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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday is with Karen Edmisten*.

As I peer through bleary eyes at the end of a long week after a week off, I am remiss to find a proper poem to post, but Alas! Kat Apel has saved the day. She created a form just right for this occasion.

What is a lamipofri? It’s a poetry snapshot that’s quickly scribed, to give people an insight into the world around you at a given point in time – that point being the last minute as you’re scrambling for a Poetry Friday poem to post! Hence the name: LAst MInute of a POetry FRIday! 

Kat Apel
February Morning by Margaret Simon

A single moment
sky beckons
softness of a peach

A day begins
click,
capture,
send.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Poetry Friday posts are being gathered by Ruth in Haiti: There’s No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town.

It’s Friday, and I had a week off, the first few days as part of an expected Mardi Gras break (no Mardi Gras activities, though) and the last few due to the winter storm that blew through the south (It’s still only 28 degrees.) Our plumbing system is not prepared to handle freezes. Nevertheless, these days of lazing in PJs next to a warm fire without much to do have been luxurious and allowed me some writing time.

On Wednesday evening, I joined Laura Purdie Salas’s first Write Alone, Together session. She started us off with an image and a roll of metaphor dice. The image came from a National Geographic article here. (Fair warning, it’s a rabbit hole you may fall into.) The metaphors were 1. Home is a well-worn zoo, and 2. Your body is a bootleg blessing. Rather than use these metaphors as complete thoughts, I split them up to create a poem. The photo prompt made me think of a piano that we gave away to a local school. Here is the draft I wrote in my journal:

Arctic Dreaming
This home–
well-worn,
frosted with shards
of stains, a zoo
of strays–
holds a corner space
where the piano once was,
now empty,
inviting something new
or old (an antique desk chair, perhaps).
You choose the thing
to fill the space,
with a blessing
and a dream.

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Plato Terentev from Pexels

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Poetry Friday gathering is at Molly’s place in Maine, Nix the Comfort Zone.

I am taking a creative-inducing drug called A-Poem-a-Day. It’s good for me. But it doesn’t always make me happy. Poetry is a place where emotions become raw. This week I heard of another community member’s death from Covid. He was 75 and battled for months. His family was dedicated, by his side, and hopeful until they couldn’t be. I don’t know this kind of loss. I’m a lucky one, and sometimes that makes me feel guilty.

Laura Shovan does a poetry writing project every February. This year the theme is body. If you are interested in seeing the week’s prompts, go to her site here.

Heather Meloche posted the prompt “lungs” with a profound graffiti art piece “I can’t breathe”. Not only do I wish I could breathe for those who can’t, I also wish I could take away the pain of loss. This empathy came out in my poem.

Misty morning
fills my lungs
with living.

On this day
I pray
for air,

a way to not care
people are drowning.

They can’t breathe.
A machine breathes for them.

I wish for a way
like roots of trees
breathe together underground,

a way
to pass
hand to hand
lung to lung

Health
Healing
Hearty
life.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone.

The beginning of February is finally here and the Swaggers are posting responses to a new challenge. This month Catherine Flynn challenged us.

Copy a mentor poem (or other text) “word for word, then replace [that poet’s] language with your own.”
Inspired by S. Kirk Walsh’s essay “How E.L. Doctorow Taught an Aspiring Writer to Hear the Sounds of Fiction” (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/books/review/e-l-doctorow-virginia-woolf-music-literature-language.html )

The Writer’s Almanac comes daily in my email inbox. Some days I barely have time to read it, but others I find a kernel of inspiration, a poem, an author, a rabbit hole. On this day, I remembered Catherine’s prompt and tucked the poem into a document to work with later.

The process was fun. I used the suggesting tool in Google docs editor. That way I kept the original underneath the new text I added. In Greg Watson’s poem, the main character is a yellow lab waiting for its owner outside a coffee shop. We don’t have a yellow lab, but my little schnoodle Charlie goes bonkers when our resident raccoon visits to steal our outdoor cat’s food.

When I’m up early, I feed the cat before dawn. When the raccoon comes, I let Charlie out to the side yard when he goes crazy. One morning, I actually saw the raccoon. It did not run away as I expected, but just stood still like a stone creature from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Watson’s poem gave me the perfect structure to capture this surprising moment.

Raccoon Outside the Back Door

The raccoon outside the back door
today does not move; but instead,

still with ever-expectant energy,
like a heron perched for the catch,

forepaws poised in the air
above the leaf-littered sidewalk,

he stops without making a sound,
knowing that any moment

the cat food will disappear,
slipped back into the human house,

and night will suddenly fall into
day: every sound, sight, and aroma

disturbed, the door swinging
open and shut, with a backward glance

awkward silhouette, following,
as if it had somewhere to go.

