2016 Progressive Poem

2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem


A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky
A hummingbird holds and then hies
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand
If I could breathe under the sea


I am very happy to be participating in this year’s Progressive, and collective, Poem, started and each year renewed by Irene Latham. This year Laura kicked it off with a beautiful opening line, which Joy, Doraine, Diane, Penny, and Carol have all built on beautifully.

When I sat down to write I felt I had an interesting decision about whether to echo the structure of the first stanza. I decided that I would because I was intrigued by the “I” and wanted to bring that voice back into the poem. I considered following the third line more closely with something like “If I could dig, I’d choose,” or “If I could creep, I’d choose,” but those actions didn’t seem as much of a stretch as flying. I also wasn’t sure I wanted to take the poem under the sand, so instead I took us into the ocean. I can’t wait to see where Janet takes us next.

All the best,


2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Charles at Poetry Time
21 Jan at Bookseedstudio
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write
26 replies
  1. margaretsmn says:

    Love the idea of a repeated structure. It helps guide us. Your cinquain work inspired my poem today. Thanks.

  2. Donna Smith says:

    Yes, I think you have taken this poem to a nice place, and it looks so poetically focused now… bringing back to the I and echoing the first stanza! It’s satisfying, thought-provoking, and open to possibilities!

    • Liz Steinglass says:

      Isn’t it amazing that all these things happen across writers? It’s almost as if the poem has a mind of its own.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I like the echo, too, Liz. “If I could breathe under the sea” adds magic to the poem beautifully, or simply a wish. You’ve introduced everyone to more ideas! Terrific!

  4. cvarsalona says:

    Liz, leading us back to the narrator in the first paragraph gives the next set of writers a chance to explore the flight of fantasy and wonder that fills the world. The ocean always draws readers to its depths so let’s see what can be found there. As for the words you chose, I think they provide another charge for the narrator as her imagination soars.

  5. Penny Parker Klostermann says:

    I’m so excited about your line. I love that you echoed the structure! And speaking of echo, I echo Michelle—”this poem has one foot in reality and one foot in imagination.” I really like that because we have beautiful language and vocabulary mixed with childlike imagination and wonder. Perfect for a KID-litopshere poem!
    Nice job, Liz!

  6. Janet F. says:

    Hi Liz ! I was swimming along probing the depths yesterday. Thank you for giving me such a fun place to go. I weighted many options and did enjoy how you gave the poem the repeating structure. I love watching this Progressive Poem unfold and marvel each year. (Sweat the words I choose, wondering if they are the “right ones” but love it nonetheless!) Glad you were right before me.

  7. Robyn Hood Black says:

    And, spash! – below the water we go. Thanks for the thoughtful creation of your line, Liz – I’m off to see where Janet took it, since I’m running behind this week and just now catching up.

  8. Heidi Mordhorst says:

    Hi, Liz–I’m catching up line by line, but I’m not keeping up with everything else very well at all this year! You’re having a most productive month, however. I’m excited that you chose to bring back the “If” and the “I” from the first stanza–it both unites what could have become some disjoint pieces of the poem and swims away from that external child back into voice that lives in the poem.

    If you have any music match-up thoughts, send them my way…still a lot of airtime available!

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