Monday, February 24, 2020

DMC: "Maltese at Six O'Clock" by Mindy Gars Dolandis




MALTESE AT SIX O'CLOCK

Beneath a sun-peaching sky
mini Marshmallow stroll-patroller
surveys his territory
yippy-yapping at all trespassers
secures dominion over
his home, yard, and grass-kissed sidewalk
           
© 2020 by Mindy Gars Dolandis. All rights reserved.



Buffy Silverman has challenged us to write a poem that uses combined or invented words. Click HERE for more details and to read this month's Spotlight ON interview.

Post your poem on our February 2020 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, February 28th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her nonfiction poetry picture book from Millbrook Press:






Thursday, February 20, 2020

Classroom Connections Encore! with Patrice Vecchione



Last Friday was an important day in the kidlit blogging community—the 2019 CYBILS (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) winners were announced

For the poetry category, selection committee members were faced with the nearly impossible task of judging poetry collections for young children alongside edgy young adult verse novels. Not fair at all. But on the bright side, the finalists for this category were all well-deserving:

  • Shout, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Two of these finalists were featured last year on Today's Little Ditty—Soccerverse and Ink Knows No Borders. I would have been thrilled if either of them won the CYBILS award for poetry, and wouldn't you know, one of them did!


 
to Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond 
for Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Because of the recent recognition, I thought it might be a good time to republish my interview with Patrice Vecchione about how Ink Knows No Borders can be used in the classroom. (You can find Elizabeth Steinglass's Classroom Connections interview HERE.)




TODAY'S READ

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond, Editors

Triangle Square/Seven Stories Press (March 12, 2019)
ISBN: 978-1609809072

For high school and up

Purchase at Amazon.com
Purchase at Barnes & Noble
Purchase via Indiebound.org





SYNOPSIS

A collection of sixty-four poems by contemporary poets who come from around the world that shares the experience of first- and second-generation young adult immigrants and refugees. Whether it’s cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, racism, stereotyping, or questions of identity, the Dreamers, immigrants, and refugee poets included here encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, offering empathy and hope. Many of the struggles described are faced by young people everywhere: isolation, self-doubt, confusion, and emotional dislocation. But also joy, discovery, safety, and family.

Contributors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Samira Ahmed, Kaveh Akbar, Eavan Boland, Chen Chen, Safia Elhillo, Martín Espada, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Joseph O. Legaspi, Ada Limón, Emtithal Mahmoud, Bao Phi, Alberto Ríos, Erika L. Sánchez, Gary Soto, Chrysanthemum Tran, Ocean Vuong, Javier Zamora . . . and many others.


A PEEK INSIDE

self-portrait with no flag

i pledge allegiance to my
homies      to my mother’s
small & cool palms     to
the gap between my brother’s
two front teeth      & to
my grandmother’s good brown
hands       good strong brown
hands gathering my bare feet
in her lap

i pledge allegiance    to the
group text      i pledge allegiance
to laughter & to all the boys
i have a crush on      i pledge
allegiance to my spearmint plant
to my split ends      to my grandfather’s
brain & gray left eye

i come from two failed countries
& i give them back      i pledge
allegiance to no land    no border
cut by force to draw blood    i pledge
allegiance to no government    no
collection of white men carving up
the map with their pens

i choose the table at the waffle house
with all my loved ones crowded
into the booth     i choose the shining
dark of our faces through a thin sheet
of smoke     glowing dark of our faces
slick under layers of sweat     i choose
the world we make with our living
refusing to be unmade by what surrounds
us      i choose us gathered at the lakeside
the light glinting off the water & our
laughing teeth     & along the living
dark of our hair    & this is my only country

  - by Safia Elhillo


© 2019, from Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience (Triangle Square). Used by permission.


ABOUT THE EDITOR


Poet, nonfiction writer, educator and artist Patrice Vecchione has edited several highly acclaimed anthologies for children, young adults and adults including (Henry Holt) Truth & Life, which was named one of the best children’s books by School Library Journal and Faith & Doubt, named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. She’s the author of Writing and the Spiritual Life (McGraw-Hill) and Step into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life (Beyond Words/Atria), as well as two collections of poetry. For many years, Patrice has taught poetry and creative writing to young people through her program: "The Heart of the Word: Poetry & the Imagination.” She is also a columnist for her local daily paper, the Monterey Herald, and has published essays on children and poetry. About her, Adrienne Rich said, “Patrice Vecchione is one of those steady yet vibrant, serious and passionate temperaments who continually replenish our sense of communal creativity. In my country of possibility, she and people like her would be nationally honored figures.”


CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS

Why is bringing poetry into the classroom important?

Poetry is nearly another language within any language—it welcomes contradictions, partial thoughts, phrases instead of whole sentences; it asks questions and doesn’t need an answer. Poems welcome our confusion and tawdriness, our elation and despair. They are accepting of lies as well as truths. You can take liberty with language when writing a poem and embrace a sense of freedom. Through writing poems you’ll discover you know more than you knew you knew! Poems can show us the essence of a people, the heart of the matter unlike any other form of written expression. Not only is poetry important in the classroom but bringing professional poets is, so that students may interact with people who live their life by this art form, who love language and thrive on creating poems out of it.

