Friday, May 26, 2017

Apology - Poems About Feelings


You Can Never Take It Back
by Amy LV




Students - I found today's poem in an old notebook from 2011.  Below, you can see two drafts of it as well as a little note about why I likely wrote it: I was short with my husband.

Old Notebooks are Friends
Click to Enlarge

You'll notice that today's version repeats I am sorry three times rather than changing the last line to simply I am.  Somehow this felt right to me.

I like the tooth fence.  I appreciate apologies and learned from my mother that to apologize is brave and that it really matters to the hurt person.

Keeping a notebook helps me not only write better, but I like to think that it helps me to become a kinder soul.  Reflection is healthy.  And going back to read old notebooks is like hopping on a time machine made out of paper and ink.  Who knows what poems we will find in our pasts?  We can only find them, though, if we write regularly.  Notebooks are friends.

Margaret is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Reflections on the Teche with a lovely book share and invitation to write.  All are always welcome at these weekly gatherings of poetry and friendship.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Birds and Words and Play and Spring!



Sparrow Sighting
by Amy LV




Students - This poem grew from a few words and an experience.

The Words - The other week, as I spoke to a group of kindergarten children in Buffalo, NY, I taught them the difference between a bluebird and a blue jay.  A teacher in the room said, "Oh!  Bluebirds are rare."  And they are a bit rare.  Our family feels lucky to have bluebirds in our pasture as they love nesting in the boxes my husband has mounted on a couple of fence posts. But bluebirds are, indeed, a little bit rare.  This got me thinking about how important it is to appreciate things that are not rare...the daily things.  Our daily birds.

The Experience -  When I walked our dogs around the pasture the other day, a flash of blue darted from one of those fence post birdhouses.  This always happens, and it is magical to see that flash of blue flitting above the grass.  It is a moment I love living over and over again.

Sometimes words and experiences come together in a poem.  And this poem is a list poem because it simply lists many birds (over and over!) and a concrete poem because the names of the birds are each written in a color from each bird. This was fun, something I have not much played with with writing.  Years ago, I did this in a poem about playing solitaire, and that popped up again here.  Color play.

Allow words and experience and play to come together in your poems. We are each at our best when we let sparks of joy and surprise peek through us!

If ever you're stuck as to what to write...you also might try beginning with the words, "I have taught myself...." and see where they take you.  You don't have to keep those words in your poem, but they might bring you to an interesting set of thoughts.

Speaking of joy and words and thoughts...today I am superhappy to welcome Poet Ella Bender from Sheila Cocilovia's second grade at Jefferson Ave Elementary in Fairport, NY. Ella's poem is modeled after my Revision is..., and I am honored.

Here are Ella's words...and her poem:

When Amy came in and gave us the gift of her poem, Revision is..., we read it every day in class and it inspired me to write Spring is... I liked how it sort of rhymed and that it had repeating lines...The scary part was because in the spring, sometimes there are bees that chase you, and that can be scary!

Click to Enlarge

Thank you, Ella, for sharing your spring celebration list poem with us here today!  

Mrs. Wyman is the winner of last week's giveaway of Kwame Alexander's new book, OUT OF WONDER!  Congratulations!  (I will bring it to you when I see you next week!)  If you missed last week's post, featuring young poet Ben, please do take a peek HERE to read his work.

Kiesha is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Whispers from the Ridge with a lovely book share and invitation to write.  All are always welcome at these weekly gatherings of poetry and friendship.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Poetry Birthday Party for Poet Ben!



Village Bench
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Today's poem is for a friend, a friend you'll meet in a moment.  My new friend Ben.  Cats love to visit Ben's poems, and so when I knew Ben would be visiting today for his birthday, I wanted to write a poem about this truth.

Then, last evening, as I took a walk through the village, I saw the scene you see above: an bench holding only a bag reading I HEART CATS.  Perhaps cats around the world are all thinking about Ben's sixth birthday today!

Sometimes when I sit to write, I write a poem for someone I care about.  A thought of someone you care for is a great reason to place pen to paper.  If ever you are feeling stuck...consider your loved ones.  Who would appreciate a gift of words right now?  Who might need such a gift? Who do you wish to surprise?

Today it is my honor and delight to welcome a young poet and birthday boy to The Poem Farm.

Young Ben, his mother, his school's literacy coach, and one of his teachers join us today from Crossroads Academy-Quality Hill in Kansas City, Missouri.  I couldn't feel luckier!  Happy birthday, Ben!


Meet Ben!

A Note from Ben's Mom

Ben is a very special poet with a unique voice. He has been reading and writing poetry since he was two. His first poem, written in 2013, was a haiku:

A lady laughing?
Mama laughing. Falafel?
Falafel laughing.

Two of Ben’s favorite poets are Emily Dickinson and E.E. Cummings. One of his favorite phrases when he was two was “so many kinds of yes.” Here is a video of two-year-old Ben reading part of a Cummings poem about springtime: “Sweet spring is your time is my time is our time…”


Since 2013, Ben has read poems, made videos, and created artwork inspired by poets during Poetry Month. Here is a video of Ben reading William Carlos Williams for Poetry Month 2014: "The Red Wheelbarrow."


