Friday, July 24, 2015

Sometimes I Sit and Wonder - A List Poem

Talking Barn
by Amy LV

Students - This, as you have likely noticed, is a list poem.  Yesterday I was sitting at a picnic table in our back pasture, writing as I looked around the world.  When my eyes landed on our barn, I found myself thinking about way back before our time, when cows lived in there.  I started wondering if the barn misses those cows, thing led to another.  It was fun to think about the different things in my life that might wish to tell me something.

Do you ever just sit outside, look around, and think and wonder?  I highly recommend it as a neat way to find out what's rattling around up in your attic mind!

The winner of last week's giveaway of JUMPING OFF LIBRARY SHELVES, the latest beautiful anthology by Lee Bennett Hopkins, is Janet.  Janet - please send me your address in an e-mail to amy at amylv dot com, and I will get it in the mail to you.  Congratulations!

Visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for a beautiful summer swap gift share and today's roundup.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pluto! - Writing from Current Events


Pluto by LORRI and Ralph, 13 July 2015.jpg
Portrait of Pluto
Taken July 13, 2015 by the New Horizons Spacecraft

Students - This may be the first time I have posted a poem picture here that was not taken or drawn by someone in my family or by a good friend. But it's a clear and beautiful image of Pluto, and so I could not resist.  This past Tuesday, July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto, and it was the first spacecraft to do so.  It took nine and a half years to make the three billion mile trip, and they did it.  

When I listened to the news on Tuesday and Wednesday and saw the Pluto pictures, I knew that I would write about this exciting day and event.  Every single day, millions of interesting things happen in the world.  By reading or listening to the news, a writer can find many many ideas.  Try taking a peek at the newspaper or listening to radio news.  You might watch a bit of TV news or check out a news site here online, and let it inspire a new poem or piece of writing in you.

If you wish to read a bit more about the New Horizons fly-by, visit The New York Times. To see a timelapse video showing how our knowledge of Pluto has grown, visit NASA.  And this little NASA clip shows you Pluto's mountains:

This week I was over the moon excited to receive my contributor copies of the latest book by Lee Bennett Hopkins - JUMPING OFF LIBRARY SHELVES. Gorgeously illustrated by Jane Manning, this is a warm, wise, and whimsical celebration of poems celebrating the goodness of libraries.  My poem, "Book Pillows," could not be happier to be included, and I am looking forward to September when the book is available. Today, though, I am offering a giveaway to a commenter on this post. Simply comment with a way to reach you below, and I'll draw one name on Thursday evening and announce the winner next Friday.

Jumping Off Library Shelves by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Available through Your Local Bookstore
or Amazon

If you'd like to see how the Favorite Poem Padlet is growing, click here to check it out.  You can still add your favorite.  Just double click anywhere on the gray with your left mouse button, and begin typing!

This week's Poetry Friday party is with Kimberley over at Google +.  Visit there to read a beautiful poem and to learn about links to poetry goodness all around.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Something I Do - Free Verse & a Padlet

Poem Path
by Amy LV

Students - I do collect poems and do sometimes feel like they are spilling out from my pockets and onto the earth.  But you know what, I still always wish to learn and collect more.  Poems are my way of understanding the world - both reading poems and writing poems helps me make sense of life on both the dark and the very sunny days.  Poems are both song and like medicine to me.

Today's poem is a free verse poem, not following any special rhyme scheme or meter. Yet still, I read the poem many times out loud to listen to the pauses and rhythms and repetition.

What is something you do?  Might that be a good start to a notebook entry or poem?  "Something I do..."

As I learn more about using digital technologies to share and publish writing, I hope that you will occasionally hold my hand on the journey.  Today I truly am collecting poems...favorite poems of favorite people.  Please visit my Padlet and leave a note with your name, telling about, and maybe even linking to, one of your own favorite poems. We all become wiser through sharing, and I feel fortunate to share with you.

Please be sure to include your own name if you leave a poem on the Padlet. Only with a name will I approve the note.

Katie is hosting today's Poetry Friday extravaganza over at The Logonauts.  Visit her online home to enjoy this week's poetry offerings all around the Kidlitosphere.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tiny Artwork Everywhere! Just Look Around!

Tiny Artwork
Photo by Amy LV

Students - This morning, I went outside to write.  We have had many days of rain in a row, and so it was a treat to sit outside and feel sun on my shoulders. Writing was a little bit tricky because our cats all wanted cuddling, and Pickles kept on rubbing her head against me, begging for attention.  I petted her a bit...but then it was back to writing.

When I looked out across the lawn, I saw the spider web that you see above, just twinkling in the morning light.  It asked me to write about it, and so I did.  As I wrote, I loved the idea of Spider and Dew working together to make something so lovely, a tiny artwork that brightened my day from the very start.

Pay attention to what sits at your feet, flies in your sky, comes across your path. Sometimes it might feel to you as if an idea is saying, "Write about me!"  Always listen.

