Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Slice of Life and NPM Day Four: An Afternoon Miracle with Concrete Poetry

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, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

If it's Tuesday afternoon, then it's time for our middle school book club Books, Brownies, and Beyond.  Join me for last week's meeting.  We've just concluded a fabulous month of reading books for March Book Madness.  After taking photos of the group with their picks for the championship title, it's time to dive into our focus for April.  

A small group heads off to a corner of the library to explore You Just Wait:  A Poetry Power Book,  by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.  This group was created last week when I asked the question, "Who loves poetry?"  (Oh, we did gently persuade one member since we had five free books that I won from a blog drawing and no male members in our small group.)  I watch as the group eagerly dives into their free books and love hearing the comment, "We get to write in the books!"  

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, I'm left with a rag tag band of (you guessed it) THE POETRY HATERS!  They are the ones who bemoaned their fate last week when I mentioned our focus for April.  I press forward courageously with a cart of favorite titles from the poetry section of the library.   I share a favorite poem from each book I pick up and then turn the students loose with this request:  "Find a poem to share with the group at the end of our time together today."  This is met with more groans and sighs of dismay and the oft repeated retort:  "But I don't like poetry!"

Fast forward thirty minutes.  We call our Poetry Lovers over to join the Poetry Haters.  Student after student waves a hand asking to be next.  Several poetry haters ask if they can share a second poem!   You may wonder what magical potion I administered to my rag tag group.  It's a guaranteed success for poetry haters everywhere. It's my focus for day four of National Poetry Month, the letter "C."  It has never failed me!

It's concrete poetry!  It's two slim volumes by John Grandits - Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault.  If you're looking for poetry books to win over your poetry haters, be sure to include these titles in your bag of tricks.  

Here are four additional titles of concrete poetry that you may want to explore:  
Wet Cement:  A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka
Ode to a Commode:  Concrete Poems by Brian P. Cleary
A Poke in the I:  A Collection of Concrete Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Flicker Flash by Joan Bransfield Graham (a fusion of concrete poetry and bold graphics)
If you have other favorite titles of concrete poetry, please include them in your comment so I can add to my ever burgeoning bag of tricks.
My book spine poem for NPM 2017:

She walks in beauty
A jar of tiny stars
Awakening the heart
Open the door
House of light 
Pass the poetry, please!


  1. Isn't it incredible when the poetry haters come around?

    Lovely book spine poem, Ramona!

  2. There is something about concrete poems that grabs the attention of poetry haters as well as poetry lovers. Glad you found a way to get all on board.

  3. I love concrete poetry, and you are a whiz to capture those "haters" with it, Ramona. Keep going, will look forward to the next group!

  4. Yes, the big C won over the poetry haters. Way to go, Ramona. BTW, your spine poem is developed so nicely. Maybe you should use it with your group-the next line being - pass the brownies too. (In my slice that I am about to post, I thank you for a Susan Branch quote you shared and created a digital inspiration for your notebook and mine.

  5. Poetry lovers and poetry haters -- I can't help but think there's a poem in there somewhere.

  6. Your title brought me here. I love to find ways to bring children into a love of poetry. This is a good commercial for concrete books. Shel Silverstein has a few in his books.

    Thanks for sharing, Ramona,

  7. Meow Ruff, A Story in Concrete Poetry by Joyce Sidman, Doodle Dandies by J. Patrick Lewis, and Falling Down the Page by Georgia Heard are a few of my favorite concrete poetry books. I have no doubt that by the end of the month, there will be no haters in the crowd.

    1. I'm so glad you mentioned Doodle Dandies. I thought it was by Joan Bransfield Graham. I found it and Falling Down the Page on my bookshelf and took both to book club this afternoon.

  8. I suspect the haters and the lovers of EVERYTHING are more in line with each other's thoughts than we would ever want to admit!

  9. This was a charming piece, and I commend you for finding the poetry lover in every single last one!

  10. Fun moments abound in this slice. Seeing _Wet Cement_ on your list made me happy. I discovered that collection last summer and marveled at its concrete poetry creativity!

  11. I can always count on you to inspire! Just awesome.

  12. What a great post with a huge teaching tip! A win win for me!

  13. I love that you are reeling them in! One concrete poem at a time! Wet Cement was a CYBILS nominee this year.