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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Poetry Friday: Crossing

Poetry Friday round-up is with my friend and critique partner, Catherine Flynn.

In my school email inbox, I get a weekly poetry lesson from Poets.org. called Teach this Poem. I don’t do these every week because the intended audience is middle and high school, and my students are elementary. But this week the author’s bio drew my attention. Jericho Brown is from Shreveport, Louisiana, a native to our state.

In the lesson, students were to identify a picture from the Library of Congress of the March on Washington. Enough of my students know about MLK, Jr. that they understood what they were seeing. Relating the poem to the march was a stretch for them, however.

Nevertheless, we wrote after Jericho Brown.

The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.

Read the rest here.

Jericho Brown, Poets.org

My poem became one of address to Jericho Brown.

We have crossed the line,
that imaginary space between
you and me, a wall covered in vines.
Tearing at the weeds, I find a flower–
morning glory. Help us, Jericho, to see
the flower in the weeds, the flame
inside a rainbow, crossing over
barriers to a place
where we can all leap together.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

I saw the tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts from Michelle Haseltine, and I said, “No!” I don’t need another group to join, another challenge to conquer, anything else to do! Just. Say. No.

That “no” lasted a few days, but the more posts I saw, the more I realized that this was the perfect thing to rejuvenate writing in my life and in my classroom.

Last year at NCTE 2018, I attended a notebooking workshop (wrote about it here) with Michelle and others. I came home inspired to make a commitment to notebooking in my classroom. At the end of the year on a field trip bus, I overheard one of my students talk to another one from a different school. She said, “I love notebook writing. Do you?”

Somehow things got in the way this school year. So the #100daysofnotebooking was just the thing I needed to bring out the notebooks again. We wrote every day last week.

I printed out this page, so we could keep a count of the days.

The notebook writing takes about 20 minutes in each of my three classes. I begin with some sort of prompt. We write to the Insight Timer set to 7 minutes. Then we share. Some of my students post their writing on our class blog, but this is not required.

Watching the Facebook page is inspiring (or daunting, depending on your point of view as some posts are very creative), but there is room for every type of notebooker. I’m enjoying trying out collage, writing to poetry, and word collecting.

As we continue, I’ll know more about how my students are growing their writing skills. Right now the routine of it is working. They look forward to the time to write, the time to draw, and the time to be themselves on the page.

Here’s a gallery walk of some of our pages:

Jaden was inspired by a poem by Nikki Grimes, Journey from Ordinary Hazards.
Notebook time leads to Flow, the concept that time disappears while we are immersed in a creative activity.

Karson’s One Little Word notebook page.
Breighlynn’s poem in response to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poem The Pie of Kindness.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Sally Murphy.

While the news of the world has most of us down and wondering what will happen next, my fellow poets and I turn to nature. Molly Hogan lets her eye find solace in nature in her poem this week. Linda Mitchell has haiku to share. And Catherine Flynn shares “Making Peace”
by Denise Levertov, “The poets must give us the imagination of peace…”

For more links to poetry peace, click over to Sally Murphy’s site. Sally is an Australian author supporting #authorsforfireys on Twitter, an auction to help fire relief in Australia.

I was recently driving to New Orleans on a stormy day, but the closer I got to Nola, the clouds turned red from the setting sun and a rainbow appeared. Who doesn’t love a good rainbow to inspire promise?

But I was driving, so taking a picture was tricky, and writing a poem impossible. Later I tried dictating my idea into the notes app. Some of the words recorded. Enough for the idea to germinate into this draft.

A car wizzes past
going 85 or 90 miles an hour.
Weaving in and out, the driver
couldn’t have noticed the sun
drawing light into the clouds
like a bonfire on a cold night,

Or the rainbow that appeared
streaking more red than any
rainbow I’ve ever seen.
I slowed to snap a picture,

longing to forget the speeding car,
the violent news of the day,
and drive into the sunset
with the promise of a rainbow. 

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

My Sunday Night Poetry Swaggers Group discussed the One Little Word tradition and found that everyone had a slightly different take on whether or not it was a good practice. Heidi challenged us to write about whether or not we word for the first Friday of the month. You can read their posts here:

Catherine
Heidi
Linda
Molly

I’ve been choosing a word each year for 7 years. I enjoy the process of trying to find the one right word to guide my year.

I’m a two on the Enneagram. That means I’m a giver, someone who spends most of their time trying to ingratiate others. The good side of a two is being helpful and selfless. The idea is to get better at being who you are. So I subscribe to an Enneathought of the Day. This came on New Year’s Eve.

Present has been my word before, but it continues to fit because being present is a constant goal. For 2019, my word was Grace. Grace goes beyond presence to actually live with the peace of knowing you are loved.

My word this year was suggested by my son-in-law who knows me pretty well. I wrote about Embrace in my Spiritual Thursday post yesterday.

