Thursday, March 29, 2018

One Last Word [Poetry Friday]

My Juicy Little Poem is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round Up.

This week I’ve been enthralled with Nikki Grime’s One Last Word. The book reintroduces poems from the Harlem Renaissance. Nikki, in turn creates new ‘golden shovel’ poems developed from one line in each of the poems featured.

Here is one example from the book:

Calling All Dreams
by Georgia Douglas Johnson

The right to make my dreams come true
I ask, nay, I demand of life,
Nor shall fate’s deadly contraband
Impede my steps, nor countermand.

Too long my heart against the ground
Has beat the dusty years around,
And now, at length, I rise, I wake!
And stride into the morning-brake!

Nikki Grimes took the first line from this poem, The right to make my dreams come true, and created a new golden shovel poem from it.

The Sculptor
by Nikki Grimes

No accident of birth or race or place determines the
scope of hope or dreams I have a right
to. I inventory my head and heart to
weigh and measure what talents I might use to make
my own tomorrow. It all depends on the grit at my
disposal. My father says hard work is the clay dreams
are molded from. Yes. Molded. Dreams do not come.
They are carved, muscled into something solid, something true.

This is a new poetry form for me, and I find it very challenging, but when it’s done so well, as in One Last Word, it can be beautiful.

If you would like to attempt your own, you can read more about golden shovel poetry here.

Happy Poem-Making!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Personification [Poetry Friday]

This week's Poetry Friday is hosted by Laura Salas at Writing the World for Kids blog.

This is another post in a series where I share instruction and examples on writing specific poetry forms and/or tools that can make poetry shine.

Personification: Personification is giving human qualities to an inanimate object.


Ode To Sunflowers
by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Sunflowers, O’ Sunflowers,
Reaching for the skies
Glaring at the clouds above
With your chocolate eyes.

Golden faces nodding
As gray gives way to blue
Happy stems a dancing
As the sun shines anew!
                           Copyright Kimberly M. Hutmacher

In the above poem, I gave a sunflower (an inanimate object) a face with eyes and the human ability to dance. These are all examples of personification.

Challenge: Find an object in the room you are in. Study the object, and make a list of ways in which you might give it human qualities. For a further challenge, attempt to write a poem about your object using the tool of personification.

Happy Poem-Making!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Easter Basket Books

I did a little Easter basket book shopping last week. Books make great gifts. Think about book baskets for Easter, birthdays, baby showers, and Valentine's Day. You can fill a stocking with books for Christmas. This gives you a legitimately unselfish excuse to spend money on more books and support the authors you love.

I'll be back later this week with a new poetry lesson. Until then, Happy Writing!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Poetry Corner: Rhyme [Poetry Friday]

Enjoy all the of the great Poetry Friday posts. Teacher Dance is hosting this week's round up.

Rhyme is defined as a word that has the same end sound as another. There are various kinds of rhyme.

Perfect Rhyme are words that rhyme exactly, or perfectly. Here is an example of a poem with perfect rhyme:

Safe and Sound

Seeds buried
Safe and sound
Shooting sprouts
From the ground.
Buds soon bloom
All around
From seeds buried
Safe and sound.
Copyright Kimberly M. Hutmacher Poetry Play For Preschoolers 2003

In the above poem, sound, ground, and around are perfect rhymes.

Imperfect or near rhymes are words that do not rhyme perfectly. One example might be dances/branches.

Eye rhymes are words that look alike but do not sound the same. Examples include mood/wood and prove/love.

Homonyms are words that do not look alike, but do sound alike. Examples of homonyms include: threw/through and meet/meat.

Identical rhyme is an exact word rhyming with itself. A great example of this is Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

Annabel Lee is used to end lines over and over again throughout this poem. This poem also offers a great example of internal rhyme, where there are rhymes placed inside of the same line in the poem. We see beams and dreams and rise and eyes.

Challenge: Look at some of the poetry you’ve already written and identify which types of rhyme you’ve used.

Happy Poem-Making!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Cover Letter: A Taste of What Is To Come

Before you sit down to write your cover letter, you need to ask yourself what it is you hope to accomplish in the letter. You want the letter written in proper form, free of grammar and spelling errors. You want to share your publishing history and professional affiliations like SCBWI.

While all of this necessary and important, I can’t stress enough the importance of the first paragraph. This is the paragraph we use to introduce and briefly summarize our book. I stress briefly for a reason. Oftentimes, writers think they need to tell the entire story in the cover letter. I’ve heard several editors speak at conferences and though they all had differing tastes in books, the one thing they all had in common was that they were busy! They asked that cover letters be short and to the point. They want the story summarized in 2-3 sentences. They will be getting a taste of what’s to come, though, so you want the taste to be delicious and tempting. You want to leave them anxious to read your story.

But how do we narrow our 32 page picture book or 200 page novel down to just 2 or 3 tempting sentences? I found a tool that has helped me a great deal. If you search for a book on amazon, you will find a product description. Look up 3 or 4 of your favorite books and read how they are described in just a few concise sentences. Here’s what they say about Margaret Wise Brown’s GOODNIGHT MOON: “In the great green room, tucked away in a bed, is a little bunny. ‘Goodnight room. Goodnight moon.’ And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room, to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one, he says goodnight.” This example successfully sets the tone of the story to come.

Kate Dicamillo’s BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE is described as: “When ten-year-old Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father, she doesn’t know what to expect. She is lonely at first—that is until she meets Winn Dixie, a stray dog who helps her make some unusual friends. Because of Winn Dixie, Opal begins to let go of some of her sadness and finds she has a whole lot to be thankful for. The description gives us a taste and makes us curious. Why did they move? Why is she sad? Just who are these unusual friends? Where did this special dog come from?

Both of the above descriptions give us a taste and leave us wanting to read more. This is our cover letter mission!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Poetry Lesson: Apostrophe

This is the latest in a series of posts dedicated to introducing poetry forms and tools that help poetry shine. See the Poetry Lessons link on the right to view more lessons.

Apostrophe: A poem that addresses, or speaks to, a person or object that can’t hear or respond.


My Old Friend
by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Little old rag doll
With bright red hair,
Eyes like emeralds
And skin so fair.

Wears a blue dress
With a patchwork square,
Worn out apron
With a crooked tear.

Little old rag doll
Propped in a chair,
Looking at me
With a peaceful stare.

My friend and I,
We make quite a pair,
With hugs to give,
Endless love to share.

Copyright 2007 Kimberly M. Hutmacher Hopscotch for Girls Magazine

The above poem is an example of an Apostrophe poem, because the rag doll that I am addressing in the poem cannot respond.

Challenge: Look around the space you are in. Pick one object, and attempt to write a poem that speaks to that object. Happy Poem-Making!