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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Shovan’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Sally Murphy.

I have five friends currently battling breast cancer.  This daily battle is heart-wrenching and hard. They are sharing their journey with me and others. It seems all I can do for them is pray or cry or write a poem.

On Monday, Kim wrote this: “As you know, chemo wreaks havoc on the immune system.  It lowers red and white blood counts and one specific type of white blood cell–the neutrophil–is especially critical because it plays an important role in fighting infection. If a chemo patient develops a fever, it sounds the alarm that the neutrophil concentration has likely fallen below 1000 and spurs doctors to take immediate action. If not treated with a strong course of antibiotics, the patient could develop a potentially life threatening infection. So, chemo comes with a strong warning: take fevers very seriously.”

On Tuesday, Sarah wrote this: “Exposed, hurting, lying on what seems like a narrow mortician’s table in a cavernous room, alone, encapsulated by an enormous machine shooting me with targeted radiation all in the name of cancer — I am a science experiment.”

On Wednesday, Amy wrote this: “What do you wear to hear the results of your pet/ct scan? A crown of course. Well I got good news and not so go news. The not so good news is the cancer is growing and has shown up in two new places. We’ll be looking at new treatment options at MD Anderson. The good news is my doctor said I can ride roller coasters at Disney next week. Bring it!! Thanks to all who have shown their concern and who have prayed for me. Please continue – the road just got bumpy.”

In Laura Shovan’s Daily February Writing Challenge, the image of a beautiful ocean scene came up, but all I could see was the dirty sand and the crashing waves.  I released my growing worry and concern in a poem.

Low Tide by Andrea Lavoie

 

Low Tide

That sand is frozen brown grass
flowing like the folds of a blanket,
fluffed and tucked over
the patient’s bed.

Does it comfort or scratch?
Cover or annoy?

Skin is sensitive with fever.
Chemo burns through her veins,
poison that saves
even as the waves
of a raging ocean
recede with the tide.

It’s the pull of the moon
holding her in a glowing stare.
Where is the silver lining?

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018 for Kim, Sarah, Amy, Kelley, and Sandy

 

 

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Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

I hate snakes! I always have for as long as I can remember. I grew up running around the piney woods of Mississippi and now I live on a bayou in Louisiana. Snakes are a part of my world, but they terrify me.

This week one of the news stories that we poets responded to was about a snake coming out of a toilet in Texas. If you want to never look at a toilet the same way again, read this article.  I decided against posting a picture on my blog.  It was bad enough that I had to see it repeatedly on my Facebook feed.

The day this prompt was posted for Laura Shovan’s February ten found words writing project I was teaching cinquains to my students. They were writing them about their names. I chose to write about this snake menace. I enjoyed sharing the frightful article and resulting poem with them.

The rules for a cinquain are 5 lines with 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables in each line.

rattle
in the toilet
camouflaged cryptic sign
surprising an innocent boy
Nightmare!

shovel
slamming down hard
killing snake in a clump
unknowing den of twenty three
silent

cellar
perfect hiding
for slithering secrets
wondering when their diamonds
will shine

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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

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

Today marks post #1000 on my blog. Wow! This has happened one word at a time, one post at a time.  When I started this blog nearly 5 years ago, I had no idea where this writing journey would lead.  I have a wonderful community of friends through my connections with various weekly memes. Slice of Life was one of the first communities I joined. I appreciate all of you who read my musings. Here’s to the next thousand!

Through Poetry Friday, I connected with Laura Shovan. This year marks her 5th annual poem-a-day writing challenge for February, her birthday month. This year she’s hosting it on Facebook in a closed group. The theme is ten found words from current news articles. I check the morning post, copy the ten chosen words into a Google doc, and work on my poem whenever I have a chance throughout the day. At first, I didn’t want to have this much interaction with the daily news, but each article has been different. Not only am I reading poems, practicing writing, building community, I am also learning some amazing stuff.

nightly-sky-with-large-moon

On February 4th, the article was from earthsky.org, and I learned about the change in the moon’s orbit. Fascinating and certainly not an article I would normally have read. Sometimes the article informs the poetry, but more often the poems come from that inner poet, the one who surprises me constantly.

The axis turns
one rotation at a time
keeping in balance
this ancient path
tilting toward unity.

The gods knew this truth
when they painted pictures
in the night sky.

Our bodies want to return
to balance and knowing
and wandering; we look for a leader,
a shaman, a yogi master.

Analyze the words
of Langston, or Maya,
or Martin, and you’ll
see a common axis,
a dream that crept into each heart.

Spin around.
Face the stars.
Reach out.
Dream on.

–Margaret Simon

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Slice of Life Challenge

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

j-magnolia-dew

The Hallmark channel is on again.  I pour a glass of wine.  I search for something positive to say.  I’ve always thought of myself as an optimist, but these days are dark.  Winter is an apt metaphor for the state of our country.  I am carrying a weight of pessimism that I find too heavy and hard.

So I turn to my passion, poetry.  Poetry is like prayer for me.  I go inside my thoughts and work to make some sense of them.

Laura Shovan is getting ready for her annual February poetry project.  She has built a Facebook group.  It’s a closed group, but if you ask, you can join.  We are a bunch of liberals looking for ways to make sense of the news by taking 10 words from a current news report and writing poetry.

