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Posts Tagged ‘National Poetry Month’

This poetry month I didn’t commit to write a certain type of poem every day like many other poets I am following. I decided I would write to the muse. Wherever she lead, I would follow.

Among my weekly teacher-poet emails, I get Teach this Poem from Poets.org. This week the poem to teach was “Earth. Your Dancing Place” by May Swenson. One line (“Take earth for your own large room”) jumped out at me and wanted to be a golden shovel. After messing with it in my journal, I created this draft.

Earth’s Heartbeat

If you take

a moment with earth,

touch her for

her soothing spirit, place your

hand on her beating heart, your own

heart will open a door to a large

living room

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

I was also inspired by Catherine Flynn’s post that included the NASA Earth Day poster. The artist, Jenny Motter, used the idea of listening to the pulse of a tree to create this amazing image. There is much more imagery used in the artwork that you can read about at the NASA site.

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

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

 

What a wonderful month full of poetry love!  Looking back over the month, I wrote 28 posts. The thing is to write one poem worthy of publishing on this blog, I had to write more than one poem a day.  Some will stay buried in my notebook.

Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for inviting me to play along with her this month.  I’ve enjoyed sharing this playtime with Christie, Molly, Jone, and Elisabeth.

One of the perks of my teaching job is I get to write poetry every day with my students, too.  They’ve been working on a poetry project that included writing at least 5 poems and reading a poetry book.  We were immersed in poetry, between testing sessions, that is. You can read their poems at our kidblog site. 

Last night I participated in the #NYED Twitter Chat.  If you have a chance, check out the hashtag.  I made a Padlet of resources to use throughout the year.  It’s public and open for comments and additions.

The Progressive Poem is complete! I am so amazed at the talents of Donna Smith who pulled out a “found” ending and actually put the song to music.  Check it out! 

Another exciting part of this month was being a featured poet-teacher on Today’s Little Ditty.  Being among these poets was an honor: Classroom Connections. 

When you walk in poetry every day, everything becomes a poem.  This morning on my walk I dictated this poem.  The air was sweet with the scent of jasmine, gardenia, and magnolia.  The scents of the southern landscape energize and inspire me.  What do you see, hear, smell while walking?  Make each step into a poem.

Breathe the jasmine air.
Rest in Love,
the love that created you
as perfect as
a star blossom
on the vine of the world.
-Margaret Simon, draft 2019

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

Afternoon Light by John Gibson

Sometimes it’s in the details of the day,
these spokes of wheel, pattern of brick, leaf fall.

Sometimes it’s the conversation you hear,
standing by, eavesdropping, that gossip-talk.

Sometimes it’s the way you walk to and fro,
wandering through tall grass and stepping into light.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

“A poet needs to keep his wilderness alive inside him.” Stanley Kunitz

As I write a poem every day to my father’s incredible art, I feel unworthy, like a child waiting for a parent’s approval.  When I wrote the poem above and many of the ones I’ve done this month, I hear the echo of a first line in my head.  I go with it and follow it through the path to a poem.  Sometimes I don’t think it’s really me writing.  More like scribing.  The Stanley Kunitz quote above speaks to this wilderness inside me where poems live.  I’ve decided to trust this voice even when I don’t really understand her.

 

 

 

 

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

Raven by John Gibson

Raven lights a fire
before dawning of sunrise,
forewarning of death,

calms darkness before released
hatred causes senseless grief.

Tanka: The Japanese tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as “short song,” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form. From Poets.org

“The Irish goddess, Morrighan, had a number of different guises. In her aspect as bloodthirsty goddess of war, she was thought to be present on the battlefield in the form of a raven.” From Trees for Life, Mythology and Folklore.

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I love that we have a whole month of celebrating poetry.  My students walk into class each day and ask, “What kind of poem are we writing today?”  or “I have been thinking about writing a poem about wind.”

I’ve read articles, listened to podcast, and read lots of daily poetry this month.  I don’t want it to end!  Check on the progress of the Progressive Poem.  Listen to Laura Shovan on All the Wonders.  Find a selection of daily poem writers on Jama’s Alphabet Soup.  

Yesterday I got a postcard poem from Jone MacCulloch’s kids poetry group, an ode to cheating.  We will be trying out odes next week, so I’ll share this one with my students.  I love the irony of flying hearts and pencils around this topic of cheating.

