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NPM: F is for Fib

National Poetry Month 2017

Back in school, back to poetry.  This day we landed on the letter F.  We wrote Fib poems.  A Fib poem is based on the Fibonacci series for a syllable count of 1,1,2,3,5,8.

I read aloud Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book “I Wish you More,” and showed my students her video “The Beckoning of Lovely.”  These ideas were swimming around in my head when I wrote with my students.  When I used the Word Swag app, the words did not line up like a fib poem, but hopefully you get the message anyway.

You can read some of my students’ Fib poems here.

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NPM2016

One thing that helps me during this month of poetry discipline is forms. When I have something to say, words to use, form can help me with a placement that sometimes leads to wisdom or a nice image. Amy Rudd linked up to DigiLit Sunday yesterday reminding me of the Fib poem. This form is based on the mathematical Fibonacci sequence which begins with 1,1,2,3,5,8.

I came home from a quick weekend trip to find African iris blooming in the courtyard. I did not plant these. The prior owners did, so they delight and surprise me each year. I gathered words from a Google search and wrote two fibs.

African Iris Fibs

Sword
Leaves
Flowers
Delicate
Open only a day
Walk across the garden to you.

African irisNew
blooms
daily
butterfly
wings, African grace
welcome me to this rainforest.

Follow the Progressive Poem to Irene's site Live your Poem.

Follow the Progressive Poem to Irene’s site Live your Poem.

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Laura Shovan is a poet who shares the love. For her birthday month, February, she commits to writing poems every day and shares the experience with anyone who dares to jump in to the party. Read her introduction to the project here.

I have joined in her project every year and find the experience challenging, inspiring, and enriching. I don’t know if I get better at writing poems, but I know for sure that this is a welcoming and passionate-about-poetry group. I am honored to host today.

In preparation for this month of writing, Laura called for images of found objects. I sent her this image of lotus seed pods I picked up out of the swamp on a winter canoe trip. They sit in a pottery piece that is also reminiscent of nature.

lotus pods

Diane Mayr was considering skipping today. And that very thought made her write a skippy poem. You never know where the muse may hide. I love the rhythm of the flower names and of course, the final truth.

Mama Planted a Garden
(a skipping rhyme)

Mama planted a garden,
but it came up weeds.
Oh, my silly Mama!
You planted the wrong seeds.

No, my little Missy,
they were the right ones.
A flower to a father
may be a weed to the son!

Buttercup, aster, and bergamot.
Maiden pink, dandelion, forget-me-not.

Columbine, bunchberry, periwinkle.
Violet, lady slipper, honeysuckle.

Always remember this,
my little daughter:
one person’s weed
is another one’s flower!
–Diane Mayr

Patricia VanAmburg did some research on lotus pods and found out there is a disease, Trypophobia—fear of holes. So she wrote a rather empty poem about that feeling of empty nest, one I know all too well.

Empty

Of what use this pod
Without her seeds
Temporary filler for
More fruitful flowers
But every life
Returns to earth
Fragile as the cradle
In an attic corner
Brittle as mother’s ribs
After every baby has gone
–Patricia VanAmburg

Jessica Bigi sent an image of a lotus flower while she takes us back to ancient rituals.

Photo and poem by Jessica Bigi, all rights reserved.

Photo and poem by Jessica Bigi, all rights reserved.

Carol Varsalona is cross-posting her poems on her blog. I love how she is digitally playing with the image as well. I imagine sitting with Carol enjoying a warm cup of coffee and the quiet.

A Hushed Quiet

As I sit by the window,
the morning sun
drifts on in,
singing the praises
of yet another day.
A zen-like quality emerges.
Rays bouncing from
winter white blankets
bring outdoors in.
A hushed quiet
envelops the room.
In a corner,
upon a mat of bamboo,
cut-open pods of grace
in triad formation
adorn a desk
of muted colors.
Indoor life merges
with outdoor sights
in a seasonal burst,
reminding me that
new life is waiting
in an early spring.

