Hooray for All Kinds of Kids!

 

 

Once again Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have demonstrated their profound commitment to getting poetry into the hands of children with their latest anthology Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud. Not only are Sylvia and Janet wonderful advocates for children’s poetry, they are also incredible strategic thinkers. “How can we get more poetry into schools?” they ask. This time the answer is: school leaders! The people who make morning announcements and who sometimes make decisions about how time and money are allocated. Let’s definitely make sure these people have poems to love and share!

The book includes 36 poems to share once a week. They generally follow the school calendar and include topics relevant to everyone—forms, safety drills, lunch, making friends, taking tests. They’ve also included 39 additional poems about the first day, the last day, and others that connect to the first 36. That’s 75 poems with suggestions for how to share poems and how to follow up. Brilliant, right?!

I am completely thrilled and honored to have three poems in the book—one about the school nurse, one about field day, and one celebrating student diversity. This one is especially dear to my heart, so I was deeply touched when Janet showed me the visual she had made to go with my poem.

Check out this pinterest page to see many more stunning visuals of poems from the book.

For more about the book and to read one of my favorite poems, “Look for the Helpers,” by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, see Sylvia and Janet’s wonderful blog post at the Nerdy Book Club.

A huge thank you to Sylvia and Janet for all you do for children, for poetry, and for poets!

Happy Poetry Friday!

Liz

The Day After

The Day After

How do we go on?
I ask those who came before
and have gone.
How did you keep going
over lifetimes
of losses
seeing how easy it is
to be cruel?

Child,
the voices whisper,
though I have children
nearly grown
we acknowledged our losses,
wept from the pain,
sat together,
sang together,
recounted small victories,
remembered who came before us
and went on
as we do
when there is nothing else
but forward.

 

Elizabeth Steinglass © 2018

Summer Poetry Swap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a joy to receive the day’s mail and find a trove of poetic treasures from Irene Latham. Thoughtful and clever, Irene had been to my website, so everything she sent had special meaning just for me. I had written a “Why I’m Here” poem, so she wrote a “Why I’m Here Poem” too–about me! She knows I am a huge fan of haiku, so she used one of my haiku to write two new haiku, using a line or two from mine and adding a new line or two of hers. It’s a brilliant exercise she found in a book titled Write Your Own Haiku for Kids by Patricia Donegan.

Here’s my haiku:

always
one step ahead
sidewalk sparrow

Here are Irene’s:

always
one step ahead
crabgrass

traffic snarls
in front of hotdog stand
sidewalk sparrow

Irene turned the haiku into calling cards and slipped them into a sweet bowl I now have by my door. I dream of adding to the pile and giving them to friends who stop by. Over the summer I read in the Haiku Handbook (by William Higginson and Penny Harter) that  haiku writers used to include haiku in their letters to one another–to tell each other how they were. I love that.

Thank you Irene, for giving me a special treat this summer and congratulations on your wonderful book Can I Touch Your Hair, written with Charles Waters, and your many new books coming soon! And thank you Tabatha Yeatts for organizing another wonderful swap and reminding us that poetry is a gift and that we are part of a beautiful community that gives so generously.

Mary Lee has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Happy Summer!

Liz

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day

Who would choose
to leave their home—
the place they live
with those they love?

Who would choose
to leave their beds,
their alters,
their ancestors’ graves?

Who would choose
to leave their lives?

No one.

Only a man running
from a gun,
only a woman running
from starvation,
only a child in the arms
of the running

leaves their world.

And how will we receive
those who survive,
those who arrive
at our door?

Will we pretend
they are strangers,
unfamiliar,
unwanted,
unrecognizable
as humans?

Or will we see
our cousins
as cousins?

Will we allow ourselves
to see the pain
in their faces?

Will we allow ourselves
to feel the pain
they feel?

Will we dare to say
come in,
share my shelter?

Will we dare to give
something of ours
to someone else?

 

I wrote this this morning in honor of World Refugee Day.

Liz

2018 KidLit Progressive Poem–Day 1!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy National Poetry Month!

In 2012 Irene Latham launched the first Progressive Poem to celebrate the month, poetry, and community. Every day in April, a different poet adds a line, and together we compose a poem. It’s a mysterious and surprising process that results in a beautiful and unexpected piece of writing. (You can read all of them here.)

I was surprised and honored when Irene asked me to write the first line this year. I was also a little nervous. I wanted to write something poetic and unique but also open-ended, something that offered a solid first step along a path that could head off into the woods in any number of directions.

You can read more about Irene’s inspiration and my agonizing at Heidi Mordhorst’s blog My Juicy Little Universe. Last Friday, as host of Poetry Friday, Heidi posted an interview with Irene and myself. She also suggested we add a little twist this year.

New for Progressive Poem 2018:  Participants, when Liz posts her Line 1 on Sunday, April 1, please take a minute to record your first impressions of how the line strikes your imagination and what you think the poem might become.  A few lines should do it, and that’s Step One.

Step Two is to hide this reaction/prediction from yourself until your day to add your line arrives.  : )

Step Three is to bring it back out and include it in your post  that day, with a little commentary about how your initial expectations have to be adjusted now that each person has altered the trajectory of the poem. 

 

Are you ready? With great thanks to Irene and Heidi and to all of our participants, and without further ado (drumroll, please) …

 

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.

 

Jane, you’re up!

I hope you’ll all follow along for the rest of the month to see where this poem takes us.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Liz

 

 

April

2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 April at Teaching Authors
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
30 Doraine at Dori Reads