Friday, June 14, 2019

Nature Brilliance & How-To Poems

Wine Caps and Spore Print
Foraging by Henry V
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Our son Henry is interested in mycology (the study of fungi) and foraging, and this week he found a treasure trove of wine cap mushrooms. Above, you can see the spore print he took of one of them. Its purple hue helped him finalize the identification of this mushroom.

Today's poem grew from a scientific fact (mushrooms make spore prints), an object lying around our house (this print on the table and the mushrooms in the fridge), and a comment made by my husband (when Mark left this morning, he asked, "Are you going to write a blog post about this spore print?")  Poems and writing ideas really are all over the place.

This poem is also a bit of a how-to poem, explaining how to make a spore print.  You can best collect spore prints from mushrooms gathered in the wild. And too, you might choose to write a how-to poem about anything you wish to teach.

If you wish to learn more about mushroom hunting, you can do so at Wonderopolis, and you can learn more about spore prints and everything-mushroom from the North American Mycological Association.

Remember: do not eat mushrooms you find unless you are a mushroom expert or under the guidance of a mushroom expert.  Some mushrooms are poisonous and can make you sick.

Laura is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Laura Shovan with a celebration of the third grade poets of Northfield Elementary as well as this week's poetry offerings from all around the Kidlitosphere. We gather together each Friday, and all are always welcome.  

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 7, 2019

SPARK & Maine Animal Haiku

Students - Every once in a while, I participate in SPARK: ART FROM WRITING, WRITING FROM ART, and I just did so again.  Here's how it works.  SPARK is a 10 day exercise.  On Day 1, founder Amy Souza pairs up artists and writers.  Each gives the other a piece of art or writing to work from, an inspiration piece.  Each has ten days to make something new from the piece he or she receives.  And on Day 10, the artists and writers reveal to each other what they created.

It was such fun to be paired with artist Cathy Stephens Pratt for this round.  I adore her whimsical piece, and I loved imagining walking around inside, wondering what might be inside the house. As I wrote, I imagined this little house, offering each of us what we most desire and need.  It is a magic house!

Thank you to Cathy for the inspiration...and thank you to Amy for organizing us.

If you ever do not know what to write about, try writing from art.

It is a pleasure to welcome Second Grade Teacher Kim Oldenburgh and her young poet artists.  Please enjoy this beautiful slideshow of haiku and watercolors, all inspired by Maine animals.

Please Click the Square Above to Enlarge

The winner of last week's book, LUBNA AND PEBBLE, written by Wendy Meddour and  illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, is Jone.  Please send your snail mail address to me at amy at amylv dot com.  If you did not win this book, I highly suggest checking it out at the library or purchasing it for yourself or classroom or library.  It is beautiful, tender, and wise.

Michelle is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Michelle Kogan with a celebration of our 22nd US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith and this week's poetry offerings from all around the Kidlitosphere. We gather together each Friday, and all are always welcome.  

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Naomi, Lizzette, Dara, & Lubna

Lizzette's Box *
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Sometimes reading a poem can lead you into a poem of your own.  I love Naomi Shihab Nye's poems, and reading the last two lines of Full Day - "They carried their treasures/in a crooked box." - made me think about the box you see above.

Full Day
by Naomi Shihab Nye

The pilot on the plane says
in one minute and fifty seconds
we're going as far
as the covered wagon went
in a full day....

Read the complete poem HERE.

This oak box, which belonged to my great grandmother (my father's father's mother), now belongs to me.  And while I do not know if Lizzette received this box as a birthday gift upon turning ten, I liked imagining that story of Wilhelm and Frederika chatting about their daughter's gift.  Today I am thinking about the sturdiness of this box, so solid in my hands 144 years later. I am considering objects in my life, how few and sturdy feels better than many and flimsy.

My Great Grandmother Lizzette's Grave
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY

Is there an object in your home which once belonged to someone else?  If you know the story, you might choose to write it.  If you do not know the story, you might choose to invent it!

I could not be more grateful that Naomi Shihab Nye is our new Young People's Poet Laureate.  Following the wise, peaceful Laureate term of Margarita Engle, Naomi will act in this role from 2019 - 2021. We are fortunate to have these leaders, and I look forward to supporting any projects that Naomi takes on.  Her work has been a North Star in my life.

I am very happy to introduce a guest poet today.  Oluwadara Olusoji is a ten year old fifth grader currently attending  Lincoln Community School in Ghana.  I learned about her writing last year when her teacher, Juliette Awua-Kyeremate, kindly shared a poem with me.  It is a pleasure to share Dara's work here at The Poem Farm.  Enjoy her thoughtful poetry...

Click the Small Box in the Bar to Enlarge this Slideshow

I am grateful to Dara for her generous sharing today. It has been a pleasure to write back and forth with her, to learn about her thinking, and to be inspired by her words.  Thank you, Dara!

This week I fell in love with a book, and as it is in the spirit of kindness and family and treasures and valuing each other, all themes in Naomi Shihab Nye's work, that I would like to give away a copy of  LUBNA AND PEBBLE, gorgeously and simply written by Wendy Meddour and beautifully illustrated by Daniel Egnéus.  Please comment on this post by 11:59 on Thursday, June 7 with a way to reach you, and I will announce a winner next Poetry Friday.

Image result for lubna and pebble

Mary Lee is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at A Year of Reading with a poem inspired by a prompt suggested by Naomi Shihab Nye. Mary Lee has rounded up all links of this week's Kidlitosphere poetry happenings many of which celebrate the work and person of Naomi Shihab Nye. We gather together each Friday, and all are always welcome.  

