Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry Friday & Poem #30 - Worm's Wish

First, a hearty "Thank you!" to Elaine over at Wild Rose Reader.  She has been drawing names for poetry books all month, and yesterday I won a copy of Every Second Something Happens, with poems selected by Christine San Jose and Bill Johnson and illustrated by Melanie Hall.  What a surprise!  If you leave a comment on Elaine's Poetry Friday post today at Wild Rose Reader, you will be eligible to win a copy of Laura Purdie Salas's book Stampede.

It is the last day of the month, and thus, the last day of NaPoWriMo and my poem-a-day-for-April.  Thank you to everyone who has been so helpful and supportive throughout the launch of this brand new little blog.  Tomorrow I will announce what's next here at The Poem Farm.

Today's poem is about worms.  Two days ago I learned that worms do not have eyes.  Of course, if I had thought about this, I would have already known that worms do not have eyes.  Have you ever seen a worm with eyes?  Anyway, this startled and upset me.  In fact, I kept on repeating, "Worms don't have eyes?  Worms don't have eyes?" until my family made me stop.  Anyway, this poem is for the worms.  Fishermen - do not feel guilty.  We've all gotta eat.

Teachers - if you are looking for a way to "spruce" up  your classroom (pun intended) see here what Mrs. Susan Kellner's class has brightening up their first grade classroom at Harold O. Brumsted Elementary in Holland, NY.  This tree was the cheeriest thing to come through my inbox in a long time.  Below you can read Susan's words about how you can have a poet-tree of your very own.

Photo by Susan Kellner

-->Here's how we did it: I typed up all of their poems and printed them out on colored card stock. They used scissors with different types of fun blades to cut them out so the edges were cool. Some of them cut the poems into shapes (a poem about a dog is in the shape of a dog, a fish poem is in a fish shape, etc.). Then they punched a hole in the top, and I taught them how to thread a rubber band through the hole so that it becomes a hanger. Then they hung them on the tree. They love the tree -- it is hard to keep them away from it. They are constantly getting distracted and stopping to read one poem or another. It was a super easy project except for typing up the poems! But now they are all typed up so that we can create a class book of poems, and I know some of the students will use them for their poems in the pocket tomorrow (I made more copies on regular paper).  

Poem in Your Pocket Day: We did have fun for Poem in Your Pocket Day! I spread out a bunch of poems for the students to choose from. Some had brought a poem from home. They gathered around the table reading them and choosing the ones they liked best. They begged me to be able to put a poem in each pocket -- and how could I say no? We spent a very busy and noisy morning reading poems to each other. Mine was my childhood favorite - "Mud" by Polly Chase Boyden.            

Thank you to Mrs. Kellner and her class for cheering all of us up this Poetry Friday.  

Today is indeed Poetry Friday.  You can find everything poetic today at Mary Ann's blog, Great Kid Books.  Head on over there for a complete roundup of this last day of National Poetry Month.  Please stop by tomorrow to see what's next here.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem #29 - Poem in Your Pocket?

Pocket Poem
Photo by Amy LV

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day!  If you have not already done so, you may wish to find a poem you love and tuck it inside your pocket, pulling it out to share with friends throughout the day.  Or you may want to make extra copies and just give them out.

The poem I have in my pocket today is Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye; this poem has changed me, and I am grateful to Naomi for her wisdom.  Our children's school has a grandparents' luncheon this morning, and I plan to leave a stack of copies of this poem somewhere in the building for people to find.

Yesterday, my friend Katie directed me to the International Digital Children's Library, an online library with a mission to provide free access to the best children's literature in the world.  Here you can find complete books in many many languages for reading at home or in school.

Sometimes I think about children learning to read, about what a miracle it is to suddenly understand all of those small squiggly lines and dots.  I can't remember not knowing how to read, but I do remember the early days of our children learning.  They'd point out letters in books and would call out the names of signs along the roadway.  Each new word was a victory, an entrance into the secret and beautiful world of language.

