Posts Tagged ‘#PlayingwithpoetryNPM’

Happy Poem in your Pocket Day!  I am staying close to home today as huge storms are expected, so I will celebrate quietly this year.  I usually carry with me two favorite poems, Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye and Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Yesterday I settled into a corner at Fair Grinds coffee in Mid City New Orleans with a vanilla latte and my journal.  Christie Wyman is playing along with poetry this month.  She’d noticed that I often label my poems with the word “draft” and a friend of hers thought that made the poem seem alive.  Working with a stolen line, some paint chips, and that alive poem draft idea, I wrote this draft.

A Draft

Poems are alive
lapping at the sandy shore*
of my notebook.
Splashing in the waves
of hot sauce
sprinkled on my furious fingers.

Out of quarry depths
a draft

–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019

*line from Christie Wyman


Read Full Post »


My friend Dani Burtsfield teaches kindergarten in Montana. She asked me how she could use the paint chips with her little ones.  I suggested a color poem.  The idea is simple.  Each line begins with the color name.  This is a way for young students to learn about metaphor in a concrete way.  I wrote a poem for her to use as a model for her students.  The pattern is Green is ______ followed by an action.


Read Full Post »

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


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?

Read Full Post »

Playing with poetry has led to a playful poetry attitude in my class.  My first class is reading poems aloud on the intercom for morning announcements from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud by Pomelo Books.  Each day they pass it to the next-up.  He or she chooses a poem they want to read and go through a quick practice to make sure they know how to pronounce all the words (especially the author’s name).  I am pretty much hands off.  They remember whose turn it is, come by the room to get the book, and just do it.  Their read aloud skills are improving as well as their confidence.  They are also learning that poetry can be fun to read aloud.

In the spirit of playing with poetry, I pulled out the individual white boards and proposed a game of collaborative poetry.  They quickly changed the title to “Friends Poems.”  Each friend wrote a line in the poem as we passed the boards around.  The originator of the first line got the poem back and could add to it if they felt it needed more.  This was fun and playful and built a sense of a writing community.

This one was written by Karson, Daniel, Breighlynn, and Jaden

I love the color of the midnight sky
shining stars
dawn and dusk compete
to meet eye to eye
the night is complete


I played along with my second group.  We’ve watching monarch caterpillars in the garden.  One day we counted 11 caterpillars.  I’ve brought some home for spring break, but I’ll share more about this later.  Here’s my collaborative poem with Kaia, Landon, and Jayden.

In the spring-sprinkled garden,
Listen as the bird tweets.
Watch the water run and flowers sway.
Look closely at monarch caterpillars.
Praise this amazing day!




Read Full Post »

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

This weekend I had the exciting privilege to participate in the third annual Books along the Teche Literary Festival.  Early on Saturday morning, I spoke on a panel with my publisher Josh Caffery from UL Press, Carol Stubbs co-director of our local SCBWI, and fellow authors Denise Gallagher and Jess Butterworth.  My friend, author illustrator Paul Schexnayder, moderated the panel.  We had more than thirty people in the early morning crowd.  We talked about writing and publishing for children.

Following the panel, ten children’s authors and illustrators joined me in Church Alley for story time, book signings, and a bookmaking workshop.  My former student teacher brought her sons and their cousins to make zines with me.  What fun to have these kids successfully write a Things to do poem and illustrate them in little zines.  Look how proud they all were!



Another highlight of my day was when a former student came by.  I taught her in my early years of teaching, some 30+ years ago.  She’s a mother now, and she brought her 6 year old to meet me and get a book signed to him.  Later, he drew a picture for me from one of the illustrations in Bayou Song.  His mom texted me the picture.  Oh, joy!

With Pam and Port at the Books along the Teche Literary Festival


This was a day to remember and treasure.  My favorite part of this whole author business is making connections to kids (and reconnecting with their parents.)

For National Poetry Month, I am writing a poem a day.  Today we are borrowing William Carlos Williams’ line “So much depends upon.”  I played with magnetic poetry to create this one:

So much depends upon

a diamond rose
from still rain

a thousand fiddle
from birds in the trees–

a lazy spring moment.

–Margaret Simon, (draft) 2019




Read Full Post »

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 read aloud Hi, Koo, a book of seasonal haiku poems by John Muth. Then we played with Paint Chips to make seasonal haiku of our own.

I found that I didn’t have to add many words to the Paint Chips to create a poem.  I wrote one about every season.



Boundary Waters
pyramid of grizzly rocks
hot-potato skip, hop.


Inside a dew drop,
memories of rainstorm,
blizzard, sea foam.


A verdant seedling
in left field–succulent
Garden of Eden.

–Margaret Simon (drafts) 2019


Read Full Post »


This month I am playing with poetry with poet-teacher-blogger friends.  Feel free to play along.

I am also playing alongside my students.  We brought out the cookie sheets of magnetic poetry. I talked about two similar poem forms, the How to poem and the Things to do poem.  You can read their poems here.

I also played with my Word Swag app in my phone to create a more beautiful and professional looking image.

Here’s another on the cookie sheet.  I can’t remember who brilliantly suggested using cookie sheets for magnetic poetry, but it works great.  For an itinerant teacher like me, it’s a convenient way to carry them.  I also have some in a tin which works equally as well.  The lid of the tin serves as a composition space.

I have a new student, Maddox, in 4th grade.  Sometimes kids walk into my classroom already knowing how to be a poet.  Here is Maddox’s first poem.

How to Be a Storm

rock the ships below
boom like a thundering drum
blast the air with a gale
use your wrath in a tempestuous storm
then let the sun shine again

—Maddox, 4th grade




Read Full Post »