Friday, April 5, 2019

Poem #5 - Before We Go

Congratulations to Mrs. B. Jones of Quest Elementary in Hilton, NY.  You have won this week's giveaway of my POEMS ARE TEACHERS.  Thank you, Heinemann.  
New giveaway each Friday in April....

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.

Packing Up
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.

Today's poem is a list poem with two stanzas, each of which lists different things.  Stanza one lists the last actions of Betsy and John together at home, and stanza two lists things Betsy will need in her new life.  

In each stanza, you can find one or two repeated words at the beginning of each line.  

And then, at the end of the poem, the line I pack/my favorite jammies/so she/won't/forget/my/smell stretches out slowly, so that a reader will read it slowly.

I almost titled this poem She Won't Forget...but instead of repeating a line from the poem, this time I chose to add a new bit of information about when these listy lines take place.  A reader can actually read the title right into the poem as if it were part of the first sentence.

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 someone who comments by Sunday.

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!

Thank you to Karen who is hosting today's Poetry Friday over at Karen Edmisten, with a thoughtful John Ashbery poem titled Late Echo. Please know that the Poetry Friday community shares poems and poemlove each week, and everyone is invited to visit, comment, and post.  And if you have a blog, we welcome you to link right in with us.

See you tomorrow...


Please share a comment below if you 


  1. Another poem that made me cry. Heartbreaking in its specificity.

  2. We had to leave Rosie in boarding for the first time... oh how I angsted!... it helped knowing we'd left her with a piece of clothing from each of us. (and yes, mine was a nightshirt!) I'm glad John could find some comfort in leaving this with Betsy. xo

  3. Oh, his favorite jammies! His heart is breaking. Great, though sad, to offer those details.

  4. We are so sad for John. Will the poem get happy? We can't wait to see! From: Ms. B. Jones' Primary Class
    Thank you Amy Lugwig VanDerwater for the book! I can't wait to get it and teach more poetry! It was so fun to see my name at the top of the page when we clicked on it! My class cheered!

  5. Such a tender poem. "Last head on foot." And those favorite jammies all stretched out to show the love tucked inside such a gesture.

  6. Oh...just too sad. John's so sweet, packing his "favorite jammies" to comfort Betsy.

  7. Oh my, this is almost too much for me. It makes my heart hurt.

  8. Humanity and reality for so many all wrapped up in a heart-touching poem. I love how you do this, Amy!

  9. I can feel their love and the sadness of impending loss.

  10. I see you challenging yourself to go narrative and free-verse, Amy! Your premise is very engaging. I'm curious about how you picked the names for your characters, and how you're going to let us know what's happening with Betsy once she leaves John's household. Is it planned? Or are you pantsing? : )

    1. Hi Heidi! Yes....this is new for me. The names - no idea. They just appeared. And all is not planned at all, though I have a rough hope of what may happen. I may write that rough hope out today, considering we are a week in already! Hug! xx

  11. A touching, heartbreaking poem, Amy. This NPM project is a giver, for sure. I imagine you'll be surprising even yourself now and again with where it takes you!

  12. Oh I know the feeling of this poem! Lovely, and your project is so interesting.

  13. Thanks for joining us at #NYEDChat WonderChat tonight, Amy. This poem of yours is pulling at my heartstrings.

  14. Oh how I hope this story pivots. I will hope.

  15. Oh, Amy, this series is breaking my heart!