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Archive for the ‘poetry friday’ Category

A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, 2015) is the perfect Poetry Month book, as it will get kids excited about writing their own poems and reading them aloud. The story centers around Elinor, a conscientious model student who struggles with a major case of writer’s block when she tries too hard to write the perfect poem.

In this third book in the series about Mr. Tiffin’s class, Elinor and her classmates are very excited that Emmy Crane, “a great American poet,” will be visiting their school on Poem in Your Pocket Day. The plan is to learn as much as they can about poetry by reading and memorizing poems, and by writing poems in their journals. They will then select one of their poems to put in their pockets, which they will read aloud at the school assembly for Ms. Crane.

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Supremely confident, somewhat braggy Elinor plans to wear jeans with six pockets when Ms. Crane comes, with an original poem stashed in each one. She dives right into studying everything and anything about poetry a full month ahead of the class. When April rolls around, Mr. Tiffin teaches them about figures of speech (similes, metaphors), and different poetic forms (haiku, acrostic, concrete). Everyone has fun reading sample poems and writing their own, while strangely silent Elinor has nothing to share, reassuring the others that she will come up with something amazing for Ms. Crane’s visit.

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Mr. Tiffin takes the class outdoors so they can practice using their “poet’s eyes.” Another day, he gives them each a brown paper bag and asks them to write a poem about what’s inside. Everyone is eager to read their poems aloud for the others to guess, but Elinor’s journal remains blank.

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Please help yourself to a cup of tea and a bite of peach cream cheese danish.

Happy first Poetry Friday of April, and Happy National Poetry Month!

Though I always look forward to Poetry Month, April is now bittersweet because it’s the month my mother died. Even a year later, it hasn’t fully sunken in. I think of her daily, remembering so many little things — her love of stripes, her big laugh, the sound of her chopping garlic and green onions in the kitchen.

I don’t think about the thin frail woman she was at the end, but the strong, energetic, busy person she was throughout most of her life — always a good sport, the one everybody could depend on to get things done.

It’s true what many people say — part of you fears you may forget the person you lost, and sometimes you feel guilty for happily getting on with things. This universal feeling is beautifully expressed in Christina Rossetti’s poem. Remember when the Dowager Countess Violet shared a line from it with Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey Season 4? Even as we happily celebrate holidays such as Easter with loved ones, we inevitably think of those we miss.

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Happy April and Happy National Poetry Month!

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-Logo

Did you know that National Poetry Month is “the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives every April”?

Visit poets.org for the full scoop on how you can participate, including 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 30, 2015), Poem-a-Day, and especially for students and teachers, the Dear Poet Project. Check the state-by-state listings to find poetry-related events near you. And there’s still time to order your free Poetry Month poster (especially cool this year)!

Now, here’s a list of what some kidlit bloggers are doing. If you’re also celebrating Poetry Month with a special project or blog event, or know of anyone else who is, please email me: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, so I can add the information to this Roundup. Thanks!

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2015 KIDLITOSPHERE POETRY EVENTS

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Irene Latham at Live Your Poem has recruited 30 poets for her fourth annual Kidlit Progressive Poem. This is a wonderful community writing project where a poem travels daily from blog to blog, with each host adding a new line. Here’s the full schedule of participating bloggers:

1 Jone at Check it Out

2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy

3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog

6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson

8 Irene at Live Your Poem

9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

11 Kim at Flukeprints

12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine at DoriReads

14 Renee at No Water River

15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

19 Linda at Teacher Dance

20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots

21 Tara at A Teaching Life

22 Pat at Writer on a Horse

23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference

26 Brian at Walk the Walk

27 Jan at Bookseedstudio

28 Amy at The Poem Farm

29 Donna at Mainely Write

30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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Irene’s personal poetry project at Live Your Poem is ARTSPEAK! She’ll be writing daily poems inspired by the online collections of the National Gallery of Art, focusing on dialog, conversations, asking, what does the piece say?

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At Author Amok, Laura Shovan is hosting “What Are You Wearing?” — a full month featuring poetry about clothes. On Mondays and Wednesdays, look for guest bloggers, who’ll share a favorite clothing-related poem with a paragraph or two of introduction. On Fridays Laura will post a roundup of original clothes poems (send her yours via email: laurashovan (at) gmail (dot) com). Don’t miss this literary fashion show!

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Strap yourselves in your seats and get ready for an emotional roller coaster at A Year of Reading! Mary Lee Hahn’s project is called PO-EMotions. She will be writing a poem each day that evokes an emotion or uses an emotion word in the title or body of the poem. She’s inviting everyone to play along by either posting poems in the comments or at their own blogs. Check out this list of the 30 Emotions she’ll be writing about (she’ll also be cross-posting at her personal poetry blog, Poetrepository).

