Friday, December 2, 2022

Then and Now Can Be Sad

Our Tuck
Photo by Amy LV


Students - I have written about "Fluffy" (Winnie) and "Gray" (Tuck) here before, and some of you may remember the poem I wrote about Tuck being many different colors of gray

Life is filled with all kinds of moments, and while loving Tuck was filled with joy...losing him has been filled with sadness. He was the most loving and wise boy, and the last day we saw him was October 8. Winnie got sick for a bit after he was gone, and while she is healthy now, she really misses him too. We have another good kitty named Fiona, but she is not interested in cat friends, so Winnie feels the loss of Tuck.

Today my daughter and I will visit the SPCA and perhaps we will come home with a friend for Winnie. This will of course create all kinds of craziness and need for friendship classes, but we may do it anyway. And while we will love a new cat as we always do, we will always remember sweet Tuck. We will always hope that he is out there living a good life with good people. Not knowing can be the hardest part.

Today's poem tells a story of the way something once was...and how it has changed. You can write a poem like this too if you wish. The change does not need to be a sad change as mine is - it might be a happy change or a surprising change or a strange change or any kind of change you would like to write about. And the story doesn't even need to be true at all.

You may have noticed that this is a circle poem, that is the beginning and the ending are the same. Well...almost the same. There is a change because there was a change. The saddest part of this poem for me is the verbs in the last two lines - is and was. The two cats are different from each other in this way now...

It was difficult for me to read today's poem out loud, and I have not written a lot about Tuck as I miss him so much. But I do believe that all of life is worth writing about, and so I will write about him again, honoring his soft, gray spirit.

Catherine is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Reading to the Core with a neat poem which answers an unasked question - she left the question for readers to figure out...and I happily did. She and her poetry group The Inklings all tried this out, inspired by my poem Answer. I am honored and am looking forward to reading them all. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

Will Winnie Find a New Friend?
Photo by Amy LV

I wish for you a then-and-now full of joy this week. And too, a place to save and honor your own sadnesses.

xo,

Amy

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Weather and Form

This Morning at Home
Photo by Amy LV



Students - It is kicking off to be a snowy weekend here near Buffalo, NY where I call home! Last night we had about 8 inches of snow on the ground, and this morning we woke to another 12. It was a tricky morning to take the dogs for a walk.

Weather is always a giving writing topic, and today's dramatic weather (it's still falling) inspired me to write this poem. I began with the form of a triolet (learn about triolet poems HERE) and then changed the form to match what and how I wanted to write about this snow.

Remember: as a writer, you can take any form and:

1. Use the form as it is.

2. Change it as you wish.

3. Combine it with another form.

4. Begin writing in the form and then toss it out the window.

You are the the decision maker in your own writing, and the more we learn about forms and possibilities, the more choices we know about and can work with.

Jama is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup with an exquisite Thanksgiving buffet. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

I am thankful for you.

How Much Will Fall?
Photo by Amy LV

xo,

Amy


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Saturday, November 12, 2022

Here

Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY
Photo by Amy LV



Students - Some of you know that my father passed away in 2020, and this poem is about my recent visit to plant daffodil bulbs at the cemetery. The poem is a sonnet (I explain a bit about sonnets HERE), a form I enjoy writing and thinking in sometimes.

My journey to write this poem at this time came because I opened a wonderful poetry titled KINDEST REGARDS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by Ted Kooser to a random page and found his poem "Daddy Longlegs." The first line reads:

Here, on fine long legs as springy as steel,

It struck me that beginning a poem with the word here was interesting, and so I made a list of a few lines which do just that:

Here, a moth clings to a screen.

Here, an apple waits in a bowl.

Here, a grave listens.

Here, if you walk through this graveyard in the fall.

And then I just kept writing. 


You might find a surprising or not-so-surprising writing topic by trying this yourself. Begin with here and see where you go from here. Or...read something else and begin with a different word or line that you discover in a book.

Buffy is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup with a sneak peek into Laura Purdie Salas's and Alexandria Neonakis's forthcoming book FINDING FAMILY. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

May you catch a loving voice on a breeze.

xo,
Amy

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Friday, November 4, 2022

Answer an Unasked Question

Ms. Moon at Tea
by Amy LV



Students - This week found me writing a lot in my notebook, yesterday outside. And as I sat and wrote on that windy day, I wondered what it would be like if the moon came down from the sky to play kickball or drink tea. Tea won as my poem topic because I did not want to share Moon's visit with a whole lot of imaginary kickball players. I wanted her all to myself.

Today's poem addresses the reader directly, the first two lines reading, "Last night/if you didn't see the moon..." It can be fun to do this, to pretend that you are writing a poem to a real, certain someone. After acknowledging this imaginary reader's question, "Why was it so dark last night?" my poem answers the question, explaining that the moon was enjoying a spot of tea with the writer.

