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:









Chalk decorations
covering the sidewalk
with colorful dreams

Here’s mine:










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.

I thought I’d try something different today in honor of our family’s last Friday of summer vacation. Like many of you I’m a regular at our local library but over the summer, we go there A LOT. We borrow books of all kinds for our readers of various ages and interests, but I always check out a poetry book or two. I thought today I might share some of our favorite poetry books of the summer.





Follow, Follow

Marilyn Singer is clearly a genius for inventing the reverso. These clever poems work in two directions—down and up.  The form works brilliantly for providing two different points of view on the same subject—for example, the tortoise and the hare thinking about their race, or the Emperor’s and his subjects’ thoughts about the Emperor’s new suit. They also work well when a single character is wavering between two points of view, for example when the Little Mermaid considers leaving the sea for love, or not. Follow, Follow is Singer’s second book of reverso poems after Mirror, Mirror.







Danitra Brown, Class Clown

Danitra Brown, Class Clown is Nikki Grimes’ third book about Danitra and her friend Zuri. (The first two are Meet Danitra Brown and Danitra Brown Leaves Town.) I checked this one out of the library last week because the collection begins with going back to school and the usual worries about new teachers, new rooms, and new, harder work.  What I love most about all three books is that the kids are real with real issues that all kids can relate to. These girls talk in class and get separated. These girls pass notes that get intercepted. These girls help one another through the rough spots—like math problems and stomachaches.  The poems also have a very natural rhythm and rhyme that make them easy and enjoyable to read out loud.










Gone Fishing

This book attracted my attention because it’s a novel in verse for younger readers. Most of the novels in verse that I’m familiar with are for older readers. This book tells the tale of a boy who’s supposed to go fishing with his dad but ends up going fishing with his dad AND his little sister!  Tamera Will Wissinger uses a variety of forms to describe the ups and downs of the day but it was the sibling dynamics that really captured our attention.







If I Were in Charge of the World

We’ve had this collection by Judith Viorst for years but it jumped back off the shelf this summer. I’m not sure what it says about our frames of mind, but we particularly enjoyed the section titled “Wicked Thoughts.” I think it was a relief to all of us to know that we all have them. Somehow I think it’s easier to be our best selves when we admit we don’t always want to be.


What books of poetry did you and yours enjoy this summer?


For more Poetry Friday visit A Teaching Life.











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.








Stick-on tattoos,
Hours at the zoo,
Baths without shampoo—
Mama says one,
Grandma says two!


Guess where we are this week?

For more Poetry Friday visit Steps and Staircases.

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










There once was a girl who loved trees.
She swung from their limbs with great ease.
When asked to come in,
The girl made a grin,
Then hung upside down by her knees.


My mother once gave me a date.
I snuck the old yuck off my plate.
My mother found out
When she saw the dog’s snout
In a strangely gelatinous state.


Earlier in the summer Michelle Barnes asked me if I’d be willing to send her a poem for Limerick Alley. I was so honored and inspired by her request that I wrote and sent three. She posted one earlier this week with a fabulous illustration by her daughter. Above are the two others written for Michelle.

For more Poetry Friday, visit Renee at No Water River.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved










Summer Scourge

I cut their heads off eagerly
with a snip of the sharpest blade.
I lopped a few of the living too, carelessly
desperate to get the burnt and shriveled corpses
out of sight. I was the knight
finishing the dragon with one last
slice across the neck. And yet,
these daisies meant no harm.


Often my poetry comes from close observation of the natural world. Recently, I’ve realized that I also need to observe myself observing the world.

For more Poetry Friday visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche.

(c) Elizabeth Steinglass, 2013, all rights reserved