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Posts Tagged ‘NaPoWriMo’

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

William Carlos Williams’ poetry has something to teach us about imagery and noticing the ordinary.  His famous poem about the wheelbarrow describes a specific image.  My students immediately imagined the setting as a farm.  Using magnetic poetry words, we found images to create our own “So Much Depends Upon” poems. 

The fifth graders are in state testing this week.  They test on computers.  Since my classroom is in a corner one of the computer labs, I had to find another place to teach.  It was a gorgeous spring day, so we went outside to the garden.  Kaia wrote this magnetic poem:

So much depends upon
a misty garden
spring smell symphony
near the white sea.

We were looking around the garden and found four monarch caterpillars eating the milkweed.  Kaia talked about all she was learning in science about the caterpillars.  Gathering words from the air (not using any toys), I wrote the following poem:


So much depends
upon

the tall
milkweed

dotted
with sunspots

feeding
hungry caterpillars

in
the school garden





You can read more student poems at our Kidblog site. 


(A word about WordPress.  I am having trouble with formatting my posts.  They look correctly aligned to the left margin in the editor mode, but when published, everything changes to centered.  I am getting frustrated with this and don’t know how to fix it.  Does anyone reading this post know what’s going on with the wordpress editor?)



 

 

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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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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Some of you have been following our wood duck house story. In late February, my husband built a wood duck house and set it up near the bayou. We put a Ring doorbell camera inside to capture the whole process. We were amazed when a hen came in the very next day. It took her a few weeks to lay the eggs and begin sitting on them. I wrote about it here and here.

The last time I was able to count the eggs, I had counted 13 eggs.

The problem with using a Ring camera is, with the constant motion of a hen sitting fairly consistently, the battery runs down. We changed it out once with no problem, but Saturday afternoon, it had totally died. Because we couldn’t look at the camera to see if the hen was in the house, my husband spooked her when he went to change the battery.

She came back for a brief minute then flew back out at around 7:30 PM. After that, nothing.

Did she abandon the nest altogether? Alerts to motion come onto my phone. I usually turn off notifications during the night but I didn’t Saturday. We waited for the buzz of the phone. Nothing.

Sunday morning I looked out the window, saying a few prayers that she would return. I saw the couple in the water. I practically begged at the window, “Please go back in. Please go back in.”

She flew up and around the house and landed back in the water.

I woke up my husband who admits he wasn’t really sleeping. I said, “There must be some kind of sound coming from the camera to scare her like that.”

He said, “To hell with broadcasting, we need to save these eggs.”

But taking the camera out didn’t prove necessary. I heard a buzz on my phone. She’s back! She was in the box, settling in, poking around, as if nothing had happened. Whew! Relief!

Relieved to get this phone alert.

Jeff watched one of the videos from the camera and noticed that there was a hen perched at the hole flying out while another hen was in the box sitting. Could they both be sitting? Are they sharing the nest?

While our hen was away, I was able to get a shot of the eggs. She hadn’t had time to cover them before she left. I counted 20 eggs! Twenty!

If my calculations are right, and the 12 hour hiatus doesn’t change the incubation time, the eggs are due to hatch on or around April 11th. You know I will be posting. You can follow on my Instagram or Facebook page.

Now for poetry. I am playing with some fun poetry games. My students are playing along and posting on our Kidblog site.

With Paint Chip Poetry, I pulled honey, quicksilver, and under the sea. The prompt was “We’re all in this together.”

We’re all wild honey
under the sea
free and quick
like silver sparkles
together
making waves
splashing
sprays
whale family.

Margaret Simon (draft, 2019)

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National Poetry Month 2019: I am writing alongside Mary Lee Hahn and Jone Rush MacCulloch.

My box of Paint Chip Poetry arrived just in time for this month’s poetry writing. I am playing with poetry. In Paint Chip Poetry, you select a prompt which is a phrase, along with some paint chips. The paint colors have names. I’m not sure if I’m playing right, but here is what I got.

 

A little revision:

Far, far away
before the rain,
a sunburst glows
on scarecrow
makes him believe
in magic like gold
at the end of the rainbow.
–Margaret Simon, (draft) 2019

Matt Forrest Esenwine has the first line for the Progressive Poem. He is using found lines. The schedule is in the sidebar. National Poetry Month begins!

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NPM2016

My internal critic is turned on high voltage. I take my journal in my backpack to school to school (I teach at two), and I turn the page and write some words, then a student needs me. I come back to the page focused, thinking, and another student has to share.

Here I am at home with Charlie and there’s nothing worth much in my journal. This is day 13 of my personal challenge to write a poem a day, and my personal critic thinks I can’t possibly keep this up.

Step one: upload a picture. Here’s another sky picture taken from my car with my phone.

Sky Sea

Sky Sea

How to Stay a Poet (A synonym poem)

Attach a line to a thought
with a long string, maybe even wire

Fasten sprinkles of light,
a frosting of powdered sugar would taste good.

Unite clouds to sky to space,
an ethereal concept, I know.

Abide with your favorite poets,
savor their strength, their providence.

Linger over the page, make a statement,
scratch it out, start again.

Remain committed; don’t listen to the witch
in your head telling you to abandon all.

Keep on writing. Stay a poet.
Stay here.

