Archives: Poetry Friday

A Poetry Friday Celebration

Welcome, Poetry Friday bloggers and fans.

Poetry Friday is here this week. Thanks for joining the celebration!

I’m excited to host Poetry Friday this week because it’s a special day. The third graders at Northfield Elementary, where I am poet-in-residence each spring, have their poetry celebration this afternoon!

Thanks to everyone who has been following this residency and reading the kids’ poems. I have a few more to share today.

This year we wrote list poems, food poems, and played with our imaginations in a pocket poem workshop. Links to the posts in this series, which include workshop descriptions and student responses, are at the end of this post.

Please add the link to your post below. If you have a moment, leave a comment for the Northfield poets. They’ve been working hard on their revisions and I can’t wait to see the final poems today. The poems you read in this post are first drafts.

Pocket Poem
By Isaac A.

I have a jacket
a jacket made of pockets.
In pocket 9, I have a leopard
gecko. I take him outside
and feed him insects. I will
let him loose to hunt,
but I follow so he does
not get lost or hurt.
I think he likes me
when he squeaks and peeps
happily! I love him and I will
always let him eat and
drink when he wants to.

In my next pocket, pocket
66, I have a snake. He
slithers in my pocket.
He loves playing hide-and-
go-seek. But when I can’t
find him, I call his name.
“Snakey!” and he slithers
out from a rock, log, or a
fence!

***

My Jacket, Pocket #9
By Harry P.

I have a jacket
a jacket made of pockets.
The pockets all have numbers,
numbers on the jacket.
Number nine has special skis.
The skis would have
boosters and two powerful springs.
The boosters would help
because it would get
me up the mountain
faster than the list.
The springs would help
because it would spring
me back up when
I fell down. I would
smell metal and
motor oil. It feels bumpy,
rough, and hot.
So, yeah!
That’s what’s in pocket
number nine.

***

Pocket #2
By Brady S.

In pocket #2, I kept a magic shoe.
I could jump so high, I could touch the
sky. And ran so I went into the past.
The shoe turned red when I
went to bed. When I want to be
sneaky and grab the last piece
of cake, the only sound I make
is like a piece of grass getting
draped on the floor. What’s in the other
38 pockets? I don’t know, you’ll have
to guess. It’s not for me to tell you.

***

Saturday’s Doughnuts
By Cameron D.

I wake up in the morning
running as fast as Sonic.
I tell my dad,
“Let’s go!”
My brother and me fly into the car.
We drive and drive and drive.
With Krispy Kreme in our sight,
all brand new.
“Finally!” we both yell
as my dad orders.
We watch in amazement.
Doughnut after doughnut after doughnut.
Seconds seem like minutes.
My dad yells, “Come on!”
We jump in the car,
our mouths watering.
We fly inside our house.
We grab milk and eat, eat, eat.
After, we lay full with those doughnuts,
fresh and good.
The best treat of Saturday.
Saturday’s doughnuts.

***

Chips
By Cole S.

I like the pop of the bag,
the snap when I bite down,
the salty, crunchy taste.
I like every kind!
I like it — like potato chips,
Old Bay chips, and Doritos.

***

Four s’mores recipes from Dinner Then Dessert.

Marshmallow Mayhem
By Erin S.

Wait, campfire crackles.
Tents surround me.
It’s camping time!
We run in the fields and chase each other
instead of diving in the tent.
Far away, we see smoke
and that smell we’d know anywhere.
S’mores! We help make them because
there’s a huge amount of people.
Our reward is the gooey,
slimy marshmallows. We went
to cook, but mine fell down.
SPLAT!
I got another and this
time it didn’t fall.
Everything that made
a s’more was on it, but
the hardness of the chocolate.
We put them on the arm of our chairs.
Then we bite into the
creamy, gloopy, crunchiness
of the marshmallow or
s’more, as you could call it.
Then we doze away.

***

Words in My House
By Caroline J.

I hide words inside my house.
Words that make me happy.

Bed.
Comfortable.
Loud.

You can see them.
I find them waiting for me.
Like the hamster hiding inside my house.
You can see it.
I know what’s in there.

Sofa.
Safe.
Table.
Exciting.
TV.
Happy.

Happiness is in there.
My family is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Warmth.
Conversation.
Laughter.
Breeze
is in my house.

My friends the words
go home before I do.
But they never
go away.

***

Thanks again to the Northfield community for allowing me to share these poems. All are posted here with permission.

I’ll be back next spring with a new group of third grade poets!

For more of this year’s student poems, please check out:
Poems from Third Grade, Part 1 — List Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 4 — Food Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 5 — Pocket Poems (ll Third Grade Classes)


Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 4

Welcome to Poetry Friday! Mary Lee Hahn is hosting this week’s link-up at her blog, A Reading Year. Hope to see you over there!

