Monday, April 23, 2018

NPM 2018: Poetry Mosaic from Bookology

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

I discovered The Poetry Mosaic under the Features tab on the Bookology site. During each day in April, you can click on the day to hear a poem read by the poet who wrote it. Today's poem is "Sack Lunch" read by Charles Waters. Each daily icon includes a picture of the poet, the book the poem comes from, and a link to the poet's site. This resource will remain on Bookology throughout the year. Bookmark the page to listen to thirty remarkable children's poets reading their own poems. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Celebrate this Week & NPM 2018!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week and to focus
on the positive things that happened in the past week.

Jack at Island Books story hour
with Nancy Stewart (and Grandpa)
 Our first grandparents' meeting at the library, 
led by Nancy Stewart of Sing With Our Kids -
"We are the keepers of traditions, songs,
language, stories, and indulgence."
Karen's birthday celebration on Vashon Island -
check out the huge tulips!
Grandson Teddy and son Blake at the library

Oklahoma trip
Nothing beats spending time with family. My brother lives here and this is my first visit in almost two years. I love that my nephew James brought his two kids, Leah and Asher, for a quick visit.  After church we enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner of roast, gravy, carrots, potatoes, and rolls. Thanks, Kathy! Lucky me -
I still have two more days to spend with family!
James with Leah and Asher 
Aunt Kara reads a bedtime story
to Asher and Leah.

Check out "Earth Day" by Jane Yolen
in honor of Earth Day.

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Saturday, April 21, 2018

NPM 2018: What poetry do you pack in a bag almost full?

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

My bags were almost full for my trip to Oklahoma when I remembered that I wanted to take some poetry to share with my niece's fourth grade students. I squeezed in my Poem In My Pocket apron and looked at my shelf. So many books to choose from and so little room . . . So I decided to bring two books perfect for sharing with fourth grade.
Falling Down The Page:  A Book of List Poems
edited by Georgia Heard
all the small poems and fourteen more
by Valerie Worth with pictures by Natalie Babbitt

Friday, April 20, 2018

NPM 2018 & Poetry Friday: Poetry Found!

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

It's another busy morning, but somehow I find it easy to become distracted by my inbox. First, there's Tara's Poetry Friday post, with a new-to-me poem "Two Set Out on Their Journey" by Galway Kinnell. Then I open the weekly newsletter from Fresh Bookology where I click on this article about Pomelo Books and our poetic friends Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. One of my favorite features of the Fresh Bookology newsletter is this section 
which leads me to Kirby Larson's blog where I end up scanning posts and discover "This Sacred Thread" in a comment to her blog post, Another Slim Christmas.


This Sacred Thread
By Heather K Janules


They once dwelled among us, the people of memory.
They who knew us, they who taught us,
They who hurt us, they who loved us.
They touch our lives time and again,
through their presence and their absence.
Through familiar scents and favorite songs,
Through old stories and renewed sorrow.
As the earth turns and leaves fall,
We reach back to renew the bonds between us.
With hearts and hands open
We hold onto to love,
Ever-stronger than death.
We reach back in gratitude and understanding –
Without our time together,
The pain and the joy,
We would never be who we are today;
We would have little to pass on ourselves.
Without fear, with thanksgiving
and with hope for all that awaits,
We remember those who have gone before,
We honor the circle of life and death,
And our place within this sacred thread.


Isn't it lovely to find poetry in one's inbox? Here's to a delightful Poetry Friday! 
 has this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
She's celebrating the release of 
Imperfect:  poems about mistakes:
an anthology for middle schoolers.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

NPM 2018: Celebrating Poetry!

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

It's one of my favorite months of the year and somehow it always ends up being one of the busiest too! Here's a resource that I just found today on a blog post from our library site about poetry. How I missed it seeing it before I don't know, but it's incredible, it's astounding, it's so filled with love for poetry! (last updated, March 2016) I know, you're just like me, never enough time, but this one is worth a look. Stop now and bookmark it for future reference. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NPM 2018: Life Lines

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

One of the things I love to do during Poetry Month (and even the rest of the year) is to share resources. There is so much to explore at the Academy of American Poets, but today I'm sharing Life Lines, an article I discovered earlier this month. 

Here's the introduction to the article:

"We each carry lines of poetry with us. Words that others have written float back to us and stay with us, indelibly. We clutch these “life lines” like totems, repeat them as mantras, and summon them for comfort and laughter.

We asked you to share the lines of poetry that are the most vital to you, along with notes about the precise situation that summoned them to mind."

