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Click over to Steps & Staircases for more Poetry Friday.

 

Inspired by Project 1,2,3 originated by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and continued by her daughter, Lisa challenged us to make a metaphorical poem from an object/image.  Many of us took the challenge.  To see more poems, click over to Lisa’s blog to read more posts.

I brought this idea to my students and combined it with a lesson from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book Poems are Teachers, “Make Metaphors” on page 136. We looked at model poems and talked about how an object can become a metaphor.  In one class, I passed around a paintbrush and said, “A paintbrush is…”  In another, I blew bubbles and said, “Bubbles are like…”  Each of these inspired beautiful responses from my kiddos.

  • A paintbrush is your imagination.
  • A paintbrush paints your path.
  • Bubbles are sparkling rainbows.
  • Bubbles are in orbit flying around Saturn.

As I wrote with my students, I grabbed a pink marker and made three swirls on my paper.  Back at home with a little time to craft (snow day!), I cut and pasted pink swirls in an art journal.  Thanks, Lisa, for the fun prompt.

 

Swirl of pink
sparkle-sky
diamond bright
stars of night

Swirl of pink
puffy parting clouds
play peek-a-boo
with the sun

Swirl of pink
licky-lick
sticky-lip
lollipop

–Margaret Simon, 2017

 

Chloe’s Bubble poem

Trace’s pink paintbrush poem

Austin’s wooden flute poem

Lynzee’s angel poem

After we wrote and shared our poems, Andrew had an idea.  “Why don’t we take a line from each of our poems and make a new poem?”  Sounds like a great idea.  Here’s the resulting poem.

To dream it, all you have to do is start.

Don’t erase yourself from the real world.
Paint your true colors.

There is no fright.
Not to lose but to gain.

Flying high above
a swirl of pink puffy parting cloud,

The sea is my world.
The sand is my happiness.

–Caneview GT Allstars

 

 

 

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Click over to Mary Lee’s site for more poetry.

 

Fran McVeigh gave me a magnet at NCTE: “Explore new possibilities.”  I’m considering the word explore for my 2018 One Little Word, but for today, it inspired the title for a poem requested by Carol Varsalona for her #AutumnAblaze gallery.  She saw my photograph on Facebook from a recent canoe voyage on the Bayou Teche (pronounced “tesh”).  I loved the photo, too, and was resistant to writing about it.  I want you to know this is still in draft, so you can leave soft critique in the comments.

Duperier Bridge on Bayou Teche, New Iberia, LA. photo by Margaret Simon

Explore New Possibilities

On the water,
the canoe turns
toward a horizon
I do not know.

I paddle-pull
under a bridge,
listen to the rumble-
a passing car

like thunder from rolling clouds.
Under a bridge
where teenagers
huddle close and smoke,

where wooden gates
direct water
as if one could
contain such a wild thing,

a golden sunset
draws me toward
a new destination.

–Margaret Simon

Mary Lee Hahn invites us to join #haikuforhealing. Inspired by the same photo, a haiku:

where road meets water
a bridge, a golden sunset
a new horizon.

–Margaret Simon

 

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Click over to Carol’s Corner for more Poetry Friday.

Over at Today’s Little Ditty, Carol Hinz challenged us to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.  On a family Thanksgiving Day walk to City Park in New Orleans, we came upon an old outside bar covered in overgrown weeds and graffiti.  On the walls were a few amazing black and white drawings.  One of them caught my eye and then inspired a poem.

New Orleans City Park

At Violet Nesdoly’s blog, I discovered a new-to-me poetry form, Shadorma. The form is a Spanish version of the haiku with six lines and a syllable count of  3,5,3,3,7,5. The form fit well to what I wanted to say about the Graffiti Girl.

 

Graffiti Girl, City Park, New Orleans. Photo by Margaret Simon

 

Graffiti Girl

I am drawn
in hard black charcoal
staring out
of stone walls
yet when you see my image
your heart cries for me.

If you could
hold this star light high
a mirror
in my eyes
step into my wall, hold me,
would you come so near?

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

 

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Click over for Coffee and Donuts with Jama and more Poetry Friday.

 

Laura Shovan’s 5th annual February Poetry Project continues with one of us selecting an article each month and pulling out ten words.  This month Kathy Mazurowski selected this article and these words: nostalgia, reflect, interferes, cope, memories, personal, uncertainty, crystallized, bittersweet, science.

One morning I sat at my computer determined to get some words in for the day. I looked at the words Kathy selected, at my reflection in the kitchen window, and this poem appeared.  Every once in a while the muse visits me. I just need to sit here every day.