Tomorrow I am grateful to have the opportunity to spend a Poem in Your Pocket Day with the children of Country Parkway Elementary in Williamsville, NY.  For tomorrow (sigh) is the last day of National Poetry Month, the last Poetry Friday of April, and the last day of NaPoWriMo too. 

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NaPoWriMo Poem #28 - Snail Mail

Students - do you ever wonder weird things like this?  When we play with words, daily expressions can crack us up, make us shake our heads, and think.  Why not try a weird-wonder poem today?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poem #27 & Commentary - Country Cats

This morning, my listener commentary, Country Cats, aired on our local NPR station, WBFO.   Here is a photo of our latest cat - Mini, a summer drop-off.  His story is in the commentary, but I thought it'd be good to write a poem about him too. 

Photo by Amy LV

We do have our share of well-loved drop-off cats at this point, so please do not bring more.  However, if you'd like to be on our list of homes-who-need-cats for future surprises, please let me know.

This week, Tricia's Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect is about eggs.  I've posted two poems about eggs at her blog, based on our family's experiences with chickens.  You can post an eggy-poem at The Miss Rumphius Effect too...Tricia's sister hates eggs!

National Poem in Your Pocket Day is this Thursday, so if you have not yet chosen a poem to put in your pocket to share on this day, you might want to start looking.  Here at, you can find many ways to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day.  One way to keep poems coming to your online mailbox pocket is to subscribe to Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac.

Now go find yourself a cat.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

NaPoWriMo #26 - Poetry from Strangers

If you were on school vacation last week, I hope that you had a wonderful time.  You may not have known it was TV Turnoff Week; the NaPoWriMo poems here all focused on fun things to do instead of watching television.  This week's poems will once again be a mish-mash, but if you'd like to read what you missed, check out the right sidebar for a list and links.

Poems come from every corner of life.

Waiting in line at a convenience store last week, I found myself in front of a man talking with a young employee of the shop.  It was a halting conversation, and I overheard the older man say,  "You know, the other day I came across some old pictures of you.  You were such a little guy."

The younger man looked a bit awkward, and they talked about nothing-and-everything for a few moments before they shook hands as the older man said, "Well, see you soon sometime."

I looked at the man's face as the red-shirted teenager walked away, "That's my son,"  he told me.  "It's been five years since I've seen him."  He sighed and wiped a tear from his eye, "I used to change his diapers.  I'm here to buy hot dog rolls so I can see him at work."  The father shook his head.

For me, this was a rare glance inside of a stranger's soul and a deep wish to comfort that stranger's soul.  I said the only thing I could think to say, "You're right to be here.  Whatever happened before is in the past.  What you do now is important, it matters."

That boy may be angry forever.  Maybe he should be.  He may reject his father's overtures, and I may be completely wrong.  But I do believe in forgiveness and in hope and in the power of a child's love.  So this poem is for them, the father and son at Wilson Farms.

Everywhere and everyday, people live out loud around us.  If we watch and pay attention, we may hear poems in between their words and actions. 

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poem #25 & Final TV Turnoff #7 - Boredom

Today is the final day of TV  Turnoff week.  Last Monday, I had only written one stanza of this poem.  Now, to end the week, I've added a second stanza. 


In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl's Oompa Loompas sing a song about poor Mike TeeVee (who turns into a television), and Roald Dahl Fans gives us the complete lyrics to this song.  Here's a bit of the Mike TeeVee song below.

What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!

Here's a YouTube bit of this Oompa Loompa movie song.

And here's the classic book if you haven't read it aloud in a while.

I'm wondering if alternatives to TV would be a good poetry collection...what do you think?