How might your book be incorporated into an educational curriculum?

View (and download) the curriculum guide HERE.

Can you suggest a specific classroom exercise related to your book?

Read Safia Elhillo’s poem above, “self-portrait with no flag,” and consider what you pledge your allegiance to. Another word for “allegiance" is “loyalty.” To what are you loyal? What and who do you choose? What country is your “only country”?

What is a simple, practical tip for teachers when it comes to incorporating poetry in the classroom?

When it comes to poetry, there is never a single “right answer.” There are only many “write answers.”

Can you recount a specific instance of when poetry impacted a student or group of students in a positive way?

There’s a look that’s come over a student, a look to which I devote my life, when a kid is staring off into the middle distance, watching, as it were, for the words to arrive, and then the light turns on, and it’s visible. The head bows down to the paper and the pen takes off at high-speed. When a student finds their own answer to one of life’s minor or major conundrums or is inspired to write as they never have been, oh, now that’s something!


CONNECT WITH PATRICE VECCHIONE

Website: patricevecchione.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatriceVecchioneAuthor/
Twitter: @VecchioneAuthor
Instagram: patricevecchione

Look for My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice: A Guide to Writing Poetry and Speaking Your Truth (Seven Stories Press) in spring of 2020.


UPDATE: My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice will be released on March 31st, but is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble


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


I know February is the shortest month, but this is ridiculous! There's only one week left to go before our wrap-up celebration for Buffy Silverman's DMC challenge. Have you posted your word invention poem on the padlet yet? This week's featured daily ditties were by Cindy Breedlove, Rebekah Hoeft, and B.J. Lee.

Join Cheriee Weichel at Library Matters for this week's Poetry Friday roundup and a wonderful interview with Avis Harley. It's the second in Cheriee's series of interviews with Vancouver children's poets.

DMC: "Coot-Spooky" by B.J. Lee




COOT-SPOOKY

A moss-hung bayou
has a coot-spooky feel.

It's a gator-gliding,
limpkin-screaming,
cypress-kneeling deal,

where snakes a-sliding,
raptors hiding
give it squeal appeal.

© 2020 by B.J. Lee. All rights reserved.



Kylen Louanne


Buffy Silverman has challenged us to write a poem that uses combined or invented words. Click HERE for more details and to read this month's Spotlight ON interview.

Post your poem on our February 2020 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, February 28th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her nonfiction poetry picture book from Millbrook Press:






Wednesday, February 19, 2020

DMC: "Winter Walking" by Rebekah Hoeft




WINTER WALKING

On winter walks
on crisp cold mornings
my favorite part
of frozen gravel paths
is finding
rumpled edges
and shallow ditches
where skims of
clouded ice
hang waiting for
my ice-searching
puddle-crunching
foot to
smash crash crinkle crackle crunch through
to the hollow space beneath.

© 2020 by Rebekah Hoeft. All rights reserved.



Image by Rene Schue from Pixabay


Buffy Silverman has challenged us to write a poem that uses combined or invented words. Click HERE for more details and to read this month's Spotlight ON interview.

Post your poem on our February 2020 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, February 28th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her nonfiction poetry picture book from Millbrook Press:






Tuesday, February 18, 2020

DMC: "In a White Kingdom" by Cindy Breedlove




IN A WHITE KINGDOM

A tree-sparkling palace
was built overnight.
So armed with my camera
I took in the sight.
Booted and bundled,
snow-crunching my way,
I captured the beauty
God sent me that day.

© 2020 by Cindy Breedlove. All rights reserved.



Cindy Breedlove


Buffy Silverman has challenged us to write a poem that uses combined or invented words. Click HERE for more details and to read this month's Spotlight ON interview.

Post your poem on our February 2020 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, February 28th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of her nonfiction poetry picture book from Millbrook Press:






Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Musing: Presidents' Day



President Barack Obama greets a young visitor in the Oval Office,
Feb. 5, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Associate yourself with men of good quality 
if you esteem your own reputation; 
for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.

– George Washington



Thursday, February 13, 2020

DMC: "A Springtime Affair" by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes


T.Kiya


In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I might try a love poem for Buffy Silverman's challenge. It's not a typical love poem, perhaps, but I've learned it's best to let my muse have her way.


A SPRINGTIME AFFAIR

Nature and I have an understanding.
She goes about her day—
          bees pollen-bobbing for their deliveries
          clouds sky-surfing at high tide
          roses petal-kissing on the bush I neglected to trim last season
And I pretend to go about mine—
          words clinging to the page
          like Spanish moss on blossom-ready branches
          holding on to hope despite a stiff, chilling breeze.

© 2020 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


I shared another poem about a chance springtime rendezvous this past Monday. It's well worth a read if you missed it.


Buffy Silverman has challenged us to write a poem that uses combined or invented words. Click HERE for more details and to read this month's Spotlight ON interview. Our featured daily ditties this week included poems by 4th grader Breighlynn, Tabatha Yeatts, and Janice Scully. All poems on our February 2020 padlet will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, February 28th. One lucky participant will win a personalized copy of On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring (Millbrook Press, 2020).
Linda Baie is our Poetry Friday roundup matchmaker today. You'll find love poems (and other offerings) at TeacherDance—take one home that touches your heart.