Friday, May 20, 2022

Making. Making. Violet Tea.

2 Cups Violets
Photo by Amy LV



Students - Today's poem is about a process: making violet jelly, something I did this week, something that made me feel happy. 

I first found some recipes and chose to make the Violet Jelly recipe over at Homestead Acres.

Visiting many places in the yard to pick, pick pick, I even found a little snake sunning himself! It took a long time to pick so many violets, but it was a cool sunny morning and picking violets was a good way to spend it.

Violets and Snake Under the Redbud
Photo by Amy LV

I gathered two cups of violets and packed them down a little bit...but not too much. But the more you pack them down, the more violet your jelly will be.

Violets and Bunny at St. Francis's Hem
Photo by Amy LV

Then I made the "violet tea," which is simply boiling water poured over violets. It sat in the fridge for two nights, though one night would have been enough. The water eventually became deep blue.

Violet Tea
Photo by Amy LV

Following the recipe, I ended up with ten sweet and sparkly jars full of spring goodness! My favorite part was pouring the lemon juice into the strained violet tea...the blue tea turned purple. My son came down to watch this part, and we were both surprised and delighted when it happened...even though the recipe promised it would.

4 oz. Jar of Violet Jelly
Photo by Amy LV

Making is inspiring. When I am down, it helps me to make something. And trying a new recipe or craft opens doors in a person's mind and heart. If you're looking for something new to make, I recommend going to your library and taking out a craft book or a gardening book or a cookbook. Check your classroom or a shelf at home. 

Make something! And then...write about it.

I love making so much that I wrote a whole book about making. You can find a maker guide with all sorts of links to fun projects at my website HERE.


Today's project is dandelion jelly. They say it tastes like honey!

Dandelion Tea
Photo by Amy LV

Carmela is hosting Poetry Friday at Teaching Authors with a "STEAM poetry sneak peek" and this week's roundup. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

What new thing will you do with your hands this week?

xo,

Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class.

Friday, May 13, 2022

A Day Writing Poems from Art

Postcard Pile
Photo by Amy LV

This Wednesday, I was so happy to visit Seely Place School in the Edgemont School District in Scarsdale, NY. While I have been doing some virtual teaching from my camper, this was my first in-person school visit (not counting teaching fourth grade last year) since February 2020. 

And what writers! 

These second grade poets focused on ekphrastic (art) poems during our time together, and their poems were fascinating and thoughtful. They looked at many many postcards, each choosing one that inspired them most. And as they read their poems out loud, each of us was transported to a new place.

Fish in the Sky, 2014
by Ben Giles




Students - For bits of time with the Seely Place second grade poets this week, I wrote too. I chose the above postcard, and those flying fish grabbed my attention. I wrote about them flying, and then the bird made me think about birds swimming...and so it went.

Now, that ending. It was a surprise to me. As you know, I am always working against spending too much time on screens, and so the ending probably came from there. The idea of something fantastic happening and people all missing it felt real, and those words just appeared on the page.

For me, the most fun in writing this poem is the repetition of knew and new which happen to rhyme with blue. It was not a plan, but it feels playful.

I wrote a different draft of a different poem about this postcard too, but I prefer this one. Remember that sometimes revision can mean starting all over again, starting fresh. 

If you're seeking inspiration this week, look to art. You can find art on walls and in books, in museums and on the internet. And each piece of art can take you on an endless number of writing vacations.

Thank you to everyone at Seely Place who spent time with me this week. I am still thinking about your poetry!

Congratulations to Linda Mitchell, winner of Emily Callahan and Debbie Miller's new book with Heinemann! Linda, I've tweeted a note asking for your snail mail address so that I can get your book to you. Thank you again, Emily and poets, for sharing your fabulous poems with all of in this space last week.

Rose is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Imagine the Possibilities with a very cool idea to write poems from book titles and a lovely-book-title-inspired-poem to go with it. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

I hope that you have the opportunity to look at art this week...even for a moment.

xo,

Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class.

