Friday, March 27, 2015

March DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway


"Seasons" by SpecterCody

At the beginning of the month, Margarita Engle challenged us to write a tanka. She asked us to think of it as a travel diary in five lines (short, long, short, long, long), using fewer than 30 syllables.  Even if we chose to stay close to home, Margarita encouraged us to "seek the resonance that enters a poem only when it is touched by the stillness of nature."

It's my distinct pleasure to share with you the marvelous garden of poetry I received over the past four weeks.  For ease of reading, I've divided the tanka into groupings based on the four seasons. Admittedly, not all of the poems were conveniently compartmentalized – those found soil wherever I chose to plant them.

I hope you enjoy this celebration of the natural world around us. Thank you, Margarita, for the opportunity to gather so much beauty in one place.




All poems are copyright 2015, and published with permission of the authors, who control all rights.






SUMMER...

Yellow jacket warn.
Prickly pear bloom fruity barb.
Will me still.
Bird sing behind red wing.
I am listening.

~ NoNieqa Ramos

                                                  Nighttime

                                                  Chiming crickets
                                                  Chatter after natures
                                                  Crying jag, earths perfumed
                                                  Scent drifts from saturated clay
                                                  Into my spirit.

                                                  ~ Charles Waters

                                                                                                         Fireflies hover in
                                                                                                         Summer, mirroring Obon’s
                                                                                                         Boats with lanterns on
                                                                                                         Their sterns, carrying the light
                                                                                                         Of ancestors to heaven.

                                                                                                         ~ Jayne Moraski
Fluctuating Flight

Legs and wings flailing,
the crane fly hovers spasticly
​in my air space.
Its erratic flight pattern
causes me turbulence.

~ Bridget Magee

                                                  Relocation Service

                                                  Wiggling through dirt
                                                  squiggling past roots and rocks
                                                  seeking the best rot
                                                  captured by small hands caressed
                                                  and carried to distant berms.

                                                  ~ Maria Marshall

                                                                                                       Embrace puppy face.
                                                                                                       Wet kiss, soft snuggly warm snout.
                                                                                                       World an adventure –
                                                                                                       First sip from a bowl – play time.
                                                                                                       Dunks face, paw, and then all in!

                                                                                                       ~ Leane Gill
At the water’s edge
gulls screech at my invasion,
skitter-scatter ;
only the waves, dauntless,
whisper closer in welcome.

~ Keri Collins Lewis

                                                  Wet mounds form turrets.
                                                  Set back from incoming waves.​​
                                                  Sand castle haven –​​​
                                                  Waves wash our troubles–playtime.​​
                                                  Driftwood drawbridge connects us.​

                                                  ~ Leane Gill

                                                                                                         Orange and red sky,
                                                                                                         Ball of gold sun horizon.
                                                                                                         I watch from window.
                                                                                                         Day’s end brings comfort to me.
                                                                                                         Time to eat, relax, and sleep.

                                                                                                         ~ Leane Gill 
AUTUMN...

Autumn Tanka

chilled winds chase summer
horsetail clouds etch azure skies
showy leaves float free
chevrons of geese sail above
winter knocks at the window

~ Rosi Hollinbeck

                                                  Still as a statue
                                                  keen eyes scan the field below,
                                                  spot a flash of gray.
                                                  Swooping down on silent wings,
                                                  red-tailed hawk scoops up breakfast.

                                                  ~ Catherine Flynn

                                                                                                     Invasion

                                                                                                     "TINK" on the fireplace
                                                                                                     lured me to the living room
                                                                                                     glass vase overturned
                                                                                                     horrified to spy possum
                                                                                                     boldly invading my space

                                                                                                     made a barricade
                                                                                                     broom thrust into hissing face
                                                                                                     frightful bared teeth
                                                                                                     no room here for both of us
                                                                                                     trespasser ushered outside

                                                                                                     ~ Kristi Dee Veitenheimer
Kicking flakes of soil
Startled by a stirring noise
A black horse swished by
On his way out of the barn
Kitten munching on some grain

~ Robyn Campbell
                                                                 Ireland

                                                                 Patchwork of verdant
                                                                 fields speckled with cows and sheep,
                                                                 Ancients stones whisper
                                                                 legends behind castle walls,
                                                                 Winds etch cliffs covered in time.