Happy Poetry Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you brought your appetite. The Northfield E. S. third graders have more food poems to share with you today.

But before we feast on lemonade, bubble gum, ice cream, pizza, and chocolate chip pancakes, I’d like to share a favorite poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. This week, the Poetry Friday community is celebrating Nye, our new Young People’s Poet Laureate.

Naomi Shihab Nye’s “The Lost Parrot” is a poem that I think about and reread every time I do a school poetry residency. “The Lost Parrot” recounts a visiting poet running a series of workshops for young students. One boy, Carlos, writes about the same subject, no matter the prompt: his lost parrot.

I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to the poem. For me, Nye’s “The Lost Parrot” captures the way a visiting poet interacts with young writers — encouraging their stories and creativity without pushing an agenda, rarely getting to know the children beyond the poems they write. Sometimes we get bursts of insight into their lives, sense of humor, and interests. Other times, visiting poets are left with a question or mystery, as Nye experiences in “The Lost Parrot.”

Now on to today’s delicious poems (and one salty cake).

Awesome Awesome Tacos!
By Aaron L.

I smell the spices,
the melted cheese,
then I immediately
know what’s for dinner.
Awesome
Awesome

TACOS!

I feel the warm
taco
shell in my
mouth
Awesome
Awesome

TACOS!

I hear my family
crunch the tacos.
Crunchy
Crunchy
tacos.

Yummy, the best
kind of tacos.

***

Sweet Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Pancakes!
By Coco W.

I jump out of the car.
My mom says slow down.
I hug Papa and my
Grandma. When we get
Inside, Papa knows the people.
We get some good seats. I sit next
to my cousin. My other cousin screams!
“The food is arriving.” I smell the sweet
dough. I see the melty chocolate laying on
my plate. My cheeks get very gooey with
chocolate on my face. I get to take a bite.
It is the biggest of them all! Delicious
dough mixed with chocolate melting in my mouth.

***

My Pecan Pie
By Misha W.

My family comes to the party-like feast.
Then the pecan pie comes in on a white dish.
My grandma made the best pecan pie around.
I smelled the sweet pecans and the pie crust.
I see the pecans popping out of the pie.
When everyone grabs a piece, the yelling dies down
and replacing it is a crunch and a munch.
It’s finally my turn to feel the pecan pie.
I feel the rough and moist crunch touching my hands.
When it touches my mouth, I feel the warmth.
I taste my sweet pecan pie.
With the bready crust.
“Burrrrp! Excuse me,” I say.
“Can I have some more?”
And my mom says no.
I got the biggest piece of them all.

***

Salty Cake
By Reed S.

Ew! Blah! My cake tastes like salt.
It looks good, but is disgusting. It
Smells chocolaty, but tastes like
salt. Everybody is making faces!
I can’t believe salt and sugar
got mixed up.

***

Yummy Meatloaf
For Anna
By Ella O.

2 hours in the oven
To cook the meatloaf
We’d run
Straight from the park
I run to my house
1 block
Then the house I reach
That smells like meat
You ran
Because you had the energy
1 loaf of yummyness
Everything on the meatloaf
Except mustard
Dash that meatloaf
Onto plates and splash on
All the sauce to splash on
Red tomatoes on the side
Avocados piled up on the side
Shoveled up onto a plate
Meatloaf for us to hold hot
On our forks
Plates on the table
Sit down
Good meatloaf
We’d eat
Fast till there was nothing left
But little tiny pieces of meat
And even a tiny bit of tomato sauce
I would eat it all
We’d touch
The little food we would have left
You humming
Me whistling

***

Good Cotton Candy
For My Dad
By Hiba S.

1 dollar a piece
to eat our dessert.
We’d run to the cashier
instead of the car.
Two blocks from our next
destination (that smelled
very sweet). You paid because
you had the money.
3 cotton candies and
2 strips of ribbon. Even
jelly inside. Eat those cotton
candies. Lil’ sister picking
her food. All that good stuff
on top. White sprinkles and
blue sprinkles. Stuck inside
the cotton candy. Rolled up
in a plastic cone. Dollars on
the counter, sit down, good
cotton candies. We’d eat
fast till there was nothing
left. But blue and white
sprinkles. Even cotton on
my face! We’d finish. You driving
and me saying, “Thank you.”

***

Good Ice Cream
For Sara
By Alisha K.

