Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Nikki Grimes’

Poetry Friday round-up is at The Miss Rumphius Effect

Mary Oliver has died and the whole world is mourning.  I checked my Facebook page at the end of the day and found that most of my “friends” were posting Mary Oliver’s words.  Every one of them connected me to her, to the natural world, and to these people.  It was like our own wake, of sorts.

I was introduced to the poetry of Mary Oliver by my good friend Nettie who died this past fall.  I imagine they are both writing poems on the clouds.  When I was at a crossroad in my teaching career, Nettie sent me the poem Wild Geese.  I listened to it over and over and have most of the lines memorized.  This poem saved me at a time when I needed to be saved.

 

 

I looked on the poetry shelf in my study and pulled out my collection of Mary Oliver books.  I found that I have two copies of A Thousand Mornings.  If you would like a copy and live in the continental US, leave a comment.  I’ll let you know by email if you are the winner.

Mary Oliver had a way of placing you in the moment with her and in a sense, saying a prayer.  This poem from A Thousand Mornings places me with her, thinking through things, and noticing with pen in air.

I Happened to be Standing

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep.  Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why.  And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t.  That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

–Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings. The Penguin Press, New York, 2012.

 

I do not presume that my poetry is in any realm of comparison to Mary Oliver’s, but I was moved to write this morning, a way of expressing how her words are written on my heart.

 

A Misty Mary Morning

I’m walking through a misty world
thinking of Mary.  Her words turn
night to day, day to night,
an answer to prayer, a comfort to loss.

She taught me to notice things
like the bird breaking dawn with song.
She would notice the sound
and sing along.  I hold hands

with every poet and poetry lover
across the world. We are united
in our collective breath
wishing with Mary for a resurrection

of amazement.

(c) Margaret Simon, 2019

 

Nikki Grimes wrote this post on Facebook (and gave me permission to repost.)

Mary Oliver, Sister of my heart, how I will miss you! Your absence feels impossible.

IN PASSING

A poet passes
soul rising heavy as ode,
or light as haiku.
Who knows? But You, the Author
whose words are for her, alone.

(c) 2019 Nikki Grimes

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Shovan.

One of the best parts of this Poetry Friday community is the Winter poem swap managed by Tabatha Yeats.  My recipient this year was Matt Forrest Esenwine.  He posted my gift and poem on his site today along with a virtual Christmas party.

I received a handmade journal and a poem from Linda Mitchell.  She is in my writing group. How serendipitous!  She explained that she had gathered words and phrases from one of our Zoom meetings and weaved them together into this amazing reverso poem.  She also hand made the little snowman from cutting paper from an old discarded picture book.

 

 

With my students this week, we explored word wandering.  I remembered first seeing this idea on Today’s Little Ditty when Michelle featured Nikki Grimes.  Some great examples are included in the Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2014-2105.  Breighlynn wandered with the word bell.

Bell

by Breighlynn

Bell is a shiny word,
the music in my ears
Ding! Ding!
The bell rings for school
for lunch
even playtime
Bells help us learn
just like music.

 

I played around with a few words in my notebook, and each one seemed to lead me to babies.  (Wonder why?)

Small is a tiny word
rolling on the page
where nothing is too small
to be noticed.

Small is my baby boy.
His lips circle and stretch
as he tastes the world.

Whenever you feel small,
think of this tiny miracle
and you will know
the truth
of pure love.

(draft) Margaret Simon

Grandbaby Leo with the blanket I made for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is at Buffy’s Blog.

Summer is here!  I’ve been enjoying long mornings to walk and swim, pick blueberries, just lingering, not rushing.  I remember a Ditty Challenge a while back from Nikki Grimes about writing a wordplay poem.  The word linger keeps coming up for me.  I paired a wordplay poem with an image I took at the lake in Mississippi where my parents live.  A lake is a perfect place to linger.

 

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Nikki Grimes did not invent the Golden Shovel poetry form, but she may have perfected it.  After listening to this podcast on All the Wonders, I pulled out the advanced copy of One Last Word that Nikki graciously signed at NCTE 16.  To share the poems with my students, I copied the original poem written by a Harlem Renaissance poet alongside Nikki’s Golden Shovel poem.  These were high level poems that really pushed the thinking of my students.

