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Archive for the ‘Bayou Song’ Category

Poetry Friday round-up is with Erin at The Water’s Edge.

 

I am in the process of planning a workshop for teachers for the Acadiana Center for the Arts to be held on October 11th. When I met with my teaching partner, artist Marla Kristicevich, we discussed creative ways a teacher/writer/student could respond to my poems in Bayou Song.  I loved her idea of creating magazine collage.  I wanted to give it a try myself and with my own students.  The collages are as diverse as the students themselves.  

From the collages, we then wrote an I am poem.  For this, I offered sentence stems to get the ideas flowing.  Today, I am posting one of my collages and poem along with Madison’s.  Madison wanted to use a unique word, so we looked through what I call “the big whopping dictionary,” a two book set my daughter bought me at an antique store.  Madison found the word reliquary, and we had a discussion about the metaphorical use of a river as a reliquary.  I love what she did with her poem.

 

I am a silver-tongued storyteller.

I wonder where my path leads.
I echo laughter, tears, and songs.
I watch the sun, moon, and stars.
I call your name.

I am a silver-tongued storyteller.
I remember tales of old.
I nurture time and treasures.
I say the heart is true.
I hope you’ll hear my call.

Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

 

I am a Rambling River Reliquary

I wonder if I can ever turn back.
I echo the past.
I watch the present.
I call for the future.
I wind a wide bend.
I touch every memory.
I nurture your thoughts.
I want to never stop.
I remember the crashing thunder.
I say ” Swshhh, rrww! ”
I tell the wind my tales.
I hope I can find more.

Madison, 5th grade

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.

 

I’ve challenged my students to write a list poem this week.  Before Friday was even here, Madison had taken the bait and wrote a list about the famous Fibonacci series. Madison has an unique style of writing poetry.  She capitalizes all the words.  I once asked her why she did that, and she told me because they are all important.  Who can argue with that!?

Fib-List Poetry

Never-ending
Always Twirling

Since the Very Beginning
It has been Swirling

Green Points
A Real Place to Pinpoint

It will Not Disappoint
At the Right Viewpoint

A Fibonacci
Unlike the Nazi

Madison, 5th grade

Phyllotaxis plant spiral, goodfreephotos.com

My friend Kay continues to use Bayou Song to inspire poetry with her gifted 4th and 5th graders.  Last week they wrote I am poems.  This week they wrote tercets.  I love Karter’s use of B words to express the beauty of birdsong.

Birdsongs
by Karter

Birds are like singing angels
Busting through sadness
Belting out melodies.

 

Pop on over to Linda Mitchell’s post full of poetry love from the National Book Festival last weekend.  Her post helps me remember with joy and celebration!

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Louisiana booth in the Parade of States.

Bayou Song was featured at the Louisiana booth at the National Book Festival. This was a fun yet humbling experience. Kids crowded our table wanting Mardi Gras beads and a stamp from our state. I stood on the side like a protective mother to my book. Occasionally an adult would take interest and want to talk. I had a number of good conversations about teaching, poetry, and writing. One parent and child asked me to sign the bookmark. I felt like Vashti from The Dot. Really? Yes, sign it.

A man picked up Bayou Song and as I reached out to grab it back, I realized he was reading a poem aloud to his infant son while a taller, school-aged boy clung to him. So heartwarming to see this scene in the midst of the crowd.  He explained that he is a stay-at-home dad and he reads poetry to his children every day.

 

The National Book Festival is a huge free event that promotes literacy on all levels. On the kid level, there were activities and talks by authors like Kate DiCamillo, Dan Santat, and Jason Reynolds.  For grown-up readers, there were some big names like Sonia Sotomayor, Amy Tan, and Roxanne Gay.

Poetry Friday friends Heidi Mordhorst, immediate right of the sign, and Linda Mitchell next to her. Heidi said, “Poetry is the means by which a person knows her place.”

The highlight of my day was to see two of my writing critique friends face to face. We palled around to a talk with poets laureate Tracy K Smith and Robert Haas. We also heard from a new-to-us author Suzanne Slade who presented about her new book Countdown. It’s written in verse! With amazing photos and illustrations.

Later in the day as I waited for my husband who was listening to Jon Meacham, I saw Suzanne walking by. I waved her down and not only was able to get her to sign her book, but we also had a great chat about writing and publishing. Authors are just regular people who love to talk about their work.

On Sunday, my husband and I worshiped at the National Cathedral and toured the Holocaust Museum. I was moved by both experiences in different ways.  Our nation’s capital is an awe-inspiring place to visit.  My husband agreed and said he’d accompany me on any author trips.  He enjoyed being my “roadie.”

 

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

On Sunday, I had a book signing for my new children’s poetry book, Bayou Song. I invited photographer, Henry Cancienne. What a delight to finally meet him face to face! Henry and I have been communicating by email about the photographs he offered for inclusion in Bayou Song.