1 dollar apiece
To eat our dessert
We’d run, me and you
Straight from home
Instead of the park
Two blocks
Then the store
That smelled like ice
I ordered
Because I had the money
Two ice creams with two scoops for here
Nothing on the ice cream
Except M and Ms
Dash those ice creams
Into cones and dump on the flavors
All that good stuff
Chocolate ice cream and M and Ms
And Skittles piled on top all
Rolled up in a napkin
For us to hold cold
In our hands
A dollar on the counter
Sit down
Good ice creams
We’d eat
Fast till there was nothing left
But leftover Skittles and M and Mss
The little colors of Skittles and M and Ms
We’d eat
You humming
And me with a smile

***

Lemonade
By Brian W.

1 dollar a cup to drink our lemonade.
I rush straight from school. Instead
of home, I got the other way. Then
to the stand that smelled like snow.
I ordered because I am thirsty.
two lemonades and two ice for here.
Everything on the lemonade
except straws. Stir those lemonade
into drinks and splash on
all the good stuff, lemons and mini
umbrellas and ice on top all
in a cup, paper for us to hold cold
drinks in our hands.
Dollars on the counter.
Sit down. Good lemonade.
I drink fast till there was nothing
left but mini umbrella and lemons
even the little cold ice of cubes
we’d slurp up the lemonade, you
drinking and me buying more.

***

Pizza
By Henry R.

1 dollar apiece to eat my lunch.
I would jog straight from school
instead of home. 5 blocks
then the store that smelled
like pizza. You ordered because
you had enough money for
2 pizzas. Everything on the
pizzas. Dash those pizzas
with all that good stuff
and throw on some
pepperoni and some pineapple.
covered up with wax paper nice
and warm. Quarters on the
counter. Sit down on the concrete.
I would eat the greasy and yellow pizza
fast till there wasn’t even
a bite left. When I was finished
I trembled back home with a full
fat stomach.

***

Bubble Gum
By Evan R.

The sweetness of the taste
so chewy in my mouth.
The pink bubble splats in my face
With my baseball teammates around laugh.
I stiff have parts of the bubble on my face.
I watch the game still blowing bubbles.
Me and my teammates smell the fresh air
blow by our faces.
I try to blow another bubble
but the air is too strong.

***

Thanks to the Northfield community for allowing me to share the third graders’ poems!

For more of this year’s student poems, please check out:
Poems from Third Grade, Part 1 — List Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)

Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 2

This week's Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Visit Margaret for all of the week's poetry links.

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Visit Margaret for all of the week’s poetry links.

Welcome back to Northfied Elementary, Poetry Friday readers.

This is my thirteenth year working with third graders at this local school. It’s a special occasion that I look forward to all year. The residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

Our first poetry workshop was a favorite form, list poems. You can read my lesson, which describes the workshop, here.

The mentor text I use is “Words in My Pillow” by Naomi Shihab Nye, from Georgia Heard’s anthology of list poems, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

When we’re working on list poems, the students are focusing on two important skills: choosing a topic for the poem that influences every single line; and paying attention to word choice — this poem calls for juicy, interesting words that stand out!

While you’re enjoying these list poems, I will be on my way to my native New Jersey for NerdCamp! This annual literacy conference is held each year at Chatham HS. I’m looking forward to leading a session on introversion in the classroom with educator Heather Rocco. For a full list of authors and session, visit the NerdCampNJ home page.

Here is the next batch of third grade poems, with thanks to the students’ families for permission to share.

Words on the Beach
By Max A.

I know words are hiding here.
Words that are good–

Waves
Sharp
Soft

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the tummy hiding inside me.
No one can see it
but I know what I see–

Sand
Shells
Crabs
Seaweed
Water and
Waves

Things that are fun are in there
Beach balls are in there.

The words are playing together
when I want to meet them.

Fun
Water
Sun
Seaweed
is in the beach.

My friends the words
go to the beach before I do.
But they never
leave me.

***

Words in the Ocean
By Jesse Z.

I see words floating on the ocean.
Words that are soaked–

Sunken ship
Boats
Coral
Seashell

Some people can see them
but I find them swimming
like a shark swimming at me.
Some people can see it
but I really know it’s there.

Rough
Calm
Wavy
Blue
Crazy

Animals are in there.
Fish are in there.

The words are floating together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Splashing
Snorkeling
and sometimes getting seasick.

My friends the words
go float and play before I do.
But they never
go away.

***

Words in a Basketball Court
By Chaitanya M.

I hide words inside my basketball.
Words that are loud.

Dribble
Dunk
Buzzers

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the TUMMY hiding inside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

3 pointer
Lay-up
Crossover
Half court
Full court
Balls

Teams are in there.
Players are in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Leather
Rubber
Glass
Metal
is in my basketball court.

My friends, the words
never go away.

***

Words in My Gymnastics Bag
By Milan M.

I hide words inside my gymnastics bag.
Words that feel good and bad–

Leotard
Scrunchie
Socks

No one can see them
but I find them inside my brain.
Like the pain hiding inside my ankle.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Competing
Winning
Tired
Flexibility
Tricks
Flipping
Split

Entertaining is in there.
Sweaty is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Boom!
Thump!
Land!
Ouch!
is in my gymnastics bag.

