Do you enter contests? I don’t. But I pretty much insist that my kids do. I even will go so far as to write it as a goal on their IEP. At the end of the school year last year, most of my students entered a piece of writing into our state writing contest, LA Writes. I was pleased to hear in September that three of them had placed. The awards ceremony was last Saturday at the Louisiana Book Festival at the State Museum in Baton Rouge. When Madison came to the microphone to read her poem, she introduced herself as “the author.” What a thrill for this writing teacher to hear her describe herself as an author.
Madison wrote her first place poem after Irene Latham’s “Tree for All.” In May, we had a Skype visit with Irene. She wrote about my students’ poems here.
I secretly wished that Irene was there to hear Madison read. Sometime wishes do come true. Irene was at the Book Festival. We met up later in the day. She presented in the Children’s Storytelling Tent and guess who walked by?
Reef for All
after Irene Latham’s “Tree for All”
Sharks feast on my citizens;
my restaurant never closes.
Eels hide in my caves;
my shelters provide homes.
Sea worms play peek-a-boo in my tubes;
my tubes allow all ages.
Fish hide in my caves;
my cradle caves are cozy for new fins.
No sea animal can resist my charm:
I am a coral reef.
MadisonTree for All (in Dear Wandering Wildebeests)Giraffes feast on my leafy crown;my buffet never closes.Rhinos doze beneath my broad branches;my umbrella selters and shades.Baboons scramble up and down my trunk;my playground delights all ages.Owls nest in my hidden knothole;my cradle cozies brand-new wings.Skinks sleep in my thick, spotted bark;my camouflage keeps them safe.Safari ants trail along my roots;my roadways help build a city.No grassland beast can resist my charms;I am a wild bush willow tree.– Irene Latham
I will be presenting with Irene and some other awesome poets at NCTE 2016 in Atlanta:Sat., 9:30 G.12 Writing for a Better World: Poetry Response to World Events B210