©Carol Varsalona, 2016

Violet also did her research on Trypophobia and wrote an erasure poem from an article on Mental Floss.  Who knew?  I certainly did not.  Thanks for the learning as well as the poetry.

Trypophobia

skin crawls, heart flutters
shoulders tighten, I shiver
crazy revulsion to holes, bumps
images of holes, parasites
bot flies, worms, ravages of disease
pregnant suriname toad
lotus seed head
give people trypophobic
heebie jeebies
soap bubbles trigger
nightmares

~ Violet Nesdoly

Heidi Mordhorst digs into the earth to consider how an anthropologist looks at things.

Day 10
anthropology

once thought to be
an elaborately carved musical
instrument used
only on the wedding day
of a woman born under
the eleventh moon

it is now understood to be
a deliberately culled muscular
implement used
only on the winding way
of a man burned under
the oppressive soon

context is everything

Here’s another from Heidi. This one is a child’s wonderment at the things of this world.

Making Sense

First it’s something to see–
almost black among the greens and yellows,
scalloped around the edges like
crayon clouds or flowers,
clouds full of black hailstones–
or it’s a leopard-skin jellyfish.

Next it’s something to hold–
not weighty like a microphone
or a metal shower head,
but light and hollow, not plastic
and not wood, part smooth
and part ridged and rumpled.

Now it’s something to hear–
take it by the curving handle oh!
is that a stem? and shake, shake
shake–those blackish beads or
beans or oh! they’re seeds!
they make a marvelous rattling!

~Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved

Donna Smith makes a simple poem reveal a truth of nature.  Love the alliteration, one of my favorite literary devices.  I think Donna is a little bit chilly in Maine, so she has thoughts of overcoats.

PODS

Purposefully plopping pondward
Out of open overcoat
Drooping, dropping down
Swamped seeds settle, silently sprout.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

 

And Mary Lee chimes in with this little ditty.  She is a master at metaphor.

Day 10

when your plate is full —
seed ideas lined up in rows —
give thanks for fulsome seasons

–Mary Lee Hahn

 

Linda Baie finds the music in the lotus pod, the sound that remains after the blooming is done.  Is this a metaphor for life?

A Lotus Life

I remember that delicate blossom;
You burst with all life’s colors,
and the minutes moved,
the days passed.
More beyond the hues emerged.
You nourished;
we were thankful.
You gave all you were able.
At the end, the music remained,
only the music displayed.
It was enough.
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

 

 

To write my own poem, I turned to form and tried out a Bio-poem. Laura Purdie Salas used this form with 3rd graders this week. See her post here.

Lotus
mystical, pure, beauty, enlightened
Daughter of Bodhi
Lover of muddy water, sun, and spring
Who feels spiritual, open to the light
Who gives wisdom, joy, and peace
Who fears storms, drowning, neglect
Who would like to see the ocean (Is it as blue as me?),
tomorrow (My life is fleeting.),
and world peace (Doesn’t everyone wish for world peace?)
Who lives in Atchafalaya Swamp
Who knows noble truths
Lily of the Mud.
–Margaret Simon

And here is Laura with another of my favorite forms, a Fib poem. Read more about Fib poems here.

Lotus Pod Fibonacci
By Laura Shovan

Three
brown
pods shake
rattle, roll.
Seeds fly. We stomp them
into the ground, part of the dance.

Molly Hogan was flying under the radar with her first attempt at haiku. This challenge is pushing us all to find what form fits best.

Day 10 –My first attempt at haiku.

Autumn maracas
Invite you to merengue
Shake a leg, baby!
–Molly Hogan

Catherine Flynn found the lyrics to the life cycle of a lotus at the New York Botanical Garden.

Photo and poem by Catherine Flynn, all rights reserved.

Photo and poem by Catherine Flynn, all rights reserved.

Buffy Silverman offers another haiku, which is the ultimate nature poetic form. Hard to capture a moment in few syllables.

dried lotus pods
shriveled and moored in mud
cradle tomorrow
–Buffy Silverman

What’s a poetry parade without Charles Waters? He bounced in with this sunshine.