My friends the words
go to gymnastics class before I do.
But they never, never, ever
do flips and splits!!!!

***

Words in My Basketball
By Trevor L.

I hide words inside my basketball.
Words that inspire me.

Orange
Stripes
Light

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the greatness hiding inside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Shot
Team
Players
Hoop
Fun
Back board

Smarts are in me.

Me and the ball are playing together
when I am saying or thinking of it.

Friends
Crazy
Rough
Tough
is in my ball.

My ball, my friend
goes to the court.
But it doesn’t
go away.

***

Words in My Dog
By Emma B.

I hide words inside my dog.
Words that are good–

Dog toys
Panting
Warm

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
I know what’s in there.

Trotting
Fun
Combs
Energetic
Excited
Running

Fleas are in there.
Ticks are in there.

Jumping
Dog food
Treats
Fluffy
is in my dog.

My dog
goes to bed before I do.
But the words inside her
go away.

***

All poems shared with permission.

For more of this year’s student poems, please check out:
Poems from Third Grade, Part 1 — List Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 4 — Food Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)

Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 1

Elizabeth Steinglass, our host for Poetry Friday, is celebrating her new book! Stop by Liz’s blog to find this week’s poetry links and to hear all about SOCCERVERSE.

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends.

This month, I am back at Northfield Elementary for my annual poetry residency. Each year, I spend about a month working with the entire third grade.

The residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

Our first poetry workshop was a favorite form, list poems. You can read my lesson, which describes the workshop, here.

The model poem I use is by our new Young People’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Shihab Nye. The students were so excited when I told them the big news of her appointment. Yes! The poem we worked with is by *the* top children’s poet in the country.

“Words in My Pillow” by Naomi Shihab Nye comes from Georgia Heard’s anthology of list poems, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

This is what the cross-out method of poem writing looks like.

Because this is our first workshop, we do this poem as a cross-out. The children write their original poems over the top of Nye’s words. This provides structure and coaches these young poets in rhythm and word choice.

Here is the first batch of this year’s third grade poems. I’m so happy to be able to send some of the students’ first drafts.

 

 

 

Words in My Dreams
By Aiden M.

I have words inside my dreams,
words from my head–

Crazy
Wild
Sour

No one can see them
but I find them hunting for me.
Like the money hiding inside my piggy.
No one can see it
but I know it’s in there–

Scary
Happy
Sticky
Bright
Sweet
Sad

Flowers are in there
Clouds are in there.

The words are playing together
when I am thinking and thinking about them.

Colorful
Gloomy
Cute
Weird
is in my dreams.

My friends the words
go to my mind before I notice.
But they never go away.

***

Words in My Desk
By Zoey C.

I hide words inside my desk.
Words that make me happy.

Neat
Clean
Organized

No one can find them
but I find them making me proud.
Like the school box hiding inside my desk.
No one can find them
but I know what’s in there.

Glue
Markers
Scissors
Pencil
Eraser
Crayons

Notebooks are in there.
Folders are in there.

The words are talking together
when I am grabbing or thinking them.

Slide
Push
Take
Tip
I find in my desk.

My helpers the words
go to school before I do.
But they never
go away.

***

Words in My Stinky Shoes
By Novali V.

I hide words inside my shoes.
Words that taste bad.

Soccer
Stench
Kick

No one can see them.
They still use them,
like the brain hiding inside my head.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

A foot
Sweat
A sock (smelly)
Dirt
Rocks, stones
Toena — oof! *Slips*

Kicks are in there.
Accidental sliding is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Excited for a game
Tired
Thoughts
Sprint
is in my shoe.

My friends, the words
go to rest before I do.
But they never
come out of my shoes.

***

Words in My Ocean
By Elyse G.

I discover words inside my ocean.
Words that feel good–

Cool water
Moist sand
Slimy seaweed squelching
between my toes

People think they can see them
but I know that what they see is just
half the picture,
like the beach.
People can see the sand
but they can’t see the miles
of the ocean’s words.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Seahorse
Fishes of the oceans
Oil
Mollusks
Sea cucumbers
Caverns

Jellies are in there.
Underwater is in there.

The words are swimming together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Slimy
Soft
Hard
Cool
Wondrous

My friends the words
wiggle away before people can find them.
But I always know where to find them.

***

Words in the Solar System
By Matthew B.

I hide words inside the solar system.
Words that are breathtaking.

Planets
Sun
Stars

Everyone can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Everyone can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Light
Dark
White
Burning
Sparkling
Cold

Planets are in there.
The moon is in there.

