Let’s celebrate poets and poetry

A peek at my poetry shelf in my office–

A poetry collection for youngsters that they can read themselves–

Poems about Fur and Feather Friends (Selected by Leland B. Jacobs) is a collection of poems written in the 1960s, mostly about pets. They are simple to read, yet appealing to kids. Here is one of the simple poems illustrated by Frank Aloise:

“Silly Puppy”

“Although he hates

To have his bath,
He seems to think

It’s fun

To dip his paws

Into the tub

When I am having one.”

Kathryn Jackson

Almost any second grader could read this poem aloud, enjoy the picture of the puppy pawing the little boy’s bath water, and share it with a parent or a younger sibling.

Another puppy poem is “One Little Puppy”

“One little puppy

Can run down the street,

One little puppy

On four little feet.

One little puppy

Is always a joy,

One little puppy

For one little boy.”

Pauline C. Peck

These simple verses express a boy’s love for man’s best friend in a way a primary school student would understand and identify with it.

This book was discarded by a primary school library near my home and slipped into my Little Free Library as a donation. I spent a lovely time turning the pages, admiring the drawings and musing on a time when life for our children was easier, simpler, and less complicated–similar to the fifties and sixties of my own childhood. Thank you teacher, librarian, student–whoever you are–who gave me this little book.

APRIL,2022: National Poetry Month

Poems can be about anything. Here is a poem by William Stafford about the joys of journaling.

“KEEPING A JOURNAL” by William Stafford

“At night it was easy for me with my little candle

to sit late recording what happened that day, Sometimes

rain breathing in from the dark would begin softly

across the roof and them drum wildly for attention .

The candle flame would hunger after each wafting

of air. My pen inscribed thin shadows that leaned

forward and hurried their lines along the wall.

More important than what was recorded, these evenings

deepened my life; they framed every event

or thought and placed it with care by the others.

As time went on, that scribbled wall–even if

it stayed blank– became where everything

recognized itself and passed into meaning.”

(Note: “William (or Bill) Stafford stayed faithful to his journals and diaries over the years, urging friends, family members, and students to keep a record of their thoughts. The thoughts cherished and saved in ink often then took shape as poems on a later date, when the experiences ripened well enough to attach themselves to words.”

Start a journal this month in order to record your thoughts and experiences. Who knows what form they may finally take–a poem, perhaps?

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, APRIL 2022

We celebrated poetry in my Advanced Writing Class Wednesday. Thirteen of the twenty-two students were in attendance, and we spent the better part of the class discussing synonym poems, limericks, and a unique book of poems titled, Consider the Lemming by Jeanne Steig and illustrated by William Steig. This collection of poems, published in 1998, was donated to my Little Free Library by persons unknown around Christmas. The book takes its name from one of the poems,”The Lemming”

“Consider the lemming:

No hawing or hemming

No dilly or dally

No shilly or shally

The whole lemming nation

In one wild migration

Is off to the sea.

He can’t swim, the lemming

And yet there’s no stemming

His rush to the water

A lem to the slaughter!

Don’t ask him, ‘Who sent ‘ya?’

It must be dementia–

Unless it’s ennui.”

I first asked who knew what a lemming was. Not a sound, blank faces. I told tnem to google it, and they took out their phones, and one told me it was an animal like a rat. I showed them the illustration of lemmings following one another off a cliff into the ocean, and asked if anyone knew what they were known for, what was the “buzz” about them. A very smart woman read from her phone that they blindly followed leadership, sometimes leadership of questionable nature. After a discussion of lemmings and the French word, ennui, as the ultimate boredom, I asked them to write a poem entitled “Consider the Student.” They did this in groups of four, and the one with the same young woman in it came up with the following:

“Consider the student

Tirelessly prudent

Working for something new

Never being truant,

Homework always due.”

by Shayla Tyler, Skyler Robinson, Keilie Velasquez, and Cesar Cardinas.

Shayla also wrote this limerick:

“There once was a lonely old book,

For years no one gave him a look.

Then one day the light

Hit his spine just right;

He smiled as he left the nook.”

