Posts Tagged ‘found poetry’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Christie at Wondering and Wandering.

Just as my school year started, I received my final Poem Swap gift and poem from Janet Fagel. It was all about Taylor Mali, the inventor of Metaphor Dice. She’s friends with him. (Swoon!) She sent me his book Late Father, which I added to my Sealy Challenge stack, and a signed print of his poem Undivided Attention. Janet’s poem for me came as a found/black out poem from this poem. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the poem arrived just in time for my 60th birthday.

Earlier in the summer I received a poem swap from Mary Lee Hahn. She made an oracle deck from my own words, phrases she had found in my poems. She color-coded the cards to show which was 5 syllables and 7 syllables. Then she created two poems from my words, a haiku and a doditsu (7-7-7-5). She encouraged me to make these with my students this year. Tucking it away until April when we’ve written lots of poems together from which to choose lines.

Haiku by Mary Lee with phrases from Margaret Simon
Dodoitsu by Mary Lee Hahn with phrases from Margaret Simon
Creating my own haiku from the oracle deck.

Both of these gifts come straight from the heart. This is the whole embodiment of this Summer Poem Swap, organized and led by Tabatha Yeatts. Thanks Janet, Mary Lee, and Tabatha. My hear is full!

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Poetry Friday round-up with Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge

With more time in my day these days, I’ve taken the opportunity to join my friend Marcie while she sits at A&E Gallery, a local co-op art gallery. Marcie is a collage artist. We work side by side on art journaling. She does beautiful work and posts it on Instagram. She is currently working on a Postcard-a-Day project. She posted this beauty.

I have full on envy of her talent; nevertheless, I enjoyed her invitation to play with this medium. In January, I started art journaling in a book I made from an old discarded book. Each month I collage a few pages and work on a heartmap.

My son-in-law found an old electric typewriter at an estate sale for $15 and gave it to me this week. It’s quite a clunker, but it works. Michelle Haseltine inspired me to do typewriter poems. She’s been writing them every day for a while now. You can see them on Instagram and Facebook.

With my art journal, some words and phrases, and a sense of flow, I played with poetry. These are far from any kind of masterful poetry, but the point is to Play!

Do this! Allow yourself some open space and freedom. Leave behind the critic and the voice who says you are getting nothing done. Just be present and play!

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Click over to Buffy’s Blog for more Poetry Friday.


I know the importance of reading nonfiction texts with my students; however, I am not a fan of assigning an essay after every reading, especially in December.  I wanted my students to think critically about the text, to absorb it fully, and to demonstrate comprehension.  So I turned to the found poem.

To write a found poem, the writer must make decisions about which text to keep and connect to.  This requires critical thinking skills. For a found poem to work, the words and phrases need to be placed creatively.

We read “Shattered Sky”, a narrative nonfiction story in the November issue of Scope magazine published by Scholastic.  In this story, my students read about a little known disaster in Halifax Harbor in 1917, one hundred years ago.  They were fascinated.  The author of the text, Kristin Lewis used craft moves to heighten the emotions of the story.  I instructed my students to underline phrases and words that brought about an emotional response.

When we had written and were sharing our writing, Faith said, “I am amazed at how different everyone’s poem is.”  And she was right.  Each one was different.  Each student had found a unique voice.  Each poem reflected a different aspect of the article.

When Andrew posted his poem on our blog, he titled it “I like this poem, so you should.”  Mason thought it was the best poem he’d ever written.

This exercise of finding a poem gave my students confidence to recognize craft moves as well as create a unique piece of nonfiction poetry.


Poem for Halifax

December 6th
They ring a bell
The image they see
They want to repel

Children getting ready, grabbing their schoolbooks,
Fathers, ready to work, grab their coats, off the hook.
Dartmouth and Halifax, buzzing with activity,
while mothers make oatmeal, hot and ready.

Two boats, Mont-Blanc and the Imo
With explosives and munitions, ready to blow.
There was no saving them, as far as we know.
Neither ship changed course and tore into the other and
put on a dangerous light show

Orange and blue fire ignited the boats
People rushed to rescue, thought they could help.
They succeeded but some retreated up.

Andrew, 5th grade


The water had a thin mist of terror of WWI

The chimney swirled of smoke and ash

The people of Halifax were doing their everyday things

From eating to cooking and going to work

Then a sudden rumble and crackle of the two ships of cargo collide

They rush outside as every thing burst into flames and then boom

A sad tragedy will forever live in our hearts.