The words are orbiting together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Cold
Yellow
Traveling
Woosh!
is in the solar system.

My friends the words never
go to bed.
But they never float away.

***

Words in My Pocket
By Jackson S.

I hide words inside my pocket.
Words that are fun–

Lollipop
Coins
Stickers

No one can see them
But I find them waiting for me.
Like my room waiting for me after school.
No one can feel it
but I know what’s in there.

Bouncy ball
Drawings
Playing cards
Wrappers
Band-aid colors

Darkness is in there
My stuff is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Paper
Smarties
Purple
Bang!
is in my pocket.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
run away.

***

Words in My Cat Fela
By River M.

She has words inside her body.
Words that are cuddly–

Sleep
Eat
Grumble

No one can see them
but I find them in her fur.
Like the tiredness and calmness in her head.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there.

Food
Treats
Blankets
Outside
“Leave me alone”
Comfortable

Memories are in there too.
Kitten is in there.

The words are sleeping together
when she is meowing or thinking them.

Yes
Stop
Bed
Chhh!
is in my cat Fela.

My cat Fela and the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
go away from my cat Fela’s mind.

***

Words in My Pool
By Olivia L.

I hide words inside my pool.
Words that splash you–

Leaves
Waves
Water

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the bubbles hiding beside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there.

Bugs
Toy ships that float
Feet slicing through the water
Money people have lost
Birds swimming
Floats floating

The word “Overwhelming” hides in the pool as well.
People feeling refreshed by the cool water.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Whip
Splash!
Blue
Woosh!
is in my pool.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
swim away.

All poems shared with permission.

For more of this year’s student poems, please check out:
Poems from Third Grade, Part 1 — List Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 2 — List Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 3 — Food Poems (Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Trodden’s classes)
Poems from Third Grade, Part 4 — Food Poems (Ms. Spencer, Ms. Sochol-Solomon, and Ms. Scavo’s classes)

National Poetry Month 2019

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater this week! Stop by the Poem Farm for some farm-fresh poems.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

From “The Waste Land” by T. S. Eliot
(Read the poem at the Poetry Foundation)

Ever wondered why we celebrate National Poetry Month in April? It is the cruellest month, according to T. S. Eliot.  Despite the dead land and dull roots, there is hope in the lilacs and the spring rain.

I’ve been away from blogging while Saadia Faruqi and I revise our upcoming middle grade novel, A Place at the Table. But I can’t let National Poetry Month pass without joining in on the fun.

More importantly, it is my mission to encourage educators to share poetry with students. That’s why I took a break from the revision tunnel to talk poetry with:

Jed Doherty at Reading with Your Kids

Are you a fan of podcasts? At his podcast, “Reading with Your Kids,” children’s author Jedlie and I talked about the power of sharing poetry with children. You can listen to the episode here.

Resources I mentioned during the podcast include:

Billy Collins’ poem “Introduction to Poetry” at the Poetry Foundation

Poetry 180 — a poem for every day of the high school year.

The Poetry Foundation

Poetry Friday blogging community overview from Renee LaTulippe: https://www.nowaterriver.com/what-is-poetry-friday/

Sarah Tregay’s list of verse novels 

Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition

United States’ Young People’s Poet Laureate

Educators at Nerdy Book Club

This was my second time doing a special Facebook Live/National Poetry Month video for Nerdy Book Club, a grass roots organization founded by educators to support teachers and promote reading and literacy. This 40 minute video focuses on poetic forms and why it’s important to include them in your students’ poetry toolbox. I model a lesson on Fibonacci poems and share a writing technique called “cross-out” poetry. Watch here.

Resources mentioned in this video include:

*Traditional poetic forms:

Haiku Hike. Scholastic, Inc. 2005.

Hirsch, Robin. FEG: Ridiculous Poems for Intelligent Children. Illustrated by Ha. Little, Brown and Company, 2002.

Janeczko, Paul B. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Candlewick Press, 2005.

Nelson, Marilyn. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Illustrated by Philippe Lardy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005. (Form – a crown of sonnets. Viewer Nicole Mancini suggests pairing this book with Jewell Parker Rhodes Ghost Boys.)

Padgett, Ron, editor. The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms. Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 1987.

Reibstein, Mark. Wabi Sabi. Illustrated by Ed Young. Little, Brown and Company, 2008. (Form – haiku.)

Soto, Gary. Neighborhood Odes. Illustrated by David Diaz. Harcourt, Inc. 1992. (Form – odes.)

*Recently invented forms:

Golden Shovel poems, invented by Terrance Hayes – in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool.”

Gwendolyn Brooks reading “We Real Cool”

Article on Golden Shovels

Mentor text: Grimes, Nikki. One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomsbury, 2017.

Reverso poems, invented by Marilyn Singer. 