LOTUS FLOWER (HEY BUDS)
Fuchsia covered buds
stretch out in praise of morning
revealing their sun-shined heart.

(c) Charles Waters 2016

lotus pods
seed mysteries
three days
of flowering
rebirth
an open heart

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

If you have a poem for today’s found object, put it in the comments and I will add it to the post. Thanks again for joining us and for reading all the way through to the end. Mardi Gras ended yesterday, but this is a joyful parade of poems to keep you passin’ a good time!

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Poetry Friday round-up with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

Poetry Friday round-up with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

Do you know about the famous Fibonacci Sequence? The ages old sequence that creates a spiral, a shape found in nature? The mathematical sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8…Do you see the pattern? More information (including algebraic equations) can be found at Math is Fun.

I had forgotten about using the sequence in poetry until a colleague introduced it to our 6th grade enrichment group. We are working on Unsung Hero projects. Our previous meeting had been a field trip to see and hear about heroes in our own town. She asked the students to recall the field trip by writing a Fib poem. I wrote about the Buddhist Temple in our local Laotian community.

Wat Thammarattanaram, New Iberia, LA

Wat Thammarattanaram, New Iberia, LA

Stands
tall
above
Buddhist monks
humbly giving self,
Temple of golden ornaments,
Temple of sacrifice,
meditate on lasting love.
–Margaret Simon

A Fib poem follows the syllable count as in the mathematical sequence, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. And if you are feeling wordy, you can tack on a line of 13 and 21.

A few years ago I had used this form with my students when we were sharing The 14 Fibs of Gregory K by Greg Pincus.

I tried out the form on my other students. I asked them to write about our field trip to New Orleans, the Aquarium and Insectarium, last week. The exercise was quite a challenge. I, too, struggled. But that’s what writing is all about, right? We made a padlet.

erin's mermaid

Each afternoon, I read aloud another chapter of Fish in a Tree. We usually write notices and wonders to add to the Voxer chat with other classes, but yesterday, I asked Jacob to write a Fib poem with me about Ally, the main character. We started over 3 times. Jacob was being very patient. Each time he’d write the syllable count down the margin of his journal page. Finally we liked what was coming, but we couldn’t quite get that last line. Then Jacob just blurted it out. Some days my young students blow my mind. We recorded it on the Voxer chat.

Why?
Why?
Ally
thinks she’s dumb,
so afraid to tell,
hates being locked up in her brain.
–Jacob

Using strict forms can be frustrating, but when it works, when we discover a winning line, we can say “Boom, Gotcha” to that Fib!

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Sometimes I teach a lesson in writing workshop, and the students apply it right away. Sometimes they don’t. A few weeks ago, a blogging friend (if it was you, let me know in the comments) wrote about using hyperlinks in blog posts. She was doing a research unit with her students. I thought how cool would it be to write a poem and put in a hyperlink. I made the suggestion that my students go on to Wonderopolis (which they love) and read about a favorite topic and write a poem about it including a hyperlink. One of my students even commented, “Why haven’t you taught us this before?” But none of them did it.

Choice is important to me in writing, so I didn’t freak out. On Friday, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater offered a challenge on The Poem Farm for students to write a poem about a manatee. And Friday was my last official day with my students. I thought there would be no way we could fit that in with writing a letter to me and having a popcorn and apple party. Not to mention they were leaving an hour early to go out for Character Day activities. But two students took the challenge. They read Amy’s poem, watched the video, and wrote a poem using a hyperlink.

Later in the day, I had a few other students at school #2 also take the challenge. I tweeted Amy, and she tweeted back that in honor of my students, she would adopt a manatee. How cool is that!

