Friday, May 29, 2009

Poems in Limbo

I have a number of writing journals in which I jot down ideas for and rough drafts of poems. Many of these ideas and drafts never become polished poems. I do find that keeping the journals is a good writing exercise for me. Sometimes, I am able to revisit a particular piece and rework it into a final draft. It’s also interesting to read through the journals and find things that I had forgotten that I had written.

Yesterday, I looked through two of my journals to see if I could find some of my poems that may never be polished but remain forever in a state of literary limbo. I thought I’d post a few of them this week for Poetry Friday.


My Poems in Limbo

I’ll eat so much
Before you know it
I’ll need a new skin.
I’ll have to grow it—
A nifty new suit
In a bigger size
Before it’s time
To chrysalize.
I’ll pupate in
A little case
Where I’ll change my
Body, legs, and face…
And grow four wings.
Then by and by
I’ll be a
Monarch butterfly.

Prepared for rain, our
trash waits for the garbage men
in dark green slickers

busying yourself
in a bright pink peony,
save a sip of nectar
for me.

In daylight
stars vanish
as the sky erases them
from her bright blue memory.
At night
in the sleepy dark
she dreams them alive

stitching stars together
on the dark cloth of night.

Lock step, as
One turns—so turn all the other gears,
Clicking, ticking, tocking together
Keeping in time through the years

Here’s a poem in which I finished the first stanza—but never completed the second stanza.

I’ll wrap you up
in darkness.
I’ll hide away
the sun.
I’ll hush
the singing birds,
and switch the stars on
one by one.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have a great mother-daughter poem by Marie Howe entitled Hurry.

Irene Latham has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Live. Love. Explore!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Reading: Books, Poetry, & Other Resources

Children’s Books for Summer Reading

Other Summer Reading Resources

From Wild Rose Reader & Blue Rose Girls: Book Reviews and Original Poems





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toucan Talk: An Original Mask Poem

Tricia is back with another poetry challenge for us this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect: Monday Poetry Stretch - Animal Poems.

For Tricia’s Poetry Stretch, I decided to revisit an animal mask poem about a toucan that I had written many years ago. I wasn’t happy with the poem’s ending. I had changed it a number of times. I decided to do a bit more research on the toucan—of which there are different types—in hopes of getting some fresh ideas for the poem…and maybe writing a better ending.

Here’s the toucan poem as it stands at the moment:

by Elaine Magliaro

I’m Toucan. I’m more beak than bird.
In profile I may look absurd.
I sport a bill that’s giant-size.
It’s true. I don’t hyperbolize.
It’s strong and filled with rigid foam.
It’s like an airy honeycomb.
It doesn’t weigh me down. It’s light!
It’s sharp.
It’s colorful
And bright.
It helps me to attract a mate.
It’s perfect female birdie bait!
It’s really great for plucking fruit
From trees—and self defense, to boot.
A useful tool, it’s versatile—
A beak that truly fits the bill!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poems for Poetry in a Suitcase

Janet Wong sent me a link to the following post at the Mama Without Borders blog: Packing our “poetry in a suitcase.” I think you'll find this post about an inventive method for getting children excited about poetry--a method suggested by Janet--quite interesting. Minerva Canto, the author of Mama Without Borders, wrote about how effective using a “poetry suitcase” she had decorated and filled with poems and objects was in helping to get her son and daughter interested in listening to and talking about poems.

I feel strongly that poetry should be an integral part of children’s literary lives. I also feel that it’s of great import to introduce children to this genre when they’re very young—at a time in their lives when they are most receptive to a time when they take great pleasure in hearing poems and stories with rhythm and rhyme…at a time when they’re like little sponges absorbing and then repeating everything they hear. Getting children interested in poetry when they’re wee toddlers may be the best method to foster an appreciation for it that could last throughout their lives.
Edited to Add
Janet Wong left the following advice in the comments:
A simple way for teachers to create a Poetry Suitcase is to make it a homework assignment. Hand out large index cards and tell the children that they have one week to find a poem. It could be a short poem, long poem, poem they love, poem they hate...whatever: they just need to write it down on the index card.
Next they need to find some prop to tie to the card. For instance, if the poem was about trees, they could tie it to a branch. One week after giving the homework assignment, a teacher will have a Poetry Suitcase full of dozens of poems and props that could be very fun to share, perhaps during the last 5 minutes of the day, when kids are especially wiggly...

