Thursday, April 23, 2015

April DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway


EDMUND CLERIHEW BENTLEY (1875-1956)

Oops.  Looks like someone forgot their party hat.

Despite the austere expression, I'm quite sure that English novelist and humorist E. C. Bentley would have approved of today's DMC celebration.  At the beginning of this month, Kwame Alexander challenged us to "pick a celebrity and write a clerihew" – a form invented by E. C. Bentley in the late 19th century.

For many of us, it was our first time writing a clerihew. For me, it won't be the last. This fun exercise resulted in plenty of smiles, a few giggles, and a whole lot of head-nodding. I also discovered that we're a considerate bunch of writerly folks, since the majority of participants took this opportunity to pay tribute to, rather than poke fun at, our chosen subjects.

We'll have to work on that.

Many thanks to Kwame for helping us celebrate 
National Poetry Month and for inspiring us to try something new! 

Without further ado, here are the Ditty of the Month Club clerihews. Enjoy!




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



Celebrating Kwame Alexander...

When I think of the newest Newbery Kwame Alexander
I remember sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,
Women aren't the only ones who love romance and mo',
Real men eat poetry for breakfast, so let the words go!

–Brenda Harsham

                              Kwame is the current word weaver king,
                              spreading "the love" that language will bring.
                              As poet extraordinaire, family man, and spaghetti lover,
                              he tells great tales, but from his little one runs for cover.

                              – Carol Varsalona

                                                            Kwame Alexander wrote a book in poetry,
                                                            THE CROSSOVER won the Newbery,
                                                            and he will hit you with his purse
                                                            if you fail to call it a NOVEL in verse.

                                                            – Joy Acey

                                                                                          Kwame Alexander is Da Man!
                                                                                          I am now his number one fan.
                                                                                          The CROSSOVER, a book of great means,
                                                                                          And a bridge from poetry to teens.

                                                                                          – Angie Karcher

and other masters of poetry.

               Issa hailed from old Japan
               a poet and a simple man.
               On family he could not depend
               so flea or fly became a friend.

               – Diane Mayr
               *A fabulous illustrated version can be found at Random Noodling.


                                                       EDGAR ALLAN POE
                                                            by Lana Wayne Koehler

                                                       Edgar Allan Poe
                                                       His mysterious death apropos
                                                       He wrote of a Raven and wrote about crime
                                                       And totally rhymed sublime


Paying tribute to Today's Little Ditty...

MS. BARNES
     by Mindy Gars Dolandis

Hats off to our fearless leader Michelle
For featuring poets who write very well
And allowing us others to pen something pretty
For her wonderful website, Today's Little Ditty


                                        Michelle Heidenrich Barnes loves children's poetry
                                        at Today's Little Ditty you can read it for free.
                                        It's where she posts challenges, and if you hustle
                                        you'll be able to stretch your poetry muscle.

                                        – Joy Acey


and a few more familiar faces.

               Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong:

                              Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong compile anthologies for fun.
                              Pomelo Books'  Poetry Friday Anthologies are for everyone.
                              Giving poetry and children, firm foundations
                              their latest book is for CELEBRATIONS.

                              – Joy Acey

               Renée M. LaTulippe:

                              I want to sing verse like Renée
                              she treats you to a lyrical buffet
                              her poetry's a golden chain
                              in relation mine gives tummy pain.

                              – Robyn Campbell

               Susanna Leonard Hill:

                              An author named Susanna Hill,
                              who writes perfect picture books still,
                              parties and drinks eggnog
                              with Phyllis the groundhog.

                              – Kristi Dee Veitenheimer


Recognizing our favorite entertainers...

FOR THIS LADY, A CLERIHEW DEBUT
     by Linda Baie

Listen! Announcing that Lady called Gaga
whose trade clothes fill scenes of an ongoing saga.
Yet who cares what she wears when she sings us a tune?
for that’s when she makes us fall into a swoon.


                              THE ADVICE OF SPIKE
                                   by Charles Waters

                              Spike Lee sits next to me
                              Arms crossed, sad as can be,
                              He begs me, “Please, do the right thing
                              Never again attempt trying to sing.”


                                                             THE PERFECT WIFE AND MOTHER
                                                                  by LeeAnn Blankenship

                                                              In the 50's we learned the ideal was June Cleaver,
                                                              But she was a fake, an over-achiever;
                                                              I'll bet she has changed, put her past on the shelf,
                                                              Now saying at mealtime, "Just fix it yourself!"


                               ROBIN WILLIAMS
                                    by Danielle Hammelef

                               Robin Williams, you made me laugh.
                               I wanted to be Mindy, your earthling half.
                               Good Morning, Vietnam woke the world to your gift.
                               And Euphegenia Doubtfire gave the world a face lift.


politicians, and royals.

