Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fly with Sparrows & a Hawk - Poem #238

Sparrows & Hawk
by Amy LV

The other day I was sitting on a Florida sidewalk with my little notebook open on my lap, wondering what to write.  I looked up as one looks in the refrigerator to find better food than was in the refrigerator last time, and I saw a big bird coasting on the winds.  Seeing that big bird all alone made me wonder if s/he was lonely and it made me think about how sometimes crows and other small birds chase and harass hawks away.  My husband, a science teacher, has pointed this out to us several times.  

Students - we don't have to know what to write before we get started.  Half of writing is having an openness to what is before us, listening always, ready to accept a poem or a story when it sails by.  This is why it is important to have quiet spaces both in and around us.  

At NCTE on Saturday, artist David Diaz (illustrator of 2009 poetry book SHARING THE SEASONS edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins) spoke about this idea of "percolating".  In a session about creating art, he remarked, "Part of the process is not working...any given day, there may be 3-4 hours in the garden.  It (the work) is always there...Work in the garden is work because then you're thinking about it."

While at NCTE, I also had the opportunity to attend a wonderful session on Friday titled "Poets and Bloggers Unite" with poets Sylvia Vardell (Poetry for Children), Elaine Magliaro (Wild Rose Reader), and Tricia Stohr-Hunt (The Miss Rumphius Effect) along with poets Lee Bennett Hopkins, Pat Mora, Marilyn Singer, and Jame Richards.  

The bloggers, who have been featuring the poets for a few weeks and will continue to do so this week, explained the purposes of their blogs, and the poets talked about their writing.  Many ideas were tossed up such as: finding ways to make blogs more interactive, sharing more podcasts and videos of poets reading their work (Sylvia was taping all along, and I look forward to seeing the footage on her blog!), the importance of poetry across the content areas, how much it matters for teachers to write alongside our students, and the need to explore all types of poetry, not only funny poems.

Toward the end of the session, Pat Mora reminded us how lucky we all are, calling her work as a writer "privileged work" and acknowledging that as we had this opportunity to talk about words, others were making our hotel beds and taking care of our needs.

We were also treated to readings from each of the poets' books: Jame's THREE RIVERS RISING (a novel in verse about the Johnstown flood), Pat Mora's DIZZY IN YOUR EYES: POEMS ABOUT LOVE (love poems for teens, highlighting various forms), Marilyn Singer's MIRROR, MIRROR: A  (fairy tale reversos, a form Marilyn invented), and Lee Bennett Hopkins's BEEN TO YESTERDAYS (Lee's award-winning autobiographical poems).

Many congratulations to J. Patrick Lewis, winner of the 2011 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children for his body of work!  You can read more about this at Poetry for Children or Wild Rose Reader.  And if you feel like a poetry stretch for yourself this week, head on over to The Miss Rumphius Effect where Tricia has posted a new one!

I will list this year's NCTE Poetry Notable books sometime soon, and this Friday will bring us a Poetry Peek into Reading Specialist Amy Zimmer Merrill's Poetry Breaks at Calvin Coolidge Elementary in Binghamton, NY!

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. I love this look at varying points of view---the sparrows making a wrong assumption about the solitary hawk. And such delicious language, potent, tongue-tempting. It begs to be read aloud.

    (Which I just did. To my nine-year-old.)

  2. Love this poem, Amy! It was so good to finally meet you in person and to have a chance to talk with you at NCTE. I'll get in touch with you after Thanksgiving. I have much to do before Thursday. Hope you have a great holiday.