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2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

2014kidlitprogpoemHappy Poetry Month! Today is my turn to add a line to the 2014 Progressive Poem, organized by Irene Latham. The poem started April 1 at Charles Waters’ blog.

Charles started us out with a very definite character, and I wanted to continue that character’s voice. Anastasia added a bit of mystery – a rune which may tell something of the future. But I don’t think this character is going to lie down and accept that the future is already mapped out…

 

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe

Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;

Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,

Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?

Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.

 

And I hope ending with ‘stone’ gives enough flexibility for Sheila to find a rhyme tomorrow! Follow along all month:

1 Charles at Poetry Time

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Donna at Mainely Write

4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!

5 Carrie at Story Patch

6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

7 Pat at Writer on a Horse

8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

9 Diane at Random Noodling

10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

11 Linda at Write Time

12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

13 Janet at Live Your Poem

14 Deborah at Show–Not Tell

15 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Julie at The Drift Record

20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman

21 Renee at No Water River

22 Laura at Author Amok

23 Amy at The Poem Farm

24 Linda at TeacherDance

25 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books

27 Kate at Live Your Poem

28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose

29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Poetry Month 2014

Spring hasn’t quite reached us here in New England, but Poetry Month has. Here are a few of the ways I plan to bring more poetry into my life this month:

  • rhypibomo-participant-badgeAll month long I will be participating in RhyPiBoMo, a challenge hosted by Angie Karcher. During this challenge I will read a rhyming picrture book daily, write a poem daily, and draft a rhyming picture book. It will be a challenge for sure, but a fun one, and Angie has some fantastic guest posters and prizes lined up. It’s not too late to join in – you can register through April 16.
  • April 5: I’ll be adding a line to the 2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, which starts today over at Charles Waters’ blog.
  • April 9: Read the final two poems (and vote for one!) in the March Madness poetry tournament over at Think Kid, Think.
  • April 24: Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket day.
  • I’ll be posting reviews of rhyming picture books on Fridays as part of Perfect Picture Book Friday.
  • I’m planning to make a special effort to share poems and write poems with my kids this month.

What will you do for Poetry Month? I’d love to hear your ideas.

How I Spent Poetry Month…and a Giveaway!

NPM2013_logo_350April has FLOWN, a swirl of dandelion seeds dancing away on a warm spring breeze. It’s a wonderful month to celebrate poetry…the world is waking up from winter and beautiful things are springing forth from their long, dark slumber, delighting us every day.

I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to for poetry month, but there’s no reason why these celebrations have to be contained within the month of April. Here are a few of the things I did. Leave a comment and tell me how you celebrated!

For me, the normally bright feel of April was darkened by the events of April 15, as I watched the Boston Marathon with my family at mile 23—a tradition of 35 years. The bombing and subsequent manhunt and lockdown of our towns felt surreal as I watched on TV, as I tried to explain to my 7-year-old what was happening, and as I responded to far-flung friends who wrote to check in. We’re now making our way back to “normal” — far easier for us than for those who were injured and lost family members and friends, and for that I am thankful. But still, I am not sure what normal is anymore. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky responded to this feeling in the Boston Globe the week after the blasts, and shared this poem.

ATCGW coverA Poetry Giveaway…

As my final tribute to poetry month, I am hosting my first-ever GIVEAWAY on this blog. Up for grabs is a copy of And the Crowd Goes Wild: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems (which contains my poem ‘Superfan’) signed by me and several others included in the anthology. Just leave a comment to share how you celebrated Poetry Month to earn one point. (Bonus point if you are a follower of this blog!) I’ll tally the points and draw a winner.

Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem – Day 9

bricks.3In celebration of National Poetry Month, today I’m doing my bit by adding a line to the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. The idea started with Irene Latham. The poem started with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and tomorrow it will continue at Linda Baie’s TeacherDance blog. The other stops are listed on the sidebar, so follow along and enjoy watching it grow!

As I prepared this post, I thought a lot about what  the middle of this poem, or any poem, does. I don’t have to set the tone or decide the topic or theme — that’s set up at the beginning of a poem. I don’t have to bring the poem to some sensible conclusion or work in a twist or ‘a-ha’ moment — those responsibilities fall to those who will conclude the poem at the end of this month. Middles are about expanding, and exploring. They emphasize, and repeat. They can sometimes be about changing direction.

This poem is starting to unfold itself. It’s about writing. (Trust a bunch of writers to write a poem about writing!) It’s about words as dancers, each with its own meaning and rhythm. This started out as a ‘private pirouette, a solitary samba’ but is this just journaling? Or will it become public? Will there be an audience for these words? Will they work together to create a whole — a whole that is trained and shaped by the writer as choreographer? I’m curious to see where this middle leads us.

When you listen to your footsteps
the words become music and
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too.
Your pen starts dancing across the page
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until
smiling, you’re beguiling as your love comes shining through.


Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers
of the words, one dancer to another, saying
Listen, that’s our cue! Mind your meter. Find your rhyme.

Twirl it away, Linda!

Giving Away Poetic Goodness!

In honor of Poetry Month, I’m hosting my first-ever GIVEAWAY on this blog. Up for grabs is a copy of And the Crowd Goes Wild: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems (which contains my poem ‘Superfan’) signed by me and several others included in the anthology. Here’s what you need to do to enter the drawing:

  • Earn 1 point: Leave a comment with a suggestion for a fun way to mark Poetry Month
  • Earn 1 point: On my April 30th post, share what you did to celebrate Poetry Month
  • Bonus point if you are (or become) a follower of Story Patch.

