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Posts Tagged ‘metaphor dice’

Always on the lookout for a photo wanting to be a poem, I pay attention to photography on Instagram. James Edmunds often posts amazing photos from his travels with Susan. James and Susan live in my neighborhood and have been friends of ours for years. James has a wit comparable to his good friend, author Calvin Trillin. He posted this photo of a heron taken in Gulf State Park, Alabama on his most recent jaunt into nature with Susan. Not only did the picture attract my eye, but his clever wordplay caption made me chuckle.

Inside every heron is… hero! by James Smith Edmunds

I’ve been playing with metaphor dice lately, and thanks to Taylor Mali, now have a set of make-your-own dice. I rolled and got this metaphor. “Kindness is a blue poem.” Even when you make your own, they stretch the brain cells.

Kindness
is a blue
poem
written for
the hero
who makes
me smile.

Margaret Simon, draft

Now it’s your turn. You can use the metaphor dice roll or not. As always, support other writers with comments. I am considering making a Facebook group to expand our horizons a bit. Let me know your thoughts. If you don’t already, follow me on Facebook @MargaretGibsonSimon.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.
Reading has begun for Cybils Round One. I am judging once again in the poetry category. This is such a treat, to read new poetry books and select my favorites. Stay tuned…

This week we had a special visitor in my 6th grade gifted classroom. One of those serendipitous things about blogging and connecting with authors is exposing my students to real authors doing the work. Taylor Mali joined us on Tuesday. Prior to the visit, he sent a package of create-your-own metaphor dice. Here’s a link to order some. We struggled with deciding which words to put on our own set of dice. We made lists in our notebooks of concepts, adjectives, and objects. I’m glad we had a little struggle because we could ask questions of the master.

Jaden asked, “What is the difference between a concept and an object? Isn’t “father” an object?” Taylor was quick with the answer. He explained that many people like to write about their fathers and mothers in a metaphorical way, more like a concept than an object. He went on to tell the story of a student of his who wrote about their father as shattered glass. “I can still see myself in the shattered pieces.”

We shared our own metaphor poems and he offered feedback. One of the things he noticed in my students’ poems was the absence of their own lives. He talked about how poetry should be beautiful language, yes, but also should be the truth. He suggested ways that they could put more of their own life experience into the poems they wrote.

I tried this idea myself with a roll of my own homemade metaphor dice. The roll I got was “The past is a soft wind.” I was pleased that Taylor’s advice to my kids resonated with me, and I tapped into a true story from my childhood.

The Past is a Soft Wind

blowing wind chimes
in the old cypress tree,
ringing like a distant train
that left the station years ago.

The year we drove to Morton, Mississippi
for Thanksgiving and gathered pecans
with great grandfather. We thought
he was 100 years old. He knew things–

How to crack pecans in the palm of his hand
and how many minutes from the engine
to the caboose. We stood together watching,
counting, waving to the conductor
who, as that red house rounded the curve,
always waved back.

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Lawrence Schaefer on Pexels.com

I think metaphor dice will sustain us in poetry writing for the rest of this school year. Thanks, Taylor, for a wonderful, engaging writers workshop.

Taylor hosts an Instagram Live event every Monday night.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Every class we begin with notebook time. My students know to open their notebooks as soon as they walk in. I’ve started teaching some little ones, second graders, and it’s not so well established yet with them, but we’re trying. One thing that Brayden knows already is that on Mondays we write a Slice of Life. But first, we played Mad Lib Poetry, created by Taylor Mali, that I read about on this Poetry Friday post from Denise Krebs.

Brayden answered the prompt, “Name an object that represents your mother” with “butterflies.” This stayed with him, and he wrote his Slice of Life about his mother. “My mother is a butterfly. She is beautiful.”

With my different groups of students, I wrote the Mad Lib Poem 3 times. Here is one of my versions:

I was born in the year of Donny Osmond albums.

My mother was a grand piano
and my father, a pointillist drawing.

Is it any wonder that I grew up to be an amazing cross
between Alice in Wonderland and a great blue heron?

Take a worried look at me. I am weary and feeling old.

Is it any wonder that I still have nightmares
about teaching a whole class
of second grade boys?