Following this brief introduction, there are thirty responses. As you read them, you'll be sure to think about lines of poetry you carry with you.  

One of the lines that has stayed with me through the years is

"...knotted with love
the quilts sing on."

You can read more about this poem and the unusual way I discovered it at this blog post, Tears during Testing.

Leave a comment about lines of poetry that float back to you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

SOL & NPM 2018: Kindness at the Library




Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth,
Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.



Grandson Jack and I headed to the Kirkland Library this morning for a program with Eric Ode - singer, songwriter, author, and poet. I arrived 15 minutes early to find the room almost filled to capacity. It turns out that their usual preschool story hour is at 10 am, but today's special program was scheduled for 10:30, so the regulars were already there. It was a delightful morning of alphabetic fun filled with songs and stories.

However, the high point of the morning came when Jack and I went into the library to check out some books. We picked up a few board books, looked at the Choice Reads display, and then headed to the 811s for some poetry books. (After all, Poem in Your Pocket Day is on April 26th and I like to have a full display for the lunch crowd at the middle school.) But on our way to the 811s, the most amazing thing happened. A young man, a library employee, was in front of us, walking by the computer stations. Well, if you want the rest of the story, read the haiku I wrote in honor of this young man. 

Young man roams aisles
Speaks to homeless by first name
Kindly checking in.

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Monday, April 16, 2018

NPM 2018: A Favorite Resource for Sharing Poetry

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater


100 Quickwrites by Linda Rief is one of my favorite resources for encouraging students to read and write about poetry. 
And this poem from Linda's book always served
as a reminder that most of the time less is better.
I prefer to let the poem work its magic!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Celebrate This Week & NPM 2018: Kathleen Battle, In Concert

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week and to focus
on the positive things that happened in the past week.

My weekly Celebrate This Week posts have morphed into a kind of digital scrapbook that includes looking back over my week with
pictures of things I've loved (nature, books, grandsons, to name a few). But this week, I'm focusing on an event we attended Saturday evening at UW's Meany Theater. We knew when we saw it last year in the seasonal brochure that we wanted to include this special event in our subscription renewal. 

I didn't know too much about the program, Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey, but I knew I wanted to hear Soprano Kathleen Battle. She was accompanied by Joel A. Martin. This evening of traditional spirituals interspersed with narration and poetry from the works of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Robert Hayden, and Dr. Charles Blockson was truly an evening to remember! The three narrators, Joyce Matthews, Karen Fraser, and Marion George, added so much with their readings. Kathleen Battle was joined by local choirs, The Sound of the Northwest and UW Chamber Singers. 

Ms. Battle was adamant about the no photos rule, even going so far to shame a few audience members. However, I wish I could show you a picture of her in her black dress and shimmering pink fabric shawl. Maybe something will come out in the paper. 

Some of my favorites from the evening included "Wade in the Water," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Hold On" and "Gospel Train." However, every number was luminous and added to the journey undertaken and explained in this quote from Frederick Douglass:  "I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do."

I concur with the Meany Theatre ticket site which described Ms. Battle with these words: "... what distinguishes her most is her almost magical ability to create an unwavering bond with her audience." When the last number on the program concluded, the audience was invited to join in singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing.Encore numbers by Ms. Battle included a moving a cappella rendition of "Were You There?" followed by "Little David, Play on Your Harp,"a number that Ms. Battle claimed she and the choir had just thrown together (which may have accounted for our 20 minute late start to the concert). And then we reluctantly left our seats for home.
National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Saturday, April 14, 2018

NPM 2018: Why Poetry?

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater


“Poetry surprises and deepens our sense of the ordinary. Poetry tells us that the world is full of wonder, revelation, consolation, and meaning. ”
—Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate (2017– ) 

I love these words from our current poet laureate. I discovered them on the header at Academy of American Poets today. I wanted to save them so they became today's Why Poetry? post. 

My weekly celebration post is coming tomorrow. There's an event I'm attending tonight that I want to include.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Poetry Friday & NPM 2018: A Happy Birthday Poem!

Head over to Life on the Deckle Edge,
Robyn Hood Black's blog, for this week's
round-up of birthday posts in honor of
 an extraordinary poet, Lee Bennett Hopkins. 