Meeting Henry, I was not surprised that he is as gentle in spirit in person as he seemed by email. His photographs are a reverence to Louisiana’s amazing natural environment. He told me that his photos are his legacy. We talked about some of his other books and he went out to his car and brought me two of them.

Photo by Henry Cancienne

Photo by Henry Cancienne

Photo by Henry Cancienne

Henry lives in Lockport, Louisiana, about 90 miles east of New Iberia. He goes out in the swamp and marshes nearly every day. Henry is a US Air Force veteran, retired science teacher, petroleum chemist, volunteer fire fighter, and police officer. His photographs have appeared in multiple books and magazines. He told me the story of this photograph of sun rays through live oaks. He saw the scene, pulled his car over, and took the photo. It’s included in Bayou Song as well as Louisiana Swamps and Marshes and currently is displayed in the governor’s office. He says you never know when you will get that perfect shot. Henry is always prepared with camera in hand.

Henry Cancienne

Today Laura Shovan has a stop on the blog tour with a zeno poem about cypress knees. Please stop by.

If you would like a signed copy of Bayou Song, you can order one from Books Along the Teche at 337-367-7621. If you would like it personalized, you can contact me by email. Thanks!

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Sylvia today at Poetry for Children.

Rain is falling again.  That’s the way it is here in South Louisiana in the summer.

Rain and green.

Rain and steam.

Rain and gleam.

I could write a bayou poem about it always raining.  In my new book, Bayou Song, I have a few favorite poems.  Like children, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but today I am thinking about the poem There is always…

This poem uses anaphora, a repeated line. I think I stole it from Jane Yolen, but I can’t be sure.  One thing about writing poetry is poetry begets more poetry. For my next writing project, I hope to keep better tabs on where the inspiration comes from.

If you’d like a personalized copy of Bayou Song, I can mail it directly to you with payment using Paypal.  Email me at margaretsmn at gmail.

Bayou Song has had a beautiful blog tour so far.  Today the stop is with my friend and writing critique partner, Linda Mitchell.  Check it out. 

Friday, June 22:
Michelle Kogan

Tuesday, June 26:
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core

Friday, June 29:
Ruth Hersey at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town

Friday, July 6:
Kimberly Hutmacher at Kimberly Hutmacher Writes

Friday, July 13:
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise

Tuesday, July 17:
Laura Shovan 

Tuesday, July 24
Amanda Potts at Persistence and Pedagogy

Friday, July 27:
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink

Monday, July 30
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance

Friday, Aug. 3
Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live Your Poem.

 

The time has come to let you all in on a very exciting adventure, my first poetry book for children, Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape.

This unique book that combines poetry, nonfiction text, photographs, and illustrations with invitations to write and draw will be published by UL Press on June 18, 2018.

This week I wrote an anticipatory poem prompted by Amy VanDerwater’s exercise in writing striking words.

Publication Day

I’m flabbergasted
by anticipation,
dizzy with expectation,
nauseous
with nervousness.


I’m sidestepping
assumption,
antsy for predictions,
impatient
for beliefpower
to hurtle into
my psyche.

 

I’m dancing
with my destiny
with heebie-jeebies
and butterflies
splitting me into
a hive of many bees.

The day of publication is near.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

I am so pleased with my illustrator, Anna Cantrell.  She was a delight to work with.  She is young and enthusiastic.  Follow her on Instagram at jarofpencils.

I’ve received a few awesome blurbs.  Love this one from Ava Leavell Haymon, former Louisiana poet laureate.  It’s probably too long for the back cover, but I want to savor every word regardless.

A love-song to the Bayou Teche, this inviting book creates its own universe.  I suspect there are multiple paths for us to enter that universe, but I am drawn in immediately by Anna Cantrell’s luminous watercolor illustrations, a gift to us from her precise observation and quiet love for her subjects.  And then Henry Cancienne’s photographs add another layer of beauty and understanding.  Then I come to brief paragraphs of information, enough to arouse curiosity but press me with too many facts. Then — what a treasure box this little book is! — Margaret Simon’s poems, each one born of minute observation and winsome appreciation of this  Bayou universe.  And nestled into all of this are Simon’s suggestions for writing a poem of our own in the manner of the one we’ve just read, and a little space right there to do so.  Experienced teacher, she suggests with a light touch and offers inviting tricks to make our writing easy.

This is a generous, generative book that gives and gives and does not make demands.  My fingers were itching to hold a pencil, a canoe paddle, a watercolor set, a camera. I leave its universe a little sad to go, but refreshed in my love of the Louisiana bayous and with my own creativity restored.         Ava Leavell Haymon

If you would like to participate in a blog tour, please fill out the form below.  Select a date that works for you (between June 18-August 18) In the comments, let me know your ideas for your post as well as your snail mail address.  I will make a schedule and send you a pdf of the book.

 

 

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