For Poetry Friday this week, I thought I’d recommend some poetry collections and anthologies that are excellent for sharing with young children— preschoolers, kindergartners, and kids in the early elementary grades. The books include poems that would be great to pack up in your own "poetry suitcase."

On the Farm
Written by David Elliott
Illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, 2008
Click here to read my review of On the Farm.

Busy in the Garden
Written by George Shannon
Illustrated by Sam Williams
Greenwillow, 2006

Click here to read my review of Busy in the Garden.

Nibble Nibble
Written by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by
Wendell Minor
HarperCollins, 2007

Click here to read my review of Nibble Nibble.

The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems
Written by
Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Betty Fraser
Browndeer Press/Harcourt Brace, 1998

Click here to read a brief review of the book and some of the poems included in this outstanding collection of poems by our new Children’s Poet Laureate.

Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
Collected by Jane Yolen & Andrew Fusek Peters
Illustrated by
Polly Dunbar
Candlewick Press, 2007

Click here to read my review of Here’s a Little Poem.

Go! Poetry in Motion
Written by Dee Lillegard
Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
Knopf, 2006

This is a fun little book of poems about all kinds of things that can be put into motion: a scooter, roller skates, hot air balloon, wheelbarrow, roller coaster, ice skates, freight train, helicopter, etc. The rhyming poems are short—most of them have no more than four lines. These are poems that young children could quickly learn to memorize and recite. Here are two poems from the book:

Lawn Mower

Chewing grass
is all she knows.
She never moos,
just mows and mows.



Roar and More
Written and illustrated by Karla Kuskin
Harper & Row, 1956, 1990

This is Karla Kuskin’s first published book of poems. It began as a project for a class she was taking while a student at the Yale School of Design in the 1950s. Originally published in just two colors—black and yellow—the book was reissued in 1990 in full color.

This is a delightful book of short rhythmic, rhyming poems about different animals (elephant, tiger, fish, snake, kangaroo, cat, dogs, mouse, etc.) and the sounds they make. Each animal gets four pages—or two two-page spreads. There is an illustration of and a poem about the animal on the first two pages and the sound that the animal makes on the second two pages.

First two-page spread about the elephant:

The elephant’s nose makes a very good hose
Or maybe a holders for flowers.
It can snore, it can croon
Or trumpet a tune.
It has most remarkable powers.

Second two-page spread:

Click here to read some of the poems and view illustrations included in Roar and More.

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
Selected by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Marc Brown
Alfred A. Knopf, 1986

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young is a wonderful general anthology of poems about many different subjects: animals, weather, seasons, picnics, feelings, and childhood activities. It includes poems by Dorothy Aldis, John Ciardi, Eleanor Farjeon, Aileen Fisher, Mary Ann Hoberman, Karla Kuskin, Myra Cohn Livingston, David McCord, Eve Merriam, Lilian Moore, Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others. Marc Brown’s cartoonlike illustrations add to the humor and childlike wonder expressed in many of the selections. This is a “must have” anthology for parents and teachers of young children.


At Blue Rose Girls I have a special Favorite Poem Project video of Stephen Conteaguero talking about his life and reciting the poem Politics by William Butler Yates in honor of Memorial Day.

Susan Taylor Brown has the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

DAYBREAK: An Original Acrostic

I’ve been a bit “under the weather” for about a month—and therefore not posting as often here of late or at Political Verses. I just started having acupuncture treatments this week—and they seem to be helping with my problem.

Here’s one of my acrostics for Poetry Friday. Unfortunately, dawn arrived without a bright sunshiny face where I live this morning.

Dawn, dressed in a bright blue robe

And golden slippers,

Yawns awake. Stars scurry away.

Breaking into song, birds

Rouse the sun,

Eager to start

A new day. Morning bounds out of bed with delight,

Kicking off the dark cover of night.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have three poems for my daughter Sara. The poems were written by Naomi Shihab Nye, James Lenfestey, and Margaret Atwood.

Kelly Polark has the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

It’s Mother’s Day. It’s sunny and warm and breezy here. I’m going out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my husband and my mother and my beautiful daughter. Things don’t get much better than this. I have good reason to celebrate this special day!

