HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!
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”? And 2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of NPM!
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 21, 2016), 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 (designed by Debbie Millman)!
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 leave a comment here or email me: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, so I can add the information to this Roundup. Thanks!
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2016 KIDLITOSPHERE POETRY MONTH EVENTS
🌺 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem has recruited 30 poets for her fifth 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. Laura Purdie Salas will kick things off on April 1 at Writing the World for Kids. Here’s the full schedule of participating bloggers:
1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots
6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
10 Pat at Writer on a Horse
11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry
20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
21 Jan at Bookseedstudio
22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write
🌸 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem will also continue ARTSPEAK!, the poem-a-day project she started during 2015 in which she responds to images found in the online collection at the National Gallery of Art. This year all the art and poems will be on the theme of “Plant. Grow. Eat.”
🌼 Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect will be spotlighting April holidays and celebrations with her special project:
“Inspired by World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of (written by J. Patrick Lewis) and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish (compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong), this time around I’ve decided to focus on daily, weekly, and monthly celebrations held during the month of April. In addition to information about each celebration, I’ll offer up poems, books of poetry, children’s books, and more.”
Click here for a list of topics to be covered.
🌹 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 — eight years running so far — I always enjoy receiving my postcard each April.
💐 This year, Mary Lee Hahn’s poetry month project is “Bygones” — poems inspired by old personal photographs.
“When Mom and I were sorting through a drawer full of old pictures last December, I was struck by the forgotten faces and the unknown stories that were captured on film. This April, I’ll bring 30 of the photos back to life through poetry.”
🌻 Keep a song in your mind, heart, and step all month long with Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe. She’ll be featuring Poetry-Music Match-Ups! Pairings will include original poems with music that goes with it, poetic song lyrics, poems written AS song lyrics, poems inspired by songs, songs written about poems, and favorite nursery rhymes. These will be Heidi’s own match-ups as well as those submitted by other kidlit poets and bloggers.
💐 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has a very special month planned at Today’s Little Ditty. She will be hosting the one and only, multi-award winning poet Marilyn Singer and her new book of reverso poetry based on Greek myths, Echo Echo. Festivities will begin on April 1 with a Spotlight Interview and writing challenge. Don’t miss it!
🍄 Look out! The Putrid Poetic Ponderings of Louis J. Pasternak, AKA Dr. Skullstench is coming your way! Laura Purdie Salas will be sharing her chapter book as a serial, one day at a time, at Writing the World for Kids. This story is part prose and part poetry:
It all begins when Louis’ teacher, Miss Sweetmallow, tells the class they are going to write poems. To say Louis is unenthusiastic is an understatement. But then Miss Sweetmallow says the magic words: “You can write them about anything you want.” Louis decides this might not be so bad as he shares his interest in blisters, head cheese, inappropriate hairdos, and more in 25 poems, each one an example of a particular poetic technique or form.
Along the way, Louis (that’s Dr. Skullstench to you) decides writing poetry isn’t so bad, and he tries different platforms to share his work, from the morning TV announcements to the class talent show. But Miss Sweetmallow prefers a more lyrical approach to poetry and tries to sway Louis toward writing beautiful poems. Will she succeed? Will Louis share his gross vision of the world? Will the talent show go off without a poetic hitch? Find out in The Putrid Poetic Pondering of Louis J. Pastenak, AKA Dr. Skullstench.
Laura also has a cleanly formatted PDF of this funny read aloud available for download here, perfect for classroom sharing.
🌺 Don’t miss this year’s Rhyming Picture Book Month (RhyPiBoMo) festivities hosted by Angie Karcher. Now in its third year, this month-long writing challenge is especially geared for children’s writers aspiring to write rhyming picture books and to add poetic techniques to their prose. In addition to an awesome roster of guest posts by authors, agents, and editors, Angie has added a Classroom Challenge, where teachers and students try to read as many rhyming picture books as they can during the month of April. This year’s guests include Margarita Engle, Linda Sue Park, Tricia Lawrence, Penny Parker Klostermann, Anika Denise, and Sylvia Vardell. Click here for all the details. Don’t forget, you must register by April 8 to be eligible for daily prizes.