               HILLARY'S RUNNING AGAIN...
                    by Michelle Kogan

               Hillary Rodham Clinton’s running again...
               But this time, her motherhood’s a ticket for men.
               How far will she run, how fair, how long...
               Will a lullaby bring her a victory song?


                                             WIFE #2
                                                  by LeeAnn Blankenship

                                             A charming, ambitious, and sly Ann Boleyn
                                             Enticed a great King with a glance and a grin,
                                             But once she was Queen, her Sovereign had said,
                                             "If she bears me no sons, then OFF WITH HER HEAD!"


Appreciating scientists and inventors...

A STAR AMONG STARS
     by Tabatha Yeatts

Cecilia Payne
had a wonderfilled brain.
She ascertained the element
hydrogen was prevalent.

* Read more about Cecilia Payne.


                             MR. FRANKLIN
                                   by Mindy Gars Dolandis

                              Perhaps he was a bit crazy, old Ben
                              Conducting one of his experiments again
                              But his brilliant findings could not be disputed
                              It's a good thing he wasn't electrocuted


                                                            ELIZABETH ENVIRONMENTALIST KOLBERT
                                                                  by Michelle Kogan

                                                            Elizabeth Kolbert has men’s shirttails all a tither,
                                                            cause her Sixth Extinction book makes them quiver.
                                                            If this extinction’s an unnatural history...
                                                            Straighten those shirttails and  protect earth’s destiny.


                                                                                           Super smart Francis Crick
                                                                                           never missed a mathematical trick.
                                                                                           Tall and thin, a true British highbrow,
                                                                                           in possession of the most epic eyebrows.

                                                                                           – Loree Griffin Burns
                                                                                           * You can see his epic eyebrows here.

adventurers...

               LADY LINDY
                    by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

               Amelia Earhart, aviator,
               lived for now instead of later.
               Told that girls were not robust,
               she up and left them in her dust.


                                             SUPERHERO SNAG
                                                  by Leane Gill

                                             Dear Spider-Man and Superman, I see plenty of trouble.
                                             The fact your names both end in "man" needs fixing on the double.
                                             I know plenty of girls at school who like to fight crime too.
                                             And thinking it's just for boys-really makes us blue.


and anyone else who tickles our fancies.

                              MAN IN THE MOON
                                   by Rosi Hollinbeck

                              I’m Man in the Moon,
                              not some bad cartoon!
                              My crescent
                              is a shimmery pearlescent.


                                                            A skunk dined on grubs outside my front door.
                                                            When I thought it was done, it gobbled up more.
                                                            I waited 'til dawn in my living room,
                                                            Not wanting to risk wearing polecat perfume.

                                                            – Danielle Hammelef

               Edward Snowden
               Rolled the dice & passed Go, then
               Landed on NSA utilities
               And had to pay ten times over for his abilities.

               – Julie Larios


Looks like fun, doesn't it? 
Who would you choose to write about?


Well, hop to it!  April's not over yet. 

If you'd still like to try your hand at writing a clerihew, you can find all the details HERE. Send it to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.  I will continue to add poems to this wrap-up post until Thursday, April 30th at 5:00 pm (ET).



Participants in this month's challenge will be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of Kwame Alexander's 2015 Newbery winner THE CROSSOVER, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (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 Thursday, April 30th at 5:00 pm (ET).

The winner will be determined by Random.org and announced next Friday, May 1st, when we reveal our new Spotlight ON interview and ditty challenge.

Good luck!



Where did April go in such a hurry?  The last Poetry Friday roundup of National Poetry Month is being hosted by the lovely and lyrical Renée LaTulippe at No Water River.  See you there!




DMC: "Edgar Allan Poe" by Lana Wayne Koehler




EDGAR ALLAN POE

Edgar Allan Poe
His mysterious death apropos
He wrote of a Raven and wrote about crime
And totally rhymed sublime


© 2015 Lana Wayne Koehler. All rights reserved.


Kwame Alexander has challenged us to write a clerihew this month. What's a clerihew, you ask? Click HERE for details.

Send your funny four-liner 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, April 24th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.





Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DMC: "Hillary's Running Again..." by Michelle Kogan





HILLARY'S RUNNING AGAIN...

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s running again...
But this time, her motherhood’s a ticket for men.
How far will she run, how fair, how long...
Will a lullaby bring her a victory song?


© 2015 Michelle Kogan. All rights reserved.


Kwame Alexander has challenged us to write a clerihew this month. What's a clerihew, you ask? Click HERE for details.

Send your funny four-liner 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, April 24th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.






Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DMC: "Issa hailed from old Japan" by Diane Mayr





Issa hailed from old Japan
a poet and a simple man.
On family he could not depend
so flea or fly became a friend.


© 2015 Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.


Kwame Alexander has challenged us to write a clerihew this month. What's a clerihew, you ask? Click HERE for details.

Send your funny four-liner 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, April 24th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.