Mason, 5th grade

See more found poems at our Kidblog site.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry Friday is with Amy at The Poem Farm


Today is the final day for the Slice of Life Challenge, and I have run out of words.  I took a tour of my Facebook feed to find some.  It was a good day for most.  I found happy, dreamy words and created a poem.  Thanks for taking this daily writing journey with me this month.  Now on to National Poetry Month and a Poem-a-Day.

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SOL #17

SOL #17


The azaleas are blooming. Spring is finally here.
For this slice, I collected lines from other bloggers to create a SOL Spring found poem. At first I thought this would be an easy way of getting out of writing; however, I had to read quite a few blogs (never a bad idea) to get these lines. Then to decide how to put them together. In the end I enjoyed the exercise, but it was not easier than writing.

Because these words
have to tell the truth.

Each time I step outside,
I feel hope.
Something is different.
The silence gone.
I hear the snow crackling.
The ground breaking.

The clouds seem to have made a window.
I look out to a beautiful blue sky
Springing forward.

The pitter-pattering is punctuated
with swooshing and swishing of cars.
For already they have forgotten the dark.

Lines from Tara Smith, Catherine Flynn, Cathy Mere, Kim Doele, Meandering Maya, and Write Kim Write, and Julie Johnson.

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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

Have you used Read, Write, Think Interactives with your students? ReadWriteThink.org is a division of The International Reading Association and the National Council for the Teachers of English. The site houses a wealth of ideas, lessons, and activities designed to enhance any K-!2 literacy curriculum.

This week I was teaching plot diagraming. There’s an app for that! Go to this link to find the student interactive. Once students fill in the graphic organizer, they can print it out or save it as a pdf. My students will be adding plot diagrams to their next book talk presentation.

The other interactive I used was the Word Mover. Students can create found poems from the words of famous speeches such as “I Have a Dream” and “The Gettysburg Address.”

Here is a poem from Vannisa using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words.

One day this nation
will dream that,
all men had meaning
and are true.

The great activity
of the creative soul
must not allow violence.

We shall always pledge
peace to our world,
and justice
to our nation.


Andrew Raupp contacted me about a conferring app he and his wife have developed. If you are using Evernote, you may be interested to see what Chronicle can offer you. Go to this link to see his presentation.

“Show, don’t tell.” If you teach writing, you’ve probably used this phrase before. But so often we as teachers don’t take our own advice when it comes to our conferring notes.

What if a teacher-centric app existed, which allowed multiple photos, audio recordings, and video recordings to be associated with each conferring note, be it with individuals or small groups? Good news – there is!

Chronicle, developed by husband and wife teachers, is a cutting-edge iPad app harnessing the multimedia technology of the iPad, raising conferring notes to a whole new level. Think of the possibilities: capture audio recordings of a student’s fluency and reading rate, use video recordings of book discussions to provide rich feedback, snap pictures of student “before and after” writing samples.

Please add your Digital Literacy links below:

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Poetry Friday Round-up: Poetry for Children

Poetry Friday Round-up: Poetry for Children

Image created on tagxedo.com by Donna Smith

Image created on tagxedo.com by Donna Smith

Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Summer Poem Swap.

Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Summer Poem Swap.

In the mail last week, I received a poem swap gift from Donna Smith. While I loved the poem that seemed to be written just for me, I didn’t fully appreciate it until I read Donna’s Poetry Friday post last week. I could not get over the amount of time she spent on the process. In an email exchange, I asked her these questions. Her answers are in italics.

Did you select one blog post or multiple ones to get the word cloud?

I selected the blog’s main url, not a single post, but either could be done. I just wanted a larger picture of the overall blog contents, not just one day’s take on it. I was also afraid that some words would go together too much and sound like the actual blog post. I didn’t want it to be just about a post or a poetic rewrite of it, but more a “found” poem.

It was helpful to read through a bit of the blog where some of the words came from. I could remind myself of who I was writing to and discover more about the recipient, in case I could incorporate any information. I did some research on the “Teche”, not having been familiar with that term up here in the north. It was fun learning about another part of our country!

On your blog, you said you printed out the words and cut them up. Why did you choose to do it this way? I would think that you could just look at them and pick out words without the labor intense work of cutting. I wonder if the longer process led you to deeper writing?

