I was in Columbus last week for NCTE. I was delighted to see Poetry Friday friends Margaret Simon, Laura Purdie Salas, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, and Heidi Mordhorst. I didn’t take pictures very often, but I did get this one after Laura signed her sweet Finding Family book for me.
Thankful and Questioning
The last love letter I write will say
thank you for this life,
the whole of it–
the spilling of Thanksgiving dressing in the oven
the wrapping yarn in a ball
the sore wrist that makes using the yarn difficult
the coyotes moaning and howling in the early hours
the morning hugs in the kitchen with my partner
the foamy milk on my cup of tea this fine day
The last love letter I write will ask
questions, questions like
Who decided the one with the most money gets the most power?
What has bewitched us that made love low on the priority list?
When will justice and peace come?
Where are the helpers?
Why do some grandchildren die in war?
How can you sort through all this mess?
It’s Poetry Friday and the host today is Ramona at Pleasures from the Page, with some back to school poetry goodness. Thank you for hosting, Ramona.
This summer I got a new Bananagrams game. I play with other people as often as I can, but I also have a brain-game hobby to play an almost daily game of solitaire Bananagrams. First, I choose 21 tiles and use them up in a grid, just like in the real game. Then, I choose 7 more and use them all, continuing to take 7 at a time until they are gone. (If needed, I also allow myself to “dump” one tile and pick 3 different ones, which is one of the rules in the real game.)
One time I played making all “Rotten Banana” words. Silly, I know, but the words are fun to read.
Needing some more creativity, I guess, I thought to try some Bananagrams poetry. Here’s what I do:
Choose 15 tiles and create a word or two or three.
Commit to one or more of those words as a topic or part of a poem.
Then the whole pile of letters are available face up to create a short poem on the topic.
If there is more than one person participating, first come on the letters remaining.
Here are my first attempts with the caption telling the words I first saw in my 15-tile start.
Then I got the tiles out when my family came for dinner. There were five of us, and it was the first time I had ever asked them to “think poetically,” so it was awkward and the results were mostly silly. However, look at this beauty my sister-in-law created called “Hummingbird.”
What other guidelines might you make for Bananagrams Poetry?
And just like that we’re finishing up the Sealey Challenge. The month went quickly, and I loved reading poetry each day. I hope I will continue reading more poetry. Hopefully it is becoming a habit.
August 25 – One Last Word: Wisdom from The Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
Have you read this book? Nikki Grimes takes poems from the Harlem Renaissance and creates golden shovel poems for them. Here are the first two stanzas of her poem based on the first two lines of “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. I needed to read some poetry like this when I was in junior high:
August 26 – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood lyrics by Fred Rogers
August 27 – Library of Small Catastrophes by Alison C. Rollins – Though every poem is not related to Rollins being a librarian, there is so much she taught me about history and the world. Teacher-librarians and others, you will want to read this one, if you haven’t already.
August 28 – American Faith by Maya C. Popa
August 29 – Ellington Was Not A Street by Ntozake Shange – This is a beautiful book about the musicians and activists who visited the family home of the author as she grew up.
August 30 – Hey, You! Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitos, and Other Fun Things selected by Paul B. Janeczko
This was a delightful surprise of children’s poems from so many greats. The surprise started on page 1 with this beauty by George Ella Lyon.
What a sweet picture book by Laura! Here’s one of my favorite sections. After a full day of over-stimulation, Clover, melts down when a tail gets brushed in her face. “Clover spit. She bit. She threw a fur-flying hissy fit. ‘I quit!’ Clover fled.” The illustrations by Hiroe Nakata are precious. It’s a perfect book for a child who gets overwhelmed with sensory overload, or for friends of children who do. And bonus: the book is still on sale this week.
We have this very sweet pair of mourning doves in our yard. They nested last year in our yard. I believe some critter stole their eggs last spring because I saw eggs in the nest, but the next time I looked there were none (and no baby birds). But the pair are back now, they have built their nest, and I’m praying for the best.