                                                                 ~ Kathleen Mazurowski

WINTER...



Snow day, a home day.
Facebook travels fail
my bucket list dreamings
of treks through mountain forests,
Swims through blue green waters.

~ Linda Mitchell

                                                  City Snowfall

                                                  Loud, yellow plow trucks
                                                  push new snow aside, away,
                                                  for slow-moving cars
                                                  that carefully watch us slide
                                                  cheering, down the dirty mounds.

                                                  ~ Matt Forrest Esenwine

                                                                                                    By the Christmas tree
                                                                                                    a shiny yellow dump truck
                                                                                                    with wheels the size of
                                                                                                    saucers, wrapped in a huge red bow,
                                                                                                    waits for the boy’s shouts of joy.

                                                                                                    ~ Catherine Flynn




robin lingers
-feathers tremble in the breeze-
soaks in sun’s rays,
holds tight the winter-dried stalk.
flies home, carpentry needed

~ Linda Baie

                                                  her ashes in a box
                                                  on the passenger seat
                                                  late winter sun
                                                  the ground and I will thaw
                                                  when the time is right

                                                  ~ Diane Mayr
 

SPRING...
 
The chill says "morning,"
says "alive" as layers of light
unfurl for crows overhead
they call, respond --
they know where they're going.

~ Tabatha Yeatts

                                                  Sun overlooks
                                                  blessing a lonely smoke stack.
                                                  Coulee wildflowers
                                                  preach yellow sonnets
                                                  while moon graces morning clouds.

                                                  ~ Margaret Simon

                                                                                                             Amidst a dry March,
                                                                                                             this misty California
                                                                                                             morning turned rainy.
                                                                                                             I turn around to find a
                                                                                                             rainbow, smiling upside-down.

                                                                                                             ~ Karin Fisher-Golton






Feeling inspired?

You have until Tuesday, March 31st, to send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.


Participants in this month's challenge will be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of Margarita Engle's delightful picture book, ORANGUTANKA. (One entry per participant, not per poem.)

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below.  If you contribute a poem and comment below you will earn two entries in total. Comments must also be received by Tuesday, March 31st.

The winner will be determined by Random.org and announced next Friday, April 3rd, when we reveal our new Spotlight ON interview and ditty challenge. Good luck!


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THANK YOU to all of you who voted for my third round poem, "The Cloud Weavers" in March Madness. Alas, it did not survive Medusa's stony glare, but the good news is TLD contributors Renée LaTulippe and Buffy Silverman are still in the running!  We're down to the "Final Four" poets now, all of whom are excellent, so be sure to follow along at Think Kid Think and cast your votes for your favorite poems in the final two rounds.


I can't tell you what a joy it's been leafing through my copy of the PFA for CELEBRATIONS and how PROUD I am to be a part of it! (I have poems for World Thinking Day and World Red Cross Day.) This baby is not only sweet, but smart too – fully bilingual in fact. And have you checked out all the fun monthly activities on the "Poetry Celebrations" website?  Both the Teacher/Librarian and Student editions are now available for purchase. Teacher/Librarian Edition: on Amazon or QEP Books. Student Edition: on Amazon or call QEP at 800-323-6787.



The talented Jone Rush MacCulloch is our host this week for the Poetry Friday roundup.  I suggest you Check It Out!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

DMC: "Narcissus" by Michelle Kogan






Poem and illustration © 2015 Michelle Kogan. 
All rights reserved.


Margarita Engle has challenged us to write a tanka this month. She suggests we think of it as a five-line travel diary about a subject of our choice. Click HERE for more details.

