Thursday, April 18, 2019

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2019 & Poem #18 - A Lady like My Grama

This is the third year that fabulous illustrator Emma Virjan and I have 
collaborated on a poem for this special day.  2019 brings foxes!

Art by Emma Virjan
(Click to Enlarge this Image)

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.

Fur, Sunshine, Poem
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 knew that today's poem would continue the reunion of John and Betsy, but how would I begin?  Well, here is something funny and true.  Sometimes it is the smallest thing that can get a person thinking.  Yesterday, I simply opened up a poetry book and fell upon the poem "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman.  The first word of this poem is when.  I thought I'd try beginning my poem with the word when too.  And there you go!

One secret I've found about writing is that when I am writing every day, every part of my day feeds my writing.  When I write only occasionally, many of those day-parts go unnoticed or unused.  Hence, writing daily makes me more efficient and more observant.  My notebook is my pal.

This project has been a good exercise in reading aloud to revise.  Because I am trying to build characters, I need to hear their voices in the air and in my ears.  Recording the poems helps me with this too; it is good to see if the voice I hear when reading matches the voice I wish to create when writing.  

Because I am writing scenes this month, my attention has concentrated on sensory imagery.  I really do see and smell and feel the nouns and settings in these poems, and writing them is stretching my understandings of fiction and story.

I also ended up changing the line breaks of today's poem a few different times.  This is easy to do once one moves a poem from notebook to keyboard.  A few presses of a button, and the same words look completely different on the page.  But yes, I do almost always draft first with black pen on white or cream paper.

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 comments and will draw one name each Thursday evening, to be announced each Friday of the month. To be entered into these drawings, please do 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. I love John and Betsy I'm so glad that Betsy is with a nice owner, who maybe will be willing to share sweet Betsy with John. The last line is intriguing and I can't wait 24 hours to find out what "I found her through a poem" means.

  2. Amy, this touching poem begged me to go back into your poem story to find the note that John left with Betsy. Poem #8 was the one that really broke my heart with the words little poor. Poem #18 brings happiness to both the woman and John. I wonder if Betsy is perplexed at this point.

  3. I love where our story is headed right now. How appropriate that you've pointed us to the power of poetry on poem in your pocket day. I'm also touched by how your words are triggered by daily happenings like your use of "When" to begin this poem. These words from today's post resonate with me: "Hence, writing daily makes me more efficient and more observant. My notebook is my pal." I want writing to become my daily habit.

  4. Oh, YAY! Yesterday's poem left me with such a mix of sadness and the tide is turning toward happiness! What will this lady's backstory be? So much tension! You are a master storyteller!

  5. Love your Poem in your Pocket fox sharing, Amy! Introducing this new character with her kind words feels very good indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing what John thinks about her, too.

  6. It feels so reassuring with the new lady in the story. And of course we're all anxious to see how she found Betsy through a poem.

    1. Yes, I have to agree with Jama. I'm trying to figure out how she found Betsy through a poem. Wait, I have to go back. Didn't John write something when he left Betsy?

  7. In addition to the poems, I love what you said about writing every day. I'm hoping to get back into that habit. Your words help!

  8. Oh, I can't wait to introduce sweet fox to my Kindergarten poets. This is perfect for them to listen to and learn for themselves. I love your collaboration with Emma, and hope it continues into the future. The thought of being found "through a poem" sends tingles down my spine! xx Christie @

  9. When I just read all 18 poems I cried for all my gone treasured dogs and remembered to hug this special devoted boy beside me...I'm filled with hope for John ...hope the lady like his grandma has room in her heart for him, too

  10. I'm so happy for John and Betsy! I can't wait to learn more about how Betsy saved her life... Thank you for sharing about your writing process each day! And of course thank you for helping us celebrate poem in your pocket day! My students and I celebrated today and two of the poems that we out in our pockets were your!

  11. Boom! Oh, yes, I had to go back to confirm:

  12. Hooray! Can't wait to see what comes next!

  13. Lovely--thank fox and fiery poem tail! Swoon!

  14. And all because of a poem. Genius. This is so cool ( and so you....) fantastic!!!! Janet Clare F.

  15. Thank you for hosting - and thanks for your comment on my blog recommending "Good Bones." I looked it up and read it - you're right - it's perfect.