NATIONAL POETRY MONTH CONTINUES

I have been seeking to post a poem a day, either on this blog or on Literacy and Me, often drawing from blogging friends who are also poets. Some are funny, some inspiring, and some are. very timely dealing with the coronavirus or our current isolation. Today’s poem is on the lighter side: a limerick.

This is a limerick I found back in the 70s in a student issue of Read Magazine put out by Scholastic. I don’t even know if that valuable teacher resource is available any more, but it was a lifesaver to use with my reluctant readers in both seventh and eighth grade. Here is one that “stuck with me,” and I used once when guest lecturing at a sister university:

“There once was a student named Esser,

Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.

It soon came to fall,

He knew nothing at all.

And now he’s a college professor!

This is by no means a put down of professors (I am one.). Instead it allows me to make the point that if we are not willing to poke fun at ourselves, we will “suffer the outrageous slings and arrows…” (to mangle Shakespeare) and we will be so stiff and uptight, taking things personally that we will be hurt and sometimes even damaged in the teaching profession. I learned in my first 18 years of teaching that junior high is “Put Down City,” and the students’ favorite target is the teacher. I remember as a young twenty-three year old, ten years older than my students, an eighth grade girl I had become close to (too close to–I didn’t know about the necessity of keeping one’s “professional distance” in those days) had shared crushes and problems at home, etc.  with me before and after class. I thought she liked me, but one day when I came into the class, she said in front of the class, “Mrs. L, does that lipstick glow in the dark?” The class had a good laugh at my expense. This is just an example of how peer pressure can cause students to make fun of even teachers they like.

I am blessed to have GenX’ers and Millennials this semester who are kinder and constantly reinforce my faith in the next stewards of our world. Many have reached out and asked how My Better Half and I have been doing and checking on us in general. It is heartening that I now have the kindness and respect I worked so hard to earn in my 51 years of classroom teaching. Hmmmmmm maybe I need to attempt a poem expressing my feelings about this. LOL

THURSDAY THOUGHTS

Today is day two of National Poetry Month. Here is today’s poem, another coffee poem, this time a parody:

STOPPING BY STARBUCKS ON A SNOWY EVENING (with apologies to Robert Frost)

by Paul Fisher

Whose beans these are I think I know.

They’re ground to brew and packed to go.

No one will see me stopping here.

To warm my gut with mugs of Joe.

 

The head barista’s feeling queer

From many shots of black liqueur.

She’s had much more than she can take

Of serving scones and coffee cake.

 

She gives her mocha hair a shake

To tell me there is no mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of credit cards and change she makes.

 

Her latte’s lovely, dark and deep,

But I have lines to rhyme, then break.

And miles to go before I wake,

And miles to go. before I wake.

 

I don’t know about you, but this little coffee parody has awakened me as I sip my second cup of java Joe.

An April Farewell

Farewell to April and National Poetry Month. My goals for the month were to do something related to poetry each day and to read Jen Payne’s Evidence of Flossing, an outstanding collection of poems accompanied by powerful, sometimes whimsical, always meaningful photos.

Technically, I did not completely accomplish either goal, for I did not “do something poetic” every day, nor did I finish Jen’s book.  Actually, I shall never be “finished” with that particular collection of poems. What I did do was:

  • Take free books of dinosaur poems (see post “HOORAY!!! National Poetry Month April 2019” on my blog ( http://literarylessons.wordpress.com ) to Mrs. V’s class at the school where I volunteer as the culmination of a lesson on dinosaurs.
  • Post a “Heads Up…” to alert readers to the beginning of National Poetry Month on PWR
  • Post on PWR important dates to observe literacy during the month (Killing Two Birds with One Stone)
  • Make my Thursday Thoughts post on PWR April 12th thoughts about poetry
  • Post on April 23rd “Continuing to Celebrate National Poetry Month”  on PWR
  • Place signs on my Little Free Library announcing April as National Poetry Month (I write “signs” because weather necessitated more than one sign, and one sign even had a rhinestone border!)
  • Friday, April 12th was my “Celebration of Literacy “event at our local library, complete with two free raffled Easter and Spring baskets; refreshments; and “stations” around the room. There were posters and sign up information for two book clubs in our town, a table on Literacy Projects where “customers” could watch one of my Advanced Writing students read to a kindergarten class via my laptop, and read about what they could do to advance literacy in our town.  We gave away about sixty books complete with tote bags to carry them in, then donated “leftovers” to the Alvin Library League to sell to supplement unbudgeted items for the library. Most importantly, I met and received contact numbers of some really nice people who expressed a love of books and reading.

