Thursday, August 16, 2018

Poetry Friday GREAT MORNING! and Back-To-School

Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by Wondering and Wandering blog. When you're finished up here, please click over to enjoy all of this week's inspiring poetry posts.

A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway on Catherine Flynn's Reading to the Core blog. I was the very lucky winner of a copy of Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, a poetry anthology by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong



If you are a teacher, you need to have a copy of this book! It's brimming with fun poems whose subjects are related to the natural calendar/rhythm of a school year. Each topic begins with a small bit of background information followed by that day's featured poem. The chapter ends with some short follow-up questions/ideas/advice to think about and discuss. There is a topic for every week of the school year.

That would be enough reason to own this book, but there's more! The second half of the book includes poetry performance tips, guidance on turning each pom into a mini-lesson, oodles of poetry resources, and useful tips for nurturing young writers and helping them to find publishing opportunities for their own masterpieces.

There are so many great poems featured in this anthology, and it is difficult to choose just a few to share, but here is a tasting of some of what is included.

This first poem takes me back to first grade. A friend and I wanted to create some outside art during recess. We thought crayon would be just as easy to wash off of a sidewalk as chalk. Needless to say, we spent several days of recesses scrubbing the school sidewalk clean.

RECESS
by Avis Harley

Some play soccer,
some run races.
Others read
in quiet places.

Some find leaves
or draw with chalk.
Some play tag,
while others talk.

A few play chess.
Lots play ball.
And some just like
to watch it all.

I believe this next poem should be heard by every child. To me it exemplifies welcoming and kindness and how very little effort it takes to offer it to others.

HOW TO MAKE A FRIEND
by Jane Heitman Healy

You start by saying Hi there,
Hello, Aloha, Ciao--
If someone answers back to you,
Smile and nod and bow.

You might try saying Hola,
Salut, Goddag, Shalom.
If someone answers back to you,
They might be far from home.

A friend begins by greeting
Those they meet along the way
To make them feel welcome
At home, at school, at play.

Inspired by the subject matter and memories of my first day at a new school, I played around with some verse, too.

FIRST DAY JITTERS
by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Tummy rumble,
New shoes stumble,
Book bag fumble,
First day grumble!

Will the teacher like me?
Are my clothes on trend?
Will I like Pre-Algebra?
Will I make good friends?

Will my locker open?
Will the food taste vile?
Will I find my homeroom?
Will anybody smile?

All so unfamiliar-
new building and mates.
Hello to all the new
adventures that await!

That's it for today. Happy Pom-Making!


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Poetry Friday: My Blanket Buddy


Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's poem was inspired by my granddaughter. Like Linus from the "Peanut's Gang," she likes to drag her blankie everywhere. While observing her, I realized that to her, it was so much more than just a piece of cotton fabric meant to keep her warm.

My Blanket Buddy

My blanket is my buddy.
I love it in many ways.

It's a tablecloth for a picnic.
A cape to save the day!

It's a cover for my fort.
A trampoline for my ball.

It's a curtain for my stage.
A coat for my doll.

My blanket is my buddy.
A treasure I will keep.

It snuggles me and warms me
and helps me fall to sleep.

Copyright Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Children have the best imaginations. I think I'm a better storyteller and poet when I try to recapture my own childhood imagination.

Reading to the Core blog is hosting this week's round up. Be sure to stop by and read all of the wonderful contributions. Have a great week, and happy rhyming!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Poetry Friday: Bayou Song Blog Tour and a Giveaway

Welcome to Poetry Friday! The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting this week's round up. When you're finished here, be sure to click over to read all of the wonderful posts.



Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape
Illustrated by Anna Cantrell
Photography by Henry Cancienne
University of Louisiana at Lafayette (June 18, 2018)
ISBN: 978-1946160232

Poem by poem, Margaret Simon introduces readers to the plants and animals that inhabit Louisiana's Bayou Teche. Each subject is treated to a brief explanation and then honored with a beautiful poem. Margaret pairs each poem with a short description/lesson on the poetry form or tool used and art and writing prompts for further creative exploration.

Since many of my poetry Friday posts focus on specific poetry forms/tools, I asked Margaret to share two forms from this collection that she especially enjoyed and to give us a little background lesson for each.

