words and my post today reflects that. I’d love to participate in your project, but I can’t join the FB group. Is there anything special I’d need to do to follow along on your blog? Thanks for hosting! 🙂

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Bridget. Nothing special! You may want to subscribe to my blog so you get alerts when I post the prompts, but if you stop back on Poetry Fridays in February, I’ll make sure to have links to all of the writing prompts.

  15. Yvona Fast says:

    Hello Laura,
    Thank your for hosting – and for all the links to poems by this new and forthcoming poet, Amanda Gorman! Wow. I loved her poem and am looking forward to reading more of her poems – thank you for the links! I’m interested in the February poetry project about bodies.

  16. Tim Gels says:

    Laura, thank you for hosting today, and thank you for the Amanda Gorman links. I’ve seen some material on her work, and look forward to checking these out later today.

  17. Like you and everyone here, I was so inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem. It’s so multi-faceted, I could create a whole teaching unit on that one poem. I did share her work with two of my gifted girls of color, and their responses are on my blog.
    I am looking forward to February’s writing. I know I will be challenged by it, but I’m hopeful that I can meet that challenge. Some days there are many things getting in the way of my creativity. Thanks for hosting!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I’ve already seen lesson plans on the poem pop up online. I’m looking forward to reading your students’ responses.

  18. Rose Cappelli says:

    Thanks for all the resources and thoughts, Laura. Amanda’s words are so moving. I was inspired by her for Poetry Friday today as well. Thanks also for hosting.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Rose. It seems like we have an unplanned celebration of Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem across Poetry Friday today. Thanks for being part of it.

  19. Kay Jernigan McGriff says:

    Thank you for hosting, Laura, and for sharing more about Amanda Gorman. Isn’t she fantastic? I’m looking forward to next month, though I suspect this theme is going to be challenging for me

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Faye. I’m looking forward to seeing how people stretch into the theme. I hope we have some funny prompts along with the serious ones.

  20. […] has the poetry roundup today here where you can learn more about Amanda Gorman and read more wonderful […]

  21. Irene Latham says:

    Dear Laura, what a gift you’ve given poets these many years…BODIES will be a rich playground for sure. xo

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Irene! Bodies are the seat of our senses, our emotions, our ability to move — yes, we’ll have a lot to play with.

  22. Laura, I’m also sharing Amanda Gorman today and, like you, I loved the words “battered and beautiful.”

    I also love the way it fits with the upcoming theme for your February poetry project. Life has been too crazy for me to commit to daily *anything* right now, but if you end up putting the prompts on your blog, I know I’ll be stopping in as much as I can. 🙂

    Thanks for hosting today!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Karen. Please do stop back as I share the prompts. The members of the group always rise to the challenge of creating fantastic, thought-provoking writing prompts within the month’s theme.

  23. […] Thank you, Laura Shovan, for hosting Poetry Friday today Here. […]

  24. America is battered and beautiful, and I’ve never realized it more than I do now. Laura, please include me in the progressive poem! Thank you for continuing the tradition.

  25. Hi, Laura, and thanks for hosting! I share your enthusiasm for Amanda Gorman and her Inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb!” That’s the subject of my post, too! I love your focus on the “battered and beautiful” body image in her poem. So powerful and personal!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Sylvia. Thinking about the “bodies” theme pushed me to connect the way that history — national and personal — is a balance of challenges and joys, leaving us “battered and beautiful” as a community and as individuals.

  26. Hi Laura, Thank you for hosting this week! I think it is so important for young people to have a poet role model. They (we) have one in Amanda Gorman. I think she’ll re-introduce the power of poetry to millions who forgot how motivating and inspiring it can be!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Carol. I loved the way that her performance included elements of spoken word poetry, which is how so many young people first connect with poems.

  27. Strange happenings! My response did not appear. Many thanks to you for hosting and focusing on the amazing Amanda Gorman. Her poem is magnificent and her delivery was inspirational. She has the strength of voice, the delivery that is compelling, and wisdom beyond her age. She is one to watch for the coming years. I also thank you for the resources. I shared a celebratory post on the inauguration that also captures verses from The Hill We Climb. Thank you for the resources that I will add for teachers. Definitely count me in for your February Poem a Day Challenge. Bodies-interesting!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Carol. Oh, no! I do see this comment, so you’re okay now. I’ve added you to the February group. So glad you’ll be participating again.

  28. Fran Haley says:

    Laura – first I want to thank you for hosting today. Next I want to thank you for your loving and intuitive spirit. “Battered and Beautiful” seems exactly the frame for writing today…and for moving forward in relationships, which influenced my post today. So very grateful for the healing, uniting power of poetry.