Monday, April 20, 2015

DMC: "Mr. Franklin" by Mindy Gars Dolandis




MR. FRANKLIN

Perhaps he was a bit crazy, old Ben
Conducting one of his experiments again
But his brilliant findings could not be disputed
It's a good thing he wasn't electrocuted

© 2015 Mindy Gars Dolandis. All rights reserved.



Kwame Alexander has challenged us to write a clerihew this month. What's a clerihew, you ask? Click HERE for details.

Send your funny four-liner 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, April 24th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.



 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Renée M. LaTulippe: What Dodo Birds Can Teach Us about Meter


Dodo head by Cornelius Saftleven, public domain
Source: Wikimedia

Confession: sometimes when I read my first drafts, I feel like a big ol' dodohead.

If that's true for you, too, you might feel better after reading today's post by TLD Contributor Renée LaTulippe.

Take it from Robyn Campbell:

I want to sing verse like Renée
she treats you to a lyrical buffet
her poetry's a golden chain
in relation mine gives tummy pain.

© 2015 Robyn Campbell. All rights reserved.

                                                                                                                       * Surprise, Renée! *

Yes, there IS a clerihew for every occasion!
Believe it or not, our Ditty of the Month Club wrap-up is NEXT FRIDAY. Let's see if we can knock Kwame Alexander's socks off.  You can find details on how to participate HERE. Our featured clerihews this week were by LeeAnn Blankenship, Tabatha Yeatts, Rosi Hollinbeck, and yours truly.

Now, about those dodo birds.... 


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


What Dodo Birds Can Teach Us about Meter

One of the questions I’m often asked by students is whether monosyllabic words can be either stressed or unstressed in a line of verse.

That one is easy to answer: yes. 

All words have ONE primary stressed syllable. Look at these words:

PAN-cakes           re-VIEW           hi-BIS-cus         CON-tra-ry

If that is so, and it is, then it stands to reason that monosyllabic words consist of one stressed syllable. But when put into a line of metered verse, the placement will decide whether the word is stressed or unstressed within the context of the line.

Let’s take the word baked and see how the stress changes when used in different positions in the same meter.

iambic:  
  • she BAKED a THOU-sand COOK-ies
  • she CAN’T bake ALL those COOK-ies

dactylic:
  • THOU-sands of COOK-ies baked OUT in the SUN
  • THOU-sands of COOK-ies have BAKED in the SUN  

You could continue this exercise for other meters, too.

The same is true for multisyllabic words: it all depends on position. Take the word never. All by itself, it is a trochaic word: NEV-er.

But in this dactylic line, it would work as two unstressed syllables:

BOB nev-er SAT on a TACK in his LIFE

Stressed syllables are just like real estate: location, location, location. The important thing is that you don't mess with the stress. That is, you don’t force a stress where it shouldn’t go, as in this iambic line:

will BOB sit ON a TACK? nev-ER!

We just can’t make people say nev-ER, and that’s that.

I’ve also had students think that if a word is naturally trochaic (or iambic, dactylic, anapestic), then it can only be used in that meter – so the word never could only be used in trochaic meter. As we see from the dactylic line above, this is not so. Location, location, location.

I’ll leave you with a few more examples of how a word or phrase can work in any meter if you get the placement just right. Please welcome my lovely assistant, the elusive dodo bird.

Here it is in dactyl form:

Frederick William Frohawk, 1905. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia

And here iambic:

Edwards' Dodo, Roelant Savery, 1626. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia

And here anapestic:

Frederick William Frohawk, 1907. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia

And here trochaic:

Hugh Edwin Strickland, 1848. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia

Give it a try!

Write a line of verse in each of the four major meters using one of the following words (or one of your own). Feel free to share your lines in the comments.

chocolate           sneeze               carousel               resent               bench


© 2015 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.

Read more of Renée's posts on Today's Little Ditty:

An editor and writer, Renée LaTulippe has co-authored nine early readers and a collection of poetry titled Lizard Lou: a collection of rhymes old and new (Moonbeam Children’s Book Award) and has poems in several editions of The Poetry Friday Anthology. She developed and teaches the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry and blogs on children’s poetry at NoWaterRiver.com.





Today's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by the fabulously talented Robyn Hood Black. (I wonder if she's ever had a dodohead moment?) You can find her at Life on the Deckle Edge.






Looking for creative ways to celebrate National Poetry Month? Jama Rattigan is your go-to for NPM festivites at Alphabet Soup.




DMC: "Man in the Moon" by Rosi Hollinbeck





MAN IN THE MOON

I’m Man in the Moon,
not some bad cartoon!
My crescent
is a shimmery pearlescent.

© 2015 Rosi Hollinbeck. All rights reserved.



Kwame Alexander has challenged us to write a clerihew this month. What's a clerihew, you ask? Click HERE for details.

Send your funny four-liner 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 Friday, April 24th. One lucky participant will win an autographed copy of THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.