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Manuscript Critique Giveaway

If you are a writer who has always wished for a manuscript critique (free!), this is your chance.  In celebration of their blogiversary, the writers behind Teaching Authors:  Six Children's Authors Who Also Teach Writing, are offering this to one lucky winner.  Poetry, picture books, middle grade or young adult novels...if you write it, you may win a critique.  For complete information and how to enter, click here.  Thank you to Carmela, April, Esther, Jeanne, Joann, and Mary Ann for this opportunity.

Poem #24 & TV Turnoff #6 - All Day Long

Here is a picture of our our home just a few days ago.

The Poem Farm 
(Heart Rock Farm)
Photo by Amy LV

If you look closely at the lower left part of this photo, you will see a whitish blob on the cellar doors.  It is Firepaw, one of our many drop-off cats, sunning on the warm metal.  Here is a close up of this gorgeous beast, named by our eldest daughter after one of the cats in Erin Hunter's Warriors series.

Firepaw Sunning
Photo by Amy LV

Today's TV Turnoff poem is in honor of spending more time with pets.  Sitting at my desk this evening, I had begun to write about cooking.  As I looked out the window, my ("I hate cats") husband picked up Firepaw for a secret snuggle, and the poem instantly changed direction.

Are you frequently annoyed by televisions blasting in public places?  Places like your bank, the mall, and restaurant bars?  Well, those annoyances are over.  You, too, can have a TV-B- Gone, a handy contraption attached to our keychains and available to all.  It's a universal remote, and you can just flick off those televisions wherever you find them.  Here's a review at Thingamababy.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Congratulations to 'Poetry from the Soul'

Last Poetry Friday many people visited here and commented on 'Poetry from the Soul' with fifth graders Olivia Brumfield and Marcus Middleton and produced by their teacher Kyle Leonard from Caledonia-Mumford Elementary.

Today I am happy to share a bit of wonderful news!  Today their inspiring work won first place in the video submission category of Livingston County's Genesse Valley BOCES Media Festival.

Many congratulations to Olivia, Marcus, and Kyle!  Thank you again for sharing 'Poetry from the Soul' with all of us.

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Poetry Friday, Poem #23, & TV Turnoff #5

It's Poetry Friday today, and if you seek a review of children's poetry posts floating in the blogosphere this week, Elaine has herded everything up at Wild Rose Reader.  Thank you, Elaine!

After today, there are two days left of TV Turnoff week.  How about a magic trick?  You can find the complete directions for an old favorite at ehow or just learn the trick from this poem.

Last week at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia shared some interesting thoughts and questions about poems set to music, asking, "Are they still poetry?"  Tricia's words made me think about two favorite old family CDs of classic poetry set to music by Ted Jacobs - A Child's Garden of Songs and The Days Gone By.  On car trips and in the house, I loved these as much as our children did, and Music for Little People still carries them (actually on sale right now).  They are beautiful.

Music or no music, poems beg to be read aloud alone or with friends.  Reading poetry out loud, we feel the marble-y words rolling in our mouths, and together we fill empty spaces with rollicking syllables.  

When we're writing, reading our poems aloud highlights where we "nailed a line" and where words sound off-meter or strange.  Listening to poetry aloud strengthens our ears, tuning our bodies to rhythm and sound.  Here are three excellent children's poetry books with CDs included.

How might we invite poetry to serve as our daily thread at home and at school? After all, rituals sew our lives together: prayers at bedtime, kisses when we leave the house, read aloud after lunch, three horn blows for "I love you".  Starting today, we might regularly memorize a poem together, tuck poems into lunchboxes, or read a poem to end the school day.  Some teachers begin each week with a new poem to read and illustrate; our own children's teachers bookmark parts of every day with ritual verses.

Birthdays are one good way to spread poems around.  In East Irondequoit last week, Jackie (third grade teacher) read us poems she's written for teachers turning "important ages".  Over at Two Writing Teachers, you can read about how Stacey gives poems to students as birthday gifts.    

