Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Writing Together Makes Life Good

Poetry Books!
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is dedicated to all of all of my poem reading and writing friends!  Here in the United States, it is the end of the school year.  These last few weeks and days are inviting me to reflect upon the many clever, sharing poem lovers I have met all year long.  I am thankful.

And sometimes, when I feel thankful, I write.  I wish each one of you many poems and many good poem reading and writing friends.

On this bright day in May, please keep reading to find a lovely gift for all of us...

Today, on their last day of school, I could not be happier to welcome Teacher Lauren Coffee, Volunteer Teacher Patricia Nesbitt, and the fourth grade poets of McNeill Elementary School in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  It has been a joy to read these students' poems and to learn about their process.

Please sit back and enjoy some beautiful, thoughtful words...

Click Full Screen Icon to Enlarge

To celebrate these young poets' work, I am offering a giveaway to a commenter on this post.  Please comment with words to these poets on today's post to be entered to win a copy of my POEMS ARE TEACHERS: HOW STUDYING POETRY STRENGTHENS WRITING IN ALL GENRES.  I will draw the name of one commenter next Thursday, May 31 and will announce the winner next Poetry Friday, June 1!  Thank you, Heinemann, for the book to share.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mending Song - For Paramus

Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is for my friends in Paramus, New Jersey.  I am thinking about them today, sending peace and healing love in the wake of yesterday's school bus accident.  If you ever know someone who is struggling or suffering, please try to reach out.  We need each other.  


Rebecca is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Sloth Reads with a book review of a wonderful book and a giveaway 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, May 11, 2018

A Wish for Today

In a Tree
Photo by Amy LV

Students - The picture you see above is our son!  On Monday, he decided to read in a box elder tree in our yard.  But he did not choose to just sit on a branch.  Rather, he chose to tie his hammock into the tree's branches.  The book he is holding is THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES.

I have been thinking about trees lately as my father has done a lot of work on our own family tree, and I often wish I could go back in time to meet my long-gone ancestors.  Today's poem marries our son's reading tree with this longing to know the people of my past.

If you're wondering what to write today, you might consider thinking about what's been popping up in your mind lately or you might begin by recalling an image from this past week.  I often take photographs of scenes that interest me to write about later.

Another idea is this. You might choose to simply lift my title, "A Wish for Today" and use this to inspire your own wish poem.  What is one wish you have for today? Earlier this week, I visited Harris Hill Elementary School in Penfield, NY, and some of the kindergarten students were writing wish poems.  Perhaps they helped to give me this idea too!

You may have noticed that this poem rhymes the following words: tea, tree, see, me. This did not just happen.  After I wrote the first two lines, I knew that I wanted to keep rhyming with tree, so I made a list of words that rhyme with tree and then chose from there.  The words led the way to this poem!

COMMENTER ALERT...Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I am so excited to host the sixth grade notebookers of Michelle Haseltine's class for the first ever notebooks blog takeover!  Every single day of May, a new student or pair or group of students will share tips and ideas for notebooking.  Please stop by for inspiration and writing ideas!  And leave a comment; comments mean so much to writers of all ages!  Plus, someone will win a cool new notebook each Saturday!

Jama is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup with bluebirds and blue...  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, May 4, 2018

Drawing is Seeing - Draw First

Photo by Amy LV

Students - Throughout this spring, I have been fortunate to spend time drawing and writing with young people.  I have read and heard that to truly see something, a person must slow down.  I have learned that by drawing an object, you come to understand it in a new way. I discovered this again this spring.

When you draw something, in a way, you become this thing.  I adore John Moffitt's poem To Look at Any Thing, a poem about becoming, about slowing down.

If you wish to get to know an object, try drawing it first. Then write.  Visit The Private Eye, one of my favorite learning sites, to discover more.

In other pinecone news, we just lost a very tall spruce at The Poem Farm.  It broke and Mark cut it and then it fell.  

Fallen Spruce
Photo by Amy LV

Now I am harvesting pinecones.  Many to smell, many to draw, many to use for crafts.  If you have any fabulous pinecone craft ideas, please leave them in the comments. I want to make pinecone goodnesses WITH MY HANDS.

Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I could not feel more fortunate to host the sixth grade notebookers of Michelle Haseltine's class for the first ever notebooks blog takeover!  Every single day of May, a new student or pair or group of students will share tips and ideas for notebooking.  Please stop by for inspiration and writing ideas!  And leave a comment.  Someone will win a cool new notebook each Friday!

