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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

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Poetry Friday is with Catherine at Reading to the Core

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins!  His 76th birthday was on March 22nd.  

I introduced my students to the poetry of Billy Collins with this poem, The Trouble with Poetry.  The poem gives good advice about writing poems.

“The trouble with poetry is…
it encourages the writing of more poetry…
the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.”

I asked my students to steal a line and write their own poem.

The trouble with reading poetry is
that it’s so fun to read you can’t stop.

The trouble with poetry is
that you are to sit in the dark room
and wait for a flame of idea to pop up.

The trouble with poetry is
that Mrs. Simon makes us look for
what the poem means which is super hard.

The trouble with poetry is
thinking about ideas which is like hitting
yourself in the head with a rock.

The trouble with poetry is
that sometimes people steal ideas
and don’t give credit.

The trouble with poetry is
that you think your idea is bad
when it is really good.

The  trouble with poetry is
that you can have a writer’s block.

The trouble with poetry is
that you have to read it out loud to find mistakes.

by Andrew, 4th grade

 

Poetry Fills Me With Joy
Making me Float Above The Clouds
Like A Hot Air Balloon Soaring Above
After Being Filled With Hot Air
Like A Plane Being Filled With Fuel
And Taking Off
Like The First Letter Of Each Of These Words
Trying To Soar Off of The Screen

poetry fills me with sorrow
making me sink below the ground
like a balloon being popped
and crashing in the sea
like a plane crashing and burning
like the letters of this poem
trying to sink off the screen

By Kaiden, 6th grade

Billy Collins sarcastically expresses the feeling I get when I read poetry, and the reason I read poetry with my students.  Poetry breeds more poetry.  And I can’t think of anything better that a poem might do.  Thanks, Billy Collins, for encouraging my students to steal a line and try their own hands at writing poems.  

“ And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.”

 

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Poetry Friday is with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

 

Do you know what a fractal is?  I had a vague idea, but certainly didn’t know enough to teach my students about them.  Nonfiction books are wonderful ways to introduce new concepts to students.  At the SCBWI MS/LA regional conference last weekend, I ran into Sarah Campbell.  Her most recent book caught my eye and my curiosity. I knew it was be a favorite in my classroom.

Sarah describes fractals through photographs and simple descriptions.

Every fractal shape has smaller parts that look like the whole shape. Fractals are everywhere in nature, and can form in different ways. A tree is a fractal. It starts with one shape that changes in the same way over, and over, and over again.

–Sarah Campbell, Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractal in Nature

 

 

dill flowers by Sarah Campbell

I wondered aloud with my students if there would be a poetry pattern designed after fractals, as we have Zeno poems from J. Patrick Lewis and Fib poems from Greg Pincus and others that come from mathematical patterns.  We did a quick Google search and a poetry exercise evolved.

Fractal poem: Choose a root word.  List words that use that root.  Create a poem that uses one of your words in each line.

Frag

By Madison

A frag of hope
in the fragment of
a diamond,
sparkling
and flaring
like a
fragile
piece of
orange glass
a fragrance
of a delicious
orange.

Enlighten Poem

by Andrew

There is lightning in every storm
which is a light
of hope
and in every lighted room
there is faith.
And in every room is a child
enlightened by a night-light.
And all the moonlight that shines
on this Earth, there is life.

Hope

by Margaret Simon

Hope is in the seed
Food of hope within
Hoping light will shine
Enter my hopeful seed
Hopefulness, dance with me
Take hopelessness away
Grow more hopeful in each day
Hope is in the seed.

Click here to read my students’ posts on Kidblog.

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Poetry Friday is with Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

 

 

I am blessed to have a group of friends who chat through Voxer.  This poem came out of a conversation on our chat.  It’s a found poem.  But the words were found from spoken words.  Their arrangement here is changed to make them flow together as a poem.  Creating a poem is a puzzle to be pieced together.  Creating a life is a puzzle to be pieced together.