National Poetry Month in April. Poster with handwritten lettering. Poetry Festival in the United States and Canada. Literary events and celebration. Greeting card, invitation, poster, banner or background. Vector

I have remarkable students this semester!

POETRY IS FUN!

National Poetry Month in April. Poster with handwritten lettering. Poetry Festival in the United States and Canada. Literary events and celebration. Greeting card, invitation, poster, banner or background. Vector

Today’s post, as I continue to celebrate National Poetry Month, April 2022, is a post found on Ingrid’s Experiments in Fiction, a great blog to check out.

Experiments in Fiction explores new ideas/techniques/forms, etc of writing, featuring some excellent poetry.
SIGNING OFF, RAE

April 2022

“The Academy of American Poets created NPM as a special celebration of poets and poetry with the hope of sparking in readers an interest in poetry that carries across the years.” National Poetry Month was launched in 1996 and has become “the largest literary celebration in the world with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators , families, [bloggers], and–of course–poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.”

HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE?

AN EARLIER POST

Today I received my newsletter from The Academy of American Poets in the mail. Some of the more interesting points were as follows:

“Twenty-five years ago in April of 1996, it was Academy of American Poets members who provided the initial seed money for us to announce and carry out National Poetry Month for the first time…

Over the years, our annual celebration of poets and poetry has been recognized in The New York Times, USA Today, Time, The Washington Post, People magazine , and thousands of other publications…

…the month of April has become by far the most important time of year for the release of new poetry…and sales of poetry by recognized authors and new poets alike [increase].

…events numbering in the hundreds of thousands have taken place–no exaggeration–at libraries, community centers, places of worship, at parks, town squares…all aimed at bringing poetry into the lives of local citizens and fostering a greater appreciation for beloved poets of the past as well as today’s new voices.”

The organization sent me a National Poetry Month poster, and they will be sending weekly lesson plans to 35,000 teachers nationwide. Other online programs, readings, and celebrations will be held as well.

I plan to celebrate National Poetry month with a poetry contest in my Advanced Writing class and to personally read a new poem each day of the month. Let me share today’s with you. This is from Margaret Atwood’s Dearly, her latest collection of poems:

“Ghost Cat”

“Cats suffer from dementia too. Did you know that?

Ours did. Not the black one, smart enough

to be neurotic and evade the vet.

The other one, the furrier’s muff, the piece of fluff.

She’d writhe around on the sidewalk

for chance pedestrians , whisker

their trousers, though not enough when she started losing

what might have been her mind. She’d prowl the night

kitchen, taking a bite

from a tomato, a ripe peach there,

a crumpet, a softening pear.

Is this what I’m supposed to eat?

Guess not, but where?

Then up the stairs she’d come, moth-footed,

owl-eyed, wailing

like a tiny, fuzzy steam train: Ar-woo! Ar-woo!

So witless and erased. O who?

Clawing at the bedroom door

shut tight against her. Let me in,

enclose me, tell me who I was.

No good. No purring. No contentment, Out

into the darkened dining room,

then in, then out forlorn.

And when I go that way, grow fur, start howling,

scratch at your airwaves:

no matter who I claim I am

or how I love you,

turn the key. Bar the window.”

Margaret Atwood’s voice is a strong one in her poems. Often her “messages” or thoughts are not what we expect, but she is always unique, a voice to be heard. Thanks to my friend, Mary Allen, who gave me a signed copy of this 2020 collection of Atwood poems. I hope to read the entire collection this month to celebrate National Poetry Month, 2021.

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Author: Rae Longest

This year (2022) finds me with 50+ years of teaching “under my belt.” I have taught all levels from pre-K “(library lady” or “book lady”–volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the “difficult years.” I had some of the “funnest” experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the “young, fun teacher,” I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a “dream-fit” for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is “in my blood,” so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to “come out and play.” View all posts by Rae LongestAuthor Rae LongestPosted on Categories UncategorizedTags 2021Margaret AtwoodNational Poetry MonthpoetryEdit

Still celebrating…
I plan to add to my poetry shelf this month; stay tuned.

RAE

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS: PART TWO 4/2/22

THANKS CARLA FOR THE MEME.