Next Thursday, April 29, is Poem in Your Pocket Day, and you can find many resources and ideas online to help get some fun pocket things rolling.  Here at NCTE you can find some poetry lessons, and at the New York City Department of Education, you will find a variety of poetry resources including bibliographies and units.  I'll highlight some poem-in-pocket events next Friday...please join in.  

Happy Poetry Friday!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Poem #22, TV Turnoff #4, & Earth Day

Earth Day Eve 2010
Photo by Amy LV

Neither you nor I should spend any more time in front of screens than is necessary today.  Mother Earth is waiting...

Tomorrow is Poetry Friday.  Please come back to learn about some delightful poetry CDs and also a few thoughts about how rituals of poetry can deepen our classrooms and our lives.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poem #21 & TV Turnoff #3 - A Roll of Foil

For all time and in all corners of our world, children have played with small bits of things, making their own toys from very simple materials.  Even though we have gadgets and gizmos galore in our modern world and wealthy country, we can still do this:

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

This picture book about a young boy in an African village who builds his own toy vehicle out of wire scraps is a good story to recapture a sense of building something out of what may appear to be nothing.

If you are interested in allowing children to live out their complete childhoods, you may wish to read this article by Lenore Skenazy at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poem #20 & TV Turnoff #2 - The Library

In my life, library use has come and gone in stages.  Our family is in an library-upswing now, regular and consistent library users, and it is grand.  We've tried new cookie recipes, crafts, and have plunged into countless stories.  Our weekly trip to the library is a time we cherish, and sometimes I wonder about all of the other hands that have turned the same pages we now turn.  (Sometimes I wonder where all of our lost books are.)

When my sister and I were little, our mom took us to the library each week, and we'd fill our deacon's bench with piles of books.  Sometimes we didn't go with Mom, and later we'd rush home, curious about what she had chosen, just for us.

For a while, during my 20s, when I was checking out stacks of books for my fifth grade classroom, the overdue fines overwhelmed me; I was afraid to walk into the library for fear of what the librarians would think of me.  I was afraid of punishment or an "evil eye", and I didn't visit often.

Then, several years ago, I read an article by my friend and much admired teacher-of-our-children, Susan Kellner.  She wrote about the strength and power of libraries, and her article in The Buffalo News invited our family right back in with five new cards and overstuffed bags of books.  At our new library, we still keep the books too long and have some fines to pay.  Now, though, every time I write a check, the librarians smile widely and say, "Oh!  We're so grateful.  Thank you for helping the library!"  Now I, too, am in library school, hoping to hold the door for new and long-lost library lovers one day.

So whether you're turning off your TV or not, let your library welcome you in.  It's free and beautiful, full of friends-to-be.  During these difficult economic times, a library is here for all of us, a place where we can find the most valuable gifts for our children and ourselves too.

If you would like today's poem-bookmark (in a somewhat larger size) as a PDF file with three per page, please just e-mail me at amy at amylv dot com with your e-mail address, and I will get it out to you today.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

NaPoWriMo Poem #19 - TV Turnoff Week!

 "According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube."

    The Sourcebook for Teaching Science 
reporting from TV-Free America

Whoa.  That's a long time.

Here at The Poem Farm ('Heart Rock Farm' is our home's real name), we do not have a television.  We do not hate televisions, we are not hostile toward televisions, and sometimes we watch television when visiting family.  We occasionally watch movies on our computer, and we have no video games.  It's just a family choice, one we actually don't talk about at all because it's always been this way.  Sometimes people ask us, "How do you LIVE without a television?"

We live well.

Living without television isn't for everyone, but for one week a year, it's healthy to turn it off and see what else happens in our lives.  As with anything we spend lots of time doing, it's good to examine and understand why we do what we do and also what we might do instead.  It's not a bad idea to think about how many commercials we watch and what seeds they plant in our minds.

It is TV Turnoff Week from today until Sunday (April 19-25), and you can find many suggestions about how to turn your own TV off for the week here at the TV Turn-Off Network.  