You don’t have to type, sort, print and cut them, but I like the familiarity with the words I get with this more hands-on “direct contact” approach. Being able to move them around physically was good and did help with the deeper thought and connection in writing. Having them set for a bit helped put them in my mind where I could play with them some, too. It became easier to “find” the poem the more I got acquainted with the words. Cutting them apart might not be necessary for everyone. I would still recommend typing them to see them all at once and sorting them by their parts of speech.

by Donna JT Smith July 2014

the beginning
of a summer
a personal
to the clever
chatter of leaves,
the flight
song birds,
old bayou
voices and memes,
to the stars
in silence,
every life
is connected
to another,
and love deeply,
your heart,
your life,
in your corner
of the world;
time to write
the hazel Teche.
–Donna Smith, all rights reserved

Thank you, Donna, for the time, energy, and creativity you put into this poem gift.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

This weekend I was invited by the Acadiana Wordlab to read at a poetry reading for the Fire and Water Festival in Arnaudville. I walked in to The Little Big Cup, a quaint restaurant that even has blue china in the bathroom. The cake balls are just the right size for a sweet treat, along with a cup of your favorite hot drink. There was a large table full of poet friends and poet-friends-to-be. Ten poets gathered to read! I wrote down lines from each poet, added a few of my own, and created this found poem.

Last night I dreamed the moon was burning.
She smelled of incense, indeed as special as a single snowflake.
There is no exhale on nights like these.

The moon sees everything in red,
eyes wild like the river.
Blooming ginger stalks, waves of fragrance paint the sky
All the way down.

Our vision is often smeared.
We don’t see the signs, or ignore them.
While poets print their poems on the back pages of a calendar,
our soft necks hold them dear.

–Margaret Simon and poets of Acadiana Wordlab, all rights reserved

Before leaving the town of Arnaudville, I stopped at Nunu’s to see what was up. There were demonstrations all day long, cooking, crafts, etc. I happened on a woman making posies. Do you know what a posy is? Karen explained it’s a small bouquet. She had a table full of greenery and carnations. She showed me how to make the bouquet in my hand. “Start with the lightest color at the top. Twist in each stem. Arrangements in threes are pleasing.” I made this sweet bouquet to take home.


The next station I visited was a book making one. The artist, Juliet, and I had an immediate connection. She helped me make a book using mat board and duct tape. I sewed pages together using a needle and dental floss. She called each set of pages a signature. We told each other of our father-artists and the artist journey. She even identified me as a fellow Leo.

Juliet Lockwood, artist in residence at Baton Rouge General, and Karen Willingham of Deaux Bayou Gallery, were my gracious instructors.

Juliet Lockwood, artist in residence at Baton Rouge General, and Karen Willingham of Deaux Bayou Gallery, were my gracious instructors.

A day of poetry and lagniappe!

Acadiana Wordlab
Deaux Bayou Gallery
NuNu’s Art and Culture Collective

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2013 poetry swap with stamp included

Last week Tabatha sent me the name of my 3rd Poem Swap for this summer. I was so excited to see Linda Baie‘s name. Linda is a presence in the kidlitosphere. She won the prize (a copy of my book Blessen) for the biggest commenter on my blog during the March Slice of Life Challenge with the Two Writing Teachers. I have embraced Linda as a cyber-friend with hopes to one day meet her in person. She is so kind and supportive, I wanted to do something special for her.

My father had given me back issues of art magazines to use in my classroom, so I pulled one out for inspiration. I found a poem in the words of the magazine. Then I decided to make a collage of pictures. That didn’t work out so well. While my result was something and may have been creative, it didn’t please me. It wasn’t good enough for Linda, so I made another one. This one pleased me. The found poem came from The International Artist. The images came from American Artist.

play in art collage and poem

Introduce Play into your Art
a found poem from the International Artist
Imagine the surface
alive with light
not pure white—a combination
of source and object.

Look out the window.
See a passenger train
in late afternoon,
a spider web
on a dewy morning,
the cornfield
below the horizon,
tree branches
on a rainy night.

If you follow the light,
you will find the sun.
Light is like salt—
a little is all you need.

–Margaret Simon

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty.

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Image from Creative Commons

Image from Creative Commons

F is for Found Poetry. I love doing found poetry. It’s just a matter of finding the right words and putting them together with line breaks. Word play, play with words. In the Daily Iberian, a huge photograph caught my eye: A swarm of bees happening down on Main Street right in front of my church, The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. Do you know about bee swarms? For the full article, click here.

Robin shares a found poem using song lyrics on her blog, Teaching Tomorrow’s Leaders.

Swarms of bees
buzz in city streets,
prime time for roving.

Scouts looking,
a ball of bee-bodies
flock to the queen.

Killing is a detriment
To the dwindling population,
not to mention, a sticky situation.

In a suit of helmet and veil,
cool pine smoke flushes,
will calm and numb pheromones.

More bees are moving
to the concrete city,
Don’t eradicate,

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