Article on Reverso poems

Mentor text: Singer, Marilyn. Mirror, Mirror. Illustrated by Josée Masse. Dutton Children’s Books, 2010.

*Fibonacci sequence:

Campbell, Sarah C. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. Boyds Mill Press, 2010.

Lichtman, Wendy. “Nature’s Spirals.” National Geographic Explorer, March, 2009.

Also check out poet Joyce Sidman’s book Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. (Suggested by viewer Jessica Bigi.)

*Fibonacci poems:

You will find my classroom handouts and Fibonacci poem writing frame at the bottom of this post.

Lesson description and student responses: http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2012/05/we-got-beat-fibonacci-poems-part-1.html

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2012/05/we-got-beat-fibonacci-poems-part-2.html

*Cross-out poems:

Shihab Nye, Naomi. “Words in My Pillow.” Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems. Ed. Georgia Heard. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2009. 26.

Medina, Tony. “Harlem Is the Capital of My World.” Love to Langston. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low Books Inc. 2010.

Lesson description and student responses: https://laurashovan.com/2018/05/poetry-friday-list-poem-lesson/

FIBONACCI POEM HANDOUTS

Fibonacci poem writing frame

Fibonacci poem hand-out

Model Fibonacci poems (thanks to Karren Alenier for sharing)

Poetry Friday: The Man in the Green Suit

Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday at My Juicy Little Universe. The optional theme this week is climate change.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I think everyone knows by now, one of my favorite poetic forms is the portrait poem. Maybe it’s because I studied dramatic writing as an undergrad, but I think there’s something magical about bringing a character to life  in the space of a small poem.

My poem for this week was inspired by my recent trip to Israel with PJ Library and the Harold J. Grinspoon Foundation.

We spent the first few days traveling in the desert, including a strenuous hike, a visit to a Bedouin encampment, stargazing from the bottom of a crater, a visit to solemn Masada, and kayaking on the still blue water of the Dead Sea — over 1,300 feet below sea level.

Under the Old City — we walked on an ancient paved road that once led to the Jewish Temple.

From that vast landscape and all of its profound experiences, we moved on to Jerusalem.

Although I had visited Israel once before, I didn’t spend much time in Jerusalem on my last trip. I fell in love with this city. Modern, yes, but also ancient and undeniably spiritual.

One of the sites we visited was a dig below the city where an ancient road, dating to at least 2,000 year ago, is being excavated.

I think that’s why — when we finally arrived for our final two days of the trip in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv — the man in the green suit made such an impression on me and my traveling companions (all fellow children’s authors).

Photo by Mark Shulman. Beachside promenade, Tel Aviv.

There was nothing of the desert and its silence or ability to make one feel small about this guy. None of Jerusalem’s inward focus. His polished look was the opposite of effortless. I think that’s what made him so noticeable — at least to us.

I jotted down a poetic sketch later that same night. Luckily, my friend Mark Shulman snapped a photo, which I’m posting here with Mark’s permission.

The Man in the Green Suit
By Laura Shovan

Smooth as sunset,
out for an easy
stroll. Who can take
their eyes off that
fresh haircut, sleek
Gucci bag, Blue
Tooth in his ear?
He’s the master
of the “I look
good” saunter. Sharp
shoes. Thin gold tie.
The sun hits his shades
and he turns
to see who’s watching.
Duh. Everyone.

Poetry Friday: Van Gogh Dreams

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Catherine at Reading to the Core. Stop by for a round-up of this week’s poetic posts.

Hello, Poetry Friday friends. I haven’t seen you in a few weeks. Before I get to this week’s poem — a quick update!

I took a blogging break while I was traveling with 17 other children’s authors on PJ Library’s Author Israel Adventure. It was a life-changing trip, full of new friends, amazing experiences, and lots of learning. I’ll tell you more about it in future posts. If you can’t wait, there is a great photo essay about our trip in Publisher’s Weekly — written and photographed by children’s author Mark Shulman.

Enjoying felafel sandwiches in Jerusalem with children’s authors Emma Carlson Berne (L) and Madelyn Rosenberg (R).

Because of the trip, I moved this year’s February Poetry Project to March. We are a small group this year, with some regulars and some new poets responding to a common poetry prompt every day. If you’d like to join, let me know. This year’s theme — definitely inspired by the incredible Mediterranean cuisine  — is FOOD. If you’d like to learn more about my annual poetry project, please read this 2016 post.

The only other time I have traveled abroad with a group of authors was four years ago. In 2015, about 60 poets/community activists gathered in Salerno, Italy for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change World Conference. That’s where I met Lisa Vihos, the poet I’m going to introduce you to today.

Lisa Vihos reading at 100 Thousand Poets for Change World Conference in Salerno, Italy, 2015.