The first poem Margaret chose to talk about was also the first poem featured in the book, I am a Beckoning Brown Bayou. It's the perfect invitation and left me wanting to take this bayou journey with her. Take it way, Margaret!

I AM A BECKONING BROWN BAYOU

I am a beckoning brown bayou.
I wonder where my water runs.
I echo egret, heron, and ibis.
I watch waving leaves of cypress trees.
I call your name.

I am a beckoning brown bayou.
I twist and turn like a water snake.
I touch fur and scales and fins.
I nurture nutria, raccoons, and gators.
I want you to come in.

I am a beckoning brown bayou.
I remember tales of Acadians and explorers.
I say courage lives here.
I reveal my secrets at twilight.
I hope you'll stay awhile.

MS: This poem came from a prompt from Allan Wolf's website. The writer decides the topic for his/her poem and uses alliteration for the first line. Each line following begins with an I and an action word. 

A more challenging form is the clogyrnach. When I am teaching during National Poetry Month, I like to challenge my students to write a poem each day. I researched forms for each letter of the alphabet. This one was unique and new to me. Working with such a strict form makes you focus carefully on word choice.

welsh poetry form, clogyrnach

Line 1: 8 syllables with an a rhyme
Line 2: 8 syllables with an a rhyme
Line 3: 5 syllables with a b rhyme
Line 4: 5 syllables with a b rhyme
Line 5: 3 syllables with a b rhyme
Line 6: 3 syllables with an a rhyme

Weeping Wisteria is a model for this form. I had a wisteria vine in my backyard, and it would bloom like crazy every spring. One of the photos of wisteria in the book is mine. Wisteria tends to take over, and it grew over our decking, rotting the wood, so my husband has trimmed it down. I miss the beautiful blooms. It was always covered in bees.

WEEPING WISTERIA

Lavender locks spill from the sky.
In bloom, wisteria curls cry.
Sweet nectar tears fall.
Purple peapods sprawl.
Bright bees crawl,
lick them dry.

Thank you, Margaret. I look forward to trying my hand at both of these forms of poetry. Weeping Wisteria just happens to be one of my personal favorites. Whether you're a poet, a teacher, and/or someone who can just appreciate a beautiful book of poetry, this collection would make a quality addition to your bookshelf. My thanks to Margaret for sharing her book with me and for allowing me to share in its celebration.

Margaret is graciously allowing me to give away a copy of this book to one lucky blog reader. Because of postage costs, the winner has to live within the continental U.S. Just leave a comment to be entered. On Tuesday, July 10, 2018 I will randomly choose and notify the lucky winner.

Other Stops On Margaret's Bayou Song Blog Tour Schedule


Tuesday, June 26:
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Corehttps://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/
Friday, June 29:
Ruth Hersey at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town
Friday, July 13:
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Tuesday, July 17:
Laura Shovan 
Tuesday, July 24
Amanda Potts at Persistence and Pedagogy
Friday, July 27:
Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
Monday, July 30
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
Friday, Aug. 3
Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters
As always, Happy Poem-Making!



Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Favorite Poetry Writing Resources [Poetry Friday]


Welcome to Poetry Friday. Please check out this week's entire round up at Michelle Kogan's blog

I recently turned in the final book in a contracted 4-book wfh series. I enjoyed the subject matter, the research, and the writing, but I only had 5 weeks to complete the project. I was in full-on nonfiction writing mode with little time for anything else. My two writing loves are nonfiction and poetry, but it's very difficult for me to do both at the same time and then to dive back into one or the other after a break. With this project behind me, I was really looking forward to writing some new poetry, but alas, when I sat down to write, it all just seemed like garbage. But that's okay. I let myself write the garbage. With time and work, some of that garbage might turn into something special.

The other thing I did to get back into the poetry swing of things was to revisit some of my favorite poetry writing resources. 



1. This first one is a newer resource for me. Several weeks ago I won a copy of JoAnn Early Macken's Write A Poem Step by Step. From the basics of rhythm, meter, and rhyme to poetry forms to coming up with ideas and using exciting language and imagery, this book covers it all. She also provides chapters with writing exercises, revision techniques, and guidance on  getting your work published.



2. An older favorite is Poem Crazy by Susan G. Wooldridge. If you've ever read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, in my opinion, this would be the poetry equivalent. It provides equal parts inspiration and technique.