Margaret Simon, after Greg Watson

See other Swaggers poems from mentor poems:

Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise
Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core
Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

Photo by anne sch on Pexels.com

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jan at BookSeedStudio.

Last Friday I posted poems from my two fifth grade girls who responded to Amanda Gorman’s powerful words with their own poems. Their poetry prowess has not stopped. On Thursday, Kaia announced that she had written another poem. She explained to me that she saw Beldam, the Other Mother in Coraline. She googled it and found a poem by John Keats, La Belle Dame sans Merci. As she’s telling me this, she is writing and googling and writing and asking me about the Queen and how tall she is. Where is she going with this? In the end, it all led to an original ballad-esque poem.

I told her, “You are doing the work of a poet.”

Her face (her eyes, for she was wearing a mask) lit up. “Really, why?”

I explained that as a writer, we seek inspiration and research it and then write from it. Amanda Gorman explained in an interview with Anderson Cooper that she read other inaugural poets and researched inspirational speeches to write her poem, The Hill We Climb. “You are doing this kind of work. You are not just writing from my prompts anymore. You are actually a poet.”

Those words inspired her to write another poem. I will post a stanza here. She said, “I love how in poetry, you can write about anything. I can write about your desk, that pen, the Kleenex box.”

“Yes, you can.” I thought to myself, a dream come true. Or my One Little Word, Inspire, at work.

I’d like to find a place to send some of her work. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.

The Work of a Poet

As you pick up the pen, you wonder what to write 
Thinking this way and that way, until you see a light
A shining and glistening rhythm it sets off
And helps you to the end of the paper, as fast as a cough

Kaia, 5th grade
Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Shovan.

Like the nation, I have fallen head over heals in love with Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet ever, and a heroine to many young girls just like the ones I teach. All girls, no matter their race, can now dream of being a Vice President someday. As much as I admire Kamala Harris and her accomplishments, the star of Inauguration Day was young Amanda Gorman. I couldn’t wait to present her to my students this week.

We started on Tuesday with her poem “In this Place (An American Lyric)” written for Tracy K. Smith’s inauguration as Poet Laureate in 2017. (This post from the Library of Congress contains the poem and a video from the reading.) As Kaia heard that poem, she was writing. And after class that day, she sent me two more poems. Amanda lit a fire in her, a flame for words.

There’s a poem in this place 
after Amanda Gorman


Not here nor there
But there’s no need to look everywhere
tug and pull on my hair 
Hoping that this poem, has time to spare

There’s a poem in this place 
While i’m in disgrace
Of finding my lyric
That belongs in this place

There’s a poem in this place
Still not being found 
Is it in a dog hound?
No, it weighs more than that one pound 

There’s a poem in this place
While the wind is hitting my face
Being withdrawn due to lack of space
Without leaving any sign of a trace

There’s a poem in this place 
Where could it be?
Wait, I have found it!
It’s in YOU
and ME. 

Kaia, 5th grade

On Thursday, we used Pernille Ripp’s generous gift of a slide show to visit and discuss “The Hill We Climb.” While the message of this poem was powerful, I was drawn to Amanda’s effective word choice, how they sound and how their meanings change with usage. Combinations like just is and justice, arms, harm, and harmony, and tired, tried, and tied. Chloe’s poem below is her good effort to play with word sounds like Amanda.

There’s a poem in sight 
Too bright
To fight
It takes flight 
To the world
of an artist
Who’s never artless
Who just started
to harness
The sharpest words
That bring out
The creativity
With a twist
And a big
Dream to
Feel like
They exist

Chloe, 5th grade

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Poetry Friday round-up is here today! Put your links with InLinkz at the bottom of this post.

Last week the Sunday Night Swaggers posted Nestling poems, like Irene Latham in This Poem is a Nest. I couldn’t stop there. I had to share the concept with my student writers. I had planned to teach the inaugural poem by Richard Blanco, One Today. I have the picture book, and it’s just an amazing poem all the way around. It’s especially full of nestlings for writers to find.

I filled two notebook pages with them. I copied a few into a Canva design. (My student helped with titles.)

Kaia and I wrote this one together, each choosing lines back and forth.

millions of faces 

arrayed

all of us 

we keep dreaming

many prayers

buon giorno

every language spoken

into one sky

by Kaia and Mrs. Simon

trains whistle

like a silent

drum tapping

on every rooftop

a birthday tune

by Chloe (She asks you to guess the title)

For the Winter Poem Swap, I received a gift poem all the way from Australia, along with the cutest little carrying bags with an original print of an echidna. Kat Apel and I muse about how similar and how different our landscape is. We often post similar pictures on Instagram of canoeing and walking about. Her poem is a delightful back and forth about our similar, yet different homes.