 

Here’s my poem for today, a little haiku about our state flower Magnolia.  They are blooming!

magnolia haiku 4

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I am writing in a hotel room in Mobile, Alabama. My husband and I are here for a wedding. Not one of ours, thank goodness. It’s strange to be just a visitor, someone without any responsibilities for this celebration. We just get to be here, be present to the love and happiness. Not to mention the weather is amazing. A perfect temperature with a bright blue sky.

This week I noticed the sky. On Friday while I opened car doors for children, I watched the sun rise and off to the side a wisp of cirrus clouds change color. At one time there was a small rainbow circle in the clouds.

Reading blog posts this morning, I found this one from Smack Dab in the Middle celebrating the power of simple sentence structure of Kate DiCamillo in my favorite of her books, The Miraculous Adventures of Edward Tulane. Deborah Lytton writes, “Every word has an important role to play in spare prose. If it isn’t essential, then it doesn’t belong.”

I was thinking about how my husband and I are mere observers today. This little poem came to me:

We are here.
Insignificant bystanders
walking the empty streets.
The sky is open, a fragrant blue.
I reach for your hand.
You feel my touch.
We are here.
–Margaret Simon, poem-a-day #8

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Poetry Friday is with Irene and Live your Poem

On Wednesday I presented to my students Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Writing the Rainbow” poetry project.  We were on the letter C for our poem-a-day writing, so we wrote crayon cinquains.  The cinquain syllable pattern is 2,4,6,8,2.

Amy suggested this video of Mr. Rogers’ visit to a crayon factory.  The kids loved it, especially when the crayons appear in the tray like magic.

 

I will share a few of our poems here, but you can go to our Kidblog to see more.

 

 

Erin’s orchid bouquet

Erin chose the crayon “orchid” and drew the picture above. I encouraged my students to use metaphor in their poems. Erin imagined that the orchid bouquet was a crown for a woodland princess.

Orchid
Blooming Flower
Wonderful Pristine Crown
Perfect For A Woodland Princess
Wondrous
by Erin, 5th grade

When Madison colored in her journal with the crayon “Cadet Blue”, she saw a sky before the rain. I love how the name of the crayon informed her metaphor.

Rainy
Cadet Blue Sky
Thunder Beating on Drums
Lightning Marching Through the Clouds
Pouring…
by Madison, 3rd grade

I randomly picked a crayon from the box of 24 crayons and got “blue bell.” Of course, at first I thought about Blue Bell Ice Cream. Then I did a Google image search and found bluebell flowers. I drew a picture in my journal using the blue crayon. When Lynzee saw my picture, she said “It’s a fairy skirt.” So I stole that and used it in my poem. This form is fun to work with because it makes you think harder to get the syllables right.

Bluebell
a fairy skirt
balancing on a branch
hang like church bells in the steeple
Ring! Ring!
by Margaret Simon

Go to Amy’s padlet to see more of this crayon color poetry craze.

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NPM2016

Yesterday, my student Lani was featured on Today’s Little Ditty with a reverso poem inspired by the book Water Rolls, Water Rises by Pat Mora.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is writing a poem a day about daily Wonders on Wonderopolis.  I love how her website speaks directly to students about the writing process.  On Monday, Amy wrote, “I began thinking about the value of sharing our stories, the sad ones as well as the happy ones.”  Her poem was a before/after poem that held universal truths about the sadness of broken marriages.

There’s a sadness weighing on my mind.  It’s not my loss, but even when others suffer a loss, we grieve.  It’s the way of the world.

My writing friend, Catherine Flynn wrote a poem about Crystal Rapids in the Grand Canyon, but the poem was about so much more.  This stanza speaks to that deep grief that comes back over and over.

The path is altered,
a chasm opens.
Never fully healed,
full of fissures that can crack
without warning,
bringing us to our knees.” (Catherine Flynn)

Sometimes writing poetry is about diving into the sadness, entering in, and letting it all go.  Inspired by Amy’s and Catherine’s poetic honesty, I wrote this poem for B.  She’s probably not ready to read it.  But I needed to write it.

A Tree Grows near the Pier

Before
when the sun rose,
so did he,
fishing pole in hand,
tackle in a box.
His heart full of hope.
His mind full of lures.

After
the boat lost him,
so did we,
as a tree grows
near his tackle box;
Its branches open wide
for resurrection fern.

–Margaret Simon

resurrection fern

Ruth has the Progressive Poem today.

Ruth has the Progressive Poem today.

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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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