On Saturday, I found an empty journal on my shelf.  It is quite beautiful, a gift from someone, I’m sure.  The title reads, “Personal Journal with Quotes & Art by Women.”  I decided to use this book to pen the poems I am writing for Laura’s challenge.  On this page I share below is a sculpture called “Invocation” by Edith Schaller.  I wrote a poem for the January 25th warm-up using ten words from Janet Mock’s Women’s March speech.  I am not accustomed to being outspoken, political, or radical.  I am uncomfortable in this position, but I find solace in poetry, in writing, in words.

invocation

 

I am my sister’s keeper.
I hold her body.
I am committed to this work
of loving and comforting,
feeling safe and sensitive.

I refuse to crawl deeper into poverty,
refuse to give up all that we have fought for.
I will not be invisible or neglected.

But his words tear at a core
I fear is weak.  My liberation
is linked to my resolve
to not be moved, to hold fast.

Why must I turn into a revolutionary?
I once was a peaceful woman,
teaching, learning, writing,
minding my own business.

Why must I be confrontational?
Someone who has written herself
into this story of marches,
signs and petitions?

Sister, help me be this new me.

–Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday round-up is here today!

Poetry Friday round-up is here today!

photo by Margaret Gibson Simon enhanced on Picmonkey

photo by Margaret Gibson Simon enhanced on Picmonkey

Revisiting Presence, my 2016 One Little Word, makes me think of poetry. Poetry is about presence. We capture a moment, a thought, an image in a single verse and sit with it in the presence of the poem.

This month’s Ditty challenge on Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty, is a persona poem, suggested by Laura Shovan.

A persona poem makes the poet (then the reader) see the world through the eyes of another person. Today, I am a featured poet on Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog. She has a series “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt” in which she shares a poem after her nephew’s art. She also invites other poets to participate. I volunteered to write a poem from my nephew’s drum riff.

My nephew Jack, 11 years old, has been playing drums all his life. He owns his own drum set and is taking private lessons. He selected percussion as his instrument for band next year in middle school.

Jack and I, along with my sister Beth, had a Google hangout. I asked Jack to create his own drum riff, and I would write a poem to go with it. When Beth sent me the video, I was inspired to write a poem in Jack’s persona. I am sharing the poem here, but please click over to Penny’s blog to see the video of Jack on the drums.

The beat
starts in my toes,
startles my legs,
up-down
up-down!
My fingers feel the groove
until the tingling,
spine-riveting jolt,
budda-bump-bum
budda-bump-bump-bum,
is more than I can stand.
I must
I must
beat the drum!
by Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Jack's first drum set

Jack’s first drum set

I am hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today. Please leave your link by clicking the button below.

 

 

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

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

 

Each student has a chance to ask a question.

Each student has a chance to ask a question.

Laura Shovan and Janet Sumner Johnson are on tour as “Sweet Sixteens,” debut children’s authors of 2016.  I love any opportunity to connect my students with authors, so when I heard they had some openings, I jumped at the chance.

To prepare my students for this visit, I have been reading aloud an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary.    We are getting to know Hannah, Sloane, Sydney, Kate, George, and other students in the fifth grade at Emerson.  The school board plans to sell the school for demolition and a new grocery store.  Under the guidance of Ms. Hill, who must be a wonderfully kind teacher, the students protest and use poetry to get their voices heard. Laura Shovan creates a compelling story with her intricate knowledge of each character carefully depicted in the craft of poetry.

With Laura was Janet Sumner Johnson, author of the The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society.  We had time to read only one chapter of this book before our visit, but Janet packs so much into that first chapter that my kids were full of questions.  Janet said that she wrote the first version of the book 15 years ago.  It’s been through lots of revisions.  My students enjoyed learning about how Janet got her idea for the PB&J Society.

Janet and Laura on the Promethean Board

Janet and Laura on the Promethean Board

As an aspiring author myself, I took a special interest in what these wonderful women had to say about their writing and publishing experiences.  Laura showed us her huge binder full of tabs in which she kept every draft of every poem for every character.  I was amazed!

Both authors connected with the kids and were respectful of each and every question, even the silly ones like “Do you know about narwhals?”  Kaiden loved being the first to notice that the homeless girl in Laura’s book had the last name Holmes.  I believe that there are many more clever details in these two books.  They come out in April.  Get ready to add them to your classroom library.

 

Sharing the love of reading and narwhals on St. Patrick's Day.

Sharing the love of reading and narwhals on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

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

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

baie

February is not National Poetry Month. That’s in April. But Laura Shovan has a birthday, and she invites us all to play with poetry during her birthday month. I love a good word game, so when Laura Purdie Salas. posted about writing Found Moon Poems with 4th graders, I borrowed this idea to write a poem for Laura Shovan’s project. (Found Object Poem Project with Laura Shovan.)

Wonderopolis is a super-duper place to find nonfiction information. When Linda Baie sent the above picture for Laura’s project, I saw a porcupine. I quickly discovered that this was a pufferfish skeleton, not a porcupine, but too late, I had found a Wonderopolis article. Using copy, paste, and strike-through, I isolated words for a poem. When I started putting the poem together, it sounded like two voices to me. Thus a found poem for two voices.

Porcupine Found Poem for Two VoicesLove animals- Give them a hug.A porcupine- What's the big deal-Sharp quills! The prickliest!Quill pigs Quill pigsLike arrows, quills detach. Tiny needlesto pierce to piercean important lesson from a porcup copy

I haven’t tried this activity with my students yet, but I will. I hope they enjoy collecting words as much as I do.

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