Brenda is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Friendly Fairy Tales.  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.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem!

If you are looking for Poem #23 
of One Subject 30 Ways,
visit HERE.

Welcome, friends, to the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. Each year our poetfriend Irene Latham (do not miss her April Poetry Project) brings folks together for a potluck poem where in time, everyone who wishes brings a line to share.

When I read Liz Steinglass's opening line this year, I was ready to follow the adventure.  I love seeds and nestled things and the word cozy. And since I live near Buffalo, NY, where our last bits of snow melted just today, I am excited for green and growing.  

Reading Tabatha's line yesterday, thinking about how Jas is now writing a poem, and we're on our way to a party for Lee, I wanted to bring Lee back into the poem....and what better thing than to bring wordgifts to someone we love?


Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched. 

Oh, what wonderful dreams she had! 

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with 

the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine 

invented a game. 

"Moon?" she called across warm honeyed air. 

"I'm sad you're alone; come join Owl and me. 

We're feasting on stardrops, we'll share them with you." 

"Come find me," Moon called, hiding behind a cloud. 

Secure in gentle talons' embrace, Jasmine rose 

and set. She split, twining up Owl's toes, pale 

moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes. 

Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee's party! 

Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone. 

                                                       Jas grinned,
                                                                          a new, 
                                                   around          tender

a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song. 

Her green melody line twisted and clung. 

Because she was twining poet's jasmine, she 

wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem. 

Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind, 

filled with light and starsong. "Revelers, lean in – 

let's add to this merriment a game that grows 

wordgifts for Lee. He's a man who knows

And now, I leave Jas's poem in the hands of the capable Mary Lee Hahn (do not miss her April poetry project), a gift of a teacher who also knows tons about words and gifting them to others.


To follow the poem day-by-day, please see below!


4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

5 Jan at bookseedstudio

6 Irene at Live Your Poem

7 Linda at TeacherDance

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales

12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

13 Linda at A Word Edgewise

15 Donna at Mainely Write

16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle

18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering

19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan

20 Linda at Write Time

23 Amy at The Poem Farm

24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

28 Kat at Kat's Whiskers

29 April at Teaching Authors

30 Doraine at Dori Reads

If you are looking for Poem #23 of One Subject 30 Ways, you will find it HERE.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

2018 National Poetry Month Project!

UPDATE: MAY 3, 2018
If you are here to visit the Orion poems, they are no longer here.
I hope that they will grow up into a book someday.  
Thank you for reading them and for joining me for 1 Subject 30 Ways...
xo, Amy

Get Ready!
Photo by Amy LV

From The Poem Farm Archives 2017

Happy National Poetry Month Eve!  National Poetry Month, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, is a month-long celebration of all things poem.  You can learn more about this four weeks of literary joy, download or order a free (beautiful!) Poetry Month Poster, find 30 ways to celebrate, and get ready for Poem in Your Pocket Day at

Jama has rounded up all of the Kidlitosphere Poetry Month festivities at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup, a beautiful blog where you can find so much poetry goodness...and meet Mr. Cornelius the friendly, food-loving bear too.

Each year, along with many other writers, I choose to write and share a poem each day. It has been fun to organize these poems around themes, and during the weeks before April, I find myself trying to choose something that piques my interest.  Before we talk about this year's Poetry Month project at The Poem Farm, here's a timeline of my past Poetry Month projects.

2010 - The Poem Farm Begins!  I wrote a poem each day for a month, beginning actually, on March 29, 2010. This blog just to be a one month project, just for me, to get me writing again as I awaited the publication of FOREST HAS A SONG.  At the end of April 2010, I was having too much fun to stop, decided to go for one whole year, publishing a poem at The Poem Farm each day.  After that, I still hung around!

2011 - For each day of April 2011, I continued to write and share daily poems.  However, I had no theme as the blog was just entering its second year.

2012 - A-Z Dictionary Hike - Here's where the themes began.  Each day of April 2012, I opened my children's dictionary to a different letter, starting with A, ending with Z.  Eyes closed, I pointed to a word and this word became the title of that day's poem.

2013 - Drawing into Poems - For each day of April 2013, I slowed myself down and looked closely at an object, drawing it with black pen into my notebook. On some days, I wrote poems from these drawings, but on many days, I simply allowed the looking-drawing practice to practice becoming a closer observer.

2014 - Thrift Store - For each day of April 2014, I wrote a poem from a photograph of an item I found in a thrift store.  These poems are no longer at The Poem Farm as I am trying to sell them as a collection.