Send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration TOMORROW, March 27th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Margarita's delightful new picture book:





Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DMC: "her ashes in a box" by Diane Mayr





her ashes in a box
on the passenger seat
late winter sun
the ground and I will thaw
when the time is right


© 2015 Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.


Margarita Engle has challenged us to write a tanka this month. She suggests we think of it as a five-line travel diary about a subject of our choice. Click HERE for more details.

Send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, March 27th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Margarita's delightful new picture book:





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DMC: "Autumn Tanka" by Rosi Hollinbeck





Autumn Tanka

chilled winds chase summer
horsetail clouds etch azure skies
showy leaves float free
chevrons of geese sail above
winter knocks at the window


© 2015 Rosi Hollinbeck. All rights reserved.


Margarita Engle has challenged us to write a tanka this month. She suggests we think of it as a five-line travel diary about a subject of our choice. Click HERE for more details.

Send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, March 27th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Margarita's delightful new picture book:





Monday, March 23, 2015

DMC: "The chill says 'morning'" by Tabatha Yeatts





The chill says "morning,"
says "alive" as layers of light
unfurl for crows overhead
they call, respond --
they know where they're going. 


© 2015 Tabatha Yeatts. All rights reserved.


Margarita Engle has challenged us to write a tanka this month. She suggests we think of it as a five-line travel diary about a subject of our choice. Click HERE for more details.

Send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, March 27th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Margarita's delightful new picture book:





Thursday, March 19, 2015

Laura Shovan: List Poem Workshop


Carissa Rogers, Flickr Creative Commons

Things to celebrate today:
  • Poetry Friday
  • The first day of Spring
  • March Madness, Round Three
  • TLD contributer, Laura Shovan, is back with another terrific post about bringing poetry into the classroom – YIPPEE!

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Thanks for inviting me back to Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle.

I am developing a new poetry workshop for elementary schoolers: list poems. Today, I’d like to take you through the steps of how I create a poetry workshop for young writers.

When I’m putting together a new poetry session, my first task is to read and research poems. I am rereading an anthology of list poems for children, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE, A BOOK OF LIST POEMS, edited by Georgia Heard (Roaring Brook Press, 2009). As I read, I note poems I think the students will enjoy. Since this is an elementary workshop, I also look for poems that have an easy-to-follow structure, ones that students can model their own writing on.

I begin to think about the writing skills I hope to target. For elementary schoolers, I usually focus on one or two writing techniques in a lesson. In this workshop, I’m going to highlight sensory detail and imagery. (My favorite poems from FALLING DOWN THE PAGE are ones that include specific examples.) The second skill I want students to work on is ordering their lists.

This is the heart of the workshop. When we get an idea for a poem, we might brainstorm first. But what do we do with all of the thoughts, phrases, and jotted words? How does that material transform from notes on a page into a poem? Just like a to-do list, the key to a great list poem is how the details are prioritized. If we describe images and examples in a random order, we have little more than a list. But if we give care to the order of these items, that’s when a poem is born, whether it’s in the form of a list or not.

In particular, I plan to emphasize the importance of a poem’s closing lines.  Writers might want to save the best for last—choosing a cool idea or including a surprise in the poem’s finale. This leaves the reader with something to think about.

Let’s look at a model. Here is Heidi Stemple’s list poem from FALLING DOWN THE PAGE, “Under My Bed” (used by permission):

UNDER MY BED
By Heidi Stemple

Under my bed
a party rocks
with dust bunnies and unmatched socks.

The guests line up
to do-si-do
Two by two and heel to toe—

A stuffed brown bear
with a missing ear,
a mitten knit with
a red reindeer.

A shoestring,
and a candy cane,
my sweater with the grape juice stain.

My favorite blanket
I thought I lost
and a sneaker that I must have tossed.

The book I was reading
but didn’t like
and the seat from my cousin’s ten-speed bike.