My Daughter Sara & Me

My Mother & One of Her Great Grandsons

Some Mother’s Day Poems for You
Two Poems for Mother's Day (Wild Rose Reader, May 2008)
Poems for Mother's Day (Blue Rose Girls, May 2008)

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Color Poems

In an earlier Wild Rose Reader post in which I wrote a review of Joyce Sidman’s wonderful new collection of poems about color titled Red Sings from Treetops, Joyce and I invited my blog readers to write and share their own color poems with us. Rebecca took up the poetry challenge. Here is her poem about PINK:

Pink is the color of a warm embrace,
a kiss from Grandma,
a baby’s face.
A wash of color on a sunset sky,
a flush of fever,
a happy sigh.
A cozy cuddle on a cool afternoon,
fragrant blossoms,
a song-bird’s tune.
Pink is all puffy and happy and proud,
bright as the sun,
soft as a cloud.

Jone’s students also wrote some color poems. Jone shared the poems at her blog Check It Out in the following post—Poetry Friday: Color Poems.

I also wrote and posted four original Color Poems.

PART II: Some More Color Poems for You
From Color
by Christina Rossetti

What is pink? a rose is pink
By a fountain's brink.
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro'.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

From Yellow Sonnet
by Paul Zimmer
Zimmer no longer wishes to write
About the dimming of his lights,
Recounting all his small terrors.
Instead he tells of brilliance,
Walking home from first grade
In springtime, light descending
To hold itself and dazzle him
In an outburst of dandelions.
You can read the rest of the poem here.

From Colors Passing through Us
by Marge Piercy

Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

You can find the children’s poem Taste of Purple by Leland B. Jacobs here.

Part III: Books with Color Poems

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
Written by
Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin, 2009

Read my review of Sidman’s book here.

Color Me a Rhyme: Nature Poems for Young People
Written by
Jane Yolen
Photographs by Jason Stemple
Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2000

The poems in this collection focus on the colors one sees in nature: the greens of ferns and trees and grass and leaves; the orange of a sunset sky and lichens growing on rocks; the pink of a thistle flower; the yellow of an autumn leaf; the reds of berries and butterfly wings. In her Note from the Author, Jane Yolen explains how she had asked her photographer son Jason Stemple to find her colors in nature when they discussed collaborating on this book. Stemple shot pictures in the hills of Massachusetts, the mountains of Colorado, and the desert of the Southwest—for two years. Jane then selected the photographs she liked the best to serve as inspiration for the thirteen poems included in this collection.
The pairing of Yolen’s poems with Stemple’s pictures create unified expressions of the different colors written about in the text. In addition to the poems and photographs, words that name the variety of hues in which a color may be found in nature are printed horizontally and vertically in large letters on the pages. For example, on the two-page spread with the poem about purple, readers will find the color words amethyst, orchid, lavender, plum, violet, and wine. Yolen suggests readers write poems from her son’s photos in the book. She says that she included the “extra” color words as an added “incentive.”

The book’s first poem, GREEN, begins…

Whichever angel had the task
of naming greens, squatting
on the hard new ground,
robe guttering at his perfect feet,
did not do his work well.
He gave us chartreuse, olive, leek,
emerald, ivy, beryl.
But they are not nearly enough
when the world is so much green.
Ferns, trees, grass, stems,
petals, limbs, leaves…

How great it would be to share this poem with students and then have them search for different shades of green on the playground at recess, in their own yards, on a walk through a meadow or the woods in the springtime. It would be a fine way to help children learn to become more careful observers of the world around them.

Color Me a Rhyme includes rhymed and unrhymed poems—including four haiku. Pink: A Haiku provides an excellent example of how a poet can perceive an object in nature in a truly imaginative way. Yolen “sees” a thistle flower as a punk hairstyle.


A surge of sunlight
Shocks through stem and thistle hairs.
A punk pink hairdo.

The collection closes with Crayons: A Rainbow Poem in which Yolen speaks about a crayon box containing “the wash of blue sky/spikes of green spring/a circle of yellow sun.” the box also holds human diversity: my pink/and your chocolate/and her burnt sienna/and his ivory skin/In it are all the colors of the world.” That’s a fitting way to conclude this fine book of color poems.