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Jone MacCulloch will be sharing student poetry daily at Check It Out. She’s also once again doing her annual Poetry Postcard Project, where Silver Star ES students send out illustrated poetry postcards to anyone requesting them. Sign up HERE if you’d like to receive one. This is a wonderful project — seven years running so far — I always enjoy receiving my postcard each April.

At Deo Writer, Jone is hosting her first month-long writing challenge. She’ll be playing with poems that have something to do with nature and double “ll’s,” (like in her last name). She invites everyone to join her — here’s the list of words she’ll be using as prompts.

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Diane Mayr at Random Noodling presents Ekphrastic Mondays! Beginning April 6, she will post an original poem inspired by a work of art. So that’s four Mondays, four pairings. It’s like getting a two-course meal each week: literary + visual. :)

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At Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle Heindenrich Barnes is spotlighting 2015 Newbery Medal Winner Kwame Alexander as her Ditty of the Month Club special guest! She’s kicking things off with an awesome interview, giveaway, and an invitation to write a poem (or poems) this month in response to Kwame’s ditty challenge. She’ll post poems on the blog as they come in all month long, and then feature them all in a wrap-up post at the end of the month. Send your poems to: TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Over at Poetry for Children, Sylvia Vardell is celebrating the just released Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015) by featuring short videos of children reading some of the poems from the book. This is the fourth title in the wonderful series Sylvia created and compiled with fellow poetry goddess Janet Wong, and not only does it include poems for 156 celebrations in both English and Spanish (World Laughter Day, National Camping Day, Hand Washing Day), there is a Teacher/Librarian Edition as well as a Student/Children’s Edition. The T/L Edition also contains great Tips, Guidelines and Lists to help adults select and share poems with kids.

Over at The Poem Farm, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is playing a game called Sing That Poem! Each day she’ll post a new original poem with the meter of a well-known song. Folks can print a PDF and try to match each day’s poem with the song it was inspired by. She’ll also post a recording each next day with the answer. Her goal in this project is to stretch her writing muscles into new meters.

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Linda Baie at TeacherDance will be doing a lot of writing this month. In addition to participating in the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, Mary Lee Hahn’s Po-EMotions Challenge, and Laura Shovan’s What Are You Wearing Challenge, she’s going to challenge herself to write a haiku or other related form every day. Check in with her at her blog to cheer her on!

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April Halprin Wayland and her trusty canine muse Eli will be feeding us a PPP (previously published poem) every day all month long. This tasty smorgasbord will be culled from various books, magazines and anthologies and promises to be a real treat! Check in at the blog for your daily April fix.

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Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia Stohr-Hunt will be focusing on poetic forms: “I want to shine a spotlight on forms other than strictly rhyming (though rhyme is perfectly fine) for the elementary and middle school classroom. I love rhyme just as much as the next person, but I worry that much of the poetry parents select for kids and teachers select for classrooms is chosen simply because it rhymes. And I don’t want the merit or “goodness” of poetry judged simply on this trait. Kids need to be exposed to poets old (classic) and new, poems funny and serious, in the glorious range that exists. Poetry for kids can be smart and challenging and I want to highlight this aspect. In addition to focusing on forms, I’ll also be sharing the thoughts of selected poets.”

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Liz Steinglass will also be writing a poem every day this month. Her theme this year is items hiding in or on a desk. Hmmm, wonder if there are any bears on her desk? Or food? Should be interesting. :) Check in with her daily to find out!

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Laura Purdie Salas will be sharing tips on presenting poetry to students at Writing the World for Kids. She’ll also include a poem that is relevant to each daily tip.

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Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit is hosting a National Poetry Month Celebration and Blog Tour. This year’s theme is “The Search for New Perspective.” She says, I’d love to have guests talk about how poetry changed their perspective about something, even if it is just one poem, or how you think poetry can change perspective to not only reach more readers but leave a lasting impression.” Add your blog post URLs to her link-up any time during April and check out what other bloggers are contributing!

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Rhyming picture book lovers, don’t miss Angie Karcher’s 2015 Rhyming Picture Book Month (RhyPiBoMo)! This  is a month-long writing challenge for children’s writers aspiring to write rhyming picture books, poetry, and to add poetic techniques to their prose. The roster of fabuloso guest bloggers includes Nikki Grimes, Marilyn Singer, Iza Trapani, Kwame Alexander, J. Patrick Lewis, Ann Whitford Paul and Janet Wong. Angie is awarding daily prizes, and there’s also a Poetry Contest! You must register to be eligible for prizes and to enter the Poetry Contest (deadline: April 8, 2015). Check out the Guest Blogger Schedule here.

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As is her annual Poetry Month practice, Liz Garton Scanlon will be writing a haiku every day this month. She’ll be posting her haiku with a photo and sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and at her LiveJournal blog, Liz in Ink. She’s inviting everyone to join her — post yours via social media, at your own blog or in a private journal.