Pop over to Kat’s post to see how Robyn wrote in a similar style in her poem for Kat. It’s a small world after all.

Please leave your Poetry Friday links below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Sylvia at Poetry for Children.
She highlights poetry books coming in 2021.

The Sunday Night Swaggers have entered this new year with a challenge from Heidi Mordhorst. We’ve all read and admired the new poetry collection from Irene Latham, This Poem is a Nest. I reviewed her book on this post.

Irene created the term nestling, which is similar to a found poem. She started with her own poem and found new poems within it. I decided to start with a poem I wrote for Heidi for the Winter Poem Swap.

Essence of Heidi

There you are rolling Play-doh balls,
placing them onto a fake birthday cake, 
lighting each candle
deep breath in, then screen-blow–
a ritual of celebration, exclamation
of You Matter!

There you are creating a caterpillar’s undoing,
how it digests itself
to become something miraculous,
shouting the great wonder–
a ritual of changing, shedding the old,
in silence. 

There you are writing words,
passion-pulsed onto the page
to inspire a child or grown-up–
a ritual of reading aloud, praise
for turn-the-page, frosted ice
melting into a poem. 

–Margaret Simon, 2020 Winter poem swap

Here are my nestlings…

Happy Birthday!
Play-Doh cake
in celebration
of You!
Writing Teacher
Words
inspire-up
praise.
Picture Book
Lighting
a miraculous
child, then
turn-the-page
Autumn
Undoing–
become shedding
silence
Peek-a-Boo
There,
There,
there you are.
Irene’s Nest
Ritual of passion
pulsed the page
into poem
Nestling drafts, Margaret Simon

Read more nestlings from my friends.

Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise
Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core
Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Ruth in Haiti.

Happy New Year! If you are looking for a way to feed your writing life, subscribe to Poets & Writers’ The Time is Now. I do not do their prompt every week, but this week when I was feeling out of touch with writing, I opened it to find a prompt that worked well for me.

“Mars Being Red” by the late poet Marvin Bell lyrically explores the color red as a state of being, likening it to a list of images that both physically resemble the color and provide memories, such as that of youth. In this compact, twelve-line poem, Bell begins what seems to be a portrait of the planet Mars and then delves into a series of digressions that find resolve in a meditation on the possibility of change: “You will not be this quick-to-redden / forever. You will be green again, again and again.” Inspired by Bell, write a poem that serves as a portrait of a color. Use physical descriptions to begin and then personal memories to develop a transformation in this study of hue.
From The Time is Now

Bayou Being Green

Being green is the color of an amaryllis
bud before blooming. Color of time lost
in growth, of soul lost inside
meditation. Green of grassy meadows
we walked with the dog, while our steps
made time disappear for a moment.
Contemplation becomes green in your eyes,
emerald of stars, early light reflects
sage from the bayou surface where green
water darkens as we stroll west toward
sunset, away from dawn into an age
of white on white on white. 

Margaret Simon, draft after Marvin Bell “Mars Being Red”
Bayou Teche in November, Margaret Simon

If you are looking for a weekly photo writing prompt, subscribe to my blog, I am posting a photo each week on Thursdays and invite you to write a small poem response. This Photo Wants to be a Poem.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle Kogan.

One of my favorite things about teaching Reading and Writing to elementary gifted students is our weekly poetry reading and writing. We’d gather around the center table and read a poem together, talk about it, annotate, and write “like” the author. While it looks different this year, I have not given up teaching poetry. This week we worked with Teach this Poem and Joy Harjo’s poem Perhaps the World Ends Here. I love this poem, the universality of it, the simple profound language, and its accessibility to young students.

When Jaden suggested we steal a line, I knew exactly which one I wanted to steal: “This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.” After a few false starts, I am pleased with my poem. I am also posting Jaden’s because it shares wisdom beyond his 10 years.

The Writing Table

At this table,
dreams are written
in decorated notebooks.

There’s a pocket for poems
and clean blue lines open
to ideas.

At this table, there are
scraps of paper,
colored pens in a coffee can,
a tube of glitter-glue.

Today, this table is empty.
A screen glows
while children type 
& breathe through cloth.

Words still float onto an empty page.
Poems still light a spark.

This table is a house in the rain,
An umbrella in the sun,
a dawn in the darkness.
Come taste the sweetness.

Margaret Simon, 2020

Why all
the gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. 
So has it been since creation, and it will go on.

The gifts have been laid out through history
traveling through our mind.
The table of gifts has been the energy of life in our heart.
The gifts of the table have been tampered with.
The gifts in our heart have been bruised.
The table is the immune system 
shielding the gifts of the earth.

Jaden, 5th grade

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