I am still reading, meditating on and incorporating into my daily walk the poems in Jennifer A. Payne’s Evidence of Flossing. I leave it on the bedside table to pick up and read whenever I need soothing, comfort, or sometimes–a challenge.

I hope you enjoyed National Poetry Month, and I hope my personal celebration of it will be even more enjoyable. In the meantime, just keep reading–POETRY.

WORDS OF WISDOM WEDNESDAY: WORDS ON WRITING

These quotes about writing have come my way over time, and I wish to share them with my blogging friends.

“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under their skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities, and have them relate to other characters living within him.”   (Mel Brooks)

“Most people carry their demons around with them, buried down, deep inside. Writers wrestle their demons to the surface, fling them out on the page, then call them characters.”   (C.K. Webb)

“Writing, real writing should leave a small, sweet bruise somewhere on the writer … and also on the reader.” (Clarissa Pinkola Este, b.1945, American poet who often writes poems about women)

“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skill.” (Rod Serling, Twilight Zone)

And, finally, good advice for any writer, “The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”  (Henry Green, pseudonym, English author and novelist.)

KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE POST

I am killing two birds with one post this Wednesday morning, the third day of April, and mangling a metaphor as I do. Since I was too tired to post my usual Tuesday Teaser, I will do so now and also begin fulfilling a poetry goal for National Poetry Month. Reading a whole collection of poems is my wish, and I will choose my Tuesday Teaser from blogging friend, Jen Payne’s Evidence of Flossing.

Her introduction leads with a quote, “When we try to pick out anything by itself,

we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.-John Muir, July 27, 1869”

“In a dream once, I saw the fabric of the

Universe. It was clearly laid out in fine strands of

translucent white dots, as if one were standing

inside a room full of beaded curtains

 

In the first few moments after waking, I

understood clearly that everything is connected;

how, if I touched one of the rows of white dots,

that touch would reverberate along the whole

system of dots; if I breathed or sang or wept,

that too would make waves along those strands.

 

My understanding of all of that was as fleeting

as my ability to still my mind, as translucent as

my understanding of god.  And yet, the image

of those dots has remained for me a diverse

illustration of how it is.

 

Everything is connected.

 

Some of our basic tenets as humans remind us

of that: ‘for every action in nature there is an

equal and opposite reaction,’ and ‘as you did

it to the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me.’ ”

 

On the next page, the introduction continues with the Golden Rule and what the book is about: “Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is a book about starstuff…a series of poems…[that] ask the reader to deeply consider the effects of our actions and how they influence everything else in the Universe.  ”

THIS BOOK OF POETRY WILL BE A PLEASURE TO READ!

HEAD’S UP!! Tomorrow is the Beginning of NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

The month of April is National Poetry Month. I hope to do something each day to celebrate poetry. For information on how my students and I celebrated last April, use the search box to find last year’s PWR posts. I will review them myself in a few minutes and try to make this year’s celebrations even better.

Happy Reading!

 

 

READING OUTSIDE ONE’S USUAL GENRE’

Inspired by National Poetry Month, I have been reading more poetry than I have in many years. These few quotes about poetry are worth sharing:

“Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.”  Don Marquis, creator of Archie and Mehitibel

“Poetry comes fine, spun from a mind at peace.”  Ovid

“Poetry is the record of the best and happiest of the happiest and best of minds.”  Shelley, poet

“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty.”  Poe

Several books of poetry I have been reading from lately are:

Maya Angelou’s Give Me A Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie   Angelou has been my writing mentor/hero since the 70’s when I first became aware of her. I had the privilege of attending a reading of some of her poems around the 80’s and she was such a commanding personage and had such “stage presence she kept a huge ballroom of attendees in the palm of her hand, as her powerful voice and stature made every individual there that night feel as if she were speaking just to them.

Poetic Rituals by blogging friend Ritu at “But I Smile Anyway”  Her posts, especially her “Spidey Sundays” thoughts on quotes are inspiring and help me get through the week.

Colin Chappell’s Just Thinking, written to help with medical expenses of his daughter, another blogging friend from “A Dog’s Life” who also has written Ray’s (his dog’s) story (from both Colin and Ray’s point of view) in his book Who Said I Was Up for Adoption?

A recent purchase from Jennifer Payne, another fellow blogger, Evidence of Flossing    I can hardly wait to start this photo/poetry project because it is a unique look at “What We Leave Behind.” Several of her poems have been featured on her blog, and I have been captivated by them. Now I own them myself in this collection.

Reading more poetry and purchasing a new poetry book plus reading one that has been on my TBR shelf for years have been two of my goals for celebrating National Poetry Month. Let’s hear what you plan to do to celebrate…write a poem? read more poetry? purchase a book of poems? THERE’S STILL TIME.