Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Poem #24 - We Talk in the Garden

Welcome to my 2019 National Poetry Month Project

Each day of April, I will write and share a new (first person, free verse, fewer than 15 lines not including spacing) poem. Taken together, these will tell a story about John and Betsy, two characters I posted about on March 22.  This will be new for me, and I invite anyone who wishes to join me in writing a collection of 30 poems that tell a story.

Here is a list of this month's poems so far:

And's poem.

Poking Up Through Hard Dirt
by Amy LV

Students - This month's poems will tell a story about John and Betsy, and all of the poems will have three things in common: each will be written in John's voice, each will be 15 lines or shorter (not including spacing), and each will be written in free verse. I find it helpful to set writing boundaries for myself, so I chose three to work with over the next 30 days.  But sometimes, friends, I am breaking these rules.  Rules can help a project, and they can also hinder it.  So I begin with these rules, and then I listen to each poem and what it desires to be.  When given a writing choice between listening to a poem and listening to a rule, I usually listen to the poem.

Today's poem is another moment, a conversation moment.  Stories move forward through action, through dialogue (as in today), through thoughts and feelings, and through description.  I wrote today's poem to clarify any questions John might have in his mind about the boots and the truck.  Yesterday he thought he knew why Miss Betsy is alone and yet has an extra vehicle and a pair of too-big boots, but in today's poem he is sure.

If you write a story poem, consider rereading to notice if you are focusing more on the actions of the characters, the words between characters, the inner thoughts and feelings of characters, or descriptions of settings, objects, or people.  It is helpful to think about these four story ingredients and to balance them as you, the writer, feel is needed.  And as always, revise as necessary.

Each Friday of National Poetry Month, Heinemann has generously offered to gift a copy of my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS to someone who has commented during the week.  This book includes over 150 poems by contemporary poets and students alike as well as over 50 poem explorations written by me. I will keep track of weekly comments and will draw one final winning name this Thursday, to be announced on Friday. To be entered , please leave a way to contact you along with your comment.  And...Heinemann is offering 40% of all poetry professional books throughout April...thank you Heinemann!

If you would like to learn more about other National Poetry Month projects happening throughout the Kidlitosphere, Jama has rounded up many NPM happenings over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Happy National Poetry Month 2019!

See you tomorrow!


Please share a comment below if you 


  1. Taking time letting go and Sweet Betsy Brown Eyes. Oh my. Talk about word choice and the work of a storytelling poet. You, dear Amy, teacher/poet/friend/giver, have a way with words. Janet Clare F.

  2. I suspect Miss Betsy and John will be learning from each other. Lovely to show this part, Amy.

  3. I'm so relieved. Somehow I feared those boots belonged to a son who wanted to move his mama out of her home.
    "That sweet Betsy Brown Eyes -
    she led me to you."
    The friendship between John and Miss Betsy is a gift! Their shared love of Betsy is the icing on the cake.

  4. My class just got back from their Spring break and we have been going over the poems each day this month. While they were away, we missed some poems so we reviewed them all the last two day. The kids are so happy that they see "their pictures" of what you are writing about coming into focus and they like to discuss what their interpretations of the writings are. Thank you so much for doing this it really helps to show the different ways poetry can be written.

  5. A bit of wisdom inserted feels just right: "Life finds ways to heal."