Students - This week has found me reading Mary Oliver's book RED BIRD.
Mary Oliver writes beautiful poems about nature, and as it has been a magical summer here in Western New York, the combination of reading Oliver's poetry and the view from my windows has placed me in a nature-y mood.
I was also reading some of my favorite poems by another of my favorite poets who paints gorgeous pictures of the natural world - Joyce Sidman - including her sweet and true Dog in Bed.
Too, I read the poem "Samuel" by Bobbi Katz several times, a poem about keeping a salamander as a pet and feeling badly about its death.
All of these things came together to make today's poem. Mary and Joyce unknowingly offered me their nature spirits, and I borrowed Joyce's indented "I wonder" line too. Bobbi got me thinking about salamanders. Ellen Bass made me think about being the first or last person to do something with her poem If You Knew. And without realizing it, Marjorie Saiser, poet of she gives me the watch off her arm, inspired me to write a poem in which the title runs straight into the first line, where the title really IS the first line.
My suggestion for today, young friends, is this - read many many poems. The more you read, the more ideas you will have, for topic and for fashioning the shape and sound of your poems. Get those sounds inside of you...and they will come back out!
Want to hear a funny and true salamander story? When we were looking at houses twelve years ago, my husband Mark decided that he must live in a home with salamanders on the property. So this became one of the necessary attributes of any home we would buy - it would have salamanders. And we do!
This week I would like to send a big thank you hug to Donna Smith of Mainely Write, my poetry partner for this year's Summer Poem Swap generously organized by Tabatha Yeatts. Donna wrote a word-celebrationi poem and had it printed on a tote bag (which I have been happily using to carry my lunch) along with one of my own watercolor paintings. The joy of words in this poem makes me so happy, and I adore the structure too. It is one I will want to play with. So thank you, Donna - for your words, for this bag, and for a writing inspiration! And thank you, Tabatha, for putting the two of us together.
Here is Donna's poem:
Write to fly-
Lift to sky;
Fly to soar -
Set to roar;
Soar to wake -
Till they snake;
Wake to see -
From a tree;
See to write -
Rays of light.
by Donna JT Smith
And here is my new bag!
Wonderful Gift from Donna
Photo by Amy LV
I sent Donna a wish poem for her new life as a motorcyclist, and some little goodies from Spain. Such fun to share...
Speaking of sharing, I am delighted to host Alexandra Zurbrick at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, this month. 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!
Birthday Girl Julianne is hosting today's Poetry Friday party this week over at To Read To Write To Be. Please feel free to drop by her place, wish her a happy birthday, and begin your journey through this week's poetry offerings.
Please share a comment below if you wish.