This week's poems will answer the question, "What should I do when my TV is dark?"  Some of the ideas will come from the sites we'll link to.  Some will be fresh.  Some may come from you!

Students - if you turn off your TV off this week, please share in the comments.  You may inspire others, and you may help with a poem idea.  Heck, you might decide to write a poem each day of this week too.  

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

NaPoWriMo Poem #18 - Stories Matter

Earlier this week, School Library Journal published a list of the top 100 Children's Novels.  And at many up-to-the-minute blogs, such as A Year of Reading, you can see this list and get cracking on your own reading or share the list with your students and encourage them to add to their own "life list" of classic books.  Students might even highlight and keep track of the books they've read in their writer's notebooks.  Librarians may wish to pull and display these books too, introducing children to new and old favorites.

On this list, Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White, comes out at number one.  Often, I have thought that the greatest compliment would be to have the last line of Charlotte's Web written on one's tombstone:

"It is not often that someone comes along 
who is a true friend and a good writer.  
Charlotte was both."

I read Charlotte's Web to our children when our eldest was five and our youngest was two.  Telling this to a friend years later, she said, "I could not read that book to my children.  It is too sad."

I thought and replied, "But someday your own mother, their grandmother, will die.  Grieving Charlotte in a safe story-place will prepare your children for that true and real-life sadness."

Books teach.  Books heal.  And tears borne through books are beautiful tears, proof of the mighty power of words.

Tomorrow begins TV Turn-Off Week, April 19-25, 2010.  Children in America spend several hours each day attached to screens.  Throughout the upcoming week, each daily (NaPoWriMo) poem will focus on something to do besides watching television. 

Teachers, please feel free to use these poems to help your students find alternative ways to spend their after-school hours this week.  And if they do...I welcome them to comment (through you!) here. 

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beetles, Bugs, & Poem #17...Oh My!

So, it's April.  And April is more than poetry.  In the countrysides of Western New York, April also means Asian lady beetles, or Japanese ladybugs.  Here inside our old farmhouse, we find them everywhere.  Climbing up the living room windows, napping on our toothbrushes, dancing on the edge of the kitchen sink...everywhere!  Because we let most things live here on The Poem Farm, the ladybugs multiply.  We look forward to summer, when we see more bugs outside than inside.

Soon we will be spending more time outdoors, and we will see potato bugs.  If you live in the Western United States or Mexico, you may see this kind.  (A very strange young lady named Katie eats one of these in a YouTube video for which I will not provide a link.)  If you live anywhere else, you may see this kind of potato bug, the kind that looks like a tiny armadillo ball, the kind you can roll around in your hand.

So, why the biology?  In response to Elaine's Great Animal Mask Poem Invitation, I got to wondering what would happen if a potato bug (the pill bug kind) fell in love with a ladybug.  Please do not ask why I wondered this.  I do not know!

I get stuck in the same meter sometimes, and so I'm grateful to my daughter for reciting parts of Mary Ann Hoberman's perfect poem Brother to me the other day.  That poem lodged itself in my head, and while my poem's meter does not match that meter exactly, there are hints.  These hints of new meter took me out of myself.  Thank you, Mary Ann Hoberman, our Children's Poet Laureate, for yet another moment of inspiration.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Poetry Friday, "Poetry from the Soul", & #16

Right now, our son has a 'vacation mohawk', a long-wished-for and one-week haircut.  NaPoWriMo #16 is for all of those mohawk (and mohawk-hopeful) guys out there.  I hope you can read it.

 Vacation Haircut
Photo by Amy LV

Today I am honored to share Poetry from the Soul, produced by fifth grade teacher Kyle Leonard and his students Olivia Brumfield (poet) and Marcus Middleton (ukulele player) at Caledonia-Mumford Elementary in Caledonia, NY.  Kyle is an inspirational teacher who also runs a ukulele club after school, a club which includes most of the fifth grade class.  You can read all sorts of interesting things about the ukulele (I even learned how to spell the word) and hear Kyle's original music here at Ukulelear.  