And, though my guests have had lots of fun,
it’s cleaning day—
this party’s done!

© Heidi Stemple, 2009
This poem is used with permission of the author and may not be further reprinted except with her expressed permission.

After I read this poem to students, I’ll ask them to point out favorite lines. We’ll also look for the items on the list that seem important to the speaker. We might discuss what we know or can guess about this person based on the things under her bed. (Does she have a sweet tooth? Maybe he seems forgetful.)

We’ll spend some time looking at the way the final stanza closes the poem. The reader gets a little surprise: Why has the speaker been cataloguing what’s under his bed? Because he’s cleaning!

Older writers will feel comfortable generating topics for their own list poems. I like to give elementary schoolers a little more structure. Using Heidi’s poem as a model, I’ll suggest the theme: “In This Place, You Will Find.”

This could be:
•    Found in my desk
•    Hiding under my bed
•    In the refrigerator
•    In my room
•    My back yard or garage
•    The craft drawer or the junk drawer
•    A neighborhood walk
I like this topic because it’s concrete, but students can choose something that suits their own lives and interests. There are other poems in FALLING DOWN THE PAGE that fit the “In This Place, You Will Find” theme, including “Lost and Finds” and “Walking Home from School I See” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

When I’m teaching poetry, I like to write a group poem at the board, with contributions from the whole class (if there’s time!). This allows me to model the writing process, which will include these steps:
1.    Choose a list poem topic
2.    Brainstorm items for my list
3.    Decide on an order – save something important or surprising for last
4.    Write a first draft
5.    Share
I’m not teaching the list poem workshop until April, when I will be in residence at Northfield Elementary. Be sure to visit my arts education blog, Author Amok, where I’ll have student list poems from this lesson. As always, after running the list poem workshop with the Northfield third graders, I’ll have lots of ideas about how to improve this session!

I’d like to send a big thank you to Heidi Stemple for giving me special permission to post her poem, “Under My Bed.” And thanks, Michelle, for hosting me today!


Laura Shovan is poetry editor for the literary journal Little Patuxent Review and of two poetry anthologies. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. She works with young poets as a Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence. Her debut novel-in-verse for children, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, will be published in spring of 2016 (Wendy Lamb Books). Laura blogs about arts education at AuthorAmok.


Read Laura's other posts on Today's Little Ditty:

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Before I send you off on your Poetry Friday rounds, just a reminder that next Friday, March 27th, will be the end-of-month wrap-up celebration for Margarita Engle's DMC challenge.  If you haven't sent in your tanka yet, this would be a good time to do so!  This week we were treated to poems by Linda Mitchell, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Leane Gill, and Kristi Dee Veitenheimer.

Also, I've been having a blast with #MMPoetry, and can't thank you enough for all the votes and other kind support that have carried me this far!  I'm quite proud of my Round Three poem and hope you will take a look at my match up with Randi Sonenshine (who also wrote a killer poem). If you're reading this on Friday, VOTING IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY! Please vote for your favorite poem, regardless of the poet's name attached to it.

And finally, the winner of last week's giveaway: JONE MACCULLOCH! Congratulations, Jone, on winning a copy of TOASTS: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion, edited by June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by the generous and talented Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core.


DMC: "Invasion" by Kristi Veitenheimer





Invasion

"TINK" on the fireplace
lured me to the living room
glass vase overturned
horrified to spy possum
boldly invading my space


When Kristi first sent this in, I told her I needed to know how the story ends.  
How thoughtful of her to send in this tanka sequel:

made a barricade
broom thrust into hissing face
frightful bared teeth
no room here for both of us
trespasser ushered outside


© 2015 Kristi Dee Veitenheimer. All rights reserved.


Margarita Engle has challenged us to write a tanka this month. She suggests we think of it as a five-line travel diary about a subject of our choice. Click HERE for more details.

Send your tanka to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on March 27th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Margarita's delightful new picture book: