Friday, September 21, 2018

Dear Reader, - Poems of Address

Open Notebook
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is known as a poem of address or an apostrophe poem.  In such a poem, the writer writes to a person, thing or idea not actually in the room.  It is interesting to write this kind of poem because it allows us to talk to objects like the cookie we wish to compliment or the spelling word that keeps tripping us up.  We can even write poems to the idea of Peace or Worry or if we wish, to a person who died long ago.

I have been a writing teacher for many years and since I am a writer too, I think a lot about the kind of response that helps me, the kind of listening and advice I wish for and hope to offer the writers I meet.  So this poem is to all of the readers-of-writing, mine and others'.

Erin is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at The Water's Edge with a Where I'm From poem. Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Poetry Friday Quiet Boat

Quiet Boat Eraser Stamp
Photo by Amy LV

Students - This week I have been very lucky to visit three schools in Williamsville, NY.  Next week, I will be lucky to visit three more.  And as I have been chatting with students about poetry, I am remembering again and again how vast and endless is the brain.

Inside of you - inside each and every one of us - live worlds and ideas and hopes and dreams and questions.  When you sit to write and draw, it may take a moment to call one up.  But trust yourself.  Wait.  You will think of something.  Often, I look at a blank page for some time. But always, an idea a boat.  It is not always a great idea, but it's mine. 

And remember this too: the more interesting things you do, the more you will have to write about.  I am not referring to fancy things, but rather a variety of things.  Today I may sit outside for a few moments and watch ants walk around. Or maybe I will draw the pictures up in the sky, wondering if anyone else sees the same penguin I see.  What I do affects what I write.  And so it is for you.

So do stuff.  And when you do, you'll have more boats and ants and clouds to write about later.

See that repetition?  It's neat to circle words around and around in a poem.  Such repeated words layer like cozy sweaters.

Big hug.

Teacher Friends - Some of you may know Pat Schneider's poem, How the Stars Came Down.  This poem includes this line, one I may well have shared before: "I had a new home in my remembering." I am over and over fascinated by this idea that what we put in our minds returns to us.  I remember it as a mom and as a teacher, asking myself, "What experiences of value am I offering that will feed this child again and again? What am I offering to myself that I can return to one day hence?"

I am hosting Poetry Friday today.  This is a weekly gathering of all kinds of poetry goodness, shared all around the Kidlitosphere.  All are welcome, and all are invited.  To visit this week's links, or to leave your own link, please just click the button below.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Write About an Object Within Reach

A Gift from Emily
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Writers often work on more than one project at a time.  At the moment, my main writing focus is revisions for  WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! the forthcoming (2020) companion to READ! READ! READ!, my book with talented illustrator Ryan O'Rourke. (This companion will also be illustrated by Ryan - squee!) As a busy reviser, I am spending lots of time at my desk tinkering with words and lines and still writing new entries in my notebook too.

For today's poem, I simply reached out and grabbed something nearby...this DREAM rock from Emily, a beautiful writer who was once a student of Margaret Simon.  I decided to hold this rock, to look at it, to write about it.  And there you are.

'Not sure what to write about?  Stretch out your arm in all directions.  What objects are nearby?  Choose one of these objects, and write about it.  Start with your senses.  Move to the story.  Hold it up to your ear and listen to what it has to tell you. Draw the object. Consider what, if anything, it makes you feel and remember and wonder. Break all of this thinking up into lines, read it out loud to yourself a few times, maybe add a bit of repetition, and once you like it, you've got yourself a poem.

I chose to give today's title a job.  Its job is to give new, not-in-the-body-of-the-poem-information about my rock: where I keep it.  You may choose to have your title do a bit of extra work too.  Sometimes a title can lift a bit of weight on its own.

A new year often means a new notebook!  If you are starting a new notebook or curious about some newness in my notebooks, please visit my latest post at Sharing Our Notebooks where you will also find a call for notebook keepers willing to share.

Carol is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond Literacy Link. Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post....and I will host next week!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Goodbye to Gloria

Goodbye, Gloria!
Video by Amy LV

Students - Many times I have heard this quote by Italian writer Cesare Pavese: "We do not remember days, we remember moments." I will always remember a moment from this week...the moment when our first monarch butterfly walked up my arm and flew away.

Earlier this summer, I popped in from summer with a post about the milkweed plants in our front garden.  It was Welcome to monarchs.  Today, almost two months later, I say Goodbye.  

Yesterday, I was writing about the week and about Gloria in my notebook. It was at the top of my third page of writing that I wrote the sentence below.

August 30, 2018 Notebook Snip
Photo by Amy LV

Immediately, I placed asteriks around the four words and moved to a new page to begin a poem.

One of my favorite parts of notebook keeping is the not-knowing.  Which words will arrive?  Which words will those words next invite?

Rereading today's poem, I now realize that both this one and my poem from two weeks ago refer to actions not taken rather than actions taken.  It is curious to me how various themes and patterns emerge and repeat within a short writing time span.  Once again I find myself thankful that through writing, I come to understand and see.  You might consider trying this yourself.  Rather than writing about something that DID happen or IS happening, write about what DID NOT happen or WILL NEVER happen.  It's an upside down way of looking at things and often reveals a new thought.

