Friday, August 16, 2019

This Creek

Please note that next Poetry Friday, August 23, we will celebrate the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins here at The Poem Farm. At Jone MacCulloch's great suggestion, I invite everyone who wishes to write and share a poem inspired by or including a line from a LBH poem. Tag with #DearOneLBH. Thank you. xo, Amy


Sounds of the Creek
Family Camp, August 2019
Video by Amy LV




Students - I am away camping this week and sat to write in my notebook by this creek. I did not plan to write about the creek, but its song in my ears came through my pen.

When we sit down to write, we need not have a plan. Sometimes we can simply listen. At times, we will find ideas we like and wish to follow. At times, we will not. But always always it is worth a try.

Christie is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Wandering and Wondering with a joyous celebration of trees!  Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 9, 2019

A Color for My Teacher

Please note that on Poetry Friday August 23 we will celebrate the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins here at The Poem Farm. At Jone MacCulloch's great suggestion, I invite everyone who wishes to write and share a poem inspired by or including a line from a LBH poem. Tag with #DearOneLBH. Thank you. xo, Amy


Cotton on Linen
Photo by Amy LV

Sky Over Barn Over Thistles
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Poetry Great Lee Bennett Hopkins died yesterday after living a rich, beautiful, word-filled, generous life.  I am thankful to call him my teacher as he was teacher to so many.  And while I grieve and mourn today, my work is to continue to write the best I can...the way Lee taught me to do.

As I told my children last night, when you wish to learn something deeply, seek a mentor. And my wish for you is that you will be as fortunate as I was in finding one so giving, so funny, so wise.

One day when you are filled with tears, remember that you can turn tears into words. It helps a little.  I liked stitching these stitches today, finding the thistles, looking for words and remembering.

Please read about and celebrate Lee's life here at his website and here in yesterday's news.  Read one of his books!  And suddenly, you may find yourself reading 120 of his books!  (Did you know he is in the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS for having edited the most poetry anthologies for children?) 

Lee Bennett Hopkins
1938 - 2019
Photo by Charles Egita

May he rest in peace and poetry.
xx

Molly is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Nix the comfort zone with a post about writing from titles and two lovely poems with the same title - Lost in the Milky Way. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Beginnings Open Word Doors



Clay Bowls
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Today's poem simply describes a true thing in my life right now. I have left all social media platforms but one and am finding new and different ways to be a beginner in life. This summer I took a pottery class (at the warm and wondrous Buffalo Clayart Studio), and these three little bowls made me happy to pinch and make me happy to fill.

If you ever feel you are unsure of what to write about or that your well has run dry, you might think about learning or doing or reading something new. As humans, we are lucky to be able to invent and reinvent ourselves through life. No matter what we are given, we can make choices. Just like clay, we can be flexible.  Listen to your heart and mind and hands. Who do they wish to be? Where do they find most joy?

Writing-wise, when we open ourselves to new experiences, new word doors swing wide. Suddenly, we are full of different ideas, people, places, and knowledge. Stories and essays and poems will sprout from our growing, changing selves.

Heidi is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at my juicy little universe with the definito - a cool form she created - and many definitos written by many people. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Poems from Mind Pictures


A Bouquet of Owls
by Amy LV




Students - Today's poem grew from a picture I saw in my head.  Earlier this summer, I imagined a bouquet of owls (the mind is a funny place) and then, a few days later, drew them in my notebook.  I keep thinking about the image, and so today I decided to write a story poem connected to it.

Today's poem is a poem present for my husband Mark. This coming Monday we celebrate 24 years of marriage, and thanks to him, I am lucky enough to learn about birds (including owls) on every single day of my life. My book with Dylan Metrano, EVERY DAY BIRDS, is even dedicated to Mark:  For Mark, the bird lover I love... I am grateful.

Mark and Amy - July 29, 1995
(Must find photographer's name!)

Sometimes, when we turn off our devices, sit or lie still, walk or stand in one place, we can imagine pictures and places that we have never seen in real life.  Any one of these can become the start of a poemstory.

Notebooks are perfect word collectors, and they are perfect image collectors too. I am working to collect more of the images that fly across the frame of my mind. Watch your own screen.  See what pictures appear. Some may be memories. Some may be pictures never seen by anyone before, the pictures of your own picture-factory we call the brain.

And as I often say, a person can always give writing as a gift. Happy Almost Anniversary, Mark!

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home, I am so happy to host Art Educator Matthew Grundler. Please visit his post about visual journals...and be inspired. There is a fabulous book giveaway too ending Sunday.)

Margaret is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Reflections on the Teche along with a with a fabulous title-steal and a hauntingly beautiful poem. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Revisiting an Old Poem with New Art



From April 30, 2015 SING THAT POEM

by Cathy Stephens Pratt



Students - Today's poem is from April 30, 2015...the last day of my SING THAT POEM project for National Poetry Month 2015. Each poem that month matched a song tune, and this one matches the tune of Greensleeves.  I chose to send this poem to artist Cathy Stephens Pratt during SPARK 41. She had sent me a whimsical image of her painting depicting a house, path, flowers, and mushrooms, and I shared the poem I wrote from it HERE.

Cathy made such an enchanting painting to go with this poemsong about Joanna.  I asked her to tell me a bit about her process.  Here is what she said:

Being an illustrator, what I do is take an idea or a story and turn it into a painting. I distill ideas into marks on paper. Sometimes I abstract the images to enhance or simplify ideas, and sometimes what I paint is simply a representation of the words. Amy’s written piece was so utterly charming I only wanted to support her words with simple images. I didn’t want to embellish because I felt like her words were perfectly lovely and told a story, a very vivid story, all by themselves. 