Friday, May 6, 2022

A Spring Welcome to Young Poets

Leaf Lullaby - May 5, 2022
Photo by Amy LV



Students - As I was driving down the road to my home the other day, I noticed that the hill was once again whispering green. And the words a lullaby of leaves came into my head. I have been happily carrying that phrase in the palm of my hand all week long, and today it lives in this tiny poem. 

Pay good attention to the words and phrases that come to you as flashes. These are like shooting stars, meant just for you. You can sew stories and poems together with such bits and pieces.


Today I am so lucky to welcome some great fourth grade poets and artists from Liberty, Missouri. They are fine poets and poem-celebrators, popcorn eaters, and thoughtful creators. Their teacher - author Emily Callahan - and I have shared many poem joys back and forth through the years, and the work of these students has touched me deeply.

Click through the slides below (enlarge the show if you wish) to see proverb poems, prequel poems, artwork, poem thoughts, animal poems, and color poems. Notice the students' writing moves and their thoughtfulness. Enjoy every moment, just as I did and will each time I visit their work.

Thank you so much, young poets. You make the world a richer, kinder place with your words.

Slideshow is Here 


I would like to give a copy of Emily Callahan's wise, beautiful, and  brand new book with Debbie Miller -  I'M THE KIND OF KID WHO: INVITATIONS THAT SUPPORT LEARNER IDENTITY AND AGENCY - to a teacher who comments on these students' poems. The book can also go to someone who is not a teacher...but who will give it to a teacher. Please simply comment on this post, about these students poems, before next Thursday, May 12 at 11:59pm.

Giveaway Book!
Comment by Thursday, May 12 at 11:59pm

Jama is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup with an exquisite tribute to mothers and Mother's Day in both poetry, family photographs, memories, and art. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

May the hushes and swishes of the changing seasons bring you peace this week.

xo,

Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Final Pick a Proverb - Day 30

 

Happy Day 30 - final day - of National Poetry Month! Many congratulations to everyone who has been writing a poem each day of this month - about anything! It is an accomplishment to stay with something, and I am proud of you and happy for us all.

For National Poetry Month 2022, I have been sharing a daily poem inspired by a popular proverb. Dictionary.com defines a proverb as "a short, popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses some commonplace truth or useful thought." A proverb might also be called a saying, an expression, a maxim, or an adage, and Merriam Webster notes that proverbs are "nuggets of wisdom" which often have popular opposites. Some of you may know the word Proverbs from the book of the Bible, but proverbs are not all from the bible - many come from daily life.

My suggestion has been that we write from proverbs in many ways:
  • Write a true story poem inspired by the proverb
  • Make up a story poem connected to the proverb
  • Write a poem agreeing with the proverb
  • Write a poem disagreeing with the proverb
  • Connect a fact or historical moment to the proverb
  • Take any one word or bit from the proverb and write from that
  • Anything else!

Each day of April, I shared a proverb, the meaning of the proverb, and a poem inspired by that proverb. I invite to you write from proverbs of your own choosing or to write proverb poems along with me. You can read some examples and learn a little more about this projects and my 2010-2020 poetry projects HERE. These poems will come down from the blog (for hopeful book publication) very soon.

Here is the PICK A PROVERB LIST that I wrote from throughout April 2022. As school districts block outside Google docs for student access, I welcome teachers to "Make a Copy" of this document and to share it with students from your school district accounts.


And now, today's poem, the last one!




Students - Today's proverb - All good things must come to an end - means just what it says. Nothing lasts forever, and it is important to appreciate what we have while we have it. As they say, "The only thing that doesn't change is change." 

I started today's poem by listing things that I have wanted to last forever, things I have enjoyed. Then I just followed my mind into this poem. This is a partial list poem, as you will notice the little list in stanza 2. If you're ever unsure about how to start a poem, you may wish to try beginning with a list. This often helps me.

I invite you to join me in writing about the above proverb using the suggestions listed above today's poem or in choosing your own proverb from the list linked above and in the sidebar here throughout April 2022. These poems will remain in place for a few more days, but then I will be taking them down.

If your class has been writing about proverbs with me this month, I would love to hear about it! It has been a wild ride, and tomorrow is the last day.

Thank you so much for joining me on this Pick a Proverb journey. It will be interesting to see if this study changes the way we speak and think. Stories and comparisons and metaphors stretch us, and I hope you have enjoyed traveling along this month-long path together.

xo,
Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class

Friday, April 29, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 29

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!


Today my illustrator friend Emma Virj√°n and I are celebrating our new book, IF THIS BIRD HAD POCKETS: A POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY CELEBRATION, a book full of poems imagining the poems animals might carry on this day. If you'd like to learn the story behind the book, we share our unusual publishing route here at The Nerdy Book Club.


To celebrate, this week, Emma and I made a new art-and-poem pairing to continue the super time we had making our book. It is brand new, but it would fit right into the pages of IF THIS BIRD HAD POCKETS.

Our Latest Pairing
Click to Enlarge

The first page of our book tells a bit about Poem in Your Pocket Day. If it is a new holiday to you, here's that page:

From IF THIS BIRD HAD POCKETS

I am wearing my new pocket jacket made especially for Poem in Your Pocket Day. I commissioned this jacket by a friend, and it is COVERED with pockets, each embroidered with something from our new book.

Today I Have a Pocket Poem!
Jacket Pockets by Muna S.

And below you may read the poem I am carrying today.

Pocket Poem, Unfolded
Photo by Amy LV

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day to everyone...and remember, you can carry a poem any day, or every day. You can even make up your own Poem in Your Pocket Day date if today does not work for you.

And now, for the second-to-last poem in my Pick a Proverb project series.

    

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy Day 29 of National Poetry Month! 

Tomorrow is the final day of my Pick a Proverb Project. Dictionary.com defines a proverb as "a short, popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses some commonplace truth or useful thought." A proverb might also be called a saying, an expression, a maxim, or an adage, and Merriam Webster notes that proverbs are "nuggets of wisdom" which often have popular opposites. Some of you may know the word Proverbs from the book of the Bible, but proverbs are not all from the bible - many come from daily life.

My suggestion is that we write from proverbs in many ways:
  • Write a true story poem inspired by the proverb
  • Make up a story poem connected to the proverb
  • Write a poem agreeing with the proverb
  • Write a poem disagreeing with the proverb
  • Connect a fact or historical moment to the proverb
  • Take any one word or bit from the proverb and write from that
  • Anything else!

Each day of April, I will share a proverb, the meaning of the proverb, and a poem inspired by that proverb. I will also share the the proverb which will inspire the next day's poem. I invite to you write from proverbs of your own choosing or to write proverb poems along with me. You can read some examples and learn a little more about this projects and my 2010-2020 poetry projects HERE.

Here is the PICK A PROVERB LIST that I will write from throughout April 2022, and I will add to this as I discover more proverbs. As school districts block outside Google docs for student access, I welcome teachers to "Make a Copy" of this document and to share it with students from your school district accounts.


And now, today's poem!




Students - Today's proverb - The world is your oyster - illustrates the idea that a person can do anything, can make all kinds of choices about their life. Oysters occasionally have pearls in them, and so the pearl inside of the oyster symbolizes all of the richess of our choices. 

I chose to write a cinquain today. Cinq ("sank") means five in French, and a cinquain is a poem with five lines. Some people call this kind of poem a quintet. A cinquain has five lines, can follow a particular meter, and has a syllable count per line as below:

2
4
6
8
2

One book I like to use when thinking about forms of poetry this month is the one below.

Tomorrow, on the last day of National Poetry Month 2022, I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

All good things must come to an end.

