Friday, July 25, 2014

do bears live in the woods?

Brief family vacation this past week, somewhat dogged by uncooperative weather and corporate demands, but sparkled with shining moments of foolishness, fires lit in the rain, and awe at the wonders of nature.  Here are three haiku from Shenandoah National Park, as unpolished as the stalagmites that stand out of reach of the tourists at Luray Caverns.

underground beach
sandcastles drip
from the hard dark sky

big toe blistered
as sure as bears live
in the woods

you stare
with a mouth full of berries
we stare

Speeding out now for the last day of half work/half vacation.  See you and your summer moments over at
Poetry for Children with Sylvia and Janet!

Friday, July 11, 2014

taking your suggestions, please

This summer I'm working on a sweeping revision of last summer's project.  I'm now aiming at a teen audience, and one of its themes is identity.  Many of the poems will be set in the context of trying out different voices, perspectives, and even disguises, and so it seems like a good place to include some of the poems I've written as "copy tributes."  (I may have made up that label.)  Here's one that's working quite well; below you'll see what I'm hoping you can help with...

Stopping by Turtle on a Rainy Morning

Whose shell this is I think I know.
His head is under cover though;
He doesn’t want me stopping here
To watch him, crouching close and low.

I startled him along the path.
He wasn’t stepping very fast
Between the ferns and dripping weeds,
This wettest morning, for a bath.

He freezes, puts on all his brakes
And hopes that there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the blink
Of careful notice that I make.

His shell is lovely, arched and dark,
But I can’t read his orange marks,
Our miles of difference, slight and stark,
Our miles of difference, slight and stark.

            Heidi Mordhorst 2013
                all rights reserved

So far the poems I've copy-tributed are classics by male poets.  I also need to include a couple by women--but which?  I can think of several Emily Dickinson ones that would work well, but what about a more modern classic American poet?  Which Lucille Clifton or Maya Angelou poem would you suggest?  Sylvia Plath? Dorothy Parker? They need to be widely recognizable, I think, for the "joke" to work.  (It's not really a joke at all, but I want literate MS and HS readers to realize that something is going on even before they get to the reference.)

Of course I could sit down and surround myself with all my anthologies for a hunt, but I thought it would be more fun to start by asking you what classic poems by women spoke to you in your teens (or later).  I'm sure you'll remind me of something obvious I've forgotten, or, as so often happens here, introduce me to something that somehow I've missed. 

Thanks, and turtle on over to Write Time for the round-up with Linda Kulp!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

pf round-up: independence day edition

Welcome to all! Since folks may be traveling or otherwise celebrating our national holiday tomorrow, I thought I'd open for business this evening, before I put up my post for tomorrow.  Please leave your links in the comments, and I'll be rounding up early in the morning, around the lunch hour, and then again at Happy Hour.  Let the fireworks begin!

Good morning--all the clouds here in Bethesda made it hard to pop up (and then there is the daily argument with the 11yo about whether he has completed responsibilities before taking to his screen, which used up some time), but here we are!  I had intended to post something red, white and blue today, but then last night I opened up a book I received for joining the Academy of American Poets, Poem in Your Pocket (selected by Elaine Bleakney, introduction by Kay Ryan) and performed my summer evening ritual of closing my eyes and tearing out a random poem.  (It's okay; that's what it's designed for.)  And what should appear in my hand but a wonder by our own Julie Larios!  And the more I read it, the more American and patriotic and appropriate it seemed (except for maybe the first line of stanza 1).

What Bee Did || Julie Larios

Bee not only buzzed.
When swatted at, Bee deviled,
Bee smirched. And when fuddled,
like many of us, Bee labored, Bee reaved.
He behaved as well as any Bee can have.

Bee never lied. Bee never lated.
And despite the fact Bee took, Bee also stowed.
In love, Bee seiged. Bee seeched.
Bee moaned, Bee sighed himself,
Bee gat with his Beloved.

And because Bee tokened summer...

Bee sure to follow this link to read the very last buzz and perhaps to hear Julie read this poem herself at the Cortland Review online, and be dazzled.

And now for the roundup!

Mary Lee shares a poem that she says might have been written about her Colorado hometown at A Year of Reading. 

Laura Salas shares a fireworks poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich at her blog (kaboom!)

At Today's Little Ditty Michelle shares an interview with Tamera Will Wissinger and this month's Ditty challenge.

Diane brings us a Sketchbook Project poem, "American Bambina," at Random Noodling and a Poetry Friday quote at KK's Kwotes, but Kurious Kitty is taking a well-deserved holiday!

Laura Shovan has a rumination about owls today, featuring a poem from Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, at Author Amok.

More fireworks--small ones, I expect--from Valerie Worth, over at Carol's Corner.

Julie Larios joins us again today with "America the Beautiful," which has her wondering about "picnics and abundance and beaches and grandparents and explosions in the distance..."

Myra celebrates our national holiday from afar with "Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty" at Gathering Books--most fitting.

Tabatha returns from her beach vacation with "The Solipsist" by Troy Jollimore--always something or someone new to discover at The Opposite of Indifference.

We all welcome Irene's participation as audience today, I'm sure, and in the context of my own haiku study I'm very curious about Liz's "unwanted haiku" posted at Elizabeth Steinglass!

Also, a visit to Tricia's Monday Poetry Stretch is worth a trip--our prompt was "America is..." and there are some fresh responses from Jane Yolen, Kate Coombs and Steven Withrow.   They're at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Tara joins in with a different sort of July 4th poem at A Teaching Life.

From Margaret we get "a flower life"--some small flower poems and an invitation to collaborate at Reflections on the Teche.

Linda has not fireworks but fireFLIES!  Visit her at TeacherDance.

At Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme Matt treats us to an original, "American Discontent."

*At this point I take a break and head out to our neighborhood 4th of July bike parade--probably the last year that said 11yo will want to decorate his bike and ride with the littles!  More later...*

As France and Germany battle on the World Cup soccer field, we return to our PF offerings:

Our new friend Carol has a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, who passed away this week, at Beyond LiteracyLink.

Jone has a truly national(istic) poem from Ralph Waldo Emerson at Check It Out today.

Jeannine visit with a link to reviews of two verse novels for teens at her blog Views from a Window Seat.

From Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children we have a list of poetry books perfect for this time of year, from her Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists.

Lorie Ann Grover joins us from On Point with an energetic haiku called "Santorini Echo," and at ReaderTotz Maya Angelou is featured singing on Sesame Street.  I think Maya and Walter might be meeting up today, somewhere out there.  Kings' Cross Station?  (I hope that doesn't sound sacrilegious; I mean it with great and fond respect for many literary traditions.)

Finally for this afternoon, Karen joins us with a lovely, refreshing (maybe even sexy?) poem from Helen Hay Whitney called "My Brook."

*If there are more Independence Day posters I'll round them up between 5 and 6, and then we all have to get that best vantage point for this evening's fireworks!!*

My apologies to Jeff Barger, whose link I missed but who joined us late with a spider poem at NC Teacher Stuff.

Thanks to all who made Poetry Friday a part of their 4th of July...I look forward to reading more than just your comments this weekend!