Writing is power, and when we teach children and ourselves to use language with grace and strength, miracles reveal themselves.  How lucky we are as teachers, acting as midwives to words upon words.

Poetry from the Soul © Olivia Brumfield
Music by Marcus Middleton
Produced by Kyle Leonard

Olivia, Marcus, and Kyle were also generous enough to answer a few questions about their process in creating this work.

How did this project come about?

Kyle:  Each year I try to get student submissions for our BOCES Media Festival, and I knew that Marcus and Olivia had talents that could create something wonderful.  I didn't give them much time to put this video together.  My only input was to suggest they make a video with Marcus playing ukulele while Olivia read some of her poetry; the result was a pretty incredible collaboration.

Would you please tell a bit about how you wrote these poems?

Olivia:  The poems I write come from what I experience. It is a very creative process.  My inspiration is life.  I pay attention to the little things, like once I wrote about the color green.  It's easy to write about the big obvious stuff, but it's a real challenge to write about the little hard-to-see stuff.  Things you have to think about:
          1.  If you're going to rhyme.  I usually do.
          2.  Once you have your idea, what are you going to write?
          3.  Finally, why are you going to write about it?
                That's the challenge.

How did you revise and put your poems together for this video?

Olivia:  Making this magical video was a simple but rushed process.  First I had to get the poems from my writer's notebook.  Then we recorded me saying them with the ukulele in the background.  Then Marcus recorded the video.  After all that, Mr. Leonard's computer magic took over, and it became a success.

What are you writing right now?

Olivia:  At the moment I am writing plain poems.  Recently I wrote a chapter book called Green River.  I think you'd enjoy it.

What was it like to play music with someone's words? Did you play as Olivia read, or was this put together afterward?

Marcus: To play with Olivia's words was really easy because I've been practicing this song for months.  As strange as it is, the song fit perfectly with the words.  The song ended at a good spot.  The song is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  Originally Olivia was going to sing this song, but I think it all worked out perfectly.

What did you have to consider as you shot this video?  Do you have advice for others who might take on a similar project?

Marcus:  You'd think it would be pretty simple to sit on a cart, get pushed by your teacher, and hold a video camera.  Well, as you saw in the video, most of the time the video camera was mostly level.  That was because I kept my arm straight the whole time.  The part that really hurt my arm was when Olivia was writing in her notebook.  My friends and I like to skateboard, and I used to shoot videos of cool tricks, and I got really good at it.  So, one hint is not to make the camera bounce up and down when you walk with the camera.

Do you have plans for other such projects?  Advice for teachers who might wish to try this?

Kyle:  I think a lot of teachers are driven by the desire to create and learn, and there is always something new to learn when it comes to technology.  The free recording software, Audacity, is fun to play with and for podcasting.  I started with podcasting, and then found that Windows Media Maker allows one to upload audio into video - the birth of music videos in my classroom.
This video's combination of poetry and music is a powerful way of paying tribute to the talents that we find in all of our students.  It takes a couple hours to make a three minute video, so that tends to keep the production level low.  But you'll most likely get a gem in the process.

What one word best describes your goal as a teacher?  (Poetry is about economy of words, after all!)

Kyle:  Well, there is a well-known Yeats quote that says, "...Education is the lighting of a fire...", so I think my word would be 'enkindler'.  This word denotes the idea of lighting a spark that could lead others on to do greater things.  If I could do this for kids, I would feel very successful.

Thank you, Olivia.  Thank you, Marcus.  And thank you, Kyle.  What a true delight.

Teachers - please feel free to share any of your students' recent poetry projects with me here at The Poem Farm.  With permissions, I would be tickled to highlight them here on a future Poetry Friday.

Today's Poetry Friday is hosted by Jules at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  Here you will find posts, links, and all you could ever wish for caught in today's poetry web!