I’ll tally the points and draw a winner after April 30.

So…how DO you plan to spend Poetry Month?

National Poetry Month Starts Now…and a Giveaway!

NPM2013_logo_350Today marks the start of National Poetry Month. I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to bring more poetry into my life this month. The Academy of American Poets has a list of suggestions on their site.

Here are some things I plan to do this month:

  • April 3: Read the final two poems (and vote for one!) in the March Madness poetry tournament over at Think Kid, Think.
  • April 9: Participate in the 2013 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, which starts today, April 1, at Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog. (See the sidebar for a complete schedule.)
  • April 18: Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket day.
  • Read, read, read, plenty of poetry books.
  • Post (I hope) some poetry here on my blog throughout the month.
  • Put a poem or two in my son’s lunchbox. I’m open to suggestions for this one. My first thought was ‘Peanut-Butter Sandwich’ by Shel Silverstein (for obvious reasons) but it’s a little long. Will keep thinking about this one.
  • Write a poem on the pavement. There’s a good stretch of sidewalk by our house. It’s practically begging for a poem.

ATCGW coverAnd finally…this month I’ll be spreading the poetry love around by hosting my first-ever GIVEAWAY on this blog. Up for grabs is a copy of And the Crowd Goes Wild: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems (which contains my poem ‘Superfan’) signed by me and several others included in the anthology. Here’s what you need to do to enter the drawing:

  • Earn 1 point: Comment on this post to suggest a fun way to mark Poetry Month OR suggest a poem to include in my 7-year-old’s lunchbox.
  • Earn 1 point: Comment on my April 30th post and share what you did to celebrate Poetry Month
  • Bonus point if you are (or become) a follower of Story Patch.

I’ll tally the points and draw a winner after April 30.

So…how DO you plan to spend Poetry Month?

March Madness Thoughts – and a Poem

Madness2013BlackBlueThe March Madness children’s poetry tournament continues over at Think Kid, Think but…without me. I was edged out in the first round by a wonderful and witty poem from my critique group partner, Penny Parker Klostermann. Thank you so much to everyone who read and voted. I had a great time preparing for the tournament and writing my poem. If you have time and want to read more, visit Think Kid, Think today,where round 2 voting is underway.

Ed DeCaria the (evil) genius behind March Madness has also launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his next idea: turning the March Madness poems into a book, and a game.

In the meantime, I thought I would share one of my “outtakes” from the tournament. My assigned word was ‘parse’ and I came up with two poems for this word. I agonized over which one to send and ended up choosing “Notes on an Eighth-Grade Breakup” as a topic with more kid-appeal. The other I give you below. My loose inspiration for this was Mr. Collins, the insufferable clergyman from Pride and Prejudice who seemed happy to pass judgement on everything and everyone around him. Yeah, this guy: mrcollins

carson

And speaking of passing judgement…best of luck to my critique group partners, Bill, Penny, Renée, and Liz, who are competing in round 2 of March Madness. I’ll be reading (and voting) for you!

March Madness (and How to Write a Poem)

I’ve recently been posting on Tuesdays about my experiences reading WRITING PICTURE BOOKS by Ann Whitford Paul, but today I’m going to take a break from picture book thoughts to focus on the other genre I dabble in: childrens’ poetry.

Madness2013BlackBlueThis week, I’m participating in the March Madness poetry tournament over at Think Kid, Think. Sixty-four writers, each assigned a word, go head-to-head (pen-to-pen?) and compete for votes — YOUR votes. The word assignments for the first flight of the first round were released last night, and range from the rather mundane ‘potion’ and ‘mesh,’ to fun-but-challenging ‘abscond’ and ‘herculean,’ to the completely, mind-bogglingly, stupefyingly challenging ‘anthropomorphization.’ My word will be assigned Tuesday night, with my poem due (and voting to start) on Thursday morning.

I’ve been so focused on other things lately that this challenge has been a fun way to get back into writing some shorter pieces, and has also got me thinking about my process. Some of my poems come to me based on a phrase that I’ll hear — maybe something one of my kids will say, or something I say to them, or a phrase from a book we’re reading. Other times (not as often) I’ll think of a character I want to write about, or a joke I want to tell, and will come at the poem that way. But it can be a haphazard process. I’m not such a master of words, rhyme, and meter that I can always say exactly what I wanted to say. Sometimes words and ideas shift so much in the process that the result is far from my original intent.

I came across an old Sesame Street video a while ago that captures what the writing process is sometimes like for me. It features Don Music, that head-banging composer. Kermit acts as his one-man critique group. As a kid, I thought Don Music was funny but now, having been through this writing process myself, I find this flat-out hilarious. I relate to Don’s highs and lows — the joy when he realizes he can rhyme ‘pony’ and ‘macaroni;’ the despair when he realizes the resulting story makes absolutely no sense. I laugh as Kermit patiently makes suggestion after suggestion, and talks Don off the cliff (as only a good crit partner can do). And finally, I love how Don takes his ideas and Kermit’s suggestions, and creates something that is wonderful and totally his.

Enjoy!

Special good-luck wishes to my critique partners who are participating in the March Madness tournament with me: Penny, Renee, Bill, Liz, and Gayle. Good luck!!