Thursday, April 4, 2019

Poem #4 - Family Hug

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.

Wet Fur
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.

I had originally written something different today, a compare and contrast kind of poem that went like this:


a hug
makes me 

a hug
makes me

I worked on different versions of this, but then I realized something.  While true, this poem does not show the love of John's family which is real and deep.  See, I am carrying this family around in my heart, and I think about them a lot as I walk my own dogs and take long six hour drives as I did yesterday. And I just knew that they would all hug together because they all love Betsy very much.

Note that the one line in this poem that stands all alone.  If you ever wish to draw attention to a line, to give it more weight - place space around it.

Did you hear the thump-thumps in the last stanza?  People often speak about "writing with the senses," and sound is one sense that can really draw a reader into a world.  Had I written And her tail kept hitting the floor, you would likely not have heard the thumping.

This month at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, you will find a joyful piece by Dr. Shari Daniels. Her post is filled with notebooking ideas, great photographs, and everything that makes me want to dive right into my own notebook.  And yes, there's a book giveaway for a commenter.

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.  I will keep track of comments and will draw one name each Thursday evening, to be announced each Friday of the month.  Thank you, Heinemann!  To be entered into these drawings, please do leave a way to contact you along with your comment.

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. You've embodied "show, don't tell" here. SO good.

  2. It's so clear that there is love in this family. So much love. And so much hard.

    On a completely different note, I love reading about your process.

  3. Yes, this shows the love, hard to imagine their heartbreak. Lovely, Amy!

  4. Oh wow! Just wow! Our class is so invested in the story of Jack and Betsy. We have had amazing discussions about poetry and made connections to our own lives. We truly enjoy your project. --Mrs. Haney's Class, Dripping Springs Texas

  5. Thank you for taking the time to write these poems for our class to read. We like to read them! We hope John gets Betsy back! -Ms. B. Jones' primary class
    QUEST Elementary School Hilton, NY (Ms. B. Jones would love to receive your book. )

    1. You won the book! Please send your snail mail address to me at amy at amylv dot com. Congratulations! x

  6. I like the onomatopoeic “thump thump,” which sounds like a heartbeat to me. Poor puppy.

  7. My heart is breaking along with theirs.

  8. So sad! The "thump-thumps" are full of emotion. Betsy knows. She's still hoping . . .

  9. Betsy understands as the family huddles around. Hugging arms show what each one feels.