Friday, August 26, 2016

Lift Words & Carry these Words into a New Poem

Welcome to My Porch
by Amy LV

Students - While many of my poems are not actually about my life, today's list poem is  indeed about our house.  It is a very old house, from the early 1800s, and it's messy and happy and full of funny things.  I wish you could come over and play with my nesting dolls and kaleidoscope and our jar full of rocks.

Today's poem grew from a freewrite I did in my notebook after reading a beautiful poem by Mary Oliver - "The Place I Want to Get Back To."  Oliver's poem ends like this:

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

As you may have noticed, I admired Oliver's line, "I live in the house..." and so I decided to write from it. My poem is completely different, but my idea began with a few of Oliver's words.

This is a wonderful way to get your own writing started.  Read first.  Then write.  If you are not sure how to begin your day's writing, simply lift a word or a few words from another and begin there.  Don't copy whole stanzas or lines...lift for inspiration and not to copy!

I like to think of today's poem as an invitation poem.  It directs the reader to do something, how to approach the house, what to expect.  Feel free to try this.

Or consider writing a poem that describes a place, line-by-line.  This is, after all, really just a list poem.  A list of things you'll see as you approach our home.

And those last two lines.  I wanted them to be punchy - two syllables each.

There is so much to play with in a poem...

This month's guest at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, is Alexandra Zurbrick.  I invite you to drop by, peek into Ally's notebooks, and leave her a comment.  You may just win one of her favorite writing books...your chance to enter ends Sunday.

Heidi is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at my juicy little universe.  Her classroom opens for visitors today, and she welcomes us too.  Thank you, Heidi!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Amy,

    We live on the same property as my daughter and son-in-law. They have an antique house that was built in the late 1700s. The carriage house was made into an in-law suite about fifteen years ago. Our side is modern. Their side has the pumpkin-pine floors, fireplaces in most of the rooms, tilted floors, etc. Our apartment is attached to the barn. We love it here.

    FYI: I sent you an email about a week ago. Did you get it? If not, If will send it to you again.

  2. I will be right over! Yours sounds like such a warm and welcoming home ... but of course, how could it be otherwise? Lovely, dear Amy! And I love the idea of an "invitation poem."

  3. I'm running to catch up with Renee... save me a spot! Truly, this is one of my favorite poems you've ever shared here. It just fills me up. It's so YOU! -And that's one of my favorite pieces of art as well - so much movement in it, like surface design. If you had a little heart like-y icon, I'd click click click.

  4. Yes, tea please. With you. On your porch swing!

  5. It looks as though there will be quite a crowd gathering on your porch, Amy - count me in!

  6. I'll bring my jar of shells and feathers to compare. :-)

  7. I love your voice in this Amy. It seems as if you've sent us a hand-written note, an invitation that makes me smile.

  8. Amy,
    This poem says welcome to my home sweet home! Lovely! What a great place to visit. Thanks for inviting us in.

  9. Not only is this a great list poem.....but a wonderful exercise in inference! The weather is as warm and welcoming as the narrator....grapes and sage are ripe, camping is in's snoozing in the shade not the sun. I love this and will use this poem with kids!

  10. Thanks for the lovely invitation, Amy. There's nothing I would like better than to sit with your snoozy cats and a cup of tea, breathing in the company of good friends! I agree with Robyn, I'd like to hug this poem because it's so you. xo

  11. This is such a delightful, friendly poem and so rooted in your happy home, "full of funny things." It makes me long to join the throngs running there for tea. It also reminds me to see the welcome and warmth in my own old house's clutter and messiness. Thanks for shifting my lens so I see it as an invitation to approach, linger and explore rather than as a rebuke to get moving and clean up! Perspective is so important! I'm off now to inspect that tightly woven bird's nest I found last week that's still resting on the table on the back deck...who knows what else I'll find there! Perhaps a poem...

  12. Someday, friend. Someday, you and me, that cup of tea, the porch, the cats and dogs. Someday...

  13. I am imagining a wonderful gathering of all our Poetry Friday friends right there on your porch. I life Mary Oliver's lines often. I wrote a poem this week about something totally different but my favorite line, "You do not have to be good" found its way into it. I also love how you share your process. This means so much to me as I teach my students to read, write, and love poetry.