Friday, April 27, 2012


Photo by Amy LV

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

In my dictionary, there is only one page for the letter X.  When I pointed to today's word, XENOPHOBIA, I looked above and saw XENOPHILIA.  I wanted to write from both words, and so I did.

Students - Today's poem plays on the suffixes of these two words.  -Phobia means fear of.  -Philia means attraction to.  Xeno-  means having to do with foreigeners. As I began jotting notes, the first two lines just popped in my head. And honestly, the rest of  the poem mostly just came out as is. I would say that today's poem was rhythm-driven.  The meter felt like water bubbling over rocks, and the words just followed.

You might wish to play with suffixes and prefixes for a poem, or you might want to try to write a poem about opposites.  I found that these two very different feelings gave me a lot to push against in my writing.  You might also just want to listen to rhythms in music, in your mother's speech, in the hum of your home.  Let these seep into your poetry.  Rhythm can drive words.

If you are new to The Poem Farm, welcome!  This month I have been walking, letter-by-letter, through the dictionary (closed-eyed), pointing to a letter each day, and writing from it. You can read poems A-W by checking the sidebar, and you can visit Lisa Vihos and read her accompanying daily haiku at, Lisa's Poem of the Week. In today's comments, watch for Lisa's Haiku and also Christophe's haiku.  It is lovely to poetryhike with new friends.

Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, there are two new peekable notebooks.  So if you are a notebook-keeper, a notebook-keeper-hopeful, or a teacher who uses notebooks in your classroom, please don't miss Suz Blackaby's post about her process and word tickets or Allan Wolf's post about wall writing and butt books.

Monday is the first chalking celebration over at Teaching Young Writers.  Join organizer-Betsy, Linda from TeacherDance, many others, and me as we chalk, photograph, and share our poems.  April 30!

The winner of Suz's NEST, NOOK, AND CRANNY is Janet F.!  Please send an e-mail to amy at amylv dot com with your snail mail address.  The winner of Allan's ZANE'S TRACE will be selected on Monday evening, April 30 and announced on Tuesday Morning, May 1.

Tabatha is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Roundup over at The Opposite of Indifference. Visit her warm and wonderful space, and let yourself sink deeply into the poetic offerings of this week.

Please share a comment below if you wish.
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  1. GAH!!! Every time I come here, I have a new favorite poem.

    I think you really outdid yourself with this one, Amy. What a great concept, and such beautiful rhythm. Don't you love it when they just pour out like they've been waiting there for eons for you to open the spout?


  2. What a beautiful poem, Amy, with a tricky word! Here is my haiku offering:

    I suffer this fear of all,
    alone in my world.

  3. nicely done, the way you take a potentially negative word and turn it into a hopeful poem.

    and i love the bonus of the recording.

  4. I wasn't expecting your letter "X" offering to be so moving. Very powerful poem, Amy, and the reading was wonderful. Thanks for sharing both!

  5. Two wonderful poems, exTREEmly well done! Thank you Amy and Georgia!

  6. iloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveitiloveit

  7. Amy, I have been reading in bits and pieces this month, planning to come back in May when there is more time to gorge on all your juicy posts but I couldn't let X go by without speaking up. As soon as I saw it was X day, I popped right on over here because I couldn't imagine what you would do and then, I couldn't imagine anyone else doing what you did.

    You are so very, very talented and your gentle teachings along with your wonderful poems should just turn everyone into a poetry lover.

    I especially love the third stanza.

  8. What a beautiful poem, Amy! The words continue to echo in my head, along with the images that go with them. It's honest and heartfelt, and speaks for both kids and adults who feel this way. Thank you for sharing it. :)

  9. Well done, Amy! How DO you do it? Your poetry muscle must be very strong and bulge-y :-)

    I wasn't familiar with xenophilia, so it was nice to have both words together. You really nailed the ending.

  10. I wish we could just rule the world & give all who needed it this poem, Amy. It's so 'soft' yet pushing forward into the good, good story's end. I love that you do that every time.
    And-thanks for the shout out about Betsy's chalk poems!

  11. I have to say the same, Amy, in my own way: this poem is one of your very best, managing to teach the word, convey the concept, express the value, AND you did it all without specifying who's who because the trouble and the lesson is universal, AND you made it rhyme and scan and speak. I'm in awe.

  12. This poem is moving and it is outstanding! Your voice adds a very special touch.

  13. Well goodness, I don't even know where to start! That was amazing and inspires me on so many levels I wish I could express them in words right now, but I am wordless. I was also so psyched to see you share our "chalk-abration!" I am excited to see what everyone comes up with, it is going to make for a really good Monday! Thanks so much.

  14. Amy...seriously? You are awesome.... :)


  15. What Heidi said was spot on.


  16. Wow. Just. Wow. And what a treat to hear you recite this marvelous poem,too!