Jone is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Jone Rush MacCulloch with a poem that feels like a meditation, full of gorgeous repetition. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship. 

Maybe see you tomorrow for the final day of Pick a Proverb, Day 30!

xo,
Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 28

 Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day, so you still have time to choose your poem! If you'd like more information about this special day, The Academy of American Poets has a list of 30 Ways to Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day in the classroom HERE.

  

Happy Day 28 of National Poetry Month! April always brings poems, vases full of poems. And over at Jama's Alphabet Soup, Jama always generously shares the various projects happening around the Kidlitosphere during this time. Enjoy!

For National Poetry Month 2022, I will share a daily poem inspired by a popular proverb. Dictionary.com defines a proverb as "a short, popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses some commonplace truth or useful thought." A proverb might also be called a saying, an expression, a maxim, or an adage, and Merriam Webster notes that proverbs are "nuggets of wisdom" which often have popular opposites. Some of you may know the word Proverbs from the book of the Bible, but proverbs are not all from the bible - many come from daily life.

My suggestion is that we write from proverbs in many ways:
  • Write a true story poem inspired by the proverb
  • Make up a story poem connected to the proverb
  • Write a poem agreeing with the proverb
  • Write a poem disagreeing with the proverb
  • Connect a fact or historical moment to the proverb
  • Take any one word or bit from the proverb and write from that
  • Anything else!

Each day of April, I will share a proverb, the meaning of the proverb, and a poem inspired by that proverb. I will also share the the proverb which will inspire the next day's poem. I invite to you write from proverbs of your own choosing or to write proverb poems along with me. You can read some examples and learn a little more about this projects and my 2010-2020 poetry projects HERE.

Here is the PICK A PROVERB LIST that I will write from throughout April 2022, and I will add to this as I discover more proverbs. As school districts block outside Google docs for student access, I welcome teachers to "Make a Copy" of this document and to share it with students from your school district accounts.


And now, today's poem!




Students - Today's proverb - A watched pot never boils - illustrates the idea that if you're waiting and paying too much attention to something you wish for, it will feel like it takes forever to happen. Time moves slowly when we're too focused on what we want to happen. 

It is early spring here in Western New York, and I am looking forward to both hummingbirds and lilacs. We have a lot of both here at The Poem Farm, and my husband kindly hangs lots of hummingbirds around our front door and around Betsy the Writing Camper too.

This poem is a pantoum (pronounced "pan-TOOM"). A pantoum has stanzas of four lines, and in each stanza, the second and fourth lines repeat as the first and third lines of the following stanza. The form may have as many stanzas as the poet chooses and a pantoum may rhyme or not, You can see how I checked that I matched the proper lines by looking at my draft below. Note how I used different symbols to indicate which line would match which other line.


Sometimes, a pantoum adds more repetition, with the second and fourth lines matching the third and first lines of the first stanza. While I love this use of all lines twice, such a variation would not allow me to have my hummingbird fly away...so I kept with the simpler version, repeating only two lines in the last stanza as in all other stanzas.

I have written only one other pantoum that I remember, and it was about mask wearing back in 2020. You can find that poem HERE. This is an old form of poetry, from the fifteenth century. 

When I draft a poem, I usually need two things to get started: an inspiration image or idea which can come from outside or inside of me, and a form to play with. Sometimes the form emerges, and sometimes the image emerges through writing...but often I jump in with these two parts and I see what I write. Often it changes, and I always leave that window open. A cool breeze blowing into a poem is a beautiful thing, don't you think?

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

The world is your oyster.

I invite you to join me in writing about the above proverb using the suggestions listed above today's poem or in choosing your own proverb from the list linked above and in the sidebar here throughout April 2022. If you have a proverb to add to the list, please write to me with a parent or guardian or teacher through that adult's account.