* Footnote - As of today (June 1, 2019), I stand corrected! This is NOT Lizzette's box as I had assumed.  It is Great Aunt Lil's box. Lil was my great grandfather's sister and had no children, so this box somehow found its way down to me.  I think she was a toddler when she received it which brings up a whole different story in my head. I will visit Great Aunt Lil's grave (also in Forest Lawn) and will get a picture this summer.  This whole box story has begun a lovely family history conversation with my dad and has us both digging back into our tree.... xx

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Friday, May 24, 2019

Triolet for a Stone

A Stone I Love
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I love holding a smooth stone in my hand, feeling sun and earth and the whole natural world in my small palm.  When I do this, my human cares melt away.  Our lives are full of objects that require batteries, electricity, and charging, and so I find it nourishing to hold one small stone or feather or leaf in my hand.  Doing so, I am renewed.  You might wish to place a shell or stone or other small natural object on your desk or in your pocket.  When you feel adrift, hold this object in your hand.  Allow it to ground you.

This poem is a triolet.  You may read another triolet here at The Poem Farm from back during my April 2012 Dictionary Hike - Restore.  The fourth post ever at The Poem Farm also featured a triolet, a triolet about my Grandpa Norman's bango.

Last week I was lucky enough to write ekphrastic poems with the second graders of Harris Hill Elementary in Penfield, NY and to spend two days with the students of York Elementary School in York, NY.  Twenty-seven years ago, I was a student teacher in fifth grade at York Elementary, and it was a joy to return.  This past week I visited Warsaw Elementary, Avon Elementary, and Geneseo Elementary, all in Western New York, and next week I am off to work with middle school writers in Harrington Park, NJ. Thank you, teachers and students, for your kindness and hospitality.

Dani is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Doing the Work that Matters with a wise and loving golden shovel poem about grief. Today Dani's blog is home to all links of this week's Kidlitosphere poetry happenings ...we gather together each Friday, and all are welcome.  

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Poem Can Be Short

Two Tulips in May
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Yes, this IS a short poem.  

The weather here in Western New York has at last turned to spring, so I have been enjoying watching the new life everywhere.  The other afternoon, as I got out of my car at home, I was struck by these two tulips.  Don't they look like they are yawning?  When I spotted them, this was my first thought.  I took a picture because I knew these yawns would not last long.

Of course, this sight and observation caused me to wonder, Why would tulips yawn?  I figured it might be because they are so beautiful...but then I imagined other words for beautiful, at last landing on stunning

Two lines only, but you find a question, a possible answer, some personfication, and a wee bit o' play with sound.

Watch your world.  Look at things and imagine them as other things.  Attach unlikely verbs to objects.  Play.  And know that your poems may be short.  Your poems need not rhyme.

This week I was lucky enough to write with the second graders of Dodge Elementary in Williamsville, NY, to talk writing with the Pre-K through seventh graders at DeSales Catholic School in Lockport, NY, and to Skype with three thoughtful classes of third graders in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  Thank you, schools and teachers, for welcoming me!

Liz is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Elizabeth Steinglass.  Visit her place to celebrate her forthcoming, fun, energetic book --  SOCCERVERSE: POEMS ABOUT SOCCER, illustrated by Edson Iké, and to read an early poem draft from this book as well as an abecedarian soccer poem. Of course, Liz has links to all poetry happenings around the Kidlitosphere this week...we do this each Friday, and all are welcome.  Congratulations, Liz!

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Friday, May 3, 2019

A Pinecone - Poems Can Describe

In My Yard Today
Photo by Amy LV

Students - This short little poem is simply a poem of description and a poem of comparison.  I wrote it while working with some wonderful second graders at Northwood Elementary in Hilton, NY.  We were looking closely at natural objects, sketching them, and writing about them while using jewelers loupes.  I learned this process from the wonderful site, The Private Eye and every once in a while, I love reminding you about their work.

Here you can see my poem without line breaks and then again with line breaks.

No Line Breaks - Line Breaks
Photo by Amy LV

If you ever write something that sounds like a poem but does not look like a poem, remember that you can add or change line breaks during or after writing.  I like to use slashes to help me imagine line break possibilities, slashing and then copying the poem with new line breaks.  Sometimes I rewrite the same words many different ways, considering which way looks best and sounds best on the page.

Line breaks matter in poetry.  Read poems out loud to get the feel of others' line breaks, and enjoy playing with your own.

Did you know that pinecones open up when it is warm and dry and close up when it is wet?  They are good seed savers.  Interesting nonfiction facts always make for interesting poem topics.

Thank you to the sweet schools I visited in the past week: Schlegel Road in Webster, NY, Greenacres in Scarsdale, NY, and Lenape Meadows, Betsy Ross, and George Washington in Mahwah, NJ.  It was a pleasure to join your writing communities, each for a day!

Jama offers us a sweet and delicious entry into May this Poetry Friday where she is hosting this week's roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Visit her place to explore all poetry happenings around the Kidlitosphere.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Poetry Friday


Join Us!

If you would like to learn more about other National Poetry Month projects happening throughout the Kidlitosphere, Jama has rounded up many NPM happenings over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Happy continued National Poetry Month 2019!

If you are here to link in for Poetry Friday...please do so below.  And if you've never joined us for Poetry Friday before, please know that you are always invited.  Each week, a different blogger hosts a roundup of posts...and all are invited to visit and link in if you wish.  Today is my turn, so if you click below, you will be transported to a list of many poetry places to visit around the Kidlitosphere today and beyond.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
See you tomorrow!


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