Poetry Friday – Teachers Write

It’s Poetry Friday, and thank you to Margaret Simon for hosting today. Check out her delicious “Ode to Molly’s Strawberry Jam.” (It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, so I’m glad to be back.)

This month is Teachers Write with Kate Messner. This year’s theme is Poetry and Play with a wonderful group of poet mentors who are creating prompts two times a week. Here are links to the prompts we’ve had so far. I got behind this week because of the July Open Write, but I will look forward to trying all these poems over the next weeks with these inspirational prompts. Do click and read more about each.

July 10, 2023
Found Poem with Kate Messner
July 13, 2023
Hermit Crab Poem with Laura Ruby

This is the only prompt I’ve attempted so far. It’s the hermit crab poem, which I think is so clever. She explains that you take the poem you want to write and climb into a different shell (format). A quote from Laura in the prompt: “Some potential ‘crab shells’ that you might want to try: a speech, list of rules, a disclaimer, fine print, field notes, recipes, dictionary entry, encyclopedia entry, multiple choice test, grocery list, owner’s manual, building instructions, letters of recommendation, ads, jingles, doctor’s note, scientific abstract, playlist, or even a weather report.”

I chose to do a dictionary entry.




  1. to sip wishes
  2. to whisper into promises and prayers
  3. to envelop with open arms
  4. to climb anticipation


1. a thing with feathers
the hope of springtime pipping

2. a cool autumn breeze after a hot summer
the hope of cooler days 

3. a moon out in the afternoon
the hope of an enticing evening

Here’s a poem that seemed a bit like a Hermit Crab poem, “Self-Help” by Charles Bernstein:

Home team suffers string of losses.—Time to change loyalties.
Quadruple bypass.—Hold the bacon on that next cheeseburger.
Poems tanking.—After stormiest days, sun comes out from behind clouds, or used to.
Marriage on rocks.—Nothing like Coke.

Read more here; he’s got tons of self help advice.

July 24, 2023
Attempting Haiku with Joseph Bruchac
July 20, 2023
Finding Haiku with Loree Griffin Burns
July 24, 2023
The Power of Names with Rajani LaRocca
July 27, 2023
A Poetry Challenge with Rajani LaRocca and K.A. Holt

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – Teachers Write

  1. I haven’t tried the hermit crab prompt yet. I love what you did with the dictionary entry poem. Such a wonderful model for my students. Can I use it? Thanks!

  2. I love teachers write–and I’m delighted that there is poetry this week. I haven’t kept up the way that I want but the advice of Joseph Bruchac and Loree Griffiths stuck with me. Very poignant and helpful and got me writing. I love, “to sip wishes.” A colleague of mine is named Hope and sometimes that frustrates her. But, the sipping of wishes would thrill her.

  3. Your dictionary hope poem is just lovely. I would like an entire dictionary filled with entries like this!

  4. Hermit crab poem — what an interesting idea! Thanks for the introduction.

  5. Your dictionary poem is lovely, Denise. Seeing the moon in the afternoon is always a treat full of hope. Thank you!

  6. I’m glad I returned to your post, Denise, and thought I had commented, but don’t see one! I know I read it because I also clicked on the other links to read about the Teachers Write prompts. I so enjoyed the idea of the hermit crab poem & how you created a beautiful poem for ‘hope’, defining what we all know is true!

  7. I love the dictionary poem! It’s beautiful! I am also doing Teachers Write and I did a field guide poem (which incidentally I was already working on but I didn’t know it had a name “hermit crab” until I read Laura’s post).

  8. Great to get a look into the Teachers Write opportunity this year, Denise! I’m a big fan of poems that crawl into other shells and walk away, and I like especially
    1. to sip wishes and
    4. to climb anticipation.
    I think you nailed this one!

  9. Oooh, I love the prompts. What a fun project to work on during July. Your dictionary poem is just the thing I needed to read this morning, too! Thank you.

  10. What a grand definition of hope–so light and airy, and I love this dictionary-poem-entry and also hope there may be more… Thanks Denise!

  11. Ah, we will have to try the dictionary poem (Nevermores!) – thanks for this example!

  12. I love your Hope dictionary poem – to sip wishes is a beautiful image!

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