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Posts Tagged ‘Poets and Writers’

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

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As a writer, I never know where inspiration will come from or where it will lead.  I feel I must be open to it and respond.  Sometimes those responses go in a strange, unknown direction.

The poem I am sharing today originated from two different prompts.  The first was from Poets and Writers weekly email writing prompt, The Time is Now.  The poetry prompt led me to this article about a fashion exhibit on Mars at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the article, I collected unusual phrases like “the shape of a doll’s dress” and “nonverbal, abstract images inside of me.” The article was written about unusual fashion design; however, the words became organic and drew me in. My collection grew.

I didn’t know what I was going to do with this collection of lines. The Poets and Writers prompt instructed me to start with one of Leanne Shapton’s lines and let my imagination take over.

A few days later I read a prompt in The Practice of Poetry. This prompt asked me to use someone else’s words interspersed with my own in a “collaborate cut-up” poem. I didn’t literally cut-up the article, but now I had a way to use my collection of lines. The combination of writing exercises took me into a direction I didn’t manipulate or expect. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Blissful Containment

Pull a sweater over your head
in the dark and the dark gets darker.
Towel over your shoulders
adds warmth and a sense of caring.
This feels prenatal–like a cocoon.
Certainly, you will survive the tornado.

Croquembouche of exposure and erasure
embraces your delicate sweetness.
With a pillowcase
to hold all your precious jewels,
You will be saved
in an A-line skirt with a Peter Pan collar.

We are all organic and alive,
reactive like the center of the earth.
The beginning of softness
enters with our belly breaths.
Palettes of mud
feed our drying souls.

Our earth mother knows us well
nurturing our natural and childlike shapes.
Her transmission of spirit
sneezes us into existence.
We won’t remember.
We don’t have to.

–Margaret Simon (with lines from Leanne Shapton’s “Rei Kawakubo, Interpreter of Dreams”)

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Poetry Friday is with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.

 “Write a poem inspired by I Spy, the guessing game popular with kids during car rides and other long periods of downtime, in which the spy offers descriptive clues that hint at a visible object for other players to guess.”
Poets&Writers poetry prompt

I Spy

in the dome of the sky
a face
full and bright.

I spy
rising on the horizon
a sphere
of golden might

I spy
smiling through the trees
a force
moving the night.

–Margaret Simon

 

 

 

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Poetry Friday round-up at Write, Sketch, Repeat.

Poetry Friday round-up at Write, Sketch, Repeat.

From The Time is Now weekly writing prompt:

Poetry Prompt
This week, listen to a poem new to you–by a contemporary poet or a bygone poet–and jot down the words, phrases, and images that are most striking or memorable to you. Then write your own poem inspired by this list of words. How do you transform someone else’s poetic intuition and choices into a work that demonstrates your personal idiosyncrasies and specific aesthetic sense?

The word Listen caught my attention in this prompt. How does listening change your perspective? Reading and collecting words is easy. Would listening work as well?

One of my favorite poets is Naomi Shihab Nye. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her live and meeting her in a workshop setting. But this is a new school year, and I hadn’t brought her voice into the room yet. I selected a video from the Dodge Poetry Festival, one I had actually attended, so I could tell the kids, “I was there!” If you haven’t heard this poem, it is hilarious and much more so from the actual voice of Naomi Shihab Nye. She wrote things her 2-3 year-old-son actually said.

I instructed my students to collect words while they listened. Some lists were long. Others had nothing. So I asked the ones who wrote to share their words. “If you don’t have any words, you can steal these.”

I love this kind of writing prompt because you never know where the words will take you. A few of the students wrote their own random poems, a list of nonsensical sentences. This was OK with me because the intent of the experience was to hear poetry and play with language. We don’t play enough with words. Poetry is playing. You can read all of the poems on this padlet.

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. - William Stafford

I want to share a few here also. My poem is written for that student who constantly sings aloud in the classroom. You know the ones who have a beat to their step.

Music leaps into her ears
down to her toes.
Tap, tap!
Her feet gallop across the floor.
Bit-a-bit-bit!

Notes fill the cup,
spill over her lips
like dictionaries for songs.

I would miss her singing.
I would miss her jumping feet.
I would miss loving her.
–Margaret Simon

Erin is only in 4th grade. When I read her poem, which she wrote covering two white boards, I told her she had the wisdom of a 65 year old. I also told her that she created a question/ answer form in her poem.

What is love?

Love is when you want a person to be your Valentine
so bad you want to gallop away with them.

What is love like?
Love is like a swing.
It can bring you up
or take you down.

Is love hard?

Love is like a peanut,
hard on the outside
but sweet on the inside.

What can love do to you?
Love can make you talk gibberish.
Love can make you dance the night away to soulful music.

What can love feel like?
Love can feel hard like a pecan cookie
or be soft like an ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookie.

What can love make you feel like?
Love can make you feel
like you are close by your
Valentine when you are truly
one thousand miles apart.

Love can be the best
or worst thing in the world.

–Erin, 4th grade

Emily is also one who is wise beyond her years. She picked up on Naomi’s opening when she said that we are all born poets, just some of us keep it up.

Life

It is hard being a person
But, living is a gift that is given,
and all metal was liquid first,
and all people have to find their way to be.

Everyone is born with poetry,
but not all people stick with it.

You know when you find your thing
when you have music in your legs
and jazz in your toes.

–Emily, 5th grade

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Slice of Life Challenge Day 17

Slice of Life Challenge Day 17


The Poets and Writers prompt for poetry this week was this: “There are 15 lines presenting themselves to you today. Use them to craft a poem.”

So I grabbed some lines while I checked email, blogs, and Facebook. This poem reflects a weird collection of what I read.

15 Lines Talking to Me Today

Words are swimming in my head like little nuggets of time;
words of wisdom, words of observation, words of passers by.
I trust this wisdom is full of magic.
The simple things are the most extraordinary
if only we could see them.
Make a choice with one hand on your heart.
Look for sheep and the shepherd will care for you.
When a pigeon is nesting in the eaves, open the window.
The chicken is innocent though the pile of feathers is telling.
We can make our lives easier if we just listen.

Take these words and make them inchworms,
the caterpillars of geometer moths.
Let’s kench (laugh loudly) together.

You should know, no matter what else,
you are my sunshine.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from my dog Charlie. We went to a dog walk in the park yesterday to support our local Humane Society. He’s all kerchiefed and ready to walk.

My schnoodle, Charlie, says "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"

My schnoodle, Charlie, says “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

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