Monday, April 21, 2014

Hat - Poem #21 for April 2014 Poetry Project

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

Photo by Amy LV

Students - I want to hug the hat atop this post.  It is one of my favorite photos of the whole month so far, likely because it makes me think about my husband's grandfather, a man I adored.  Grandpa VanDerwater wore a small blue summer hat (which Mark now sometimes wears), and so I have a soft spot for small blue mens' hats.

I considered the idea of this poem for a while.  For a time (in my head only and earlier yesterday), this poem was going to be about the wise hat of the thrift store, to whom other objects go for advice.  But upon further consideration, I didn't want the wise object to be a man's hat - why wouldn't it be a woman's hat? - so I got back to the drawing board.

That's when Joe appeared.

Why?  Well, I think he came from one of my old favorite David McCord (I adore David McCord) poems, "Joe" - a poem about a squirrel that frequently visits a bird feeder.  And of course I know a couple of special Joes with whom we spent Easter.  And Joe is just such a friendly and solid name. The hat FELT like a Joe hat.

Today's poem is written in quatrains, or four line, rhymed stanzas.  Usually, I rhyme only the second and fourth lines of quatrains (sometimes the first and third too, but often not), so this was especially fun and challenging.

You can see below where I listed rhyming words to help me find four decent ones per each of the four stanzas.  If I was not able to find four rhymes that made sense (tip, because...), then I simply chose another word and rewrote.

Hat - Draft Page Spread #1 
Photo by Amy LV

Once again, my final revisions last night came after recording.  It seemed all good to me, but when I recorded, the second stanza was simply off.  Time to rewrite again.

Writers like rewriting.  Rewriting is fun and fascinating.  Oh, and infuriating. And wonderful. 

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I love the personal tone of this poem and the glimpse into a good man's life by a constant companion. And yes, rewriting can be infuriating! Getting through that phase is what makes it so rewarding, right?

  2. Your notebooks always make me feel like mine are ok. I want them to look like I write perfectly and beautifully, but writing (like life I guess) is messy and unclear in its process. Thank you for sharing.


  3. I've missed a few poems lately, Amy, and will go back to catch up sometime, but am so happy I read this one. It's beautiful, and your back story about your husband's grandfather makes it even more so. I still have an old flannel shirt of my grandfather's. Objects like a special hat bring such good memories. Your images are good, too, like the neighborly chat. I can surely see that man wearing that blue hat!

  4. Amy,
    Your emotional attachment shows through and the memories warm your readers' hearts. It honors your husband's grandfather, even if the details are fictional. As I read, I recalled stories of my grandfather too. This poem is a winner!

  5. Amy,
    I love seeing your process. It's fascinating to see your thinking, your changes, your play with words. I also am finding the time it takes you to write the poem interesting to think about.

    I love both Joe and his hat.