 

Glass reflects
the shape of things–
shadows of me
sitting here:

a cup of coffee
a vase of daisies
a cat
a stack of books

crystallized in a photograph
nostalgic for
the bittersweet taste
of uncertainty.

News interferes.
Memories flee.
How do we know what
tomorrow will bring?

Somehow we cope–
put on the cloak
of science and move on.
It’s not personal.

I reach over
to pet the cat.
Her fur is soft,
and she purrs.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Poetry Friday posts are with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Much has been written about this amazing new resource for teachers.

There’s this one at Live your Poem by Irene Latham.

And here is a review by Laura Purdie Salas.

The Two Writing Teachers featured an interview with Amy.

Literacy Lenses includes words of wisdom from a Good to Great (#G2Great) Twitter chat with Amy.

Like many others, I have a personal connection with this book because some of my students have featured poems.  Amy’s book not only teaches in a wonderfully accessible way; it also celebrates teaching poetry.  Lots of student samples sit alongside poems by children’s poets worldwide.  The depth and breadth of the message reaches well beyond the pages.

I am passionate about teaching poetry in my classes, but I am never quite sure how my lesson plans look to the administrators who check them.   Poems are Teachers is the affirmation I’ve been looking for.  In my heart, I know that practicing poetry is playing with language in a way that can inform other writing as well.  Sometimes writing poetry is just plain fun.  Nothing makes me prouder than a student frantically waving his hand in the air to share his poem.  If we use Amy’s book to create active writing experiences for our students, they will rise up and feel the amazing power of poetry, too.

Emily’s poem is in the chapter “Marry Music and Meter to Meaning.” She wrote this poem after a real lock down.

Jacob’s poem appears in the chapter “Let Art Inspire.” Jacob wrote this poem after looking at Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night.

Amy with Heinemann has generously offered a give away for this blog post.  Please leave a comment by November 10th and I’ll randomly pick a winner.  You definitely want this book in your professional library.

 

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Poetry Friday posts are with Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life

Last week my students and I studied the poem “A Letter in October” by Ted Kooser.  In response, some of us wrote golden shovel poems.  A golden shovel is a poem that uses the line of another poem stretched out down the right hand margin.  The writer then fills in words to create a whole new poem.  This method of writing a poem forces the writer to use enjambment in an interesting way.  Today I am sharing two student responses as well as my own.

 

I lay still in my bed in the moonlit night

A sweet blowing breeze passes in

And out  filling my room with its

soft and warm thick

Scent of snow and hushed winter

Whispers wrapping me in a chilly jacket.

–Erin, 6th grade

 

 

 

 You are sitting. Watching
                          while birds fly around the
trees. The sun going down, light
fading. You hear kids walk
down the street. The sun is down,
everybody collecting the candy the
people are giving out. You look at the hill.
You see something, a pumpkin. You carve it.

–Andrew, 5th grade

Every day I drive by a mighty oak tucked between the frontage road and the highway, Mr. Al.  In South Louisiana, the oldest oaks are named and cataloged and cared for.  Mr. Al has had an interesting journey as he was transplanted by the state highway department about 3 years ago.  He is thriving in his new home.

Mr. Al in October.

 

An oak tree spreads its mighty wings then
beckons us to see
another way the
world can be. Light
dances with the leaves, a casual step,
strong and easy, bouncing out
the noisy beats upon.
-Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday posts are with Irene at Live Your Poem

Last week, my friend, poet, blogger, writing partner Linda Mitchell posted her found haiku along with the inspirational poem Letter in October by Ted Kooser.  See her post here.  I took it all to create a lesson for my students.  After study of and talk about Ted Kooser’s poem, I shared Linda’s haiku and talked about how these haiku could stand separate from the original poem.  I challenged my students to try finding haiku.

Madison created this lovely poem, but first she gave the form a name “re-ku” as in recycled haiku.

A late light dawning
finding a world of darkness.
Silhouettes of the

lost leaves, soaring
on a draft. They have lost
their way. I watch the

darkness, sipping tea.
The night has wrapped the light, sowing
reflections ‘cross
my window. Watch.

Madison, 4th grade

Free image

I’m fascinated by the rhythm and repetition that Noah used to create his artistic expression of A Letter in December.

The icy water
a letter in December
Sowing reflections

The icy writing
a letter in December
in the window pane

The icy fingers
a letter in December
wrapped around the hearth

The icy shingles
a letter in December
frozen in its place.

–Noah, 6th grade

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