Thursday, 2 February 2017

Poetry Friday blogger and picture book author Penny Klosterman is hosting all of the poetry links today. Stop by A PENNY AND HER JOTS for more poetry posts from around the web and around the world.

Happy February, everyone. This week, we kicked off my annual poem project, which has moved over to Facebook.

This year’s theme is #10FoundWords. We have a daily news story, speech, or current event selected by a project member. That person chooses 10 words from the news source, which makes up our word bank for the day.

Because we’re all writing with the same daily prompts, my favorite part of the project is reading the response poems. I notice the ways our writing overlaps, and cheer people on when their poems are unexpected, when there’s an innovation. (You can still join the project. Leave a note in the comments if you’d like to give it a try.)

Speaking of news — scroll to the bottom of the page for two announcements: an event with me and YA author Heidi Heilig, and a book giveaway.

Here’s one of my own poems, written as a warm-up exercise.

By Laura Shovan

Remember learning long division?
This was long ago, 20th Century math.
Historical stuff. We’re talking
a solid wall between two different numbers.
The smaller number makes its appeal.
“Let me inside. It’s cold.
I’m suffering out here.”
The wall stays up because
that’s how division has always
been calculated. But the big number
is overcome with a generous spirit.
It sneaks the shivering digits inside,
counts how many will fit.
Soon, there are numbers
climbing on the roof, thankful numbers
tunneling underneath.
It’s a kind of freedom,
the way they gather on all sides
of the wall, which looks thinner,
less substantial, surrounded
by the orderly many.

This was Warm-up #6: January 29, 2017. Kip Rechea was in charge of this day’s #10FoundWords and news source.

20th Century

Source: An appeal from the mayor of Berlin not to build a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico.

Still here? Great! Thanks for sticking with me. I’ve got two announcements.

Announcement #1: On February 8, I’m hosting YA author Heidi Heilig (THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE) as part of the Master Storytellers series run by the Ivy Bookshop. Join me and Heidi as we discuss the broad appeal of young adult fiction. You can find details and RSVP here. If you’re in town for AWP, it’s a short trip up to Baltimore. Hope to see you there.

Announcement #2: Foundry Media is giving away four copies of THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY on Goodreads. Sign up here to join the giveaway.

Announcement #3: (When I said “two announcements,” I was simply stating an alternate fact.) I’m excited to share that THE LAST FIFTH GRADE is a finalist for a Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award!

18 responses to “Poetry Friday: #10FoundWords”

  1. Kay McGriff says:

    Congratulations on the success of THE LAST FIFTH GRADE. That’s awesome! Thank you for hosting this writing challenge. I am finding it a challenge, but a worthy one, especially as it helps me process and to feel I have some agency over the constant stream of (mostly bad) news.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Kay. I’m excited to have a book being considered for a state list.

      Yes — agency is my word of the week. Creating art of the day’s news gives me a sense of control, too.

  2. Diane Mayr says:

    Congratulations on becoming a finalist!

    Thanks again for spurring us on to creative endeavors.

  3. Congrats to you, and having my own fun with your challenge.

  4. Tara Smith says:

    Congratulations, Laura! I am counting on the “orderly many” these days, as I make phone calls, write emails, and sign petitions.

  5. B.J.Lee says:

    Hi Laura! I think this poem is brilliant! Love sneaking the shivering digits inside! Also huge congrats on your book!

  6. Linda Baie says:

    As I said earlier, love the poem and actually just saw an article with pushback from the Republicans about the $ for the wall. One said something very similar about “Soon, there are numbers/climbing” etc. You wrote truth! Congrats for the wonderful compliment for your book!

  7. FanTAStic poem, Laura, on “multiple” levels, and terrific project! Big congrats on the Pennsylvania list news, too. XO

  8. Hooray for The Last Fifth Grade! And I love your innovative and unexpected poem. Here’s to more people being “overcome with a generous spirit.”

  9. Congrats on your finalist status!!! And this poem is nothing short of amazing!! I love it!

  10. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    One of my favorites of all that anyone has written so far!!!

  11. Laura, I guess I missed this PF post. Thank you so much for creating this fine project. I think that all of us are writing are really bonding with each other. We are in a safe environment where we offer comments in a positive vein. Drafting poems on a daily basis is a way to hone our writing.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thank you for this lovely note, Carol. The bonding you mention is one of my favorite parts of this project. I love the way that everyone thoughtfully cheers each other on throughout the month.

  12. OK, I’m reading all these fantastic poems in this week’s Poetry Friday 2/17…..and I want in. Please and thank you! Happy Birthday!

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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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