Saturday, March 31, 2018

2018 National Poetry Month Project!

UPDATE: MAY 3, 2018
If you are here to visit the Orion poems, they are no longer here.
I hope that they will grow up into a book someday.  
Thank you for reading them and for joining me for 1 Subject 30 Ways...
xo, Amy

Get Ready!
Photo by Amy LV

From The Poem Farm Archives 2017

Happy National Poetry Month Eve!  National Poetry Month, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, is a month-long celebration of all things poem.  You can learn more about this four weeks of literary joy, download or order a free (beautiful!) Poetry Month Poster, find 30 ways to celebrate, and get ready for Poem in Your Pocket Day at

Jama has rounded up all of the Kidlitosphere Poetry Month festivities at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup, a beautiful blog where you can find so much poetry goodness...and meet Mr. Cornelius the friendly, food-loving bear too.

Each year, along with many other writers, I choose to write and share a poem each day. It has been fun to organize these poems around themes, and during the weeks before April, I find myself trying to choose something that piques my interest.  Before we talk about this year's Poetry Month project at The Poem Farm, here's a timeline of my past Poetry Month projects.

2010 - The Poem Farm Begins!  I wrote a poem each day for a month, beginning actually, on March 29, 2010. This blog just to be a one month project, just for me, to get me writing again as I awaited the publication of FOREST HAS A SONG.  At the end of April 2010, I was having too much fun to stop, decided to go for one whole year, publishing a poem at The Poem Farm each day.  After that, I still hung around!

2011 - For each day of April 2011, I continued to write and share daily poems.  However, I had no theme as the blog was just entering its second year.

2012 - A-Z Dictionary Hike - Here's where the themes began.  Each day of April 2012, I opened my children's dictionary to a different letter, starting with A, ending with Z.  Eyes closed, I pointed to a word and this word became the title of that day's poem.

2013 - Drawing into Poems - For each day of April 2013, I slowed myself down and looked closely at an object, drawing it with black pen into my notebook. On some days, I wrote poems from these drawings, but on many days, I simply allowed the looking-drawing practice to practice becoming a closer observer.

2014 - Thrift Store - For each day of April 2014, I wrote a poem from a photograph of an item I found in a thrift store.  These poems are no longer at The Poem Farm as I am trying to sell them as a collection.

2015 - Sing That Poem - For each day of April 2015, I wrote a poem to the meter of a well-known tune and challenged readers to match the poem to the tune by seeing if it was singable to the same meter.

2016 - Wallow in Wonder - For my 2016 National Poetry Month project, I celebrated learning and writing from learning, writing poems from each daily Wonder at Wonderopolis.  I have not yet collected these posts into one post, but I will do so.

2017 - Writing the Rainbow - Each day of April 2017, I randomly selected a different Crayola crayon from a new box of 64.  Each day, I wrote a poem inspired by the color I chose.  These poems all ended up telling the story of a young city girl and the moments of her daily life.

And now....this year!

Students - This year I will write and share a new poem every day.  Every poem will be somehow connected to the subject of the constellation Orion (see the three stars of his belt in my logo?)  However, each poem will highlight a different poetic technique any poet - or any writer of another genre - can try.  The technique might be an idea about point-of-view or about structure or about choosing striking words or about selecting titles.

Teachers - I am basing this project on the poems and lessons in my own Fall 2017 professional book with Heinemann, POEMS ARE TEACHERS: HOW STUDYING POETRY STRENGTHENS WRITING IN ALL GENRES.  

My mentor and friend, Katie Wood Ray, edited this book, and it is full of over 50 poems by contemporary poets, including Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, Margarita Engle, J. Patrick Lewis, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jack Prelutsky, and Irene Latham.  It is doubly full of poems by children, with over 100 mentor poems by children from 1st through 8th grade, demonstrating writing techniques from finding ideas to structure, from word choice to writing beginnings, endings, and titles.

I thought it would be fun to take my own book for a spin...and as I love the constellation Orion, I decided to focus there.  I did consider writing about different constellations each day, but in the end (just yesterday), I finally decided to go narrow and deep.  This will be a good and honest challenge for me, one you will see me earnestly wrestle with each day.

I welcome any classrooms of poets who wish to share poems highlighting each day's technique in the Padlet for that day's post. If teachers or classes have favorite poems or books or resources to share which highlight the day's poem technique, please share those on the Padlet as well!  I will make a Padlet for each day, and we will see how this goes.... Teachers - class poems are easy to share, but please be let me know students have permission for individual poems. 

Each Friday of April 2018 - April 6, April 13, April 13, and April 27 - Heinemann will kindly give away a copy of POEMS ARE TEACHERS to a commenter on that Friday's post. Winners will always be announced on the following Friday.  Please be sure to leave a way to contact you should you win...

Happy almost National Poetry Month!  What subject might you write about 30 different ways?

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Thanks for the inspiration. I still have a few hours to narrow my subject...something in nature, but not sure what it will be, a bird or a tree.

  2. I am hoping to write along with you. Such a wonderful idea. I have so loved your past April journeys.

  3. From one star-gazer to another, I adore this idea. I can't wait to read your poems!

  4. I will be sharing these ideas with my sixth-grade writers! LOVE this! Thank you!!!

  5. I'm going to give it my best shot, Amy. Not going quite as narrow, but hopefully deep into the depths of my beloved vernal pool. Following the advice of many to write about something I'm very familiar with, but in new and different ways. Thanks for letting me tag along! xx

  6. I can't wait to get started with my kids this week.

  7. Great blog and I cannot wait to get started with my students.

  8. Amy, thank you for sharing your knowledge and all your wonderful ideas about writing poetry. I wish I was still in the classroom to follow along with my students. :( Will do anyway with the children I am volunteering with at SPES-The Organization for Children, Youth and Parents. Thank you much. :)

  9. I'm so excited to follow along with you this month. I'm always fascinated by the insights you reveal into your writing process. I love the idea of going narrow and deep and can't wait to see where that takes you. So happy that you're generously taking us along for the ride! Thanks!!

  10. Scrolling through my brain for a topic because I want to do this. Thanks for the challenge.

  11. Congratulations on all you've accomplished with your writing. I enjoy following your poems in April. This year, I look forward to reading and learning more about Orion and going deeper on that topic with you.

  12. Amy, your March 31st poem is a great kick-off to your project. Best of luck!

  13. This book looks amazing! I am looking forward to learning and growing along with everyone here, as well as with my students! Thank you! :-)

  14. what an awesome Idea! Guess I better get going (a bit late, but I've got lots of empty pages in my journal)

  15. Not only is this site filled with great resources, but your Padlet! So awesome! Thanks, again!