Manatee

You are sometimes known as sea cows.
Shallow, slow areas are where you choose to browse.
You are actually related to elephants,
and you’re big, graceful, and elegant.
The great Manatee is who you are
And truly you are the ocean’s star.
Brooklyn

Image from Wikimedia commons

Image from Wikimedia commons

Manatee, my Friend (a Fib poem)

great

friend

what have

you done to

deserve this treatment

you will be safe soon my dear friend.
–Tyler

Since I will be out of school, I’m not sure if I should continue this round-up. What do you think? Should we keep it up over the summer or take a break and come back with full force in August? Let me know in the comments.

Link up your post with Mr. Linky. Come back and read other posts. Don’t forget to comment. That’s what makes the blogosphere go around.

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Discover. Play. Build.

It’s Celebration time! What are you celebrating? Head over to Ruth Ayres’ site to read about other celebrations.

I. A huge thank you to Greg Pincus, author of 14 Fibs of Gregory K, for Skyping with my class…twice. Two groups of my gifted students talked with Greg and learned about the life of an author and how to write Fib poems.

Quotes from their thank you notes:

“Math and poetry are two of my favorite things, so combining them makes my life 10x more enjoyable.” Brooklyn

“You taught us some interesting things about the book like that some things in reality accidentally snuck themselves into your book.” Ian

“I really thought it was nice of you to talk to us, it being 7:00 at your home.” Matthew

“P.S. I would eat 12 donuts before I ate pie (but I still eat it.)” Nigel

“I like how you said humor is the sixth sense because you made a joke out of every question we asked, especially the pie question.” Gage

II. My principal asked my students to write chalk poems on the sidewalk for our Mother’s Day celebration, “Muffins with Moms.” So we had another Chalk-a-bration, and following our Skype with Greg Pincus, we had to make them Fib poems!

Vannisa chalking
Moms Brooklyn

mothers chalk poetry

III. This week was our annual Gifted by Nature Day when all the gifted students in the parish gather for a day of playing strategic games and making art and poetry with nature. This year a group of middle school students led the art/writing activity. This was a great relief to us teachers. The activity was great, too. The students drew an object from nature, then retraced it on foam board. This pattern was used for a monoprint on colored construction paper. The students really focused on the details in their drawings.

Erin draws

After they made the prints, they wrote 6 adjectives and a metaphor or simile about their print. I told the students these were poems. I thoroughly enjoyed this day watching my students interact with kids from other schools and have so much fun playing and creating. The weather was great, too, so we enjoyed picnicking in the park.

I wanted to take pictures of all of their prints. Here are a few to celebrate!

Andrew drawing

Dancing flower

Andrew's leaf

Reed's poem

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IMWAYR

In yesterday’s DigiLit Sunday post, I talked about joining in this weekly round-up, It’s Monday: What are you Reading? I dreamt about it all night, so I guess the time is now to join in. The round-up can be found at Teach Mentor Texts.

OneThousand

For my spiritual life, I am currently reading the memoir of Amy Voskamp. I am enjoying her fresh language and her real struggle to find joy in every day. She makes a list of 1000 gratitudes. In making the list, she discovers joy in giving thanks and encourages, through her real experience, us to do the same.

14 Fibs

I am reading 14 Fibs of Gregory K in preparation for a Skype visit with Greg Pincus next month. My boys enjoyed this book. In Gregory K, we have a boy in a family of mathematicians who is a writer. Each chapter begins with a clever Fib poem. Greg Pincus invented the form using the Fibonacci series as syllable counts. This is a great form to use with students. Greg’s debut novel is as clever as he is, but somehow his character just keeps getting deeper and deeper into a fib of his own. I am looking forward to visiting with Greg soon.

My own Fib poem, which is completely true.

We
find
magic
when poems
reveal inner truth
and breathe out a sigh of Ah, yes!

–Margaret Simon

Today, I am the guest blog post at Laura Shovan’s Author Amok. For poetry month, she asked writers to submit a n essay about a source poem. I wrote about a professional struggle that ended in my discovery of myself and Mary Oliver’s wisdom in “Wild Geese.” It was harder than I thought it would be to let this go public. I want to thank Laura for her continued encouragement and inspiration to me as a writer.

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