Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jar - Poem #3 for April 2014 Poetry Project

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

Canning Jars
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Each day of this month, I will choose which poem to write based on the thrift store photograph that strikes my fancy that day.  Yesterday it was these empty jars.  There they are...empty...but what did they once hold?

Sitting in a Greek diner, I began writing in prose.  Rather than beginning with another's rhyme and meter as I'd done the two previous days, I decided to just start writing in sentences to see where my pen would lead.  

Before I knew it, I was writing in the voice of one jar.  This happens to me sometimes; I almost feel like I become an object or an animal.  It is odd and cool at the same time.  And I think it happens simply because I write a lot.  Maybe it just gets old to write as oneself all of the time and so these other beings emerge.  

Draft #3 Page #1
Photo by Amy LV

As I wrote as a jar, a repeating pair of lines emerged.  Actually two repeating pairs of lines emerged.  Can you find them?

If you looked carefully, you found that these two pairs of lines each occur twice:

It's been fifteen years
since I held jam.

We jars are made
for holding things.

Why?  Why repeat words and lines instead of coming up with new words and lines?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.  One is that readers' ears just like repetition.  It is comforting and musical to hear the same sounds over and over again.  The repetition at the beginning and ending of this poem brings it around, full circle.

Also, though, repetition stresses an important idea, here the passage of time, and too, the great importance this jar finds in the act of holding.

Draft #3 Page #2
Photo by Amy LV

I find it refreshing to write in new places from time to time and may visit the Towne Bistro again.  (No one seemed to mind me reading out loud to myself in the corner.)

Today I am excited to welcome my colleague, teacher Judy Perkins and her second grade poets from Wellsville Elementary School in Wellsville, NY.  I have the good fortune to work with Judy and her team, and so it was a treat to receive these warm and joyous poems from her students last week.  Let us welcome these young writers and their wonderful teacher.  Thank you for helping us celebrate National Poetry Month!

There are still a few days left to leave a comment and thereby enter my giveaway of Post-It notes over at Sharing Our Notebooks.  Don't miss Mary's notebook poem post!

Tomorrow is the first Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month 2014, and I'm hosting here.  I look forward to seeing you and rounding everyone up.
Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. "We jars are made/for holding things." Amy, this line is so wistful! I want to run to the store and buy these jars and fill them up! (I think Mason jars make great vases.) Thanks, too, for sharing Mrs. Perkins & Her Poets. I love the way she shared the kids terrific poems.

  2. Once again, I love reading about your process. Love the last line. Strawberry fields forever sounds in my head. This month of poetry enriches me and makes me stand a little taller.

  3. Lovely poem, especially the last line! And thanks for the explanation of process.

  4. I love imagining you sitting in the cafe a la JKRowling writing and then reading aloud. You keep great company and write endearing poetry. And I am predicting enduring, too. For kids to see how you take the ordinary and show its essence is both brilliant and subtle. And your poetic rhymes and rhythm are so seemingly effortless that peekimg into your process is a gift for young and old alike.

  5. It's fun to imagine the jar's point of view. I especially love the last line too.

  6. For those of us who are older, it makes me wistful too, of past days when lots of people canned. I've only made jam, like in your poem, but older relatives filled the root cellars with food for the rest of the year. I love this Amy. What a rich idea you have for finding things to write about!

  7. Oh, wow! We used personification today, too, when we wrote our poems for tomorrow!

    I, too, love those jars. The ones you found, and the ones in my basement that held the pickles, chutney, and jam I once made.

  8. What a fun idea for this month's celebration! My boxes of Granny's jars in the attic agree with your poem, they are happier when they are full.

  9. I love your idea of the Thrift Store theme for the month. I am an antique collector so Mason jars can be found in our house. Holding black-eyed-Susans is my favorite summer centerpiece. I am jumping in with this challenge and I know I will learn so much from.

  10. Love this. For my mother's birthday a few months ago, I sent her a couple of those (original!) blue Ball jars - good size and so much character. I'll have to share this poem with her, too!

  11. I love the personification of a jar, and then listening to its history. Thanks. I really am enjoying this thrift store theme.

  12. Hi Amy!
    I love this thrift store poetry! I love thrift stores! I always wonder about the things that I see there and wonder who they belonged to. I will read your poems and smile this month! Thanks!