Lisa Vihos is a Wisconsin poet and editor. Some of her books are the chapbooks This Particular Heaven (Kelsay Press, Kelsay Books, 2017) and Fan Mail from Some Flounder (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018). Two of the anthologies Lisa compiled and edited are From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology (Water’s Edge Press, 2019, co-edited with Dawn Hogue), and the book I’m featuring today: Van Gogh Dreams (HenschelHAUS Publishing, 2018).

Van Gogh Dreams is an apt title for this collection. The book weaves together ekphrastic responses to specific Van Gogh paintings (The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Starry Night, for example), poems in Van Gogh’s voice, and modern reflections on the artist and what 21st century creatives can learn from him.

If you’re in the Maryland/DC area, Lisa is coming to visit! She will be the featured author, along with Andria Nacina Cole, at Wilde Readings (the local literary reading series that I co-host). The event is March 12 at the Columbia Art Center, Columbia, MD. We start the open mic at 7 pm. (More info is here.)

I’m so excited to see Lisa again. Literary friendships run deep.

Here is Lisa Vihos’s poem from Van Gogh Dreams.

Love Letter for Vincent
By Lisa Vihos

I would have sat quietly
while you painted the stars
and I would not have tossed
the sunflowers
before you were done with them

I would have tended
the irises, dusted your chair,
and made your bed, in love
with the vibration inside all things —
just like you. I would not have judged

the cut ear or the old sermons.
I would have cooked your potatoes,
wiped clean your shoes,
and bought you another absinthe
at midnight in the pool hall.

I would have brought a picnic lunch
and a cool drink to the wheat field.
I would have marveled with you at the sun
and the patterns the blackbirds made
as they flew low along the horizon.

Posted with permission of the author.

Van Gogh Dreams is available here and on Amazon.

I love that the cover of Van Gogh Dreams is a work of  art in itself. As Lisa explains in the book’s introduction, it is taken from a collage created by her father, artist Georg Vihos.

While she’s here, Lisa will be recording an episode of the long-running Library of Congress podcast “The Poet and the Poem.” The host is Grace Cavalieri, our new state poet laureate of Maryland! I’ll share a link when the podcast is available.

Do you love Van Gogh’s paintings? You might want to check out Vans new Van Gogh fashion line. Yes, Vans the sneaker company. What would Vincent think, I wonder?

Poetry Friday: Tidying Up

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Tricia Stohr-Hunt at the Miss Rumphius Effect. You’ll find links to the week’s poems, poetry reviews, and musings at her blog.

An admission: I tried listening to Marie Kondo’s book on audio. I didn’t make it past the first few chapters.

My favorite idea from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was de-cluttering not by area, but by theme or object. I can picture myself gathering all of the candlestick sets we received for our wedding 28 years ago, choosing one or two favorite pairs, and donating or giving away the rest.

(Crystal candlesticks must have been a hot item in 1991. We have at least five pairs, plus a few more in ceramic.)

That’s as far as I got. It’s not that I don’t need Kondo’s guidance – or *some* guidance. I do. We have lived in our house for almost 20 years. The children we raised here are now out of the house. We’re due for a massive declutter. Maybe I’ll give her television show a chance. I love home renovation shows, and decluttering is a renovation of interior spaces.

Friends who are Asian-American have pointed out that much of Kondo’s advice and celebration of minimalism is rooted in Japanese culture. Some of her critics have misunderstood that piece, especially when it comes to book collections. There’s an article on that topic here.

Meanwhile, I came across a poem from Judith Viorst’s new collection. In this meditation on “stuff,” Viorst touches on the push and pull of down-sizing a home that’s been filled with music and books.

My Stuff
By Judith Viorst

The trouble is I really love my stuff,
Especially the stuff that’s stashed in my basement,
Like that trunkful of 78s that I haven’t listened to in over seventy years,
When the Andrew Sisters rang “Rum and Coca Cola,”
And Sinatra sang “Full Moon and Empty Arms,”
And I forget who sang “Chattanooga Choo Choo,”
All of them played on what we called a Victrola
In the sun parlor — always my childhood’s favorite room,
Where built-in shelves held my Oz books, The Secret Garden,
The Count of Monte Cristo, the Nancy Drews  …

Read the rest of the poem in Grace Cavalieri’s (Maryland’s new state poet laureate!) review of Nearing 90 and Other Comedies of Late Life, by Judith Viorst. Scroll down to find the review.

Bonus: If you’ve never seen George Carlin’s routine on stuff, have fun watching this today. It’s one of his best.

 

A Book and a Beagle — Special Offer

I am a dog mom.

Sam the Schnauzer is my best furry friend. But three years ago, our family decided (with much convincing) that 8-year-old Sam needed a brother. Not a puppy. An older dog. A calm dog to show our very barky, anxious guy the joys of being chilled out.