You might choose to try this. Think of something someone might wonder, real or pretend...and then write a poem answering this question. As you know from my poem, your answer may be completely curious and magical. Feel free to title you poem "Answer" too. Or not!

Try writing a poem with the word you in it. This kind of writing is called writing in the second person. What will you say to your reader?

Heidi is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at my juicy little universe with a celebration of voting and folktales. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

xo,
Amy

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Friday, October 28, 2022

Begin with "If"

A Sky Peek
Photo by Amy LV




Students - This week I spent a lot of time outside because it was very beautiful...and because I was planting hundreds of flower bulbs: in our yard, at a friend's apartment, at my mom's house, and at my father's grave. Digging around under trees, I found myself looking up through them, and so I took that photograph above.

Today's poem starts with the word "If." And while I wrote about something I actually did myself (look up through a tree), I could have written an "If" poem about an imaginary experience, or I could have written about something that might have happened differently such as, "If I never met Winnie..." You might try making a list in your notebook, each line beginning with the word "if." 

If...
If...
If...

See where your list brings you. You may be surprised. I surprised myself today by beginning with this one, small word. 

Also, notice the line breaks in today's poem. Some are longer, and some are shorter. By making shorter lines, I hope that a reader will slow down just a wee bit on the shorter lines, pausing for just a moment. Listen to my recording to see what I mean.

Saturday Update: Such fun! Teacher Mandy Robek and her second grade writers wrote a wonderful community "If" poem and each made illustrations to go with it. You can read it and see their pictures here at Mandy's blog, Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

Jone is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup with a joyful celebration of book launches. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

I hope that you will discover one new possibility this week...and that perhaps you, too, will be enchanted by a bewitching color.

xo,
Amy

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Friday, October 21, 2022

Tell a Mending Story

Stitching Pants Patches
Photo by Amy LV


Students - Last week I attended a fun fall brunch with a bunch of friends. We started talking about mending our favorite old clothes when they become torn and worn. I have not spent time mending before, but I have wanted to...so this was an inspiring conversation for me.

One of my friends, Katie, showed us a dress she had mended for a friend of hers. It had large holes in it from a bicycle catch, and she sewed bird print fabric into the holes. Now the dress has birds peeking out! This mend was a birthday gift for her friend, and Katie has generously offered to do "birthday mends" for other friends too.

Such attention-grabbing mending, with bright colors and creative patterns, is called "visible mending" or "creative mending." Of course you can mend with the color that matches your fabric, to make the repair disappear. But there is something whimsical about adding design and pattern and splash to old garments.

This poem is about me...and not about me. Today I really will be finishing the mend you see above. But this poem is about everybody who mends. And while I am a girl, I decided to make the character in this poem a boy. When we write, we do not have to make every single bit of our writing true to life. We have permission to play with the world and with our words too.

If you are wondering what to write about, consider making a list in your notebook of things you have mended or fixed or repaired or healed. Think of things that you have seen others mend or fix or repair or heal - for themselves or for you or for someone else. There is a world of stories here. You may find something on your list that you wish to write more about.

Bridget is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at wee words for wee ones with a peace poem by Angela De Groot. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

May you mend and be mended... And if you come back later, you'll see a photograph of my completed stitching!

xo,
Amy

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Friday, October 14, 2022

Teach a Whimsical Lesson

Found on a Walk
Photo by Amy LV



Students - This week I have been thinking about fall...and about ice cream. Yesterday, I started to think about interesting possible ice cream flavors: Cool Moonlight, Song Stuck in My Head, Breakfast for Dinner, Dancing Wildflowers. 

This week I am dogsitting my mom's dog Cinnamon, and yesterday afternoon, I found the above leaf on our walk. I really love the smell of fall leaves in piles and so many things about fall and decided to write an imaginary story poem about going to an ice cream shop and ordering a nonexistent ice cream flavor.

The idea for a lesson at the end of this poem did not come until I actually got to the end of writing it, but writing lesson poems (whether serious or whimsical) is one possible way to begin a poem as well. You may wish to try this. Think of a real or imagined lesson you might teach someone else. Then, build your poem toward it. Let your poem tell the story of learning the lesson, or allow your poem to explain the lesson. You might state your lesson directly at the end as I did...or you might just let your readers figure it out.

Do note how I have indented the ice cream lady's stanzas and kept the speaker's stanzas out to the left margin. This helps a reader know who is speaking. I also have chosen to use italics so that you know when the conversation is happening.

Matt is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme with a bit about his latest book and a poem about family. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

Remember: you give yourself a future present when you press a snip of nature into your notebook. This leaf is now living in mine, and one spring, summer, or winter day, I know that I will be very happy to find it!

xo,
Amy

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