Today is Lee Bennett Hopkins 80th birthday and we're celebrating him and his poetry for Poetry Friday. I knew that I wanted to pay tribute to some of my favorite books and anthologies by Lee. When I started listing my favorites, I first thought about a book spine poem, but then I realized that there were several of my favorites that I don't own (I may need to remedy that). So I decided to arrange the book titles into a poem. First, I tried to arrange them in order of preference, but that was too hard (like trying to pick a favorite child). I had fun organizing the titles into mostly two line phrases and by the number of words in the title. When I realized that the 13th is Lee's birthday, I added one more book to the poem so that it has 13 books (a baker's dozen) in honor of the day of the month that this remarkable poet was born.

Happy Birthday, Lee Bennett Hopkins!

Manger,
Sky Magic.

Amazing Places,
My America, 
Got Geography!

School Supplies,
Wonderful Words.

City I Love,
Sharing the Seasons.

I Am the Book
Jumping Off Library Shelves.

Good Books, Good Times,
Pass the Poetry, Please!

 - Ramona Behnke 2018

While looking up titles for this post, I ended up requesting additional LBH titles from the library for our upcoming display of poetry for Poem in Your Pocket Day. I even had to purchase an older book that my library doesn't own because I was so enticed by  its delightful title. Watch for the cover reveal later in the month when it arrives on my doorstep. And I had to request Poetry on Wheels from our library's Central Storage for my wheel-obsessed grandson. 

Pass the Poetry, Please! is a title that I purchased years ago and that guided my love for poetry as a young mother in the 80s and then when I went back to the classroom in the 90s. I purchased the 3rd edition of the book, but my earlier one is hardback and it's autographed. So I had to keep it too (just don't tell my husband)! And if you'd like to see more LBH joy, check out my post in last year's alphabetic stroll through poetry when I presented Lee Bennett Hopkins, the king of poetry. How lucky we are to have someone like you, Lee, a literary light in the world of children's poetry. Here's to a birthday filled with joy, good friends, and many poems! 
National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

NPM 2018: Tracy K. Smith - A Woman With a Mission!


National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Today I share an article from The New York Times Magazine (April 10, 2018)  about the efforts of our current poet laureate, Tracy Smith, to take "poetry on the road around the nation, focusing primarily on rural areas where most writers are unlikely to visit."

Tracy K. Smith, America's Poet Laureate, is a Woman With a Mission

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

NPM 2018: The Promise of Spring

National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Today's poem was inspired by Community Collection 12:  Observation by Jeannine Atkins. After reading Jeannine's prompt, I headed outside to spend some time observing our blooming camellia.


The Promise of Spring
















From tightly wrapped buds
to pale pink peeking through
to full blossom splendor,
our pink camellia,
laden with buds and blossoms
tucked amid rain-sprinkled
brilliant green leaves,
speaks of April's showers and
shouts the promise of spring.

















© Ramona Behnke 2018


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

SOL & NPM 2018: Favorite Poetry Resources


Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth,
Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.
National Poetry Month 2018
"Give praise with friends near and far,
flinging words to the sky!"
- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Yesterday I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by Irene Latham, Laura Purdie Salas, and Charles Waters. Even though I had put a sticky note on my upstairs calendar, it had slipped my mind. But when tweets started showing up from people I follow, I remembered and arrived late to the celebration.
I have a tough time keeping up with the speed of a Twitter chat. Since I've had some time to think since yesterday's chat, I decided to share four resources (out of the many that I love) that I wish I had mentioned yesterday. 

Q5:  What are favorite poetry resources you can share?

First, something old:
This anthology is one of my absolute favorites as you can see from the many sticky notes poking out the top of the book.

Next, something new: 
A new favorite that I thought of when Paul Hankins mentioned that   parody had led him to poetry.

Next, something borrowed:


Okay, technically it's no longer borrowed, but I did borrow this book year after year from the library and renew it over and over. When this second edition came out in 2014 (the year I retired), I bought it for myself as a retirement gift.






Finally, something blue:
This latest collection of Lee Bennett Hopkins did not draw me in immediately, since I expected something more along the lines of "I must go down to the seas again" (a poem I've loved ever since I was introduced to it in 7th grade by Mrs. Powers). The anthology features fourteen poems specially commissioned and written for this collection. It traces various voyages throughout history. And once I finally sat down to read it, I was moved by the power of these " . . . poems that honor the people who risked these voyages, poems that reflect upon the events that caused these migrations, and poems that recognize those who were unwilling travelers." The notes at the end of the book provide historical context for each poem. 

And I must stop before I add another book to each category.

Well, here I am adding a link that I just discovered at 8:33 pm when I checked my email. It's Poetry Resources from NCTE! Enjoy!