It is Saturday night, and I spent the day visiting with my favorite children’s/YA author, Alda B. Dobbs. She drove all the way from Montgomery, TX to Alvin (30 miles south of Houston) to see me, a visit we had planned and cancelled and rescheduled numerous times. Her two fantastic kids came with her. It was a lovely afternoon. I had planned to do a Part Two of SMFK, focusing on children’s poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month,

April 2022 National Poetry Month is in full swing here on PWR.

So late it is, but here is a delightful book of children’s poetry.

I’ve often sung in the shower; the acoustics are amazing! But, here is a collection of silly songs to sing in the tub.

Here is the title poem of this silly, dilly collection:

“I’m Still Here in the Bathtub

(To the tune of Take Me Out to the Ballgame)

I’m still here in the bathtub

I’m so clean that I squeak

Mom says it’s good to relax and soak

It’s been two days…there’s no room for breaststroke

Oh, this bathtub is like an island

I am wrink-, wink-, wrinkled so much

You can call[ca all all] me prune!”

And the song goes on for two more verses–quite an accomplishment. There is also “I-T-C-H-Y (To the tune of ‘Bingo’ “

“I got a sweater made of wool

It’s hot and boy it’s itchy

I-T-C-H-Y…” Can’t you just hear this sounding like B-I-N-G-O ?

Katz dedicates this fine book “To those who keep my bathtub overflowing with love–my wonderful wife, and our amazing kids: Simone, Andrew, Nathan, and David.” I’ll bet bath time at the Katz residence is a melodious, raucous, good time!

I highly recommend this noisy book at bath times and any other times for your kids and grandkids.

My favorite sign off.Thanks Evin; this was a bargain!

RAE

TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022

THIS IS NO APRIL FOOL’S JOKE, today kicks off National Poetry month.

Some ideas I am considering to celebrate National Poetry Month, as suggested by poets.org/npm are as follows:

Look into the dear poet project for my students.

I have already hung the National Poetry Month official poster in my classroom.

Today I will sign up for poem-a-day.I signed for it last year and cannot, for the life of me, remember why I cancelled it, too much email, I guess.

I will check into the virtual gala , Poetry and the Creative Mind, on April 28th.

And, I will definitely will carry a poem in my pocket on April 29th, “Poem in Your Pocket Day.”

Follow these poetic adventures and more to come during the month of April on “Powerful Women Readers.”

RAE

p.s. I just googled the Dear Poet project and discovered that it is for grades 5-12. I have juniors and seniors at the university and one kindergarten student whom I tutor. Therefore, I will adapt this suggestion into an assignment for a my students to write to a poet they discover this month.

IN PREPARATION FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

April is National Poetry Month.

Tomorrow begins the celebration of poetry for 2022, National Poetry Month. This blog and also my Advanced Writing class will be joining in on the celebration, as I do something each day of April to celebrate poets and poetry. Here is the official poster for 2022 I posted in my classroom yesterday:

The poster and theme are the official choices for April 2022.

Join me in this celebration by following this blog for the next thirty days and add some poetry to your life.

RAE

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, 3 Days left

April is National Poetry Month. I have been observing it for about five years now. My Advanced Writing classes have observed it with me.

One of my reading goals for 2021 was to read more poetry. Thanks to Dewey’s 24 Hr. Readathon and a gift book from a friend, I have been able to do just that. One of the books I finished during Dewey’s last Saturday was Margaret Atwood’s Dearly. I have always had great respect for Atwood as a novelist, but now I am looking at her as a poet. (Later I intend to read her essays and short stories because the book I “look into” this versatile author, the more impressed I am.)

Her latest poetry collection

This collection is divided into five sections, each section untitled, but definitely grouped. Since many of her poems are lengthy and do not lend themselves to typing them, you will have to take my word that they are striking. Some are dark, something Atwood never shies away from, and some are about environmental concerns. This is not a collection to be taken lightly, but pondered upon and throughly digested, seeking the aftertaste of each poem. Often in the days between finishing the poems and today, a line, a phrase would surface in my mind, and I would wonder…and wonder.