Check in every Friday at A Penny and Her Jots for more great episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt! Penny Parker Klostermann and her great-nephew Brandon began collaborating last Fall — she writes a poem and he illustrates it. They’ve had so much with this series that they’ve invited others to join them. Look for another Penny and Brandon episode on April 10 and special guests on the other Fridays.

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At Beyond LiteracyLink, Carol Varsalona will be featuring her own “Poetry Parade”: poems and posts written in response to several Poetry Month Challenges, including Jone MacCulloch’s “Double LL” Challenge and another located at #digipoetry on Twitter, organized by Margaret Simon. Her eagerly anticipated “Winter Whisperings: A Gallery of Artistic Expressions,” featuring poem-image pairings submitted by poets from around the country, Canada, Europe and beyond, has been unveiled and can be viewed here. The featured verse form is the zeno, invented by former Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis.

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Check in with Tanita S. Davis for a haiku each day. This month she’s thinking about “innocence and grace and wobbly starts and losses and gains.” The meditative, centering aspects of writing haiku, of distillation, is a wonderful way to achieve a degree of clarity.

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Donna at Mainely Write is once again writing a poem each day for the A to Z Challenge. Her theme this year will be signs she has photographed. This will be her fourth straight year writing poems for this challenge.

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Here at Alphabet Soup, where we celebrate poetry year round with our weekly Friday Feasts, we’ll be featuring some very cool newly published poetry picture books. And just for you (because we like to call ’em as we see ’em), we’re serving up a little extra treat: HotTEAs of Children’s Poetry. That’s right!  These dudes are not only fair of face, but know just how to spark the poetic fire of enthusiasm and inspiration. They sip their cuppas with the best of them and their laptops are always smokin’! Fair Warning: best to keep your oven mitts handy. :)

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Finally, don’t forget to check in each week with the April Poetry Friday hosts to see what other bloggers are sharing.

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I’ll continue to update this Roundup throughout April, so do check back! For your convenience, a link to this Roundup can be found in the sidebar of this blog (click 2015 Poetry Month image). 

Wishing you a thoroughly nourishing, inspiring, productive, interesting, and enlightening Poetry Month!

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Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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“I think what poetry finally does is to help us experience our world as intensely as possible.” (Mark Strand)

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Have I mentioned just how much I love this year’s National Poetry Month poster?

Featuring the first stanza of Mark Strand’s “Eating Poetry” cleverly drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, it’s the poster to top all posters. Period.

As we gear up for the official start of Poetry Month next week, we simply must don our finest bibs, polish our knives and forks, and wholeheartedly nosh on Strand’s delectable words. As he once said, “The reader has to sort of give himself over to the poem and allow the poem to inhabit him.” Ladies and Gentlemen, lick your chops!

EATING POETRY
by Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

~ from Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House, 1980)

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Clean, precise, surreal. Vintage Strand. A good poem produces a visceral reaction in the reader. As we internalize it, it may momentarily dally with our intellect, but ultimately it taps into our emotional core and arouses our instinctual essence, raw and animalistic. A good poem is a transformative experience.

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It’s here, it’s finally here!

Happy Spring!

We must celebrate with what so many of us are craving after such a long hard winter: COLOR!

But why settle for plain blue when you can have indigo or blue moonshade? As for green, make mine Elysian. Let’s bask in the evocative names of colors and the flights of fancy they inspire. And yes, you may call me Sheba. :)

POEM FROM A COLOUR CHART OF HOUSEPAINTS
by Wendy Cope

Limeglow of leaves –
elf, sapling
in Elysian green,
she’s jitterbugging
in the forest.
She is froth, the tang
of julep, capering
among the ferns.
Passion, the firedance
of her fantasy,
fireglow of poppy
and corona, ember.
Casanova, peerless
demon, jester!
She burns, a firefly,
Apollo’s geisha.
Her sandgold hair,
spun silk kimono,
melon and lemon sorbet
on the balcony,
white wine, gardenias.
That honeysuckle year –
if he could ransom
one sunlit day!
Indigo seascape –
Melissa in cool,
blue moonshade.
Harebell, naiad,
exotic ballerina,
she commands the bay,
the midnight swell,
the surf, pale gossamer.
Autumnal in brogues,
beige twinset, russet
tweeds, she takes
coffee at eleven,
sherry at noon –
dreams of Tarragona,
castanets, a man
who called her Sheba.
Her mood
is violet, nocturnal.
Aubrietia, phlox,
wisteria delight her
more than roses.
Solitude, a purple
robe, a last
long hazy evening.

~ from If I Don’t Know (Faber & Faber, 2001).

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Which shade of green should I use to paint my dining room — Barefoot in the Grass, Peaceful Garden, or Spring Has Sprung? Inspired by nature’s palette, we paint our rooms to bring the outdoors in. While I contemplate my choices, enjoy this floral bouquet plucked from Cope’s dreamscape. If you need me, I’ll be lounging in my purple robe sipping sherry. Come to think of it, I’ve always wanted a pair of castanets.

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