 

My Presbyterian husband did his best
to make me feel guilty
about this irreverence,
this moving on.
I’m having a hard enough time
finding my voice,
finding a new perspective.

We all know things can change
in the blink of an eye.
I’m ready;
I’m creating a new story for myself
welcoming this grand adventure.

It’s all about revision,
another draft.
I want to learn something new
Maybe that’s asking too much.

We are all inching our way to that something–
who we are, who we are meant to be
So many things get in the way.
No one path will be the path.
Ultimately, we do the best we can.
I am making my way
as you are making yours.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry Friday is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

Poetry Friday is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

This week I received an email from Heidi Mordhorst promoting a celebration of Billy Collins for this Poetry Friday roundup.  Billy Collins’ birthday is March 22. He will be 76.

I’ve actually had the privilege to meet Billy Collins at the Dodge Poetry Festival in the fall of 2008.  I took a picture with him that I cannot find.  I remember his humor most of all.  The tone of his voice, almost monotone, enhances the hilarity of his poems.

I’m not sure how many books I have of Billy Collins’ poetry, at least 5.  At Christmas, I had a Barnes and Noble gift card, so I bought the latest The Rain in Portugal. I read about half of it and put it down after I heard an interview with him that made me mad.

I imagine all poets to be gentle, loving souls.  If Billy Collins is being himself in interviews, and I would assume he is, he is quite arrogant.  He insulted us amateur poets as if we shouldn’t even try to write.  I decided to reject his opinion and continue to write poetry.  In fact I’ve written a few poems “after Billy Collins.”  So to appease my injured pride and to reject his lofty opinion, I am not posting his poetry, but my own.

Our Ship

after Billy Collins, Litany

We are all on this ship together
whether or not it sails.
We are side by side
like the freckles on your mother’s face.
We are closer
than the love bugs on the windshield.

You, and I, and he, and she.
We are not like the blown away balloons
at the 3 year old’s birthday party.
We are not the shavings of wood mulching the flower bed.

No, we are this way, that way,
you know what I mean,
intertwined like the vines of wisteria,
joined and connected, tumbling and reaching.

Give me your hand.
I will give you mine.
Let’s go on this voyage together.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved.

azaleas

Burst into Spring

after Billy Collins, Today

If ever there was a spring day so perfect,
so stirred up by a cool crisp wind

that you wanted to breathe more often
to taste the wisteria blossoms,

and throw open all the doors,
lift them clear off the hinges,

a day so bright the pink azaleas
pop open like a birthday balloon bouquet,

seemed so delightful that you felt like
running naked among them,

released from all inhibitions taking flight
outstretched arms playing airplane,

so you could fly on steady wings
balanced for lift and drinking nectar,

yes, you can imagine it,
today is just that kind of day.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

 

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Poetry Friday is with Karen Edmisten.

Poetry Friday is with Karen Edmisten.

As we continue our journey through Here We Go, the latest Poetry Friday Anthology book from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, we encountered a totally timely poem by David Bowles, “Border Kid”.

You’re a border kid, a foot on either bank.
Your ancestors crossed this river a thousand times.
No wall, no matter how tall, can stop your heritage
From flowing forever, like the Rio Grande itself.

(from Border Kid by David Bowles)

We looked at similes and played with using them in our own poems. Emily wrote this sweet poem about Home.

Home
by Emily

Home is like a safe haven
where you are watched over and protected.

Home is like a nurturing mother
always taking care of you.

Home is like a vault,
holding all of your secrets.

Home is like a best friend
supporting you when you need it.

Home is like an answer
to your echo is a lonely room.

Home is like a book
with memories and stories to tell.

Home is like a gentle hand
reaching out to help.

Home is more that just a house.