I went to the animal shelter. Crashed out on the office floor was an overweight older beagle, snoring away like he owned the place That afternoon, we brought Rudy home.

If you’d like to hear more of Rudy’s story — and meet Rudy himself, the Oscar to Sam’s Felix — check out this video.

When I was working on my middle grade novel, Takedown, I couldn’t help myself. Rudy is such a funny, weird, lovable dog, I had to put him in the book. That’s how one of my main characters, eleven-year-old wrestler Lev Sofer, ended up with a lazy, chubby old beagle named Grover.

We first meet Grover in Chapter 4. Lev describes him like this: Grover waddles into the hall, snuffling my backpack. He sounds more like a pig than a dog. I pat his soft ears.

Beagle plushies and the actual champion of doggie chill, Rudy.

When I found these adorable beagle baby plushies, I had to pick up a basket full. And now I have a special offer!

I am selling “A Book and a Beagle” for just $20 plus shipping. You’ll get a signed copy of Takedown (read a review) and a Grover beagle plushie to love. Leave a comment if you’re interested.

Since it’s Poetry Friday, I went hunting for a beagle poem to go with the book and toy. Kenn Nesbitt didn’t let me down.

I love the closing stanza of “Gabby’s Baby Beagle” because it’s so true. Beagles are totally pig-like. They are obsessed with food. And the snuffly sounds they make when they’re sniffing around, hoping to find a dropped morsel — not to mention their big tummies — earn the title of pig-dog.

Gabby’s Baby Beagle

A Tongue Twister
From the book The Tighty-Whitey Spider

Gabby bought a baby beagle
at the beagle baby store.
Gabby gave her beagle kibble,
but he begged for bagels more.

Gabby loved her baby beagle;
gladly Gabby gave him one,
but her beagle grabbed the bag and
gulped them down till there were none.

So she took her baby beagle
to the bagel baker’s store,
where the beagle gobbled bagels,
bags of bagels by the score.

Gabby’s beagle gorged on bagels,
bigger bagels than before,
till he’d gobbled every bagel
in the baker’s bagel store.

Gulping bagels bulges baby
beagles’ bellies really big.
Say goodbye to baby beagle;
Gabby’s beagle’s now a pig.

–Kenn Nesbitt

Copyright © 2010. All Rights Reserved.

You’ll find the poem here at Kenn’s website. It’s worth visiting. There’s an audio file where you can listen to the poem being read!

Thanks to Donna Smith at Mainely Write for hosting Poetry Friday this week. You’ll find the link up at her blog.

Donna Smith is hosting Poetry Friday at Mainely Write this week.

A Long Winter’s Nap

Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday at Buffy’s Blog today.

Around this time every year, my acupuncturist reminds me that winter is a time for hibernation. It’s okay to huddle by the fire with the family, to be more “in” and less “out” (whether that’s your physical or your energetic being).

When snow blankets Maryland, everyone stays in and hunkers down. At my house, we curl up on the couch and watch movies or play board games. The first time we had a blizzard while my eldest was away at college, it felt strange to sit out the quiet storm without him.

Follow Soul Roots on Instagram @SoulRootsPlanner.

Click on the image to read the Rosemary Chocolate Truffles recipe from Soul Roots Planner.

Curling up, staying warm, clinging to family — all crossed my mind when I received my Winter Poetry Swap package from the swap-mistress herself, Tabatha Yeatts of the blog The Opposite of Indifference.  There were treats to warm my spirit: homemade lip balm (one of Tabatha’s many talents), a box of delicious raspberry tea, and a planner filled with herbalist wisdom and recipes, including this one for Rosemary Chocolate Truffles.

Before I get too cozy, picturing myself staying in bed with my naturally delicious chocolate bon-bons, let’s read the ekphrastic poem Tabatha included with these gifts.

UPDATE: Typos that were entirely my fault have been corrected. Apologies to Tabatha!

Das Bett by Sofie Korner

The Bed
by Tabatha Yeatts

for Laura

She feels as though the bed is poised to roll her
out of it while she is sleeping, that no matter
how much she craves rest, the bed will
cast her away. perhaps the hands that
sawed and hammered the frame, tilted
the bed just so, sought to make it
inevitable that she would seek a
husband to keep her aboard.
she covers the bed with a
blanket of her own
making, colors
that cheer
her heart,
tucks the sheets in tight.

***

I’m intrigued by the tension that Tabatha creates in this poem. As a knitter, the finale speaks to me — that the woman solves her unease by making something beautiful. I get a sense that this grounds her and counterbalances the tilted bed.

Time to make some truffles! Enjoy your holiday treats and have a great weekend, poets.