Classroom Connection
Color Me a Rhyme would be an excellent springboard for a cross curricular writing/science/photography activity. Students could be asked to look for/point out certain colors in nature while on a walking field trip—or even after school. The children/the teacher/the children's parents could take photographs of leaves, tree bark, soil, flowers, insects, spider webs, etc. Once the photographs were developed or printed out on a computer, children could use them as inspiration for writing their own color poems. Then the teacher could help the children compile their own photographs and poems in a class Color Me A Poem anthology.

Hailstones and Halibut Bones
Written by Mary O’Neill
Illustrated by John Wallner

Hailstones and Halibut Bones was first published way back in 1961. In 1989, it was republished with lovely new illustrations done by John Wallner. This is a book of rhyming list poems about twelve colors—including black, white and gray. In the poems, O’Neill talks about the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that she associates with particular colors:

Time is purple
Just before night…

Gold is the sunshine
Light and thin
Warm as a muffin
On your skin.

Brown is the color of work
And the sound of a river…

You can hear blue
In wind over water…

Pussywillows are gray
In a velvety way.

Red is a hotness
You get inside
When you’re embarrassed
And want to hide…
And when you’re angry
Red runs through your head.

Green is the coolness
You get in the shade
Of the tall old woods
Where the moss is made.

Think of what starlight
And lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn’t lean against

Sharing poems from Hailstones and Halibut Bones with children could serve as a good way to get them to talk about/discuss the different things that come to mind when they think about certain colors.

Click here to see a double-page spread from Hailstones and Halibut Bones.

Hailstones and Halibut Bones Lesson Plan (Scholastic)


Anastasia Suen has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Picture Book of the Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2009

Web Resources

Book Lists

From the Public Libraries of Arlington, Virginia

From Cynthia Leitich Smith

Articles by Grace Lin

Book Reviews from Wild Rose Reader

At Other Blogs

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Sorry for the belated announcement of the winner of the final National Poetry Month drawing at Wild Rose Reader. Brimful Curiosities is the winner of a copy of Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku, a book written by J. Patrick Lewis and Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Tricia Tusa.

Note to Brimstone Curiosities: Please email me your address.

A Note to My Blog Readers: I still have more poetry books to give away in the future. They are books that were written by the outstanding children’s poets that I’ll be interviewing for this blog. I just didn’t get around to doing everything I had planned for National Poetry Month this year. Fortunately, there were plenty of other bloggers who provided all kinds of wonderful poetry posts all through April. If you don’t believe me, check this out: The 2009 National Poetry Month Lalapalooza Post.

Children's Book Week 2009

This year Children's Book Week will be observed May 11-17.

Children's Book Week Links

Book Lists

Oprah’s Book Club: Kids Reading Lists

Monday, May 4, 2009

The 2009 National Poetry Month Lalapalooza Post

Here are links to 30 days of great poetry posts in the kidlitosphere. I didn't get around to writing up all the poetry posts that I had planned for April--but I'll get around to that in the coming weeks and months. After all, we should celebrate poetry every month of the year!

The Miss Rumphius Effect Presents Interviews with Children’s Poets
Poetry Makers - Kenn Nesbitt
Poetry Makers - Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Poetry Makers - Avis Harley
Poetry Makers - Ann Whitford Paul
Poetry Makers - Joyce Carol Thomas
Poetry Makers - J. Patrick Lewis
Poetry Makers - Janet Wong
Poetry Makers - Joseph Bruchac
Poetry Makers - Steven Schnur
Poetry Makers - Ralph Fletcher
Poetry Makers - Jane Yolen
Poetry Makers - Linda Ashman
Poetry Makers - Julie Larios
Poetry Makers - Adam Rex
Poetry Makers - Marilyn Singer
Poetry Makers - Lee Bennett Hopkins
Poetry Makers - Joyce Sidman
Poetry Makers - Georgia Heard
Poetry Makers - Paul Janeczko
Poetry Makers - Jaime Adoff
Poetry Makers - Arnold Adoff
Poetry Makers - Joan Bransfield Graham
Poetry Makers - Bobbi Katz
Poetry Makers - Kristine O'Connell George
Poetry Makers - Jorge Argueta
Poetry Makers - Betsy Franco
Poetry Makers - Carole Boston Weatherford
Poetry Makers - Lisa Westberg Peters
Poetry Makers - Laura Purdie Salas
Poetry Makers - Calef Brown
Poetry Makers - Marilyn Nelson
Poetry Makers - Helen Frost
Poetry Makers - Douglas Florian
Poetry Makers - Mary Ann Hoberman
Poetry Makers - Pat Mora

