Thursday, 28 January 2016
PF tag

This week’s host is Catherine at Reading to the Core.

Happy Poetry Friday, friends.

After nearly eight years blogging as Author Amok, I am moving to my new website! As of February 1, I will be blogging and participating in Poetry Friday right here at

There are a few housekeeping items to share before I close up shop at the old digs.

First, the annual daily writing prompt project is on for 2016.

This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. I invite you to join this community project. The focus is on writing every day (or as often as you can) and sharing the results with our fellow poets and authors — an opportunity to focus on drafting and to turn off our inner-editors for one month. We always have a great time with this project and there are prizes for contributors.

100 year old wooden mailing box RHB

This year, we are focusing on writing about FOUND OBJECTS using multi-sensory imagery.

You’ll find more information about the project at this post. And here is a sneak preview of our first writing prompt, contributed by Robyn Hood Black.


If you’d like to contribute a poem, please leave it in the comments of this post. Be sure to specify that this is your DAY 1 found object poem.

Second, an update on my book launch. THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY will be published on April 12. I’m excited to have a book birthday during National Poetry Month. The Poetry Friday community has been so supportive of this project.

In the weeks leading up to NPM, I’ll be introducing the Emerson E.S. fifth graders at the new blog. I came across this poem today, which was cut from the novel. Newt Mathews is an amphibian-loving, rule-following student who shares in his poems how Asperger’s Syndrome affects his writing. Mr. White is his aide.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

You can spot Abigail Halpin’s wonderful illustration of Newt at the bottom right. He’s dressed in his favorite frog T-shirt.

Sound Poem
By Newt Mathews

Buzz! Beep!
Goodbye sleep.
Time to get out of bed.

Honk! Zoom!
Rumble! Vroom!
Time for the bus to come.

Rush. Zing!
The late bell rings.
Time to take my seat.

Scritch, scratch.
Quiet at last.
Mr. White helps me write a poem.


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001]

The Tower, symbolic or real, is the theme of this speculative fiction anthology. Read more about it at Goodreads.

Another update: I am giving away two copies of the spec fiction anthology HIDES THE DARK TOWER at my author Facebook page.  I was honored when editors Kelly Harmon and Vonnie Winslow Crist asked me to write a poem to open the anthology. Stop by to enter into the drawing.

Last, I thought it would be fun to reprint something from my very first blog post, from August of 2008. I was just back from a creativity workshop with master storyteller Odds Bodkin.

This Week’s Writing Exercise (Appropriate for All Ages and Levels)

Don’t Write! Imagine

We often ask students, and ourselves, to be imaginative when writing. But imagination without boundaries can be uncomfortable. After all, our imaginations produce nightmares. Here is one of Odds’ best recommendations from the storytelling workshop: when you’re asking someone to use his/her imagination, start with a familiar setting to warm-up those mental muscles. So, put away the notebook and pencil while you try this exercise in sensory imagination (adapted from Odds Bodkin’s workshop). You can take notes later. 

Sit quietly, close your eyes and imagine that you are in your bedroom. Your bare feet are standing on a low marble pedestal. Turn slowly – 360 degrees – and take in every detail of the room. Not just the pictures on the walls and the colors of the bed spread, but also any smells, and the temperature of the air. You notice a light coming from under the bed. Filled with curiosity, you step off the pedestal. You move the bed aside with one hand – it’s as light as an empty box and glides across the floor. There, where you expected to see carpet or planks of wood, is a window. What a strange place for a window! How can sunlight be shining through a window in your floor? You kneel down beside the window and see… this is the tricky part, writers. Without composing a story, let your imagination see, feel, hear, taste and smell whatever is beyond that window. Let us know what’s out there.

Thank you all! Blogging at Author Amok has been an adventure. It’s been wonderful to have so many traveling companions.

11 responses to “Poetry Friday: Moving Day”

  1. Sally Murphy says:

    Good luck for the move, Laura. Moving can be chaotic, but since this one’s virtual, at least there will be no boxes to unpack. I’m really enjoying the build up to the release of your book. Can’t wait to read it, and have pre-ordered it to be sure it reaches me here in Australia.

  2. Laura, I LOVE the simple elegance of your new blog! Beautiful! Writing about found objects is a wonderful theme and your first picture already has me thinking. Congratulations on your new book & being included in Hides the Dark Tower! I’ve heard so many good things about The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, and Newt’s poem makes me wish I had a copy to sit down and right this minute. That Odds Bodkin prompt is terrific. Can’t wait to share it with my colleagues. Thank you for sharing all this poetic inspiration!

  3. Linda Baie says:

    It must be a little sad to leave something so special, Laura, but it’s a turning and a celebration for what’s next, too. I’m looking forward to your February posts, too, love getting that prompt from Robyn early.

  4. jama says:

    Love your new digs! Will miss Author Amok but excited about what’s on the horizon for you and your new book. Congrats on all the positive reviews so far!

  5. Tara says:

    Happy moving day, Laura! I so want to participate in your challenge…I believe I need to!

  6. Looking forward to your writing prompt AND the book – congratulations, Laura! And I’d love to hear what you thought of Odds Bodkin, another one of the many creative folks in our local neighborhood up here, along with David Elliott, Tomie DePaola, True Kelley, Donald Hall, and the late Maxine Kumin. He’s definitely one of the local heroes around here!

  7. Wishing you a smooth transition to the beautiful new site, Laura – and more heaps of congrats with all the excitement! How fun to get to read this poem that didn’t make it into the book… we already have a wee bit of backstory. :0)

  8. Not only are you moving OVER into a new blogging space, I feel like you’re moving UP to a new level of your writerly life! Congrats on both, and I’m looking forward to kicking my patootie with the February poetry project!

  9. Tabatha says:

    Congratulations on the new blog and all the exciting things happening! You are really moving and shaking. 🙂

  10. Laura, I’m thinking of your Found Objects project as a virtual housewarming party. What an eclectic and wonderful assortment of gifts you’ll be getting!

  11. […] of poems to a writing contest. Then I came home and worked on a poem for Laura Shovan’s annual daily writing prompt project. This year’s theme is Found Objects. Here is the object for February […]

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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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