And a video of him reading Pablo Neruda for Poetry Month 2015: "Ode to Hope."


The Balloon of the Mind by W.B. Yeats
Click to Enlarge

A Note from Instructional Coach Mrs. Callahan

 I am the Instructional Coach at Ben’s school, and, since January, I have had the privilege of spending most afternoons with Ben.  During this time, Ben has worked on various poetry challenges and created two full books of poetry. Writing is Ben’s way to do what he loves. I introduced Ben to the poetry and lessons of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and he soon became a huge fan of The Poem Farm and Amy’s work. 

 A Note from Teacher Mrs. Lupton

 Ben has great interest and talent with poetry.  He loves words and his skills far surpass an average 5 year old. To try and meet Ben where he is, give him what he needs, and feed his creative spirit, we came up with the idea of partnering him with Emily Callahan (a fellow lover of poetry) during our school wide intervention time to work on deepening his understanding and love of poetry.

Hi I’m Ben!
Today, May 12, is my 6th birthday!

Click to Enlarge

I am a founding 1st grader at Crossroads Academy-Quality Hill.  Our school opened in August, 2016.  It is located in the heart of Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. I am lucky to have wonderful teachers here and the chance to write and read poems almost every day. I am a big fan of poetry! Here's a video of me showing this!



I like writing poems about cats. I like cats. Poems can follow any rules.  You do not have to write poems with the same rules that I did. I like writing poems because they can be about anything. I was 5 years old when I started publishing my poetry books.


This year, I discovered Amy’s 2012 National Poetry Month Dictionary Hike Challenge, and I was inspired to do my own! I have published two books: Alphabet Challenge for Poems: Poems A-Z and Color Poems (based on Amy’s Poetry Month challenge this year).

Click to Enlarge


Click to Enlarge

You can hear me read these books and watch the book movies!

 
ALPHABET CHALLENGE, POEMS A-Z


Here are some of my favorite poems from my first book, ALPHABET CHALLENGE, POEMS A-Z:

Click to Enlarge


BEN'S COLOR POEMS! THE BEST POEMS OF 2017

Here are two of my favorite poems from my second book, BEN'S COLOR POEMS:

Click to Enlarge

I am working on my 3rd book, EMOTION POEMS.  Here are some of my emotion poems so far:

Click to Enlarge

On May 3, I got to Skype with Amy! My parents got to come too!

Click to Enlarge


Here is my favorite poetry quote and some of my thoughts about poetry…

“A poem helps the mind
play with it’s well-trod patterns of thought, and
can even help reroute
those patterns by making
us see the familiar anew.”
-Mark Yakich

“A poem is like a song
without music.
A poem is like a machine,
But also like a wild animal.
Every part is precisely
placed and chosen, but it
doesn’t have to follow any
rules.”
-Ben Stoker

Thank you to Amy, Mrs. Callahan, Mrs. Lupton, Mrs. Weseloh, Mrs. Reasby and Ms. Williams for helping and encouraging me.

Have fun and keep writing!
Love, Ben

Thank you so much to Ben and to his parents and teachers for joining us today.  What a celebration!  Ben, may your year ahead be full of joy, full of poetry, full of cats!  xo

To celebrate Ben's writing, today I am offering a giveaway of Kwame Alexander's new book, OUT OF WONDER: POEMS CELEBRATING POETS.

Image result for out of wonder alexander

Please comment to be entered into this giveaway, and I will draw a name next Thursday and announce the winner next Friday!

To continue enjoying poetry all week long, visit Tara at A Teaching Life where you will find this week's Poetry Friday roundup.  All are always welcome!

Friday, May 5, 2017

If I Were.... Poems from Imagination & Feelings


Remembering
by Amy LV




Students - This poem is dedicated to some friends that I miss.  I didn't realize it until after I wrote the words, but as soon as I realized it...I knew it was true for sure. Sometimes our real feelings - of joy or sadness, of anger or confusion - find their way into our poems.

Many of you know that I love pretending, pretending that I am something or someone else.  When I write, I can pretend to be anyone or anything anytime at all! There is magic in the pen, magic in the pencil, magic in the keyboard.  I am Amy, and then I am a shell. You, too, can be another through the power of writing. Do remember though, even when you become another through writing, your own feelings find a way of seeping in.

This poem does rhyme, and the ending goes on, perhaps a little longer than you would have expected.  I allowed it to do so, allowed the last lines to linger, to stretch out a few syllables past the expected rhyme scheme.  To me, this lingering seems to echo the melancholy feeling of the shell subject.

You may wish to brainstorm a list of "If I were..." phrases in your notebook today or someday.  Perhaps one will lead you to a poem idea.  The list of things one might have been, might be, might one day become, is endless!

Thank you again, one last time, to all who visited and commented during my joyful Writing the Rainbow project each day of April.  I loved reading your poems and ideas at our Padlet, and I am excited to tell you that we'll have some classes sharing their rainbow poems in this space soon.  If you missed that April project, for a time you can still visit the poems HERE.

