Friday, May 25, 2012

how things fit together

I'm consumed this week in finding a suitable (and yet, shall we say, practical) way to honor a grand achievement:  my parents' upcoming fiftieth anniversary.  In my search for a related poem, just as I was becoming frustrated, I found this.

The notes say that it was composed in response to the fiftieth anniversary of the Lego patent, in 2008.  I suppose I could wish that the Lego anniversary coincided exactly with my parents' anniversary, but goodness! Isn't it pleasing when things fit together so variably, so neatly, so interlockingly coupled?

Friday, May 18, 2012

playing poetry catch

...or Poetry for All, part two!  I'm home again home again jiggety jig from Boyds Mills, well-fed and with a mind buzzing and exhausted from all the great poetry action.  I'd like to finish my effort to orient some of my fellow conferees in the Kidlitosphere, where I but dabble compared to some of you regular Poetry Friday participants.

We all go to Sylvia Vardell, one of the great children's poetry promoters, for the lowdown (or more like the highup) on what's happening here and abroad and for talk about new voices.  Her blog is Poetry for Children and she has many publications for practitioners and aficionados alike, besides being one-half of the Dynamic Duo Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, who have ventured fearlessly into e-book publishing in support of poetry for children.  You can always find something inspiring at Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's blogs, the Poem Farm and Sharing Our Notebooks.

Among the participants at the workshop, quite a few of us have useful and interesting blogs or websites where we'll be able to continue to connect.  In the work-and-play spirit of Poetry for All, I share this poem brought to us by new-to-me poet Marjorie Maddox, who served as guest faculty.  We were definitely not left uncoached.


Two boys uncoached are tossing a poem together,
Overhand, underhand, backhand, sleight of hand, everyhand,
Teasing with attitudes, latitudes, interludes, altitudes,
High, make him fly off the ground for it, low, make him stoop,
Make him scoop it up, make him as-almost-as possible miss it,
Fast, let him sting from it, now, now fool him slowly,
Anything, everything tricky, risky, nonchalant,
Anything under the sun to outwit the prosy,
Over the tree and the long sweet cadence down,
Over his head, make him scramble to pick up the meaning,
And now, like a posy, a pretty one plump in his hands.

Robert Francis

Here are links to all the folks--some already listed in the previous post--at our workshop this week whose  "online presence" is easy to get to.  Pardon if I have missed someone!

Cory Corrado doesn't have her own site or blog, but David Harrison has highlighted her work on his blog, Connecting the Dots.

Julie Hedlund blogs regularly and has some reflections on the welcome (wet) silence we all experienced in Boyds Mills at this post. ...simple, concrete and lovely.

I don't find a blog or website for Bill Johnson, but please enjoy this nice profile of him in a Pennsylvania magazine's round-up of local children's authors!  He gave me one of the nicest gifts of the week--a copy of Rebecca Kai Dotlich's Bella and Bean.  Thanks, Bill.

I enjoyed several conversations with Buffy (I just typed "Buggy"!) Silverman about her science writing in many forms; here's her website and I look forward to reading her poetry collection-in-progress!

Hannah Ruth Wilde uses facebook to connect and can also be found at JacketFlap

Cindi Kennaley is available in several different flavors--find your way to a great photo of her with the Spinellis and an atmospheric Boyds Mills poem here!

Jeanne Poland's blog is rich and regular and I'm shocked to realize I've never visited in the whole year I've known her!  Jeanne also has lots of beautiful, interesting things to look at at her Quicksilver Studios site, too.

Rebecca Shoniker's site is full of the same energy she brought to Boyds Mills--enjoy!

I'm sure we'll all help each other find the online places that will support and inspire our writing lives.  Today Katya is rounding up the Poetry Friday posts at Write. Sketch. Repeat.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Overheard in Boyds Mills: Poetry for All!

This Tuesday I come to you from the tiny crossroads of Boyds Mills in Pennsylvania, home of Highlights Magazine founders and now writers' workshop boomtown.  Since building "The Barn," the Highlights Foundation can now host more workshops like the one I'm attending, with more participants.  The Barn is beautiful, convenient and comfortable, and the trend is for workshops to have both multiple leaders--we're enjoying the leadership and modeling of poets David Harrison, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Eileen Spinelli--and several special guests.

Quite a few fellow participants are recent arrivals to the Kidlitosphere, so I and some other regulars, including Robyn Hood Black (whose newly refurbished blog features lots of info about this and other Founders' Workshops) and Joy Acey, (a daily-poem poster like my new friend Bridget Magee) have been letting them know what a welcoming, generous and supportive community we have here.  The Kidlitosphere site is a place to start, but it appears to be down, so try this Friday's Poetry Friday party hosted by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat.  Today she absolutely proves my point about this community! 

Other blogs to visit include A Year of Reading, where Franki covers the library beat and  Mary Lee keeps tabs on the hosting calendar (we all take turns rounding up all the Poetry Friday posts; Irene did it last week and it looks like this).  Steven Withrow up and established PACYA, Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults, and the PACYA blog, Poetry at Play, features another participant, Liz Steinglass, interviewing Cynthia Grady, a treat I missed back in April.

More of us have blogs and websites that deserve a mention as we all find each other online, but one of the glories of this retreat is a Bedtime of Your Choice, and I choose now!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OIK Tuesday: me times three

Today as I was taking MUCH longer than usual to pass out a set of May calendar papers (because of one of those slight changes of plan that you have between copying sets of sheets to go home in the morning and realizing you need only one of each set right now because it's B Week, not A Week, and you don't have a special), Camille said, "I wish there was three of you, Ms. Mordhorst."

"Awww," I thought.  "We have all been having an agreeable and productive day together; isn't she sweet to wish there were more of me?"

Camille continued, "Then you could pass out the papers at all three tables at the same time." 

Hmmm.......a practical girl, not a sentimental one!

one of me
one of me
one of me
makes me times three

me times three makes
one of me
to tie your shoes
and one of me
to soothe your bruise
and one of me
to be amused
at all the funny things
you say

me times three makes
one of me
to teach your group
and one of me
to mop up goop
and one of me
to jump through hoops
that fill my inbox
every day

me times three makes
one of me
to calm your spat
and one of me
to find your hat
and one of me
to mourn your cat
that died because it
lost its way

me times three
times three is nine
and like your cat
I do just fine
till I forget that
you are mine
not like my own
but next in line

Heidi Mordhorst 2012
all rights reserved
Oh, I was stumped by that last line, but Diane Mayr stepped in to help (see her comment below).  I hope my sentiment is practically transparent now.