🌸 Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit is hosting a National Poetry Month Blog Tour:
“This year, I’m hoping that I can get some wonderful blogs to participate in the 2016 blog tour for poetry. I would love to get some great new interviews, reviews, poetry readings, innovative poetry activities, and some visual artists interested in sharing some poetic renderings.”
In addition to the blog tour stops, Serena will also be featuring her own posts each day this month.
Click through to sign up for the link-up any time during the month of April.
*Don’t miss this post, “Musings on Poetry,” where Serena and Jill from Rhapsody in Books discuss why poetry isn’t more popular and share some of their favorite poems and poetic excerpts.
🌺 Get ready to Wallow in Wonder with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm!
“For my 2016 National Poetry Month project, I will celebrate learning and writing from learning, writing poems from each daily Wonder at Wonderopolis. As I did with the Dictionary Hike in 2012, I am looking to surprise myself with a new inspiration daily. This year, such inspiration will show up in my inbox each morning. I will print it and carry each Wonder around all day…and in the afternoon or evening, I will write and post the poem for the next day.”
Amy invites students, teachers, anyone — to play along. Simply leave links to your poems in the comments of her blog anytime during April and she will try to link to and/or share some of them at The Poem Farm!
🌻 Carol Varsalona of Beyond Literacy Link loves April so much, she has several wonderful events planned:
- Unveiling of my winter gallery, Winter Wanderings (hopefully on April 1st at Poetry Friday to kick off National Poetry Month)
- Hosting a global conversation, “April is Poetrylicious” at 3NYEDChat (Twitter Educational Chat) on April 11, 2016 at 8 p.m. EST. I am inviting all my poet friends to be part of the moderating crew. I will host the event with Paul W. Hankins as co-moderator and any other poets, writers, bloggers who are willing to participate for one hour. Colleagues and connected educators should be there for a lively conversation.
- Announcement of my new gallery of artistic expressions, Spring’s Seeds, that will start during National Poetry Month and run through the end of May.
🌹 Mary Ann Scheuer at Great Kid Books will be celebrating Poetry Month by featuring some of her favorite poetry books + resources to help parents, teachers, and librarians share poetry with children and inspire them. Check out her top five rules for sharing poetry here.
🌻 At Poetry for Children, Sylvia Vardell will be focusing on science poetry for April, featuring the work of her grad students who are matching poetry with science picture books/nonfiction.
🌺 Diane Mayr will be doing Ekphrastic Mondays at Random Noodling again this year. Each April Monday she’ll share a poem inspired by a work of art. This year she’s using art pieces by Childe Hassam.
🌻 Penny Parker Klostermann will be continuing her wonderful weekly series, A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, at her blog all during April. On the second Friday of the month Penny will feature a poem she’s written that’s illustrated by her great-nephew Landon. Guest poets and artists will be featured on the other Fridays. Those of you following Penny’s blog on Poetry Fridays know how delightful this series is with its awesome pairings. Click here to see the roster of previous Guest Episodes as well as Penny and Landon Episodes.
💐 Join author Rebecca Gomez at her blog for Poetry Week by Week:
“Beginning April 3, each week will be dedicated to celebrating a specific type of poetry. During each week, I will share favorite poems in each category, review at least one book, and invite guest poets to share their poems and/or inspiration with you.”
Here’s her schedule:
April 3 – 9: Concrete Poems
April 10 – 16: Animal Rhymes
April 17- 23: Free Verse
April 24 – 30: Haiku
Rebecca will be writing poems in these specific forms and sharing her favorites. She invites everyone to join her in this challenge by leaving their poems in the comments at the end of each week. Sounds like fun!
