Monday, April 11, 2016

npm pmmu #11: fanfare for *The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary*!

Tomorrow is a very special day for my dear friend Laura Shovan...it's the birthday of her debut book The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary!  Laura has worked long and hard to get to this moment with many other poetic accomplishments along the way, but I think she might say that this book--conceived, developed, written, revised, agented, acquired, edited, marketed, listed and heralded everywhere already--is a Very Big Deal.

For the Poetry-Music Match-Up series I asked busy Laura to send me one poem from this novel-in-verse that would inspire a musical match-up.  Laura made an obvious choice!  It's in the voice of fifth-grader Ben Kidwell.

PERCUSSION POEM || Laura Shovan
Ben Kidwell


Every time
I try to write a poem,
the pencil goes
scritch a scratch.

My pencils
tick a tack
drumbeats
on my desk.

My feet boom
badoom the floor
like a heartbeat
always moving.

My words
take up a rhythm
like the wind
blowing outside.

Scritch a scratch
Tick a tack
Boom badoom
Outside outside

How can I write
when everything around
makes an interesting
sound?

It's not the first time this one poem has been matched to music, I recall.  Back in February, when she was making match-ups, Tabatha Yeatts got hold of "Percussion Poem" too.  Her music choice was an orchestral piece played by a Venezuelan youth orchestra, and mine--the more obvious choice for a poet grown in the medium of Top 40 radio--has a Latin American flavor too, despite being a thoroughly American disco hit before Gloria Estefan Miamified it.

Here's Vicki Sue Robinson with her 1976 hit "Turn the Beat Around."  Pretty sure Ben Kidwell would "love to hear percussion" too!  Did this earworm creep into Laura's head when Ben was trying to write a poem in class Scritch a scratch/Tick a tack/Boom badoom?

 posted to YouTube by Sirius80s
written by Gerald Jackson and Peter Jackson
 Hope that got your day going!  Come back tomorrow to stretch your musical boundaries with something completely different.


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