I wish you had all experienced Gloria's glorious flight with me and am happy to offer you these pictures.

The Ghost of Gloria
Photo by Amy LV

Why, Hello, Girl!
Photo by Amy LV

Friendly Butterfly
Photo by Amy LV

A Monarch on Her Own
Photo by Amy LV

If you ever feel at a loss for what to write about - or at a loss for joy - spend some time with plants and animals and weather and sky.  The natural world is evergiving.

Robyn is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Life on the Deckle Edge. Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Wish for a Friend - Poemgifts!

Pencil Eraser Stamp
Carving & Photo by Amy LV

Students - Happy New School Year!  Here where I live in Western New York, school is not yet back in session, but I know that many of you have already met your new teachers and classmates, and I have even seen photographs of some of your beautiful new notebooks here online.  The new school year is much like a new notebook, filled with possibility and pages for you to fill with your own curiosity and goodness, observations and dreams.

I wrote today's poem as a gift for Kat Apel, as part of this year's Poetry Friday summer poem swap generously organized by Tabatha Yeatts.  Each year, Tabatha invites us Poetry Friday folks to sign up for their chosen number of poem swaps.  Then she matches us up with each other, and we send each other poems and other surprises in the mail. Most of us have never met in person, so this all feels like having a one time poem pen pal, and it is extremely wonderful of Tabatha to organize this.  Just look at this handmade notebook that I received (along with a magical poem which I will share as soon as I find the notebook I tucked it into!) from Michelle Kogan. I feel so lucky and still have to decide what I will write on these pages.
Dream Notebook by Michelle Kogan
Photo by Amy LV

Now I am thinking how wondrous it would be to organize poemswaps between classes of students.  What do you all think about this idea?

My poem, you may have noticed, is a simple list poem of wishes for another writer.  What I would wish for me, I wish for Kat.  It felt good to make wishes for a faraway, nevermet friend, and this is something you might want to try sometime.  You need not write to someone you have never met.  If you prefer, you could write a wish poem for a family member, friend, or even a pet! Poems make fine fine presents.

And just so you know, while I wrote today's poem for Kat earlier this summer, the words hold true for you too.  I wish every one of you every part of this poem...and so much more.

Margaret is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Reflections on the Teche...with the poem swap poem she received and a zeno of her own too!  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 17, 2018

To the baby blue jay skeleton....

Blue Jay Nest
Photo by Amy LV

Students - My husband Mark was watching some blue jays nesting in our barn earlier this summer, and when the babies fledged and the nest was abandoned, he took it down and looked inside. There was one baby who did not live long at all, perhaps just long enough to hatch.

Baby Blue Jay Skeleton
Photo by Amy LV

Not every creature is given a long life, and in today's poem, I simply wanted to speak to that little one, about all of the things I am sorry it never got to experience. The blueness of blue jays is a special blue indeed, and their might in flight is beautiful to witness. Today's poem created a pause in my day, an acknowledgement of a very short, very tiny life.

Bits of life strike us humans. And poetry is a way to hold a feeling or a question in our hands, to look at it and to take our time. I am glad to have stopped my day to think a bit about this small bird and am grateful for the time to honor its life with a few words.

You will notice that today's poem is simply a list, each line beginning with "You never..."  I did not want to talk about my feeling (sadness) but instead, hoped that this simple repetition would make it clear.

And yes, this poem does have a long title.  I am not sure why. I just like it that way...

Christie is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Wondering and Wandering with a celebration of birds and her love for birds.  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Repetition in a Poem of Home

I am not really here.


I am dipping back today to welcome the writers from Jennifer Serravallo's Reading and Writing Book Strategies Summer Camp Community to Poetry Friday! Today visited writing summer camp for the last day of Poetry Week, and I feel so lucky to do have done so.  If you do not know about this camp, please feel free to visit here to see all of Jen's poetry lesson videos for this week.

All new visitors, please know that I post poems and poemthinking for students each Friday during the school year, and you may also search for poems here by both topic and technique.

Our Front Garden Full of Milkweed
Photo by Amy LV

A Monarch Visitor!
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem idea is about a place I see every single day - our front garden.  I have been thinking a lot about gardens lately because I am not very good at keeping them, but gardening is something I wish to do better.  My front garden, however, is no longer mine.

I have turned it over to monarch butterflies.

See, monarchs need milkweed, and monarch numbers have been down due to pesticides and habitat loss.  So when milkweed began growing in our garden voluntarily, I chose to let it stay.  And as you can see in the picture above, monarchs are visiting!

Today in my notebook, I wrote about this place, and my commitment to monarch butterflies.

Notebook Drafting 
Click to Enlarge

You will notice some repetition in today's poem. Often when I read or write a poem, I think about which words or lines might be wise to repeat.  I play around with these words and lines, allowing them to weave in and out and curl around each other.

In Welcome, you will find a few repeated words or phrases. Notice which lines and words repeat.  Notice where they repeat too, as there are many ways to use repetition. And remember, the more we notice as writers, the more techniques we have to try on our own as writers.

Tricia is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Each week many of us gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post, and you can always find the host of the week in the left sidebar here or at any participating blog.

Now...back to summer, back to watching the monarchs!


One Milkweed Leaf
Photo by Amy LV

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