GottaBook Presents Previously Unpublished Poems by Children’s Poets
Jack Prelutsky - A Little Poem For Poetry Month
Rebecca Kai Dotlich - Midnight Stray
Charles Ghigna - A Poem Is...
X. J. Kennedy - Ladder to the Moon
Ann Whitford Paul - Owl
Jaime Adoff - Rock n Roll Dad
Marilyn Singer - In the Museum
Adam Rex - The Flight Before Christmas
Joyce Sidman - Spring is the Time
Bruce Lansky - Rules for Spot
Avis Harley - Perfect Pitch
Nikki Grimes - All Eyes
Lee Bennett Hopkins - SPRING
Linda Sue Park - Villanelle: Why I Love Libraries
Mary Ann Hoberman - I Dreamt I Saw a Dinosaur
Betsy Franco - Me and Joe Lining Up After Recess
Jon Scieszka - 200 Typing Monkeys Almost Make It
Kristine O'Connell George - Skeleton at Dinner
Arnold Adoff - n o justice n o p e a c e
Jane Yolen - My Teacher
Gregory K. - I Went to the Farm Where Spaghetti Is Grown
Janet Wong - My Green Grandfather
Nikki Giovanni - My Sister and Me
J. Patrick Lewis - The Poet of the World
Julie Larios - No Strings Attached
Joan Bransfield Graham - I am the Poem
Kenn Nesbitt - My Chicken's On The Internet
April Halprin Wayland - How to Read a Poem Aloud
Douglas Florian (kinda, sorta)
Pat Mora - Books & Me

Poetry for Children Presents Children’s Poetry Book Reviews
TLA poet Georgia Heard: Falling Down
TLA poet Betsy Franco: Curious Cats
TLA poet Tracie Vaughn Zimmer: Steady Hands
TLA poet J. Patrick Lewis: The Underwear Salesman
TLA poet Hope Anita Smith: Mother
Opening Day for Baseball: Rules of the Game
More baseball: Change-up
Good Karma; What’s the Weather Inside?
Silly Dilly Sports Songs by Alan Katz
My People by Hughes and Smith
Another Hughes gem
Family Poetry for Celebrating
Happy birthday, Lee
Time to Countdown to Summer
More Fun with Jon Agee
Dinothesaurus by Douglas Florian
A spring manga-ish poetry mash up
Zombies in poetry
Not-poetry by poets
Fiesta poetry
In the soup
Earth Day poetry
Poem definitions
Looks like Loose Leashes
Color poetry from Mexico/South Africa
Stampede to School Poetry
Amiri & Odette in Love
Wild Animals from Britain
More Poems for Your Pockets
World Poetry for El día de los niños

Liz in Ink Presents A Haiku-a-Day
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 1
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 2
Poetry Friday -- Haiku 3
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 4
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 5
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 6
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 7
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 8
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 9
Poetry Friday -- Haiku 10
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 11
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 12
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 13
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 14
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 15
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 16
Poetry Friday -- Haiku 17
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 18
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 19
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 21
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 20
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 22
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 23
Poetry Friday -- Haiku
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 24
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 25
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 26
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 27
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 28
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 29
National Poetry Month -- Haiku 30

A Wrung Sponge Presents Poetry and Photographs
Let the Poetry Begin!
Haiku from the porch swing
Daffodil Haiku
Rainy morning haiku
April Weather Haiku
Lilac Bud Watch
Baby Quilts
Hen and chicks plant haiku
Multiflora Rose Haiku
Traffic haiku
Golden Hour
Looking at a stink bug
Easter haiku
Easter baskets
Being Green
moon watching
Cherry Blossom Poetry
Barn Wall
Spice Bush
Wildflower haiku
wisteria buds
Poem for Earth Day (A Triolet)
New leaves; spring haiku
afternoon soccer
when it feels like summer
playground duty
100 Days

