Mortimer Minute

mortimer-final-1024x783

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I’m participating in The Mortimer Minute, a bunny hop through the children’s poetry blogosphere. The Hop was started by April Halprin Wayland with these guidelines:

1) Pose and answer three questions you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview about children’s poetry. (Ideally, use one question posted by the person who invited you to the Hop.)

2) Invite one, two, or three other bloggers to go after you.

3) In your post list the names of the bloggers you invited and give the dates when they’ll be posting.

April tagged Laura Shovan who tagged Janet Flagal who tagged me. Unfortunately, Janet’s post has been delayed but I will jump ahead.

 

Do you compose on paper or on a computer?

I like starting poems in my notebook on old-fashioned paper. Starting on paper with a carefully chosen pen allows me to get the flow and rhythm going without interrupting myself with revisions. It also allows me to write when I’m away from my desk (otherwise known as the kitchen table). After I have a first draft, I move to my computer so that I can revise more easily. I try to save my drafts. I write one, copy it, paste it above and revise. I do this over and over until I have a draft I’m happy with. I save my drafts so I can see how far I’ve come, so I can go back if I prefer something in an earlier draft, and so I can show students how terrible my first drafts are.

 

What’s your favorite “serious” poem for kids?

I love funny poems and looking-close-at-nature poems, but I also love poems that address the harder parts of being a human. One of my favorite poetry anthologies is The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury edited by Jack Prelutsky. The theme of pages 64-65 is hard feelings. I love these poems: “The Bad-Mood Bug” by Brod Bagert, “Mad Song” by Myra Cohn Livingston, “When I Was Lost” by Dorothy Aldis and “Moving” by Eileen Spinelli. Can’t we all relate to the heavy feeling of being lost, the pain of moving, and the urgent need to slam a door?

 

If you could have any “superpower” what would it be?

I wish I could talk to animals. I have some questions for the squirrels who have been pelting me with hickory nuts.

 

I have tagged Cynthia Grady who is a poet and a middle school librarian and has written a gorgeous book of poetry entitled I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery. The poems incorporate history, quilting, music, religion, art and so much more. I hope Cynthia will have time to hop next Friday.
 
I have also tagged Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. I always enjoy Ruth’s posts and I saw this hop as a chance to get to know her a little better. She plans to post next Friday.
 
For more Poetry Friday, visit DoriReads.

My Pumpkin

photo-218

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw this pumpkin at the grocery store and I had to have it. It called to me. So I bought it and brought it home and stood it on the stoop. I heard myself think, “But I don’t want to carve it. I like it like this.” Then I heard myself think, “There’s a poem there.”

Here it is:

 

My Pumpkin

I don’t want to carve my pumpkin.
I don’t want to give it a grin.

I like my pumpkin like it is.
I like its smooth orange skin.

I like that it’s a little tall.
I like its hollow thump.

I like its tiny tree-trunk stem.
I like its warty bump.

Of all the pumpkins in the pile,
this one said “Pick me!”

I don’t want to carve my pumpkin.
I want to let it be.

 

I’m still thinking about the last line. Do kids say “Let it be?” Do they know what it means?

For more Poetry Friday, visit Amy at The Poem Farm.

 

(c) 2013, Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved

Your Neighbor

photo-203

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That woman who walks around
in clothes that look like yesterday’s,
with hair that might not have been washed
today, that woman who mumbles strange
rhythms too low to hear, who stops
to examine the small and the dead,
all things invisible from the window,
that woman sitting on the stoop scratching
in the notebook she carries everywhere,
that woman you see from time to time
but never the same time, that woman
isn’t crazy. She hears voices for sure,
but she isn’t crazy. She’s me.

 

I’m sure hoping some of you can relate to at least some of this?

For more Poetry Friday visit Teach Mentor Texts.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved

Chalk-A-Bration!

Betsy at Teaching Young Writers has us celebrating poetry and sidewalk chalk at the end of every month. My daughter and I decided to join the fun this last Saturday of August. Here’s my daughter’s poem:

photo-197

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chalk decorations
covering the sidewalk
with colorful dreams

Here’s mine:

photo-198

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What gets you to stop and look?
A red light?
A starry night?
A poem left on the sidewalk?

But here’s my favorite thing about putting my poem on the sidewalk. When my youngest son read it, he said, “Everything.”

Happy Saturday. Happy Chalk-a-bration.
For more visit Betsy at Teaching Young Writers.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved.

Fuzzy Tails

photo-194

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are tails in the garden
That sway in the air
Like the tips of fine cats
Who expect you to stare.

Gently, I pet them.
Their fur starts to shed.
These cats spread themselves
All over the bed!

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved

 

Just a poem today.

For more Poetry Friday visit Betsy at I Think in Poems.