Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Poem a Day #14

Today’s mask (persona) poem is for Jone (AKA Miss Mac) at Check It Out. Jone was kind enough to to add Wild Rose Reader to her blogroll soon after I launched my solo blog. Jone served as one of the five Cybils poetry judges. There’s a profile of her at the Cybils website…so check it out! And thanks, Jone, for your kind words and support.


SNAKE SOLILOQUY
by Elaine Magliaro

I’m a slippery slitherer
silent and sleek
sliding and slinking
through grasses
I sneak...
weaving and winding
legless and low
I slip slyly hidden
wherever I go.
Wending and bending
by stalk, stem, and stone
like a ribbon of muscle
and skin without bone
tongue catching the scent
of a soft, furry prey.
Smells like it’s field mouse
for dinner today!



FOR TEACHERS

I love mask poems. My students had great success writing mask poems in the classroom. I also lead poetry-writing sessions with students when I was a school librarian. Here are links to some collaborative class mask poems written by students with me in my school library, to a lesson for a poetry writing exercise, and to a page at the Village Writer site that has a definition of a persona poem and some examples of persona poems.

Class Mask Poems 2001-2002

Class Mask Poems 2002-2003

Check out Tree Voices Writing Exercise at the terrific website of award-winning children’s poet Kristine O’Connell George.

Persona Poems at Village Writer


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

It is always wise to immerse children in mask/persona poems written by a variety of poets before asking them to write their own poems. Here are some books with mask poems that I used in the classroom and in the library to inspire my students.

BOOKS IN PRINT


DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE: POEMS IN DIFFERENT VOICES
Selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
HarperCollins
2001


This nifty anthology includes poems by Karla Kuskin, Bobbi Katz, Tony Johnston, Patricia Hubbell, Lilian Moore, Marilyn Singer, Jane Yolen, Douglas Florian, Alice Schertle, April Halprin Wayland, and Kristine O’Connell George. In these poems we hear the voices of a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine, the winter wind, a whale, a cow, a mosquito, a bacterium, a blue crayon, a snowflake, and trees.

DESERT VOICES
Written by Byrd Baylor
Illustrated by Peter Parnall
Macmillan
1981

In Baylor's collection, we hear the voices of desert animals—including those of a jackrabbit, a rattlesnake, a spadefoot toad, a buzzard, and a coyote. This is an excellent book!


INSECTLOPEDIA
Written & illustrated by Douglas Florian
Harcourt Brace
1998

I LOVE this book!!! Not all of the poems in this book are mask poems—but the nine that Douglas Florian wrote for this collection are really excellent examples for kids…and they’re a lot of fun to read to and recite for students. The mask poems in this book include The Dragonfly, The Inchworm, The Black Widow Spider, The Weevils, The Whirligig Beetles, and The Locusts. The other poems in this collection are terrific, too.


OUT OF PRINT BOOKS
Both of these books have exceptional examples of mask poems. If you can locate used copies--buy them. I found both books invaluable in the classroom and library.

ANY ME I WANT TO BE
Written & illustrated by Karla Kuskin
HarperCollins

1972

Kuskin speaks in a variety of voices in the poems in this book: those of a broom, a kite, a lion, the snow, the night, a dragon, a snake, a jaguar, a strawberry, a clock, and more.


TURTLE IN JULY
Written by Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Macmillan
1989

In this book, Singer captures the voice of a different animal for each month of the year. She also has a bullhead fish explain what her life is like during each of the four seasons.

8 comments:

Mary Lee said...

I'm feeling a little old now. I remember when Turtle in July was NEW! It's still one of my favorite classroom poetry books!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Mary Lee,

TURTLE IN JULY is one of my favorite poetry books, too. It's got excellent poems and lovely illustrations. I wish it would be reissued. It's sad to see such great books go out of print.

Nancy said...

I love the Snake Soliloquy!

gail said...

I love Byrd Baylor's work too! Her love of the desert shines right through her words.

gail

cloudscome said...

I am enjoying these poems so much. You have great resources too - thanks!

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