You'll find me today at the Milennium Hotel in Buffalo, NY, visiting happily with many many New York State librarians for the NYLA SSL 2017 Conference.  I'll be signing books and teaching a little class at 11am.  I so look forward to it!

Today's Poetry Friday fiesta, in all its gorgeousness, is with Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Stop by her place to taste this week's poetry offerings all around the Kidlitosphere.  We're a friendly group, and we keep the poetry fires burning all year long...not just in April.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Final Day of Writing the Rainbow #30 - Magenta


Welcome to the final day of my National Poetry Month project for 2017!  Students - Each day of April 2017, I closed my eyes, and I reached into my box of 64 Crayola crayons.

Aerial View of Crayola Box
Photo by Georgia LV

Each day I chose a crayon (without looking), pulling this crayon out of the box. This daily selected crayon in some way inspired the poem for the next day.  Each day of this month, I chose a new crayon, thinking and writing about one color every day for a total of 30 poems inspired by colors.

As of April 2, it happened that my poems took a turn to all be from the point of view of a child living in an apartment building.  So, you'll notice this thread running through the month of colors. I'd not planned this...it was a writing surprise.

Thank you to the many students and teachers and classrooms who shared on our Writing the Rainbow Padlet - HERE.  There is so much joy and so much color here! 

Here you can see the colors for the whole month, displayed on a glorious colorful calendar made by Deb Frazier's first graders in Ohio.  Thank you, young poets!

Writing the Rainbow Calendar
by Deb Frazier and Her First Grade Poets
Ohio

Here is a list of this month's Writing the Rainbow Poems:


And now...today's crayon, the last one.  Magenta!

New Girl and Bike
by Amy LV




Students -  Today's poem is my final poem for the Writing the Rainbow series.  It felt right to take this time to refer back to some of this month's earlier poems.  If you read the poem below, you will see that I have linked lines to previous poems where connections exist.

New Girl

She has a lot of braids
and a cool magenta bike.
(She rides it on the sidewalk.)
I think I’m going to like
to have a new kid living here.
(She’s moving into Number 2.)
I really like her bike a lot.
(I wonder if she shares.)

© Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
National Poetry Month 2017
(Poem inspired by Crayola’s Magenta)

If you are still Writing the Rainbow with me, perhaps you, too, will choose to connect your poems with previous poems you have written.  I've connected two poems before...but never a handful of poems as I have done today.

Colors can take us anywhere.  Please take a visit to this month's lovely Writing the Rainbow Padlet, with contributions from so many generous teachers and students and poets from everywhere!  Please feel free to add to this Padlet still, as I am sure it will continue to have curious and interested visitors.  

It has been an absolute joy to share another National Poetry Month with everyone who has stopped by to read either every day or just once in a while.  I have loved reading your poems, hearing from you, and finding new surprises in colors every single day.  Each of the poems here was written fresh for that day, and I always went with the first color offered by my box that day.  It was a blast, and I learned a lot.

Thank you, dear friends, for joining me during this colorful month: for sharing your poems and ideas, for keeping me company.  Much love to you for May.

xo,
a.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Writing the Rainbow #29 - Tan


Welcome to my National Poetry Month project for 2017!  Students - Each day of April 2017, I will close my eyes, and I will reach into my box of 64 Crayola crayons.

Aerial View of Crayola Box
Photo by Georgia LV

Each day I will choose a crayon (without looking), pulling this crayon out of the box. This daily selected crayon will in some way inspire the poem for the next day.  Each day of this month, I will choose a new crayon, thinking and writing about one color every day for a total of 30 poems inspired by colors.

As of April 2, it happened that my poems took a turn to all be from the point of view of a child living in an apartment building.  So, you'll notice this thread running through the month of colors. I'd not planned this...it was a writing surprise.

I welcome any classrooms of poets who wish to share class poems (class poems only please) related to each day's color (the one I choose or your own).  Please post your class poem or photograph of any class crayon poem goodness to our Writing the Rainbow Padlet HERE.  (If you have never posted on a Padlet, it is very easy.  Just double click on the red background, and a box will appear.  Write in this box, and upload any poemcrayon sharings you wish.)

Here is a list of this month's Writing the Rainbow Poems so far:


And now...today's crayon.  Tan!

Up and Down
by Amy LV




Students - Today's poem is a concrete poem.  You will notice that the line breaks shape the poem into stair steps, mirroring the way a person walks up and down stairs.  And reading this poem is a bit unusual because one must begin in a different place than usual.  Was it tricky for you to decide how to read it?

If you are Writing the Rainbow with me, perhaps your color for today will bring a particular object to mind.  I very much enjoy running my hand along stair rails, imagining all of the people who have walked up and down the same stairs that I walk up and down.

You may also wish to write a concrete poem of your own.  I especially enjoy concrete poems that show movement in some way, that mirror the movement of the actions.

Colors can take us anywhere.  And if you'd like to join in with your own poem at our Writing the Rainbow Padlet, please do! It is one colorful and beautiful place to visit..

And please don't miss the links to all kinds of Poetry Month goodness up there in my upper left sidebar.  Happy thirtieth day of National Poetry Month...tomorrow is April 30.

Please share a comment below if you wish.