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If you've had trouble with this in the past, I think I fixed it!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NaPoWriMo Poem #15 - What to Write?

To mark the halfway point of NaPoWriMo 2010, I will write an acrostic using my name:


Hey!  Stop laughing!  Yes, this is an acrostic on a bad day.  And while I'm not anti-acrostic (that sounds like a religion), I do believe that writing-as-fill-in-the-blank-exercise can be less than enchanting.  Poetry is a peek in the heart, a giggle in the dark, and thunder so grand you can smell it in the sky.

That said, sometimes we just write about writing.

Same Feeling

Did you ever open up your fridge
hungry for a snack
looking up and down for food?

Empty shelves stare back.

You stand inside the open door
hoping for a bite
but nothing there looks good enough.

I don't know what to write.

© Amy LV

Today, my children and I visited Durand Eastman Intermediate School in East Irondequoit, NY, to hear Patricia Polacco speak.  The auditorium full of fourth graders felt like a church as Patricia's voice echoed inside of our bodies, "Each one of you will change thousands of were born with the power to change people...compassion, friendship...that's what changes the human heart."

We touched the meteor that had fallen in Patricia's grandparents' yard, felt her hands on our hands, and quietly made our wishes.

Tomorrow I am so happy to welcome Kyle Leonard's fifth grade students from Caledonia-Mumford Elementary, in Caledonia, NY for Poetry Friday. Olivia Brumfield (poet), Marcus Middleton (ukulele player & cameraman), and Kyle himself will share and discuss Poetry from the Soul

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NaPoWriMo Poem #14 & A Lipogram

I took this photo of Cali in the late evening of our daughter's camping sleepover.  After chasing girls, playing charades, and eating pizza and marshmallows, Cali just curled up in the ashes and warmth for a big snooze. We always watch her sleep, savoring each little move and twitch.  And just as I watch our own children's sweet slumber, staring in adoration, our children look at Cali with the love of a mother or father.

Cali's Campfire Nap
Photo by Amy LV

Puppy Nap

I watch my puppy when she naps.
I wonder what she dreams.
Where does she run to in her bed?
She isn't here.  It seems
she's chasing rabbits
playing ball
she hears my call
smelling friends
fetching sticks
chewing bones
learning tricks.
I sink my nose into her fur
and tell her there's no dog
no dog
like her.

© Amy LV

Yesterday I mentioned Tricia's Lipogram Stretch over at The Miss Rumphius Effect.  Happy to have learned my one-new-thing-of-the-day, I now understand that a lipogram is a piece of writing which avoids the use of one or more letters.  Here's my attempt:

Which Letter to Use?

I struggle to choose
which letter
but hey
this is the choice
every poet will weigh.
One letter of twenty-six
left in the dust.
I feel guilty 
to dump one
but dump one I must.
Rules govern this poem.
I need to obey.
It's tough
so I'll just pick
the first letter - __.
(Is this OK?)

© Amy LV

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NaPoWriMo Poem #13 - LBH's Birthday!

Occasions deserve poems.  As an exchange student in Denmark, I was thrilled by the birthday parties adults threw for each other and for themselves.  Especially on round birthdays (years with a '0' at the end), Danes kick up their heels with original poems and songs sprinkled amidst food and wine.

Today is a day to celebrate!  It is the birthday of Lee Bennett Hopkins, generous poetry taskmaster and muse to so many of us. Please raise a glass of apple juice, your mug of coffee, or that mimosa you've been hiding, and toast with me.

(for LBH)

Our world
has turned
300 twirls
60 spins
and 5.

We're dizzy
celebrating you
you're alive.

Your name is
on the sun
in the sea.

Happy birthday Lee!

© Amy LV

Have you always wondered what a 'lipogram' is?  Tricia over at The Miss Rumphius Effect has the answer, and a lipogram poetry stretch for this week too.

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