I am learning more every day about writing poetry. As I participate in Laura Shovan’s daily challenge, I realize that poetry can be elusive. I try to follow the stream of my words, but sometimes they go astray. I am trying to be brave, write brave, and bravely post. The community is gentle and kind. Even when I bash my own poem with qualifiers like, “I am no good at rhyme,” someone finds something positive to say. I know the importance of critique groups. But when we write, especially poetry, we are vulnerable. The intentions of Laura’s challenge are different. We accept that it’s a drafting workshop. I try to apply this learning to my own classroom coaching. You are not going to hit the mark with every poem, but I encourage my students to give each exercise a shot and to post on our class blog. Writing can only get better with more writing.

I posted a poem that I wrote for #tenfoundwords to Today’s Little Ditty padlet. This month’s challenge from Jeannine Atkins is to write a personification poem about an emotion. I wrote this ditty about Mindfulness.

Mindfulness

Make an active mind, non-active
Re-awaken your innermost self.
Seek a word of peace,
Blow away resistance, fear, and dread.
Engage your attention to now,
Hold on with compassion and understanding.
The space left open is for love.

love-space

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Poetry Friday is with Jone at Check it Out.

Poetry Friday is with Jone at Check it Out.

With apologies to William Carlos Williams, who probably had little idea where his sweet plums poem would lead writers of today. On day 7 of Laura Shovan’s ten found words poetry challenge, my friend and writing group fellow Catherine Flynn wrote an apology poem. I immediately grabbed it as a mentor poem for my students. I also grabbed my copy of Joyce Sidman’s This is Just to Say Poems of Apology and Forgiveness.

this-is-just-to-say-book

This is just to say…
I broke the glass dish
so thoughtfully placed
on the tank of your toilet.

A large spider,
camouflaged in
a clump of flowery
soaps, surprised me
as I washed my hands.
A cryptic tan blotch,
shaped like the head of a shovel,
covered her abdomen.

Forgive me, but
she rattled my nerves.
She scurried away
when I tried to scoop
her into a tissue.
My hand upset the dish,
sending it crashing to the floor.

I didn’t want to kill her.
I wanted to return her to the garden,
where she’d be free to snare flies
in her shimmering web.

printed with permission from the author, Catherine Flynn

Catherine’s poem was written to the same selection of words I wrote snake cinquains last week. Lynzee remembered this and my story of being fearful of snakes, so she wrote this poem (in the voice of Mrs. Simon).

This is just to say,
Your lawn mower has a snake in it,
I was trying to kill it so
I ran it over.

It was a garden snake,
Slithering along the grass
Like a tiny green rope,
TERRIFYING!

Standing out against
The wheat colored grass,
Like a moving weed.

So I panicked,
And grabbed the first thing i touched,
The lawn mower.

I will buy a new one,
If you want.

–Lynzee, 2nd grade

We talked about whether you have ever eaten anything you weren’t supposed to eat. Andrew remembered sticking his finger into the butter. He grinned, “I love butter!”

This is just to say…

I ate the butter
out of the container yesterday.
It was delicious
like caramel chocolate

It was your fault
you left the top
open. Who doesn’t
take that chance?

I hope you have
some left for your
toast. I am so sorry.
I’ll try to buy more.

All I did was
stick my finger
in the butter. It
was out of control.

–Andrew, 4th grade

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Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

I hate snakes! I always have for as long as I can remember. I grew up running around the piney woods of Mississippi and now I live on a bayou in Louisiana. Snakes are a part of my world, but they terrify me.

This week one of the news stories that we poets responded to was about a snake coming out of a toilet in Texas. If you want to never look at a toilet the same way again, read this article.  I decided against posting a picture on my blog.  It was bad enough that I had to see it repeatedly on my Facebook feed.

The day this prompt was posted for Laura Shovan’s February ten found words writing project I was teaching cinquains to my students. They were writing them about their names. I chose to write about this snake menace. I enjoyed sharing the frightful article and resulting poem with them.

The rules for a cinquain are 5 lines with 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables in each line.

rattle
in the toilet
camouflaged cryptic sign
surprising an innocent boy
Nightmare!

shovel
slamming down hard
killing snake in a clump
unknowing den of twenty three
silent

cellar
perfect hiding
for slithering secrets
wondering when their diamonds
will shine

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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