Tuesday, April 10, 2012

J is for JAMAICA

Photo by Amy LV

Students - I have never been to Jamaica, so I had to do a bit of research for this poem. I knew that Jamaica was in the Caribbean Sea, but I did not know that the Greater Antilles include Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Puerto Rico. I also did not know that this chain of islands was formed by volcanoes. You can see many maps of the Greater Antilles here. Don't you think we should take a trip to do a bit more research?

Thinking about how these islands formed many many years apart as the earth's plates moved over a hotspot, I began to see them as four brothers with the same hotspot/volcano mother.  I imagined birds flying back and forth, sharing news of each brother with the others. I imagined them missing each other, longing to hug.  And that's how this poem was born.  Personification for sure!  If you would like to see good diagrams of how Hawaii (another island chain) was formed by volcanoes, check here.

You may have noticed that this poem is woven between my thoughts and the names of the islands. This is a fun thing to do - weave a poem. Think of two strands - your words and something else such as a song, recipe, thoughts of another person, anything. Now alternate between the two, weaving them together. You can read a good explanation of this in Gretchen Bernabei's great book REVIVING THE ESSAY: HOW TO TEACH STRUCTURE WITHOUT FORMULA. It may take a little practice to read your poem in a way you like, but you will often end up with something quite pleasing.  Please let me know if you try it.

I hope to have a recording of this poem up by day's end - SoundCloud was experiencing some difficulties when I first tried.

Linda Kulp, of Write Time, is the winner of Friday's giveaway of the beautiful BOOKSPEAK! by Laura Purdie Salas. If you'd like to read more about Laura, you can read an interview and see a video of Laura reading one of her BOOKSPEAK! poems this week at No Water River with Renee LaTulippe. Linda - please send me an e-mail to amy at amylv dot com so that I know where to send your book. Congratulations!

In case you are new here - this month, I am walking, letter-by-letter, through the dictionary, (closed-eyed) pointing to a letter each day, and writing from it. You can read poems A-H by checking the sidebar, and you can read Lisa's accompanying haiku at her blog, Lisa's Poem of the Week.

Please share a comment below if you wish.
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  1. I LOVELOVELOVE how you put the chain of islands into your poem!


    I'm using too many caps and exclamation points, but really...


  2. It's just beautifully done, Amy. I have woven nursery rhymes within a poem, but never thought to put research within. I know about these islands because I did an island study with my students a few years ago. Wish I'd thought to have them craft a poem about their chosen island! Poetry fits everywhere, doesn't it? Thank you again!

  3. Hi Amy, I love the concept of weaving. Here is just one thread in the form of a haiku:

    Spring Dream

    Today's cold spring wind
    makes me crave sunshine and sea.
    Jamaica calls me!

  4. This is wonderful! I am having a blast visiting your blog!

  5. Thanks so much! I am sooo looking forward to reading Bookspeak! I know my students will love it too!