Susan Taylor Brown Presents National Poetry Month Haiku
National Poetry Month - Haiki #1 Ceanothus
National Poetry Month - Haiku #2 Worms
National Poetry Month - Haiku #3 Concrete
National Poetry Month - Haiku #4 Sea Thrift
National Poetry Month - Haiku #5 Dichondra
National Poetry Month - Haiku #6 Poppies
National Poetry Month - Haiku #7 Catalina Ironwood
National Poetry Month - Haiku #8 Purple Needlegrass
National Poetry Month - Haiku #9 Woolly Blue Curls
National Poetry Month - Haiku #10 Fuschia-flowered gooseberry
National Poetry Month - Haiku #11 Coyote Bush
National Poetry Month - Haiku #12 California Pipevine
National Poetry Month - Haiku #13 Painted Ladies
National Poetry Month Haiku #14 The Wind
National Poetry Month Haiku #15 Wax Myrtle
National Poetry Month Haiku #16 Mountain Mahogany
National Poetry Month Haiku #17 Sticky Monkey Flower
National Poetry Month Haiku #18 California Honeysuckle
National Poetry Month Haiku #19 California Fuschia
National Poetry Month Haiku #20 Blue-eyed Grass
National Poetry Month Haiku #21 James Roof Silk Tassel
National Poetry Month Haiku #22 Western Redbud
National Poetry Month Haiku #23 Coyote Mint
National Poetry Month Haiku #24 Milkweed
National Poetry Month Haiku #25 Flannel Bush
National Poetry Month Haiku #26 Yarrow
National Poetry Month Haiku #27 Island Snapdragon
National Poetry Month Haiku #28 Dogwood
National Poetry Month Haiku #29 Hummingbird Sage
National Poetry Month Haiku #30 Going Native

Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup Presents Memorable Posts about Wordsworth & Dickinson
a cool birthday, and those famous daffodils
friday feast: black cake from the woman in white

From Jone at Check It Out
Fibonacci Friday (Kindergarten students write a different version of the Fib poem created by Gregory Pincus. These poems use words rather than syllables.)
Poetry Friday: Color Poems

National Poetry Month Posts from 7-Imp
7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #109: Featuring a Small Crowd to Help Us Welcome National Poetry Month
Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Douglas Florian
7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #110: Featuring Jason Stemple and Jane Yolen
Seven Questions—And a Little Bit of Soup—Over Breakfast with Calef Brown
Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #82 (The Poetry Friday Edition): Laura Purdie Salas
A Brief Breakfast Chat with the Creators of Bella & Bean
Farewell to Poetry Month with (Who Else But) Mama Goose…

Wild Rose Reader Presents a Potpourri of Poetry Posts
Acrostic Poems for Spring
My Poems in Yareah Magazine
Poetry Friday: Mask Poems
A Rocket Poem Three Ways
A Birthday Poem
Opposite Poems
A Personal Tale about Poetry & A Poem
Two Puddle Poems & Some Poetry for Spring
For Kelly & Boots
Things to Do: List Poems
Opposite Poems & A Little Light Verse
Help Poet Kristine O'Connell George Welcome "Bo" to the White House with Poetry
Red Sings from Treetops: A Book Review & An Invitation
JACK: A Mask Poem
A Few More Poetry Resources
Asteroids: Two Original Poems
Presenting Anna Alter & What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?
Silkworm Cocoon & Pupa Poems: Variatons on a Theme
Dirty Dog!: A Triolet
Poetry Friday: Animal Haiku
Color Poems
Two Original "In-Progress" Acrostic Poems
MOON: An Original Acrostic
DRAGON: An Original Acrostic

Poems at Political Verses
A Terse Verse about Rush Limbaugh
Poem at the End of the Twentieth Century by J. Patrick Lewis
Bill O.: A Rhyming Rant about Bill O'Reilly
Dickie & the Death Squad
A Poem about George Stephanopoulos by J. Patrick Lewis
Potent Political Pottage a la Shakespeare
Teatime for Sean Hannity: A Double Dactyl
Gasbag: A Limbaughrhyme
Bill O. the Bully & Amanda Terkel
The Cows Caused It: A Poem about Global Warming (According to some congressmen—it may be that the flatulence of dinosaurs and cows has caused climatic changes on our planet.)
This Be the Verse: It Doesn't Matter What You Do (Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and Philip Larkin)
Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Heaven's Door: John Yoo at the Pearly Gates
Bye-bye, Bybee
Extended Engagement: A Poem by J. Patrick Lewis

Friday, May 1, 2009

Poetry Friday: Letter Poems

How about writing a poem in the form of a letter? It could be a love letter, a letter of complaint, a thank you letter. Here is an “angry” letter poem that I wrote from Mama Bear to Goldilocks for a collection of fairy tale poems.

