Friday, March 2, 2012

The Pen - Listening to Familiar Structures


Poem Pen
by Amy LV


Students - the structure of this poem came from an old ghost story I remember from when I was a little girl camper. You probably know it too - "In the dark, dark woods....there was a dark, dark house...and in that dark, dark, house...there was a dark, dark room...: The story went on and on until the end when the storyteller would shout, "THERE WAS A GHOST!" and everyone would fall apart laughing or crying or both.

When I sat down to write this poem, that spooky story structure popped up in my head. It's funny with writing...if you write frequently, sometimes you will be grabbed by a word, sometimes a question, sometimes a story, sometimes a structure. Today it was structure, a pattern.  April Halprin Wayland talks about writing to the beat of a song here at Teaching Authors, another way to let the structure of another written piece influence your writing.

TAKE ME OUT OF THE BATHTUB AND OTHER SILLY DILLY SONGS, by Alan Katz, is just one example of a book written from the structures of already existing songs!




Have you ever had a butterfly land on you?  It's a gift to be chosen as a butterfly landing spot!  This is true for writing and poems too.  Leave your mind open to accept whatever type of inspiration lands on you!  It might be a song.  It might be a piece of art.  It might be a fascination.  It might be a sadness.  It might be a story you heard long ago.  Let it land!

All of this nature and quiet imagery has me thinking about Mary Oliver and her gorgeous poem The Place I Want to Get Back To.

This week over at Sharing Our Notebooks, I am happy to introduce artist Cynthia Iannaconne. Hop on over there to take a peek into her process and to try a neat drawing exercise, one I am sure to be trying in my own notebook very soon.

Cynthia's Cats & Cookie Jars & Teapots

Thank you to Dori for hosting today's Poetry Friday over at Dori Reads!  There you will be able to dip in and out of poems and poetic thoughts all weekend or all week long.

'Like' The Poem Farm Facebook Page for regular updates of all things poetry!
(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)

14 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

The idea of structure is just right & I think I do it sometimes, although I'm not always thinking of it. I have the bathtub book & my granddaughter & I read it often. Maybe that's a way to find some ideas, Amy. Thank you for the poem. "The pen has set her poems free." is terrific!

Renee LaTulippe said...

Lovely poem, Amy! I'm finding your blog an excellent source to discover other children's poets as well, so thanks for all your linky goodness, too. :)

Books4Learning said...

Nice poem. I like how you paralleled it to a structure you were already familiar with. I did not even notice on the first reading. You did a great job making it your own.

Author Amok said...

Fun poem! I do a repeating poem like this with little ones based on the model "Under the Sky Is." The teapot/cookie jars are amazing. Such talent!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

I enjoyed reading your poem aloud, Amy, as always. I also like the writing prompts that you included for students. Much inspired.

Tara said...

I love those last two lines. And thank you for the link to that lovely Mary Oliver poem...always wondeful to happen open her poetry!

Linda said...

I agree with Tara, I especially like the last two lines of today's poem. I'm a huge fan of Mary Oliver and love the poem you mentioned. I also have one of her poems today! She's amazing!

Doraine Bennett said...

The combination of ideas in your post made me remember a song my cousin and I used to sing in the bathtub. Found a Peanut must have had at least forty verses by the time we finished with it. Maybe I'll try it as structure if I can get the original out of my head. Oh, dear. Now I'm going to be hearing that song for the rest of the day.

Ed DeCaria said...

Amy LV: I enjoyed "The Pen". Really well done. Thanks for sharing! -Ed

Heidi Mordhorst said...

This has me thinking about the idea of "originality" and that delicate balance we have to try for in our classrooms: if we model for students for all the good reasons we do, how do we also encourage them to take the risk and do more than just copy? You present the inspiration very well.

Mary Lee said...

Your poem is spot-on!

Heidi -- thanks for getting me thinking about teaching poetry forms. (Because that's what's up starting next week.) If you give kids enough time to play with the forms you've taught them, rather than just "here's a form, write like this, done," I think it's like giving an artist a new medium.

Jen said...

I love the metaphor of how you come upon poetry or rather how it comes upon you is like a butterfly landing on you. I've always thought when I'm out enjoying nature that when I catch a glimpse of a butterfly that it's a heavenly sign or blessing. That's really true with a story to. I'm participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this March, sponsored by Two Writing Teachers, Stacy & Ruth. Like you've taught us that to be good teachers of writing we have to write, so I'm going to write every day. My next venture is poetry and your imagery will help inspire me! Thank you!

Robyn Hood Black said...

What they said! Seriously, what a terrific poem and a thoughtful, fun post. Love the butterfly image, which reminds me of the famous Hawthorn quote, "Happiness is a butterfly...". Thanks for sharing all this goodness today.

laurasalas said...

Amy, I LOVE taking an existing work or format and riffing on it for my own adaptation. It's one way to stretch myself in a direction I wouldn't go by myself. Using better poets than me as tour guides. Great post!