  29. Mary Lee says:

    Yay! I’m so excited to have won one of the anthologies! THANKS!

    While I can’t commit to a daily poem in February, I’m grateful that the prompts will be here for those times when I have the bandwidth! Write on, Poet Friends! I’ll join in next year!!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Yay, Mary Lee! Thanks for cheering us on. I’m excited about making the prompts available to more poets.

  30. Thanks for hosting, Laura! Amanda’s poem, and her reciting of it, was truly a highlight of the day. it so moved me, as it did others. I heard a wonderful interview with her on NPR and can’t wait to read more of her work. What a bright future she has ahead of her. Cheers!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Christy. I’m going to look for that interview. Did I hear that Amanda Gorman hopes to run for president someday?

  31. Molly Hogan says:

    I have listened to Amanda Gorman again and again. She is simply amazing. What joy to have the country find unity and inspiration in her words! Thanks so much for hosting Poetry Friday today and also for your February Project. I’m so looking forward to it!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks for joining in today, Molly. The February group is always creative with prompts — I think that’s my favorite part of the project.

  32. Amanda’s poem and performance was amazing! And what an evocative topic for your February Project, Laura. You are always doing so much cool stuff :>)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks for being here, Laura. We have so many great poetry communities within the PF group. Writing together is uplifting.

  33. […] are fine Even if they color outside the lines. That's it for today–thanks so much for stopping by. Laura Shovan hosts Poetry Friday this week–she shares a lovely post inspired by Amanda Gorman, the inspiring […]

  34. Susan Bruck says:

    Amanda Gorman’s poem was amazing, and her performance really inspiring. One of the many things that brought tears to my eyes during the inauguration. Thanks for sharing all of these links to more Amanda. Even though I’m not teaching right now, I’ll be reading them myself.
    Thanks for hosting, too.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Susan. I enjoyed the way she approached the poem not only as a reading, but also as a performance — the gestures, the use of hands and voice. It was beautiful.

  35. Thanks, Laura, for centering Amanda and all that she represents. I’ve been having an interesting, enlightening conversation about whether her poem was some kind of “good enough” with my father-in-law, an older white British academic poet. And thanks for the leadership YOU offer to our community through the Feb Poem Project, etc!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Yes, I’ve seen some of that around. White poets who aren’t aware (or don’t care) that the poem referenced many other American thinkers, and that its style and performance is deeply rooted in the tradition of spoken word poetry.

  36. […] you Laura Shovan for hosting Poetry Friday! This poem was inspired by Inauguration […]

  37. Thank you so much for hosting! I was so inspired by all of Inauguration Day, especially Amanda Gorman’s poem.

  38. Many hugs dear Laura, for this beautiful poet Amanda Gorman post of hope for 2021.
    I am interested in all links about here & these thoughts.
    Her words & her emotional strong delivery of them made me cry in the moment that afternoon of January 20th & since, when I’ve returned to watch her again I’ve had wet eyes.. I love how how Biden & Harris celebrate young people who are leading the way. Ever since last Wednesday our Family has felt so lifted up .
    I love how you always celebrate poets, poem-writing & Poetry Friday.
    Appreciations & love,
    Jan

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thank you, Jan. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why it took so long for our leaders to include a young adult in the inaugural celebration.

  39. Gail Aldous says:

    Laura, Amanda Gorman’s poem and performance were powerful and inspiring! I’ve been so excited to read more about her from everyone’s blogs. I keep reading her poem and watching her deliver it. What an amazing young women that not only uplifted us, but has given us excitement to watch her grow and look forward to more of her poetry and… Yes, she does want to become president one day and what an amazing president she’ll be.

    Thank you for the invitation to your annual Poetry Project. I can’t commit right now, but I will look forward to writing to some of the group’s prompts. What a great community project.

    Thank you for also including more on Amanda. Her debut PB looks inspiring!

  40. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for highlighting Amanda, Laura. I’d like to give the February project a try if there’s still room.

  41. […] for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with wonderful verse novelist Laura […]

  42. Hello. I am a bit late in responding, but I am interested in your February Poem Project if there is still room.

  43. […] you thinking, “What is this poetry project of which you speak, Laura?” Read about this year’s project here. And there is background on this project — now in its ninth year! — at this […]

  44. […] you thinking, “What is this poetry project of which you speak, Laura?” Read about this year’s project here. And there is background on this project — now in its ninth year! — at this […]

  45. […] you thinking, “What is this poetry project of which you speak, Laura?” Read about this year’s project here. And there is background on this project — now in its ninth year! — at this […]

  46. […] you thinking, “What is this poetry project of which you speak, Laura?” Read about this year’s project here. And there is background on this project — now in its ninth year! — at this […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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