Monday, April 14, 2014

Cow Mug - Poem #14 for April 2014 Poetry Project

Learn about this, my April 2014 Poetry Project, HERE!

Cow Mug
Photo by Amy LV

Students - I decided early in the day that today would be "Cow Mug Day."  But when it came time to write, I still did not know where to begin.  I did know, though, that writing about a mug was important. Because, you see, no matter which thrift store you visit, you will always find lots of mugs.

More Mugs
Photo by Amy LV

Even More Mugs
Photo by Amy LV

See what I mean?

You can see in the draft below that I began writing by comparing shelves full of mugs to other things. I wrote the first stanza and then moved over to the right side of the draft page below, searching for what the poem should say.

Then, I remembered the field trips that my own fifth grade class used to take with kindergarteners.  We went to a pumpkin farm and we could all pet the animals.  This made me think about how petting cows is everyday life for some children, and for other children, riding the subway is a more everyday experience.  This seemed like a fun avenue to explore.

Cow Mug - Draft Page Spread #1
Photo by Amy LV

I wanted this poem to use very simple words and short phrases.  Many times, as in yesterday's "Mall Store Shirt," I write in quite a conversational tone, with one line flowing right into the next.  For today's poem, I kept each sentence more controlled, fitting just the length of each line.  I am not sure why I did this, but I like it.  For me, it makes the poem sound as if it comes from a younger voice, perhaps the first grade voice from the memory.

You might want to consider this with your poems.  What does the voice of your poem sound like? Who do you want to read your poem?  Knowing this will help you think about the voice in which to write.  Write in the voice that matches your reader's ear.  Think of a foot and a shoe.  Your shoe of writing should match the foot of your reader's ear.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. "Your shoe of writing should match the foot of your reader's ear." Yes! I love this image! I recognized the shelves full of mugs, too. I'm really enjoying your themed poems this month!

  2. The shoe and the foot jumped off the screen at me when I read today's post! I love that you compared writing and readers in this way. Such a great poem too!

  3. Wonderful image. The voice is very young and I absolutely love "One cow breathed on my hand." That is exactly what would be so memorable. Thanks for another wonderful lesson.

  4. Amy,
    So many mugs. They could have filled the entire month; however, I like that you chose a variety of items to inspire your writing.

  5. I love that this one is about a memory and not so much the thing.

    There is a fabulous part in AS EASY AS FALLING OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH that takes place in a thrift store as the characters search for a new pair of shoes for Ry. Someday, get a copy from the library and find that part. It's early in the book. But you'll probably want to read the whole book. Maybe some of the other reader in your house will love it, too!