2015 - Sing That Poem - For each day of April 2015, I wrote a poem to the meter of a well-known tune and challenged readers to match the poem to the tune by seeing if it was singable to the same meter.

2016 - Wallow in Wonder - For my 2016 National Poetry Month project, I celebrated learning and writing from learning, writing poems from each daily Wonder at Wonderopolis.  I have not yet collected these posts into one post, but I will do so.

2017 - Writing the Rainbow - Each day of April 2017, I randomly selected a different Crayola crayon from a new box of 64.  Each day, I wrote a poem inspired by the color I chose.  These poems all ended up telling the story of a young city girl and the moments of her daily life.

And now....this year!

Students - This year I will write and share a new poem every day.  Every poem will be somehow connected to the subject of the constellation Orion (see the three stars of his belt in my logo?)  However, each poem will highlight a different poetic technique any poet - or any writer of another genre - can try.  The technique might be an idea about point-of-view or about structure or about choosing striking words or about selecting titles.

Teachers - I am basing this project on the poems and lessons in my own Fall 2017 professional book with Heinemann, POEMS ARE TEACHERS: HOW STUDYING POETRY STRENGTHENS WRITING IN ALL GENRES.  

My mentor and friend, Katie Wood Ray, edited this book, and it is full of over 50 poems by contemporary poets, including Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, Margarita Engle, J. Patrick Lewis, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jack Prelutsky, and Irene Latham.  It is doubly full of poems by children, with over 100 mentor poems by children from 1st through 8th grade, demonstrating writing techniques from finding ideas to structure, from word choice to writing beginnings, endings, and titles.

I thought it would be fun to take my own book for a spin...and as I love the constellation Orion, I decided to focus there.  I did consider writing about different constellations each day, but in the end (just yesterday), I finally decided to go narrow and deep.  This will be a good and honest challenge for me, one you will see me earnestly wrestle with each day.

I welcome any classrooms of poets who wish to share poems highlighting each day's technique in the Padlet for that day's post. If teachers or classes have favorite poems or books or resources to share which highlight the day's poem technique, please share those on the Padlet as well!  I will make a Padlet for each day, and we will see how this goes.... Teachers - class poems are easy to share, but please be let me know students have permission for individual poems. 

Each Friday of April 2018 - April 6, April 13, April 13, and April 27 - Heinemann will kindly give away a copy of POEMS ARE TEACHERS to a commenter on that Friday's post. Winners will always be announced on the following Friday.  Please be sure to leave a way to contact you should you win...

Happy almost National Poetry Month!  What subject might you write about 30 different ways?

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Write About Before or After a Holiday

Salt or Sugar?
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Happy almost April Fools' Day!  It's not for a couple of more days, but Sunday is our day to be prankters.  I like writing holiday poems, but I also like writing poems about the days before or after holidays.  I did this with Groundhog Day too, with the poem February 3.

You might try this - just think about a holiday, any holiday.  Then list the feelings and preparations one might do BEFORE this holiday.  After this, list the feelings and activities one might do AFTER this holiday.  Pick one idea and go with it.  You may just find a good writing idea in those lists.

If you missed my Tuesday post, you might be interested in taking a peek at my new book with Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson.  It is titled WITH MY HANDS: POEMS ABOUT MAKING THINGS, and you can see the trailer and learn more HERE.  The giveaway winner is Nerdy if that's you, please drop me an e-mail to amy at amylv dot com.  If you're interested in another giveaway, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is giving away 10 copies on Twitter. Just follow the directions on my pinned Twitter post HERE to enter by April 3.

If you missed last Friday's post by Second Grade Teacher Darlene Daley and her poets, I recommend going back to read it. These writers teach us, through narrative and poetry, all about showing and not telling with our words.  I am thankful to share the work of teachers and young writers and welcome classes who wish to share interesting poetry work Poem Farm readers to reach out to me.

National Poetry Month begins on Sunday, and I will be doing a special daily poem project here which I have juuuuust decided upon!  You can see it in my sidebar here.  (This is an update from this morning when I still did not know what the project will be!) 

Find out about all kinds of other cool poem projects at Jama's Alphabet Soup, where Jama shares the 2018 National Poetry Month Kidlitosphere Events Roundup!  Hooray for National Poetry Month!

Heidi is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at my juicy little universe with a history of the Poetry Friday Progressive Poem.  Visit Heidi's place to learn about this and to find out about all of this week's Poetry Friday Posts...

ps - It's salt!

Please share a comment below if you wish.