Friday, September 13, 2019

What Do You Wonder About?


I Wonder About This Piece of Glass
Photo by Amy LV




Students - I do like to wonder. And last week a welder did tell me about this wonder of his. I have wondered about how machines work...but never about the machines that make the machines. I always wonder about food in grocery carts and know that if I worked in a shop, I would likely make up stories in my head about all of the shoppers.  

If you do not have your own notebook, know that one great reason to keep one is to gather snips and snaps of conversation. A writer never knows what will come in handy later, so best to gather lots of words. I love the idea and the sound of these words -- the machines that make the machines.

What do you wonder about?  If you wish, feel free to take the line I like to wonder about... and run with it.  See where it takes you. You may choose not to keep the line in your final writing, but it may fly you somewhere surprising. Often when I write, I am not looking for a final product but rather a gust of idea-wind to take me on a little flight of fancy thought.

Note that today's poem is free verse. It does not rhyme (except for that ending) and is rather conversational. I wanted the poem to sound as if I was musing in my head and enjoyed repeating the word wonder many times throughout.

This week I wish you all spoken keys of possibility...

Today you will find Laura hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Writing the World for Kids. Visit her site for this week's offerings as well as a joyful celebration and fun, autumnal giveaway of Laura's latest book -- SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE (Lerner/Milbrook). Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, September 6, 2019

It's ok to Write a List Poem


It Really Is
by Amy LV




Students - Today's poem speaks to something I have been thinking a lot about. Sometimes we people can worry about things that really will be ok in a day or a week, and when this happens, our worry can get in the way of our living.  We people don't need to know everything, don't need to be perfect, don't need to constantly achieve and produce. It is good to just be, good to appreciate, good to look out a window. I am thinking about this for my life and for the lives of all I care about, including yours.

When I write a poem, sometimes I wonder where it came from, and sometimes it seems that a new poem has an old poem relative. Could it be that this poem is a great grandchild of Kaylin Haught's God Says Yes to Me? It is possible that this poem is in my blood, I like it so much, and it is likely that it has influenced my thinking. See, the more poems you know, the more connections you can find, and discovering poem relatives and connections is fun indeed.

Today's poem is also a list poem with the repeating words It's ok to, and I welcome you to try repeating a few words at the start of each line of one of your own poems. Experimenting with this technique often yields more ideas than you may expect, and even if you do not use them all in your final draft...you will have created pile of lines and thinking to work with. And oh, did you notice how the last stanza breaks this repeated-words pattern? (That's how you know the poem is finished!)

Something else you may wish to try is framing a poem through advice. Can you think of a piece of advice you'd like to give yourself, either now or at another time in your life? Is there a piece of advice you would like to share with someone you know or with a book character? If you don't name the person in your poem, all readers might see themselves reflected in your words.

Sylvia and Janet are hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Poetry for Children with a gratitude poem by Traci Sorell and a taste of the upcoming IBBY regional conference in October.   Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 30, 2019

A Snugsafe Summer Memory


Hummingbird Coming In
Photo by Amy LV

Hummingbird Landing
Photo by Amy LV

Hummingbird Perching
Photo by Amy LV




Students - We have a hummingbird feeder on our front porch, and anytime we head outside, we can hear one -- ZZZZZZZZZ!  We always hear the hummingbirds before we see them, and today I decided to try to get a picture of one. Well, hummingbirds are very fast and flitty, so I had to sit still, camera poised for quite a while before one chose to drink the new nectar I'd just poured into the feeder.

Here is a video, taken just this morning. It is of the same hummingbird you see in the pictures above. I think it is funny how it is hiding behind that feeder post! Be sure to listen as it hums away into the day at video's end.


Mary Oliver, a poet I love, once wrote a poem titled The Place I Want to Get Back To, about a lovely nature memory of deer. We all have memories we can keep and revisit during dark or lonely or sad times. Part of making a life is watching and waiting carefully to beauty and then keeping it close. I will always have this hummingbird, and now, should you wish, so will you.

Consider slowing down today. Go somewhere nature lives. Sit and watch. Be open to skies and weather, bugs and birds. Listen to wind. Tuck your own memory of wild beauty somewhere where you can find it later. Writing a poem is a joyful way to keep a magnificent sight forever.

And if you ever want to make a new word by smushing two words together, go ahead. I rather like snugsafe and somewinter.

The winners of last week's generous giveaway of SCHOOL PEOPLE by Lee Bennett Hopkins are: Cheriee, Jena, Buffy, Molly, and Linda M. (I will be in touch with you for your address.) Much gratitude to Boyds Mills & Kane for this generous giveaway of one of Lee's last anthologies.

Kat is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Kathryn Apel with two new Australian verse novels and some good news.  Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Our Dear One, Lee Bennett Hopkins



Mini Monster, Black Eyed Susans, Tattoo
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Lee Bennett Hopkins was a husband, a poetry great, a writer, a teacher, an anthologist, and a loving, wise, funny friend to so many people. Numerous poets found their way by the light of his thoughtful lamp, and children of all ages will forever be delighted by the lines of poetry he left us all. 

After Lee's death two weeks ago, Poetry Friday Friend Jone MacCullough suggested we celebrate his life by writing poems from lines of his own works. So today, many of us have read Lee's poems, have lifted lines, and have written poems inspired by his words. Many others will be thinking about and celebrating Lee in different ways.  And in doing so, we all hope to honor his life and his brilliant legacy.