🌵 Over at her Hatbooks blog, author Holly Thompson will be featuring “Notice Poems,” verses related to her new middle grade verse novel Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth (Henry Holt, 2016), which launches April 19, 2016. Set in Kamakura, Japan, this story follows Jason–sixth grader, orange belt in aikido, and big brother–as he struggles to cope with escalating bullying at school and encounters other outsiders and outcasts in his Japanese seaside community. Look for a new Notice poem each day this month. Click here to read the first one. Holly’s also inviting others to write their own Notice poems and share them on Twitter: #NoticePoems.
🍄🍄 Tammy and Clare at Teachers for Teachers will be blogging about poetry all month long. They’ll immerse themselves in poems, study the craft of some mentors, and even try writing some poems themselves. Their first post features a sample poem from J. Patrick Lewis’s National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry.
🌸 Linda Kulp Trout is doing her very first Poetry Month Project this year at Write Time. She will post five-minute daily reflections about her progress as she tries to shape the daily snippets she wrote for Renee LaTulippe’s February writing challenge into a collection of poems. Check in with her this month and cheer her on!
🌷 Doraine Bennett is doing a unique poem-a-day challenge at Dori Reads called “Feet in the Creek.”
“For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek [in my back yard] with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.”
Dori kicks things off with her poem “after,” inspired by and modeled after Ralph Fletcher’s poem “soon.”
🌷 Looking for a lovely way to celebrate International Haiku Poetry Day on April 17? Check out “Queens Writers Read in the Garden,” which features a Haiku Workshop (1-2 p.m.) and a Nature Poetry Reading (2-4 p.m.) at the Queen’s Botanical Garden in New York. Aspiring kidlit author Amy Losak, daughter of Sydell Rosenberg (charter member of the Haiku Society of America), will be sharing her mother’s haiku/senryu during the workshop and her mother’s other poetry during the nature reading, which features Queens Poet Laureate Maria Lisella. Both events are suitable for both adults and children and are free with admission to the gardens, but registration is required. Click here for more info.
🌺 Meanwhile, Donna Smith at Mainely Write is having a grand old time serving up “A – Z on a Plate” as part of the annual A-Z Blogging Challenge. She’s been photographing vanity license plates this year and will be writing poems inspired by them — a different letter of the alphabet every day except Sundays, when she will share poems left by commenters during the week. This is a fun and unique challenge and Donna invites everyone to join her in taking poetic license this month!
🌹 Kelly Ramsdell Fineman will be discussing short poetry forms this month at Writing and Ruminating. She’ll begin with haiku/senryu for the first full week of April, what they are supposed to contain/be, beyond 5-7-5.
🌺 If you fancy acrostics, do check in with Tanita S. Davis, who’s writing her own, sharing acrostics written by others, and generally having a good time exploring the form. And because this is Ms. Davis we’re talking about, expect some insightful, thought-provoking commentary served up on the side just to keep things interesting.
💐 As has been her practice for the last 8 years or so, Liz Garton Scanlon will be writing a haiku every day this month. This is a good opportunity to see how this gifted writer approaches haiku as a form of meditation.
“[Haiku] are about pausing purposefully, noticing mindfully, taking a full breath and being totally present to a moment. In that way, writing a haiku every day for a month becomes a truly meditative practice. There is so much more going on in each poem than 17 syllables.”
🌷 Are you up for a little April Poetry Madness? Katie at The Logonauts and her class are compiling lists of their favorite poetry books for children up to age 5, and will conduct bracket-style voting to determine winners in two categories — “classic” poetry books published before 2010, and newer poetry books (2010+). They would like input from any interested students, teachers, and poets. Submit the titles of your favorites by filling out the Google form at Katie’s blog. First round of voting begins April 13.
🌷 🌷 🌷 Here at Alphabet Soup, in addition to our usual Poetry Friday fare, our menu will include some uncommonly talented and good looking hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry. We can’t think of a better way to keep the fires of inspiration lit all month long. This special deliciousness will be served up twice a week, so be ready to raise your mugs in celebration.
Finally, don’t forget to check in with April’s Poetry Friday hosts to see what other bloggers are sharing in the kidlitosphere:
♥ 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.
Wishing you a thoroughly nourishing, inspiring, productive, interesting, and enlightening Poetry Month!
Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.