Friday, September 23, 2022

Write in the Shower

Letter Box
Photo by Amy LV



Students - The first line of today's poem came to me in the shower. Well, almost. What actually flashed across my mind in the shower was, "Lizzie kept her letters in a lovely letter box." Later I added "Ludwig" since it was her real name and continued the repetition of "L." 

The title of today's post - Write in the Shower - does not mean that we need to bring paper and pencil into the shower (though bathtub crayons DO exist). It simply means that we can think about our writing when we are not actually writing: in the shower, while walking alone or with a dog, sitting in a vehicle, swinging on a swing, eating a meal. Daily activities that do not requre focus can be good times to allow our creativity to take over. Many people have some of their best ideas in the shower, so it's worth a try.

This box of Lizzie Ludwig's letters came to me when my father passed away, and I have plans to read them all. They were written by many different people, and sorting through them and reading all of the different cursives is a bit of a puzzle. I am excited to learn more about my family at that time and a bit daunted by the task as there are a lot of letters.

This poem is about something old. Old objects (and people too) are fascinating to me because they hold many, many stories. If you are not sure what to write about, consider writing about something old. It may be a real something that you have held or seen in your daily life. It may be an object from a museum or in a book. Or it may be an old object that you make up in your mind. Garage sales and flea markets and thrift stores are interesting places to find such old things. 

Here are a few "old object questions" you might think about as you write or shower:
  • What does this object make me feel?
  • What do I wonder when I think about this object?
  • If this object told me a secret, what might it say?
  • Who did own or might have owned this object?
  • What is the shape and design of this object?
  • How is this object different from modern versions of it?
  • What does my interest in this object say about me?

Lizzette Heilman Ludwig was my father's father's mother...my great grandmother. I feel fortunate to get to know a bit about her life through this box (and other things) that she left behind and that generations after her kept safe.

Rose is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at Imagine the Possibilities with all kinds of poetic goodness. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

May you look at old things with new eyes this week...

Lizzette's Headstone
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY

xo,
Amy

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Friday, September 16, 2022

Walking & Wondering

Big Rock at Mossy Point
Photo by Amy LV



Students - This week, my husband and I took a walk at Mossy Point, a new nature preserve only 10 minutes from our home. We saw so many trees and plants and an enormous variety of mushrooms that I am excited to look up and learn more about. At one point on the walk, I noticed the sunlight falling right on this one big rock. It looked like it was spotlit on the glorious forest stage, and right away I knew that I would write about it.

I often wish that animals and objects could talk, and so too with this mossy-faced boulder. The stories it could tell! Today's poem explores my questions.

Today's poem is a list poem with the first and last stanzas repeating themselves in ways and the middle stanza serving as the big list of questions. List poems are fun to write, and they do not need to rhyme. I played around with a lot of different words and possibilities to make this one rhyme.

Have you ever wished that something quiet could speak to you? If so, you might wish to explore all of your questions or even just one of them. You might write in your voice, in the voice of the non-talking animal or object, or in both voices (perhaps in two stanzas). 

Truthfully, I probably would be rather annoyed if every rock and tree talked the whole time I walked through a wood. What I love is the silence. But still, I do have questions.

Zoomed Out Big Rock at Mossy Point
Photo by Amy LV

Kat is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at Kathryn Apel with all kinds of poetic goodness. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

May you have a magnificent week of wondering, about all sorts of things!

xo,
Amy

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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, September 9, 2022

Something Unexpected

A Handful of Color
Photo by Amy LV




Students - It is good to be back. I have missed you and hope that our time apart has been healthy and good for you and the people you love. Now that it is autumn in Western New York where I live, I will be posting poems and writing ideas here again on Fridays and perhaps on other (unexpected) days.

Today's poem is a true story poem, and it happened this week (not yesterday, but in poems you can change anything you wish). When I went to get the mail, I expected to walk back to my house with a handful of envelopes. Instead, I walked back to my house with a handful of green acorns and this pretty blue feather. I expected one thing and got another.

Has this ever happened to you? You expected one thing and got another thing instead? Maybe you thought a person would act a certain way when you first met them and later realized that the person was actually quite different from what you had imagined. Or maybe a day brought a surprise you never could have thought up - good...or not so good. These things happen to me all of the time, and now that I am thinking about it, I realize that they are strong writing ideas. I'll be paying more attention and jotting such happenings into my notebook. You might wish to try this too.

Today's poem is mostly made up of lines with eight syllables. You may count them out to check, and you'll notice that two lines have only seven syllables. Sometimes when I write, I feel a beat inside and just follow it. I recommend trying to count out syllables, just to start feeling them inside of you. You can count syllables in others' poems for practice.

Another thing you might notice how many parentheses I included in today's poem. Lines with parentheses feel like little whispered asides, as if the writer is telling special extra information to a reader.

And while I did not plan to rhyme any words in this poem, the last two lines felt like they should rhyme after all. They gave themselves to me, all wrapped in a simple rhyme.

Here's my silverboy Tuck, checking out that handful of autumn mail himself!

Tuck and the Mail
Photo by Amy LV

Carol is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink with a summer cento, or poem made from the lines of other poems. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

I wish you something good and unexpected this week...and perhaps even a poem to go with it.

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 27, 2022

A Repeating Line

Hearts
by Amy LV



Students - Today's poem is about something I am thinking about: how important it is for me - and for each of us - to be present and kind in the face of another's struggles and sorrows. We cannot do everything, but each of us can do something...every day...to bring more peace and hope to our world. We can each pay attention to the people around us, noticing if they may be hurt (inside or out) and if they might need a bit of our care.

You will see that this poem has a repeating line that turns at the end. I did not plan that. The poem made it happen. Allow your poems to lead you, young friends.

Linda is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at A Word Edgewise with thoughtful words and a golden shovel poem about her work as a school librarian this week. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

I offer my deepest respect and appreciation for all teachers and staff in schools over this past year and days. Thank you for all that you do to love, teach, and protect our students every day. For those of you heading into summer now, I offer you my love and wishes for joy and rest.

xo,

Amy

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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 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

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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.