Margaret Simon, Mad Lib Slam Poem form by Taylor Mali

Denise shared that Taylor’s Metaphor Dice are on sale for teachers at 60% off. Grab them while you can.

On Friday with my 6th grade writers, we played three rounds of metaphor dice. This is a great game for this grade level. They grapple with the strange combinations and amaze themselves and me by what they write in 2 minutes. I think this is a great activity for critical and creative thinking.

I liked how this next poem came out as a little love poem.

My heart is a burning kiss,
burning like the fire inside
that makes bread rise,
the heat that helps babies grow,
the warmth that feeds the seed
which is to say
your tender kiss
melts my heart
into pure gold
that withstands
the test of time.

Margaret Simon, draft

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The more I play with the poetry tools, the less I trust them.  I want to manipulate the words into something, anything that rings true.  Yesterday I combined magnetic word pieces with metaphor dice.  Both of these poems interested me, but I don’t think either is a great poem.  Let’s just live in the moment for a moment.

 

White misty rose
unspoken kiss
of light wine

True summer echoes
as delicate time lost
my bare feet say-shine

 

 

 

 

 

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I lost trust in the process of this poetry playtime.  So today I set out to make it work again.  I read Elisabeth Ellington’s post using metaphor dice in a different way.  She set up her rule of play: “I had to use one of each color (concept, adjective, object), and the dice I used had to touch each other. ” I looked at her picture of her box.

I decided to take mirror, silent, and teacher, but use mirror as the object rather than teacher and wrote “The mirror is my silent teacher.”  With the use of a few paint chips, the words flowed again.  I need to be more open to the process of creativity.  It does work on occasion.

The mirror is my silent noisy teacher

babbling on

about this line

and that

showing off

dark spots

and yet

reminding me

that grandma loved

hydrangeas.

She tended her garden

like I tend my face.

Time teaches me

spirit rock lessons–

some hard as stone

some soft as hearth. home

— Margaret Simon, (draft) 2019

I did some editing on this, but now I realize that babbling is not silent.  Perhaps I need to change silent to noisy? And then hearth is really hard, not soft, so maybe home works better.  I wonder how true to the words I am given do I need to be.  Word choice is a challenge set forth by every poem.  What do you think?

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National Poetry Month 2019: I am playing with poetry alongside Mary Lee Hahn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.Christie Wyman, Molly Hogan, and Catherine Flynn.

This weekend in New Iberia was the third annual Books along the Teche Literary Festival.  On Friday, I attended a reading by former state poet laureate and one of my mentors, Darrell Bourque.  He brought along accordion artist Mary Ardoin Broussard. 

Mary Broussard plays the old Creole style of Zydeco music known as La La music.  Darrell’s poems from his book Where I Waited (Yellow Flag Press, 2016) are written in the voices of early Cajun and Creole musicians from the 1930’s and 40’s.  Cajuns and Creoles in Louisiana spoke French.  I don’t speak French, so sometimes I have a hard time following along.  I love this music for its dancing beat, but I can’t sing the lyrics and rarely know what they mean. 

Darrell wrote about the song Quoi Faire in his poem for Golden Thibodeaux with the title “Here and Here.”  Mary said quoi faire means “Why you broke my heart like that?” 
 
Darrell then spoke of the energy in Golden Thibodeaux’s music.  I, however, listened to the energy between Darrell and Mary, making their own kind of music by echoing and honoring the voices of the past.  

I played in a different way with my own poetry finding new lines within the lines of Darrell’s poem Here and Here.





 

 

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National Poetry Month 2019: I am playing with poetry alongside Mary Lee Hahn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.Christie Wyman, Molly Hogan, and Catherine Flynn.

Today I have two drafts written with a roll of metaphor dice.  I tend to roll them until I get something I think I can write about.  “Truth is a glorified meadow” was a first roll and it stumped me.  Before re-rolling, I asked my student Landon what he thought it meant.  He said, “It’s like when you have the truth, you have a wide open field of possibility.”  Such wisdom in a young 5th grader.  

I also challenged myself to use the zeno form: syllable count 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 with each 1 syllable rhyming.

