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












I want to share my current favorite poem with you. It’s “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins. I’m sure it will be familiar to many of you, but I enjoy reading it over and over again. I hope you will too.


Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.


The rest of the poem tells what actually happens. It isn’t pretty. Here’s the link to the whole poem where you can read the end.

As a former high school English teacher and the mother of a high school English student, this poem really speaks to me. The question that I return to again and again is how do we teach our students to read poetry “like a color slide” or to “walk inside the poem’s room?” How do we avoid teaching them to torture it? I hear so many kids say they don’t like poetry and I think what they mean is I don’t like the grisly effects of beating a poem to death.

For more Poetry Friday, visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.













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











Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the morning glories growing in my yard. I noticed myself spending more and more time sitting next to them with my computer in my lap, so I gave myself an assignment: Write a poem that explores your feelings for these flowers. Here’s what I wrote:


Morning Glory

There isn’t much left
When someone’s dead
The property sold
A shopping mall built
Where the house once stood
Just these morning glories
Outside my door
Twining through time
As urgently blue
As the ones she grew


I was pretty satisfied with this as a day’s work, but the next day I asked myself: Is this poem short because that’s what’s best or is it short because you were too scared to keep going? That’s when I gave myself a new assignment: Take what you wrote yesterday and use it as a starting point for writing today.


I’m still working on this one. I’m also still working on answering the question: How do you know when a poem is complete?

For more Poetry Friday, visit Laura at Author Amok.

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