I joined Michelle Haseltine’s #100DaysofNotebooking challenge and wrote about Embrace in my notebook. This challenge is not only a good way to restart a notebook practice, but it connects me to a new community of writers I can “embrace.”

I also received a serendipitous postcard from Irene Latham. The poem just makes me want to embrace her and embrace writing.

Writing in Winter by Irene Latham

Here is a second draft of my Embrace poem:

Embrace says yes to now,
holding on tight to this one moment
finding a heart full of love.

Embrace is a word of grace,
silently listening, open
for the world to fill.

Embrace is here for you
to welcome, knowing nothing
ever stays the same.

Embrace!

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

Do you choose a word? a resolution?

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A gathering of poetry can be found at Liz Steinglass’s site.

The Winter Poetry Swap has arrived. Our friend Tabatha Yeatts matches us up for a rich exchange of poetry inspired gifts. This year I was paired with Tricia Stohr-Hunt. This week I received her gift.

Tricia spent some time on my gift. That impresses me because these days, especially in December, time is precious and small. She cross-stitched my favorite line of poetry from Naomi Shihab Nye. Now to know this, she had to read my blog posts. Then design and stitch.

And to top it all off, she wrote a wonderful golden shovel using the line.

Golden Shovel for Advent

It is not the season of me or I.
nor the season of greed and want.
It is time for reflection, time to
prepare for the guest. We must be
ready to reach out to someone,
anyone who needs, anyone who
asks. Let us draw nearer to what makes
us whole. As the year crowns, it is music
that fills the air and our hearts with
expectation. Stars keep watch. My,
how they shine! Rejoice, for the Lord is coming.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Last week our gifted students in grades 4-6 went on a field trip that incorporated three activities. Each teacher’s group rotated through practicing for the Shadows Christmas play, visiting the Bayou Teche Museum, and going on a Poetry Walk.

Pelicans, a sculpture at Paul Allain’s Architecture office

The Poetry Walk took students through a sculpture garden, bayou side boardwalk, and a pocket park called Church Alley. I wanted the students to experience each space in a unique way. For the sculpture garden, we wrote a simple free verse poem of 15 words or less, along the boardwalk, a haiku form that reflected the theme of nature, and in the alley, a mask poem written in the voice of someone from the past.

At the museum, we learned interesting facts about the Bayou Teche and the founding of New Iberia. Frederick Duperier, a founding father, wanted a pathway from his home to the church, and later, the alley was used by nuns who lived in Mount Carmel, the Duperier’s former home.

Here’s a sampling of poems from my students.

Bayou Teche, a snake
slithering its way past us.
The Teche silent still.

Breighlynn, Bayou Teche haiku

Walking through an alley
a very dark, dark alley
to be lit up by
a beautiful church.
The dark dirt
of the alley
much darker than I thought
but a bit brighter
from my very own steps.

Breighlynn, Church Alley
Church Alley pocket park in downtown New Iberia.

The nuns, somber and solemn,
pass silently by my form.
They are hope, in a dark world.

Madison, Church Alley septercet

eyes big 
nose as big as an elephant
peeper sees everything
no matter mouse or bug

Landon, Sculpture poem

On the Bayou Teche
pelican in the distance
lily pads floating

Maddox, Bayou haiku

We celebrated these small poems with sharing time after each writing time. The students cheered for each other and enjoyed being poets paying attention to common places. Each poem was unique. The whole walk took about an hour with 20 minutes in each site. I recommend creating a poetry walk for your next field trip.

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The poetry Friday Round up is hosted this week by Tanita at fiction, instead of lies.

Our Sunday night Poetry Swaggers group is posting today with a challenge from Molly Hogan. “This month, I invite you to reinvent the world around you (or one aspect of it) by shifting your lens to see the beauty in what at first seems to be ugly or unnoteworthy.”

Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so.

Naomi Shihab Nye, A Valentine for Ernest Mann

Molly quoted Naomi Shihab Nye who says,
“Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us,
we find poems.” All we need to do is shift our focus a bit to find beauty in the everyday, otherwise passed-over things.

I pass this dilapidated house often, yet after Molly’s prompt, I noticed the beauty of the plants justing up through the floor boards.

There are signs
on the door
fingerprints,
peeling paint.
We’ve been here,
so have they-
gone now
the way of time.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019
Steps to a house in New Orleans. I was struck by the pattern of color in the peeling paint.

The Smell of Morning

Sagging fog, thick on the morning,
captures the scent of my walk.

Someone is running the dryer
blowing Downy air.

Every morning, he smokes a cigar
on his front porch, white rocker, 
booted feet propped on the railing.
He waves and with it comes
a pungent smell of burning wood–a home scent.

Beneath my feet, pine needles crunch
releasing a breath of Christmas.
My mother would gather them
to mulch the flower beds for winter.

As I walk, I practice my deep
yoga breath, in, hold, out, hold,
pausing to savor the ordinary,
extraordinary scents of the day.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

Be sure to visit the other Swaggers today to enjoy more beauty in the ugly.

Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core

Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise

Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone

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