I am grateful to have been paired with Cathy. SPARK always opens my world. And lucky me!  Cathy generously offered to send me her painting, and I am excited to hang it up here at home.  I wish I could find the real Joanna, the real girl who read to birds back in 2013. If I could, I would send the painting to her.  

Do visit Cathy's website, and step into a world of color and joy!

The tag line for SPARK is "art from writing: writing from art." I think that I will go make some drawings and art today.  Our writing selves do feed our art making selves and our art making selves do feed our writing selves. 

In other news:

Linda Kulp of Write Time is the winner of last week's giveaway of I AM SOMEONE ELSE, poems collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu.  Linda - please let me know your snail mail address, and I will send this book your way.

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home, I am thrilled to welcome Art Educator Matthew Grundler. Please visit his post about visual journals...and be inspired! (There is a giveaway there too.)

Jone is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Deowriter with a magical poetry prompt fortune teller gift from Tabatha and some poems they wrote from it.  Delightful! Don't miss  Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, July 5, 2019

A New Anthology & A Grand Mentor


Published July 2, 2019

From I AM SOMEONE ELSE: POEMS ABOUT PRETENDING
Charlesbridge, 2019
(Click the image to enlarge)



Students - Sometimes people ask how authors and illustrators got started in their work.  For me, it began with a lifetime of reading and writing love, an English major, a few years of teaching fifth grade, a year studying teaching writing with Lucy Calkins, time at home reading aloud to three toddlers, and meeting my poetry teacher, Lee Bennett Hopkins.

When I was pregnant with our daughter Georgia (now 19), I attended an SCBWI conference session led by Poetry Master Lee Bennett Hopkins.  He was incredibly wise, funny, and generous. He wrote his snail mail address in my notebook when I asked if I might send him a few poems.  And after several months (I was nervous), I did send those poems, typed and folded neatly into an envelope that I probably kissed.

Many months letter, I received an invitation from Lee, an invitation to try to write a poem for one of four I CAN READ holiday books published by Harper Collins.  Lee accepted one of my poems into his book CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. It was a poem about reading by the light of a Christmas tree, one of my favorite childhood memories and activities.

Published September 27, 2005

Time went by as it always does.  And now, here in 2019, that baby Georgia who was in my belly when I met Lee is a college student (English major). Over the past several years, I have written a few books and have shared many poems here at The Poem Farm and in anthologies edited by Lee and others. Many more poems cuddle up in my notebooks, likely never to be read.

Along with many many poets, I have Lee to thank.

Lee Bennett Hopkins
Photo from Lee's Website

Lee has won and established many awards for writers, and you can even find him in the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS as the most prolific anthologist of poetry for children with over 113 titles to his credit. One might imagine that such a busy and accomplished man would not have time for others, but Lee has mentored many poets, always with truth, kindness, and a twinkle in his eye. I consider him a member of my family, and I consider myself fortunate.

Remember this - life is full of teachers, both in and out of school.  If you wish dearly to learn something, do whatever you can to learn on your own, but too, seek out teachers in the world of that subject. Do your part, do not complain, work hard, do your own research. And know that there are teachers who care to give a hand to people who are doing the work and working to do it as well as they can.

Poems have given my life a layer of beauty and richness, a layer of enchantment and surprise. I love my poetry friends, and I love reading and writing poem lines, always seeking new understandings and new combinations of syllables. I am grateful, and today I send a big hug to Lee for all of this, and too, for believing in me.

For more news about I AM SOMEONE ELSE, this latest book by Lee, read an interview with him and talented illustrator Chris Hsu over at Matt Forrest Esenwine's place, Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.  You can read Matt's poem there too...and read Michelle Heidrenrich Barnes's poem over at her blog Today's Little Ditty.  Find Michelle's interview with the book's editor Karen Boss here. And read a review of I AM SOMEONE ELSE by Paul Hankins at Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY! I did offer a giveaway of this book on Twitter on the book's release day, and here is another one. If you comment on this post by 11:59pm on July 11, you will be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of I AM SOMEONE ELSE. Please just leave a way to contact you should you win, and I will announce the winner here next Friday, July 12.

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home, I could not be happier to welcome Art Educator Matthew Grundler. Please visit his post about visual journals...and be inspired! (There is a giveaway there too.)

Tricia is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at The Miss Rumphius Effect with a charmer of a triolet that began with a line she lifted from an old family letter. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Poems Can Describe Places



I dedicate this post to Teacher Kim Oldenburgh, 
who asked me to send her class a photo of my workspace.  
I was too embarrassed by the mess and never did.
Finally, here it is. Honesty is good. xo, Amy

Desk Corner
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Last week I had a Skype meeting...and as my study is always near-distaster-state, I needed to straighten up a little bit.  As I did so, I realized that one corner of my desk made me smile.  The rest was a mess.  The mess made me smile too, but it may not have made my meeting-colleagues smile, so I cleaned it all up and took a picture of that corner you see above.

It did not take long for my desk to become messy again...see below.  But a desk, like a mind, is a very busy place, so I like to tell myself that it can't alllllways be neat.

Anyway, today's poem is clearly about a place.  It is a simple description poem of the things that are currently on this desk I call home. At this moment, my desk looks just like the photograph below. In two days it will look different. It always does.

Not sure what to write about? Walk five steps and write about that place. Or write about a place you've been many times or a place you've only visited once.  Heck, write about a place that you've never been or does not even exist. Let the idea of place be your guide. 

And if you wish to include lists, as I did, please do.

Desk from Above...Right Now
Photo by Amy LV

Buffy is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Buffy Silverman with a review of a lovely book and a sweetheart of a poem. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.