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Posts Tagged ‘List poems’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone.

School has started here in the midst of hot, humid August. I’m setting up three classrooms at three schools (quite the challenge!), so lists have become important to me. What do I need at this school that I know I have at that school: tape, markers, glue sticks, etc. The lists go on and on.

But lists can also become poems. And in the midst of this stress, a list poem relaxes me. They release stress much like to-do lists do.

One way I can relax is to peruse Facebook. Tuesday I saw a post from Margarita Engle about sand poetry. I also thought about my promise for writing during the school year and opened to a clean notebook page. And this comment from Cathy Mere made it into the poem as well, “Loved this, Margaret. Your advice to just open our notebooks and put the date on the page to see what happens is among my favorites. I’ve been thinking about this in terms of “margin.” In the summer, we all managed to get a little margin – a little white space – in our lives. How do we maintain that as the busyness of the school year approaches? Figuring out how to maintain space for doing the things we love is something I’ll be thinking more about as the school year begins.”

In the Margins, write a poem

For more list poems, try Georgia Heard’s collection Falling Down the Page or this page on The Poem Farm.

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Michelle is hosting today at Today's Little Ditty!

Michelle is hosting today at Today’s Little Ditty!

Poets are some of my favorite people. I want to be one, so sometimes I try on their clothes. I shared this confession with my students. One of my poet-heroes, Laura Shovan, tried on Naomi Shihab Nye’s list poem, Words in my Pillow, that you can find in Georgia Heard’s collection Falling Down the Page. I shared Naomi’s poem as well as Laura’s with my students.

My students are smart kids who are really stubborn about wanting to break the mold, but I told them, “This is the form we are trying on today.” When the third student asked about breaking the form, I turned to them and said, “What did I say?”

“We are trying this one on today!” Sometimes when you try on another poet’s form, it is confining and doesn’t fit at all. Not this one. I was surprised at how well this poem fit.

Words in my Bathroom

I keep words in my bathroom,
Words that keep me clean.

SOAP
TOWEL
SHAMPOO

No one sees them
Until I put them on,
But I know they’re there.

BATHROBE
FACE CREAM
BODY WASH
HAND SOAP
LEFTOVER CLOTHING
TOILET PAPER

TOILET is in there.
BATHTUB is in there.

The words wish they were something else
When I’m not looking.
This TOWEL and that RACK
like being together.
CANDLES brighten up my bathroom
TOILET yells NO
in my bathroom.

My friends the words
know better than I do
what makes me feel good.
–Tobie

Words under the Couch Cushions

I keep words under the couch cushions.
Words that make me cool.

HANDSOME
BLACK
STYLISH

No one sees them until
I put them on.
But I know what’s in there.

REMOTE
TOYS
PAPER
FEATHERS

WHITE SOCK is in there.
GOOGLY EYES are in there.

The words make a PUPPET
when I am not looking.

TISSUE
GUM
CARD

My friends the words know how to fluff a cushion
better than I do.
But I love them.
–Jacob

Words in my Closet

There are words in my closet that say “you’re chic!”
                       OLD NAVY
                            GAP
                         JUSTICE
  “No one sees them until I put them on, but I know what’s in there–”
                     SILK
                 SPARKELS
              POLKA-DOTS
               RHINESTONES
                  “DENIM”
                 FLOWERS
   SHOES are in there.
EXTRA LACES are in there.
 The words choose my outfits.
I’m just not around when they do.
This SHIRT those SHORTS                                                           Already pieced together.

NEON colors brighten up my closet.
LSU shirts shout “GO TIGERS” in my closet.

My friends the words
know me the best.
–Emily

Words in my Journal

I keep words in my journal.
Words that dance from
my thoughts to the page.

BUZZY
PATIENCE
BOUQUETS

No one sees them
like LOVE LETTERS I hide in a box,
but I know what’s in there.

PURPLE
SKY
VICTORY
UMBRELLA

STARLINGS flit in there.
Even DILLY-DALLY trots a page.

The words make poems together
when I’m not looking.

LAKE
MAZE
WONDER
RUSH

My friends the words know better than I do
how to sing songs.

–Margaret Simon

This form fit reluctant poets as well as confident ones. Laura Shovan is posting student poems, too, from a writer in residence program. Check them out here.

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