And if any classes of students are picking and writing proverbs along with me (or doing any connected work), I invite teachers to email me through my CONTACT ME button above. If you'd like, we can talk about publishing your students' work here at The Poem Farm. Please note that I do not respond to emails from students as I do not encourage writing to strangers online, but I do respond to students who correspond through parents, guardians, and teachers. It has been a joy to read the proverb poems that folks have shared, and I thank you for letting me peek into your interesting brains, just as you peek into mine!

Maybe see you tomorrow for Pick a Proverb, Day 29, Poem in Your Pocket Day!

xo,
Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Pick a Proverb - Day 27

  

Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Day 27 of National Poetry Month! April always brings poems, vases full of poems. And over at Jama's Alphabet Soup, Jama always generously shares the various projects happening around the Kidlitosphere during this time. Enjoy!

For National Poetry Month 2022, I will share a daily poem inspired by a popular proverb. Dictionary.com defines a proverb as "a short, popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses some commonplace truth or useful thought." A proverb might also be called a saying, an expression, a maxim, or an adage, and Merriam Webster notes that proverbs are "nuggets of wisdom" which often have popular opposites. Some of you may know the word Proverbs from the book of the Bible, but proverbs are not all from the bible - many come from daily life.

My suggestion is that we write from proverbs in many ways:
  • Write a true story poem inspired by the proverb
  • Make up a story poem connected to the proverb
  • Write a poem agreeing with the proverb
  • Write a poem disagreeing with the proverb
  • Connect a fact or historical moment to the proverb
  • Take any one word or bit from the proverb and write from that
  • Anything else!

Each day of April, I will share a proverb, the meaning of the proverb, and a poem inspired by that proverb. I will also share the the proverb which will inspire the next day's poem. I invite to you write from proverbs of your own choosing or to write proverb poems along with me. You can read some examples and learn a little more about this projects and my 2010-2020 poetry projects HERE.

Here is the PICK A PROVERB LIST that I will write from throughout April 2022, and I will add to this as I discover more proverbs. As school districts block outside Google docs for student access, I welcome teachers to "Make a Copy" of this document and to share it with students from your school district accounts.



And now, today's poem!




Students - Today's proverb - Still waters run deep - illustrates the idea that there is often a lot going on underneath a still or quiet surface. Quiet people can be full of ideas and thoughts and great fun. Quiet waters can be full of swimming, colorful life underneath what we first see.

This poem is a short free verse poem. I chose to capitalize White and Oak to make the type of tree also the name of a character. I have talked to trees before, and the idea of generations doing so, the idea of trees silently holding years of secrets makes me curious and happy. 

You probably know that trees have rings inside, called growth rings. There is even a whole world of science dedicated to the study of these growth rings - it is called dendrochronology and is the study of tree ring dating. The innermost circles of a tree's rings are called the heartwood, and since people keep secrets in our hearts, it seemed to make sense that trees likely keep secrets in their heartwood rings.

Wouldn't it be neat if the tree you most love could speak to you...just for a moment...about its history and all of the people it knew?

Tomorrow I will share a poem inspired by this proverb:

A watched pot never boils.

I invite you to join me in writing about the above proverb using the suggestions listed above today's poem or in choosing your own proverb from the list linked above and in the sidebar here throughout April 2022. If you have a proverb to add to the list, please write to me with a parent or guardian or teacher through that adult's account.

And if any classes of students are picking and writing proverbs along with me (or doing any connected work), I invite teachers to email me through my CONTACT ME button above. If you'd like, we can talk about publishing your students' work here at The Poem Farm. Please note that I do not respond to emails from students as I do not encourage writing to strangers online, but I do respond to students who correspond through parents, guardians, and teachers. It has been a joy to read the proverb poems that folks have shared, and I thank you for letting me peek into your interesting brains, just as you peek into mine!

Maybe see you tomorrow for Pick a Proverb, Day 28!

xo,
Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish. 
If you are under 13 years old, please only comment with a parent
or as part of a group with your teacher and class