Last Saturday, I did really get a tattoo inked on my right forearm as a way of keeping Lee's words nearby. You can find the poem Good Books, Good Times! in his anthology of the same name, and you can listen to him recite it at Renee's place, No Water River. By wearing Lee's lines on my arm, I hope to remember his generosity every day, writing as well as I can to earn what he taught me.

Lee Bennett Hopkins
1938 - 2019
Photo by Lee's Husband, Charles Egita


Rebecca Kai Dotlich, one of Lee's dearest friends and a writer whose poems open and close so many of his anthologies, kindly shared these beautiful words and pictures about their friendship. 

Please Click to Enlarge

How lucky we have been to travel the Earth at the same time as this love-and-laugh-filled man. As others have said over the past days, may he rest in peace and poetry. 

To read more about Lee, you may wish to visit these places:

Spotlight on Lee Bennett Hopkins with Sylvia Vardell at No Water River
Guinness Book of World Records - Most Prolific Anthologist of Poetry for Children
Autobiographical Book of Poetry - Been to Yesterdays, 1999
Surprise Party (80 in 2018!) at Robyn Hood Black's Place - Life on the Deckle Edge
Obituary in The Washington Post
Obituary in The New York Times
Obituary in News-Press
Obituary in Publishers Weekly
8/23/19 School Library Journal Piece about Lee

I am grateful to WordSong/Boyds Mills & Kane, one of Lee's publishers, for offering five copies of one of Lee's recent anthologies, School People to five commenters on this post. In the August 13, 2019 Publishers Weekly obituary, Rebecca Davis, Lee's editor at WordSong, said this of Lee, "I keep thinking he was joy poured into human form. I will miss him and his joy for the rest of my days."


If you would like to be entered to win a copy of School People, please leave your contact information in your comment, and I will draw names next Thursday, August 29 to share next Poetry Friday, August 30.

And as you stroll around the Kidlitosphere today, through this week, and through your life, may the lines of Lee's poems and books fill you up and help you grow. If you wish to find these links or link in yourself...here you go!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 16, 2019

This Creek

Please note that next Poetry Friday, August 23, we will celebrate the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins here at The Poem Farm. At Jone MacCulloch's great suggestion, I invite everyone who wishes to write and share a poem inspired by or including a line from a LBH poem. Tag with #DearOneLBH. Thank you. xo, Amy


Sounds of the Creek
Family Camp, August 2019
Video by Amy LV




Students - I am away camping this week and sat to write in my notebook by this creek. I did not plan to write about the creek, but its song in my ears came through my pen.

When we sit down to write, we need not have a plan. Sometimes we can simply listen. At times, we will find ideas we like and wish to follow. At times, we will not. But always always it is worth a try.

Christie is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Wandering and Wondering with a joyous celebration of trees!  Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 9, 2019

A Color for My Teacher

Please note that on Poetry Friday August 23 we will celebrate the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins here at The Poem Farm. At Jone MacCulloch's great suggestion, I invite everyone who wishes to write and share a poem inspired by or including a line from a LBH poem. Tag with #DearOneLBH. Thank you. xo, Amy


Cotton on Linen
Photo by Amy LV

Sky Over Barn Over Thistles
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Poetry Great Lee Bennett Hopkins died yesterday after living a rich, beautiful, word-filled, generous life.  I am thankful to call him my teacher as he was teacher to so many.  And while I grieve and mourn today, my work is to continue to write the best I can...the way Lee taught me to do.

As I told my children last night, when you wish to learn something deeply, seek a mentor. And my wish for you is that you will be as fortunate as I was in finding one so giving, so funny, so wise.

One day when you are filled with tears, remember that you can turn tears into words. It helps a little.  I liked stitching these stitches today, finding the thistles, looking for words and remembering.

Please read about and celebrate Lee's life here at his website and here in yesterday's news.  Read one of his books!  And suddenly, you may find yourself reading 120 of his books!  (Did you know he is in the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS for having edited the most poetry anthologies for children?) 

Lee Bennett Hopkins
1938 - 2019
Photo by Charles Egita

May he rest in peace and poetry.
xx

Molly is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Nix the comfort zone with a post about writing from titles and two lovely poems with the same title - Lost in the Milky Way. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Beginnings Open Word Doors



Clay Bowls
Photo by Amy LV




Students - Today's poem simply describes a true thing in my life right now. I have left all social media platforms but one and am finding new and different ways to be a beginner in life. This summer I took a pottery class (at the warm and wondrous Buffalo Clayart Studio), and these three little bowls made me happy to pinch and make me happy to fill.

If you ever feel you are unsure of what to write about or that your well has run dry, you might think about learning or doing or reading something new. As humans, we are lucky to be able to invent and reinvent ourselves through life. No matter what we are given, we can make choices. Just like clay, we can be flexible.  Listen to your heart and mind and hands. Who do they wish to be? Where do they find most joy?

Writing-wise, when we open ourselves to new experiences, new word doors swing wide. Suddenly, we are full of different ideas, people, places, and knowledge. Stories and essays and poems will sprout from our growing, changing selves.

Heidi is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at my juicy little universe with the definito - a cool form she created - and many definitos written by many people. Please know that we gather each Friday, sharing poems and poemlove, and all are always welcome.

Please share a comment below if you wish.