Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Navy Uniform - Poem #8 for April 2014 Poetry Project

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

Navy Jacket - Found by Georgia LV
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Last Saturday, my daughter Georgia and our friend Karla went to a thrift store in downtown Buffalo, NY.  It was one I had never been in before, and Georgia found the Navy uniform from today's verse. Last night that uniform talked to me, and this poem tells what it had wanted to say for a long time.

From the drafts and times below, you can see that I spent about thirty minutes in my notebook again and then shifted to typing.  It is quite interesting for me to look at these draft pages, to see where the crossouts land and the good lines stay.

This poem is a mask poem, or a poem in which the writer writes in the voice OF something else. Those of you know my work know that this is something I love to play with, imagining that I actually AM something else.

If you are interested in writing rhyming poetry, I strongly recommend getting yourself a good rhyming dictionary and/or using RhymeZone.  Both book and online source will give you so many words that your choices will feel unlimited.  Do remember that rhyme is only good if the meaning is strong and clear.

You may see that even though I use both dictionary and online source, in the drafts above, I still  love making lists of possible rhymes. The exercise of writing out the alphabet and going through each letter is tedious but so interesting.

Please don't miss the wonderful post over at my other blog!  Seventeen year old writer, Alex McCarron, shares her journals, index cards, and process over at Sharing Our Notebooks.  Thank you, Alex!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. "Hey, kid!" This poem has a voice and somewhat of an attitude, too. I couldn't help but love the slip in of the furry bathrobes. A combination of a serious matter, war, with trivial things like bathrobes and playing dress up. Love it!

  2. The dictionary on my computer that gives me synonyms with one click and RhymeZone are two of my most favorite writing tools!

    This uniform has a strong voice. Very appropriate!

  3. Wistful voice, lonely uniform, wanting to return to the past, perhaps? I'm rather taken aback that someone would donate it. Nicely done, Amy, with such a nostalgic object.

  4. Amy,
    I love that the navy uniform is calling shoppers over to where it hangs and trying to convince them to take it home. Great mask poem.

  5. Thanks for the new rhyming resources. Love the mask poem. Am thinking about doing that with the rain.

  6. Only minutes before reading your poem, I found a photo of my son playing dress up with an old Navy uniform very similar to this one and emailed it to someone for a class project. I was then so surprised to see this!

    A few days ago, someone made a comment about how people can become like broken clock faces, set aside and no longer noticed. I wonder if the man who once wore this uniform ever shared any of the feelings expressed in this mask poem? I hear his voice as well as the uniform's...

  7. I've never tried my hand at a mask poem, but maybe I will now. I love the "Hey, Kid" opening. My favorite rhyming dictionary is Words to Rhyme With. Thanks for the post.

  8. I use rhyme zone too but I find that going through the alphabet is more helpful for coming up with useful words. I too love the way the poem addresses the kid.

  9. Wow! Just wow! I am really enjoying your journey through the Thrift Store.