–Margaret Simon

Process: After writing the title, I did a synonym search for “stay.” I used selected synonyms as the first word of each stanza. Creating rules for myself helped me get through writer’s block. This is not one of my finer poems, but it’s a poem. Let’s keep moving forward.

Follow the Progressive Poem to Teacher Dance

Follow the Progressive Poem to Teacher Dance

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NPM2016

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

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

We brought out the paintbrushes and watercolor paints.  Each table had a stack of white paper.  I turned on the music.  Painting flowed in time with the beat.

This is dancing with a paintbrush.  When the music stops, we title the piece of art and list three words that come to mind.  This continues for three rounds.  The songs are all instrumental, one sounds oriental, another symphonic, and another Irish.

Following this painting activity, we write.

Freedom of expression, playing with words, making associations with music and poetry, the resulting poems went in all kinds of directions. (My students share their poems on Kidblog.)

In reading Tara Smith’s book review of Writing with Mentors, I pulled out this piece of advice: “Mentors Show Students How to Play: In order to grow as writers, students need safe places to play with writing – places that aren’t assessed or evaluated or given a grade.  They need places where their work can be messy, where thinking outside the box and being wild with ideas is encouraged.”

When I was struggling to write a poem with my painting, I turned to a favorite author, Mary Oliver.  From A Thousand Mornings, “Poem of the One World” begins “This morning/ the beautiful white heron/ was floating along above the water.”

Writing beside this master poet helped me to follow the rhythm that my own words wanted to take.

This longing
the beautiful white egret
wanders from known to unknown waters

And then
onto the shore of this
one stream we all swim in

where everyone
is part of the blue vein
where we can throw a stone in

which thought made me feel
for a small moment
welcomed home.

–Margaret Simon, after Mary Oliver

Dancing with a paintbrush

The abstract painting that led to my poem.

 

Follow the Progressive Poem to Today's Little Ditty

Follow the Progressive Poem to Today’s Little Ditty

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NPM2016

Last week I led myself and my students into image poems.  We imagined a scene in nature (or on water) and wrote to this list of line prompts from the River of Words Teacher’s Guide. 

Prompts for the Teacher:

~ Think about this spot. Sketch it if you like.

~ Picture yourself in this location.Write a line or sentence that describes what you are doing and exactly where you are: “Sitting on a sandbar on the banks of the Calcasieu River in IndianVillage, Louisiana.”

~ In your imagination, look up.What do you see? Begin this line with “Above me” or “Over my head.”Try to use a simile in this line.

~ Now look into the distance, as far as you can see.Write what you see.

~ Describe a sound you might hear in this place.

~ What is on your right?

~ Hone in on a single detail in this scene.Try to describe it, using an unusual or vivid verb in the line.

~ Shift your perspective and your position—stand up, flop down, walk away—and notice another detail in the landscape: the quality of light, the time of day, a seasonal plant or animal,for example.

~ Finally, read over your images and see if you can conclude with a reflective line that somehow captures how you feel about being in this place.(You might caution students not to rush this line; it may occur to them later as they compose their poem).

rope swing

Swinging by the bayou on the grandmother oak,
legs curled around knotted rope,

Above me branches drape like outstretched arms
holding strong,

Sky opens up to a flash of egret flickering through the trees.

The echo of a far-off motor drums the quiet.

The holding tree is the oldest oak I know.
Hanging moss twirls in a wind-dance.

Jumping from the rope-grip,
my feet fall on fronds of greening fern.

My swinging is a brief sparkle in this grandmother’s eye.

–Margaret Simon

Here is Vannisa’s poem.  She pointed to a postcard from Marjorie Pierson’s collecting of wetlands photographs as her inspiration. Click here to view the image.

Standing in the shade,
on the edge of a swamp
where there are cypress trees
with snakes and alligators
lurking within the waters

Over my head,
thick branches and leaves
sway over me as a roof,
with moss dropping down
like the strings of balloons
that fly to the ceiling

In the distance
more trees and gators are
still creeping underneath

Insect buzzing
filling my ears,
the tweets of birds
travel from above

On my right,
a tree trunk
with bugs crawling in a line
making their way up and around

Mother duck and her ducklings
swim all over
yawing around places where
mother knows it’s unsafe

Moving away from the shade,
the water reflects
the afternoon sun into my eyes,
glistening in the light

This artistic landscape
won’t be able to stay forever,
you won’t notice it,
but the wetlands are quickly washing away.

–Vannisa, 6th grade

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NPM2016

Also inspired by Amy, quick watercolor in the sketchbook.

Also inspired by Amy, quick watercolor in the sketchbook.

The kidlitoshpere is wildly growing with poems. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is writing daily to wonders from Wonderopolis. I found a poem in her post, How Sweet is Honeysuckle?

The line “Words live on like echoes” came from Barry Lane’s song “Sammy Miller” from Force Field for Good.

I wrote two poems today,
one from an open window with honeysuckle
and rhyme, but this time the poem
felt not ready to be shared.

Words live on like echoes…

I need to let a poem sit
read  words over and over
Trust the feeling,
Move on.

Words live on like echoes…

Poems make me happy.
Poems make me sing.
I pretend to be a mother hummingbird.
I like the sounds of words.

Words live on like echoes…

Poems make me fall in love
with hummingbirds. I want to
plant a garden of milkweed,
trumpet honeysuckle,
& love poems
for you.

Words live on like echoes.

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