Dear Goldilocks,

You little brat. You little scamp!

You sneaked into our summer camp

And ate my little baby’s bowl

Of porridge, broke his chair, then stole

Upstairs and napped on Baby’s bed.

You ripped the new embroidered spread

His Grammy gave him yesterday.

This time you may have slipped away.

But if you ever come back here,

I’ll grab you, Goldie, by the ear—

And cut off all you curly hair!

You are not welcome!!!!!


Ma Bear

Here’s another rhyming letter poem that I wrote and posted previously at Wild Rose Reader:

Dear Lion,
I’m tired of doing the hunting, the preying
While your only job is to watch the cubs playing.
I’m tired of stalking the zebras and gnus
While you lie around on the grassland and snooze.
I’m tired of running, and pouncing, and killing.
I want a career that is much more fulfilling.
I’m tired, so tired. I’m spent to the core.
While I’m hard at work, you just eat, sleep, and snore.
I fetch all the food. You grow stronger…I thinner.
For the next seven days you can catch your own dinner!
I’m going away for a well-needed rest.
I’ll be seeing you soon.
All my love,

Recommended Poetry Books with Letter Poems
Written & Illustrated by Takayo Noda
Dial/Penguin Putnam
In DEAR WORLD, Takayo Noda writes poems that focus mostly on the natural world. She writes her letter poems to apples, the dawn, the sun, snow, trees, the stars—to a turtle, a bird, and fish. Her watercolor and collage illustrations are colorful and visually stunning. They absolutely add another dimension to her text.
Here are excerpts from three of the letter poems in Dear World:

dear bird

I see you
sleeping alone
on the rooftop

your beak is red
feathers are blue
they are shining and
reflecting in the moonlight

dear snow
I see you
spinning and dancing
just like angels in white…
dear sun
I know
when you are happy
because you shine
and bounce
on everything
I know
when you are sad
because you become
hazy and fuzzy
as if you had
tears in your eyes


Written by Arnold AdoffI

llustrated by Lisa Desimini

The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic1997

Unfortunately, Love Letters is now out of print—but you may be able to purchase a used copy. The book includes love letter poems written to a dog, a cat, to a little sister from a big brother, to a snoring dad from his son, to a teacher from a secret admirer, and to a “prince” from his “potential princess”--and many others

Here is the last poem from Adoff’s book:

Dear Once Upon A Time:

we can
to ear.

Your Happy Ending.

CLASSROOM CONNECTION: Writing Letter Poems with Children
  • First, share and discuss some letter poems with your students in class.
  • Second, talk about reasons why people write letters to each other.
  • Third, ask students to think about and suggest the people, animals, elements of nature, or inanimate objects to whom they might consider writing letter poems.
  • Fourth, write their responses on chart paper.
  • Next, with the help of your students, choose a letter recipient from the list you made and write a collaborative class letter poem on chart paper to that recipient.
  • Elicit from your students “things they would like to tell the recipient” in the collaborative letter poem. Copy down students’ responses on the chart paper.
  • When you and your students are finished with the rough draft of the poem, read it aloud as a group.
  • Leave the poem out for a few days for students to reread. Ask them to think about ways they could improve the poem—by adding lines, eliminating lines, including figurative language, substituting stronger verbs/more expressive words in place of others, etc.
  • Discuss suggested changes with students and write a second draft of the collaborative poem on another piece of chart paper.
  • Finally, after reading the second draft of the collaborative poem aloud with the class, ask students to write their own letter poems to a person, animal, element of nature, or object of their choice.

One More Thing
Letter Poems Deliver: Experimenting with Line Breaks in Poetry Writing (Read. Write. Think)


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a video of Naomi Shihab Nye reciting a “found” poem she wrote using things that her young son had said. The poem is called One Boy Told Me.

This week at Political Verses, I have to new poetry posts:
Bye-bye, Bybee and Extended Engagement: A Poem by J. Patrick Lewis

Maya has the Maya has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Allegro. at Allegro.