Friday, May 31, 2019

Naomi, Lizzette, Dara, & Lubna

Lizzette's Box *
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Sometimes reading a poem can lead you into a poem of your own.  I love Naomi Shihab Nye's poems, and reading the last two lines of Full Day - "They carried their treasures/in a crooked box." - made me think about the box you see above.

Full Day
by Naomi Shihab Nye

The pilot on the plane says
in one minute and fifty seconds
we're going as far
as the covered wagon went
in a full day....

Read the complete poem HERE.

This oak box, which belonged to my great grandmother (my father's father's mother), now belongs to me.  And while I do not know if Lizzette received this box as a birthday gift upon turning ten, I liked imagining that story of Wilhelm and Frederika chatting about their daughter's gift.  Today I am thinking about the sturdiness of this box, so solid in my hands 144 years later. I am considering objects in my life, how few and sturdy feels better than many and flimsy.

My Great Grandmother Lizzette's Grave
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY

Is there an object in your home which once belonged to someone else?  If you know the story, you might choose to write it.  If you do not know the story, you might choose to invent it!

I could not be more grateful that Naomi Shihab Nye is our new Young People's Poet Laureate.  Following the wise, peaceful Laureate term of Margarita Engle, Naomi will act in this role from 2019 - 2021. We are fortunate to have these leaders, and I look forward to supporting any projects that Naomi takes on.  Her work has been a North Star in my life.

I am very happy to introduce a guest poet today.  Oluwadara Olusoji is a ten year old fifth grader currently attending  Lincoln Community School in Ghana.  I learned about her writing last year when her teacher, Juliette Awua-Kyeremate, kindly shared a poem with me.  It is a pleasure to share Dara's work here at The Poem Farm.  Enjoy her thoughtful poetry...

Click the Small Box in the Bar to Enlarge this Slideshow

I am grateful to Dara for her generous sharing today. It has been a pleasure to write back and forth with her, to learn about her thinking, and to be inspired by her words.  Thank you, Dara!

This week I fell in love with a book, and as it is in the spirit of kindness and family and treasures and valuing each other, all themes in Naomi Shihab Nye's work, that I would like to give away a copy of  LUBNA AND PEBBLE, gorgeously and simply written by Wendy Meddour and beautifully illustrated by Daniel Egnéus.  Please comment on this post by 11:59 on Thursday, June 7 with a way to reach you, and I will announce a winner next Poetry Friday.

Image result for lubna and pebble

Mary Lee is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at A Year of Reading with a poem inspired by a prompt suggested by Naomi Shihab Nye. Mary Lee has rounded up all links of this week's Kidlitosphere poetry happenings many of which celebrate the work and person of Naomi Shihab Nye. We gather together each Friday, and all are always welcome.  

* Footnote - As of today (June 1, 2019), I stand corrected! This is NOT Lizzette's box as I had assumed.  It is Great Aunt Lil's box. Lil was my great grandfather's sister and had no children, so this box somehow found its way down to me.  I think she was a toddler when she received it which brings up a whole different story in my head. I will visit Great Aunt Lil's grave (also in Forest Lawn) and will get a picture this summer.  This whole box story has begun a lovely family history conversation with my dad and has us both digging back into our tree.... xx

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Amy, I love the way your poem imagines a long ago conversation. I want to believe it actually happened just that way!

  2. I have an old box, but don't know really how old. It belonged to my grandmother & I think was a gift to her. Love this imagined conversation, perhaps it too has been passed down in your mind? Dara's poems show a wide range of emotions and poem forms. I liked each one. Poverty Is A Criminal is very powerful. I'm glad you're standing up to the bullies, Dara. My granddaughter, who will be in 5th grade, has had challenges, too, & she keeps at it, showing she's the boss, not them. But, yes, it's hard! Thanks for the sweet post, Amy!

  3. So love this. I have a some boxes my grandfather made much like Lizette’s.

  4. I love the remembering of faces you never knew....I feel like that too when I write about family ancestry. A beautiful poem. I love that Grandma squeezes that big, rough hand.

  5. I love your connection to the past through this box. Dara's poetry is inspiring. She is a brave and confident poet. You are so wonderful to encourage her. Now her poetry speaks to the world!

  6. I don't know where to start - there's so much to love here. Thanks for all of it.

  7. Such a rich post Amy! Your box connection with your family is a treasure-trove along with the poem. I like how Naomi Shihab Nye's poem tied into yours. Thanks also for sharing Dara's poetry, what an honor for her to have this spot and your support.