3. Some of my favorite "tool" books to use when writing are Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D. (the best book to help you find the best word) and Merriam Webster's Rhyming Dictionary

4. Last but not least, I read lots of great poetry. Thank goodness for libraries and Poetry Friday :) This practice is more inspiring and more of an education than anything else. 

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut? 


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Poetry Friday: It's Hot Outside!



A little over a month ago we had 3 inches of snow on the ground. This last week, we've had temps in the 90s and feels-like temps with humidity above 100. 




The weather inspired this week's poem. 

Lazy Hazy Days of May

Buggy air
Muggy air
Heavy hard to breathe air

Puffy hair
Sweaty hair
Firmly on my face hair

Brightest glare
Hottest glare
Angry sun is growing glare

Little prayer
Bigger prayer
Send some cooler air prayer

Copyright 2018 Kimberly M. Hutmacher 

How's the weather where you live? Has it inspired your writing this week? 

This week's round up is hosted by Buffy's blog. Be sure to stop by and enjoy all of the posts.

As always, thanks for visiting. Happy Poem-Making!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Poetry Friday: Free Verse and a Dinosaur Thank you!


Welcome to this week's Poetry Friday post. To enjoy the entire round up, head on over to Sloth Reads blog and check it out.

This week, I've been studying free verse poems. Free verse is poetry that is not written in a fixed rhyme, and it doesn't have a regular meter. 

What I enjoy in a free verse poem:
- Active verbs
- Sensory detail (I want to be able to see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, feel it)
- Sound tools (alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia)
- Symbolism
- Metaphor, Simile, Irony
- Concrete images

A poem obviously doesn't have to (and in most cases probably shouldn't) have all of these things at once, but careful use of some can make a powerful poem.



One of my favorite children's poetry collections is Kristine O'Connell George's Toasting Marshmallows. This time of year brings more days enjoyed outside with cookouts, camping, fishing, and hiking, and it always makes me want to pull this collection off the shelf and savor it once again. She is a master of free verse. 

A Doe

Stepping timidly
out of the thicket,
she trembles, then stills,
poised mid-quiver.

We don't move.
We don't even whisper.
She's almost
         close enough to touch.

Velvet ears swivel.
Slim spindled legs turn,
a silent shiver
         fading into dusk.

by Kristine O'Connell George, Toasting Marshmallows, Clarion Books, 2001

Strong verbs: stepping, trembles, stills, swivel, shiver, etc.

Sensory detail: I can feel the tremble, the quiver. I can hear the whisper and feel the velvet ears. 

Concrete images: Her words have painted a very clear picture of what she is seeing. I feel like I'm right there, enjoying the scene with her.

I'm challenging myself to read 10 more free verse poems from various writers this week. As I study each, I'll ask myself what tools I see in each poem. I'll also compare the poet's styles and voices. And, I may even take a crack at a few free verse poems of my own.


I don't want to end this post before thanking Matt Forrest Esenswine. I helped spread the word about his new picture book with Deborah Bruss and Louie Chin, Don't Ask A Dinosaur, and in doing so, I was entered to win a copy. Of all the entries, I was lucky enough to be chosen the winner! The book is a giant rhyming wild rumpus of a party, and it could not be more fun! My granddaughter had her first birthday last week, and I gave her this autographed copy. Besides my books, it's her first author-autographed book. She loved the rhythm of the words and the bold, fun illustrations. Both Aria and I thank Matt and Deborah for this very special gift.



That's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Poem Making! :)




Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What's New?


Welcome to my end-of-the-month post where I share what progress I've made toward my writing and publication goals. This month, I sent 5 work-for-hire packets to education publishers. I submitted both a picture book manuscript and a board book manuscript. I received two poetry rejections, and submitted 2 more poems. I worked on a small project for an education publisher, and I ended the month with an offer to write a new series for a nonfiction publisher. More on that later :)

My goals for May will be limited because I will need to give the majority of my time and attention to the nonfiction project, but I hope to revise a picture book manuscript that I've been working on. I want to write/submit two new poems, and I want to submit a couple of picture book manuscripts that I feel are ready to go. 

How was your April? How did you work toward your goals?

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be back in a few days with my Poetry Friday post. Until then, Happy Writing!