The idea of a Golden Shovel is to take a line or stanza of a poem, write the words down the right margin and build your own poem around the words.  I had never done one myself, so I wasn’t really sure how well my students would do.  I gave my students the option to use a line from the poems I shared with them or choose another poem from the plethora of poetry books on the shelf.

Imagine my surprise when I selected No Images by William Waring Cuney that I found in Hip Hop Speaks to Children and realized that Nikki Grimes had tackled this same poem in One Last Word.  I felt a kinship to her with this serendipity.

With her lips, she
speaks volumes but does
only good, careful not
to disturb what they think they know
about her
She does not know her own beauty.

With her eyes, she
looks deeply, thinks
longingly about her
future in brown
skin.

If love has
an answer, then no
one can take away her glory.

–Margaret Simon

No one knows Everything
the world Is
a mystery, but digging deeper shows Everything
has a connection, a purpose, but What
is the meaning of life? Is
it just simply surviving, no! Lives are Meant
to be lived; hearts are meant To
be shared; care is supposed to Be
given. People don’t donate their emotions anymore, but they Will
regret this. Remember no one knows everything, so let it Be

After Lauryn Hill

by Emily, 6th grade

“The line I used came from the poem, For a Poet by Countee Cullen.  The line is And laid them away in a box of gold.” Lynzee, 2nd grade

 

I have hopes and
dreams. I have laid
all of them
my blossoming treasures away.

They are safe in
a box beside my heart; it is a
treasure too, my glittering box
full of
treasure, made of gold.

This is what my student Andrew, 4th grade, had to say about writing a Golden Shovel poem.

“When I was told to do a golden shovel poem I was like, ” Hm. That shouldn’t be so hard.” Then BOOM!! You get punched in the brain. So we have to take a whole line from a poem and use all the words and every sentence that you make has to end with one of the words. For example . The sentence that I chose was, “We move and hustle but lack rhythm.” The first sentence had to end with We. The second sentence had to end with move then so on so on. I have to admit that was the hardest poem I have to make. And it took the longest to come up with. I don’t know the exact time but it was more than twenty minutes. Usually my poems take about 5-10 minutes but this was a lot longer. But I think that might be my best poem.”

Thanks, Nikki, for the punch in the brain.  I think we are all better poets because of it.

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

Dig poetry

 

My friend who doesn’t write sent me the joke poem above.  My response was “You understand me. I dig deep.”  I have committed myself to write everyday this month about poetry.  I am not promising an original poem each day (but who knows?). To share our poetry activities this month, we are using #digipoetry.  Leigh Anne (@teachr4) made this button for our blog posts.  Feel free to use it, too.

 

DigiPoetry buttonWednesday is a good day to wonder.  I wandered over to Wonderopolis and found a wonderful article about dolphins and echo-location.  To think about writing a poem, I collected words and phrases from the article.  After many false starts (rough drafts), I read about Nikki Grimes’ tanka contest.    Nikki Grimes’ contest for kids in grades 3-6: Tanka writing

Sometimes when writing doesn’t come easily, a form gives you the structure you need to create.  A tanka is similar to a haiku. There is no rhyme and a syllable count of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7.   Nikki Grimes has a book coming out in May, Poems in the Attic, which includes tanka.  (Click the link for more information.)

I used PicMonkey to create this image poem.

dolphin-203875_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge!

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge!

My students write reader responses each week to whatever book they are reading. At the beginning of the year, I placed some questions in their binders to prompt these responses. I find that week after week, they select the same questions to answer.

A few weeks ago, I read Dana Murphy’s post on Two Writing Teachers about reader responses. She wrote about three different strategies she teaches her students, lifting a line, character maps, and visual note-taking. I posted these ideas on our class blog and have discussed each strategy with my students.

Words with wings

I love the connections I can make with authors online. I follow Nikki Grimes on Facebook, so I saw a post about her talk on Booktalk Nation (which, sadly, I had to miss) along with the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Words with Wings. The book arrived last week. Vannisa is a fan of verse novels and picked it up immediately. She decided to lift a line to write her own poem about the main character. When I talked to Vannisa about her poem, she told me she was interested in how the character herself was also just words on the page.

I know a girl
who waits and listens.

For her daydreams,
she awaits.

Who comes from
a family
that doesn’t
daydream.

Waiting
for words
to take her
high into the sky
or her mind.

Tell her to stop,
she won’t

Who comes from
words

Locked
in her mind.

No one even knocks
on the door
for a visit.

Who comes from
a book.

Read Full Post »