Truth is a glorified meadow
finding you in
a clear
field
open playground
without
shield
your forgiving
spirit
healed
–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019


For the next metaphor dice poem, I used magnetic poetry words to help guide the results.

Hope is a glorified dance
to delicate music–
a gorgeous goddess
whispering near,
misty gift here.
–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019

Misty morning oak

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National Poetry Month 2019: I am playing with poetry alongside Mary Lee Hahn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.Christie Wyman, Molly Hogan, and Catherine Flynn.

Thursday was a stormy day.  Everyone was talking about the storm, so when we were looking for a topic for a zeno poem, Thunder came through.  

A zeno poem was invented by J. Patrick Lewis and it follows the mathematical sequence 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1, and the one syllable words rhyme.  Great time to pull up RhymeZone and do some chatting about word meanings like dire.

Thunder is a loud, cranky noise
terrifying
crackling
fire
electric charges
targets
wire
outrageously
shocking
dire.

–Mrs. Simon’s class

I then set my students loose to write their own zeno poems while I worked on my own.  I tried the haikubes, but there are no rhyming words in them, so it proved nearly impossible to make a zeno.  Then I turned to metaphor dice.  A little better, but I’m still not completely satisfied with the results.  But, as writing partner Molly Hogan stated in her post yesterday, I honored the play of it all.

The mind is a back-handed drum
pounding fissures
into 
line
beating thoughts with
rhythm
time
waiting for my
soul to
shine.

–Margaret Simon, (draft) 2019

Poetry Friday round-up is with Karen Edmisten.








 

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Purdie Salas this week.

 

Have you gotten a set of metaphor dice yet?  Here’s a link to them on Amazon. 

I’ve been playing with metaphor dice and the skinny poem form.  To make a skinny poem, roll the dice to find your first statement.

I got “Love is a silent blessing.”  This becomes line one.  Lines 2, 6, and 10 are all the same word.  Other lines are only one word long.  Line 11 repeats the same words as line 1.  Confused?  Try numbering your paper from 1-11.  Write your metaphor phrase in line one.  Choose a simple word for line 2, 6, and 10.  Fill in the rest.

Love is a silent blessing
a
whisper
touch
smile
a
soft
unspoken
wink
a
silent love blessing.

Here are a few student skinnies:

Beauty is a glorified dance
a
midnight
shining
flower
a
gentle
soft
breeze
a
beautiful dance glorified.

by Landon, 5th grade

 

 

The past is a broken wonder
an
old
broken
tree
an
unbelievable
impossible
mistake
an
incredible, broken, wonder
by Daniel, 4th grade

 

We also wrote bug-ku this week inspired by Susan Bruck on her site last week. Check out all student poems on our kidblog site.

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Tara at Going to Walden.

 

Taylor Mali developed an innovative set of dice called Metaphor Dice.  I have a set that one of my student groups plays with daily.  They’ve made it into a sort of game to end each class session.  Each of us grabs a set of three dice, white, red, and blue.  Roll. Read the resulting metaphor and talk about how it could work.  Some of them are challenging to find a real connection.  But sometimes you get something intriguing, like “Time is an impossible super hero.”

We also start each notebook writing session with a quote.  This week one of our quotes was “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”  Then I rolled an odd combination: My heart is a well-worn wonder.

These types of activities work well to turn off your critical mind and turn on that right-brain creative soul inside.  This is the poem that came out on the page:

A well-worn wonder like a beaten path
as in
we’ve been this way before
My heart keeps time
with the meditation tone
like a natural wonder,
a miracle of breath
& air
& blood
pumping
beating
living
waking up!

The poem was shaping up to look like a skinny.  I double-checked the rules for a skinny poem.  “A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The Skinny was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University in 2005.” The Skinny Poetry Journal

My heart is a well-worn wonder like a beaten path
as in
we’ve  been
here
before
as in
natural
miracle
of breath
as in
a well-worn path of my beating heart is a wonder.

–Margaret Simon

What do you think?  Version one or two?

Try a skinny with the phrase “Time is an impossible super hero.”

Matt Renwick is the winner of my extra A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver.

Leigh Anne Eck tried the prompt and posted here. 

 

 

 

 

 

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