If you are curious about spiders, as I am, you can learn more about them at Wonderopolis:

Donna is hosting today's Poetry Friday party over at Mainely Write.  Visit her place to celebrate poems and poetry with friends old and new.

I wish you the eyes to find tiny artworks in your life all week, all life long!  Keep a list...who knows what it any one idea will become?

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Finding and Keeping Delight - Free Verse in Nature

Spotted Charm
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Lately, I have been recording more of my everyday delights and moments-to-be-grateful-for in my notebook.  And this week, finding a woodpecker feather was a highlight.  I had brought my recycling out to the roadside, and when I looked down...there it was.  Delight!  There is something magical in finding a surprise, and magic is always worth writing about.  You might wish to make a list of things that you have found in your notebook.  There will likely be some fine writing ideas hidden (or jumping out at you) there.

Today's poem is a free verse poem following no particular pattern or rhyme scheme.  You may have noticed, though, that there is one rhyme at the end. Sometimes I like writing without rhyme but for a bit of a twist at the end.

This month's posts have all celebrated the small goodnesses in nature.  From June 5th's Apology to a wood thrush to June 12's celebration of weeds to June 19th's Bottles to today's poem, I have been once more falling in love with the world outside.  I wonder what July will bring.  May it bring you many charms and delights, spotted and otherwise!

Carol is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Carol's Corner.  Join her for a post full of rain, Billy Collins goodness, and so many fabulous links of poetry loving friends.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bottles - Writing from Words People Say

Memory Bottles
by Amy LV

Students - There are many reasons to keep a notebook, and one of them is to find out what will surface in your mind when you are free to roam the pages like a dog in a huge field.  No limits, no assignments, just you and the page.  What will happen?  What idea, thought, memory, or opinion will rise to the top of your writing heart?

Yesterday, I was doing just this, roaming the blank pages like a joyful beagle, and I found myself writing words that my mother used to and still does say -

Notebook Blip
by Amy LV

Why did I write this?  Who knows!  But there it was...and off I went.  Lately, I've been struck by the number of red-winged blackbirds out on these country roads, and so that beautiful animal made its way into today's poem as well.

For me, poems are a way to celebrate the people and things I love.  And often, sitting to write, I do not know what I will write about at all.  This happens to all writers, I think, and it is always fun to be surprised by our own selves.

What are some words that people have said to you in your life, words that come back to revisit you when you are alone?  Any one of these phrases might be a great place to begin a poem or story or piece of your own.

Sometimes people ask about where to break stanzas.  With this poem, I thought about breaking it into quatrains, as the rhymes fall.  But then I thought again and decided to break it into two parts: the first part about the bottles and today's collecting and the second part reflecting on the importance of these bottles.  There is no right way to break stanzas, but it is important to understand and be able to talk about the decisions we make.

Teachers and Adult Readers - Something I found inspiring yesterday is  Dani Shapiro's most recent blog post which you can find here.  It is always good to find others who find themselves by first allowing themselves to get lost.  A relief, indeed, not to be alone.

Mary Lee, who so wisely and graciously rounds all of us up all year long here on Poetry Fridays, is hosting today's roundup with a fun sounding book (baa!) over at A Year of Reading.  Gallop on over to her place to learn about the poetry happenings all 'round the Kidlitosphere this week.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 12, 2015

writing about humble things

by Amy LV

Students - A couple of weeks ago, our family went once again on the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage, a beautiful weekend of learning at Allegany State Park in Salamanca, NY.  During this weekend, I took a class about drawing from nature, a class that built on the art strategies taught in Zentangles.  It was entrancing and wonderful to get lost in drawing the same few flowers over and over again, a reminder of how any object we study closely can become fascinating and even beautiful.

You may have noticed that I did not capitalize any letters in this poem, and you may be wondering why.  The reason is because this poem is about humble flowers, small unfancy flowers.  I wanted my alphabet to match that feel.

You can learn more about buttercups here at Eat the Weeds and more about veronica here at Turf Files.

Look around today for small, maybe unnoticed, humble beauties and surprises. See if you can find one to write about.  Elevate the little!

Today I couldn't be more tickled to be visiting Sylvia Vardell's blog, Poetry for Children, as part of her "Poet to Poet" series.  I had the opportunity to ask Lee Wardlaw about her fun new book, WON TON AND CHOPSTICK, and she was so generous in her teachings about process.  I learned a lot from Lee in this interview, and I look forward to sharing her words with young writers.  Thank you, Lee, and Sylvia, for the chance to take part in this great series.  Meow!

Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children 
Photo by Russell Vardell

Lee Vardell, Two of Lee's Books, & Amy LV
Lee's Photo from her Website

Please know that all are welcome to participate in the Summer Edition of Sharing Our Notebooks.  If you visit my other blog, you'll find 70 generous posts full of ideas for notebook-writing, and I welcome yours too! 

Jama is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at her delicious blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Today she offers a beautiful book and poem, congratulations to two new wondrous Poet Laureates, and blueberries!

Please share a comment below if you wish.