Snowflakes Fall #PoetryFriday #tricube

It’s getting chilly here in eastern New England, but we have yet to see our first snowfall. My Kindergarteners and I are anxiously awaiting their arrival. But, in the meantime, we’ve been thinking about seasonal changes and what we are looking forward to.

These sweet conversations, and Margaret Simon’s call for tricubes last week, prompted me to give this new-to-me poetic form a go.

Thank you for joining me on this first December Poetry Friday. Michelle Kogan is hosting this week’s roundup, which you can find here on her blog. She has an exciting announcement (Congrats!), some of her fabulous artwork, and lovely holidazed words. Light the lights!

Poetic Debut #PoetryFriday

I am excited to share the debut poem collaboratively written by my Kindergarten poets. I emphasize collaboratively, because it, along with compassion, was one of our school-wide endeavors for the month of November. While we’ve been reading, responding to, and reciting loads of poetry since the school year began, this was our first attempt at creating together. Each member of our classroom community, teachers included, contributed their own idea.

Thankful

We are thankful for friends
Our dogs
Being healthy

We are thankful for birds
Our families
Dad’s new job

We are thankful for our fish
Teaching at Country School
Rescuing a cat

We are thankful for our school
Our moms and dads
The COVID vaccine

We are thankful for our Grandmas
Grandpas
Our cousins

We are thankful for our teachers
Brothers and sisters
Our homes

We are thankful for our class
Kisses
Plenty of food to eat

We are thankful for everything

— Wyman’s Wonders 2021-2022

Thank you for joining us this post-holiday (for those of us stateside) Poetry Friday. Click the link to join the roundup! Ruth is our gracious hostess this week. Her heart-wrenching Ode to Autumn in Haiti will undoubtedly shift most of our perspectives of what we are thankful for. You are always in my thoughts, Ruth.

tankas with friends #PoetryFriday

Last evening, Teach Write writing buddies gathered on ZOOM for our monthly writing challenge get-together. This month, under the leadership of Leigh Anne Eck, we are writing tanka expressing thanks — directly or, as in my case, indirectly. We like to refer to them as Tanka Yous. After writing for about 30 minutes, we regrouped to share our progress. A lovely evening of writing fellowship, which I am indeed thankful for.

The inspiration for my tanka draft came from a walk my husband and I took Thursday afternoon through a gorgeous land conservation trust property in Lincoln, MA that combines the town’s historic cemetery and an abutting farm. The same family have been farming here since the mid-17th century, and they have graciously created walking paths around and across their fields. (Click here to catch a glimpse!) I love it there anytime of the year, but especially in the fall when the trees that circle the property come to life. As we walked yesterday, a gentle breeze was blowing, bringing down many of the remaining leaves on nearby oak and maple. They fell upon the grass, stonewall, gravestones, and the gravel drive.

autumnal tints scatter
drifting down in the wind
dotting pasture and pavement
memories of warm days past
harbingers of cold to come

— Christie Wyman, 2021 (draft)

Credit for “autumnal tints” goes, of course, to our neighborhood native son, Henry David Thoreau, who accompanies me in spirit on all of my saunters. He, too, walked these parts.

Thank you for joining us this lovely Poetry Friday. Click the link to join the roundup! Matt Forrest Esenwine is our gracious host this week.

My teacher doesn’t have to do any of the work: small moments from Kindergarten #SOL21

Parent conferences began last week on ZOOM. Fifteen back-to-back last Wednesday and two more tomorrow. Oooof!

Conferences are funny these days. We just don’t know the families the way we used to. Lingering pandemic-related restrictions keep us from welcoming families into the building for Visiting Day, Back to School Night, volunteering, and now conferences. Some families I am actually meeting for the very first time seven weeks into their child’s school year. While there are some who have older children in the building, so they know the school and to some extent the teachers, there are also those who have never stepped foot inside their child’s school building. Wild, isn’t it?

I enjoy fall conferences because they are a celebration. They are also a time for story swapping — mine and theirs. This year has not disappointed me, especially one particular child and his family. This young man’s mom and dad joined me early one morning before heading off to work themselves. They have another child in our third grade, so they’ve been around the block a few times, but they are a new family to me. The father mentioned he had a great anecdote to share before we really got started. Apparently, his son had come home and complained very dramatically about “ALL THE TOOLS!” He said, “Dad! We have writing tools, math tools, art tools, SO MANY TOOLS!”

But here’s the kicker. “She gives us all these tools to use and then just walks around. She doesn’t have to do any of the work! She just walks around and talks to us!” Fortunately his older brother — the third-grader — overheard this comment and, while I did not have him in Kindergarten, he came to my defense. “Oh, trust me,” he said. “Mrs. Wyman is working really hard to teach all of you Kindergarteners!”

Thanks, buddy. I feel seen. I feel appreciated.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

If you give a writer a partner: small moments from Kindergarten #SOL21

Today was a big partner day in my Kindergarten classroom. We’ve worked with partners for various activities from day one, but today was different. Today was the day my young writers worked with a writing partner for the first time.

I wasn’t entirely certain how it would go. Partnerships don’t come easy. They take work. They take practice. They take trust. And that’s for adults! In Kindergarten, friends don’t always make the best work partners (adults, too?), but a less familiar classmate can be a risky proposition. All we could do was try.

So with much trepidation we dove in head first.

And guess what? To my amazement, it was a huge success! Well, first-go-at-it success, but yeah!

The room began to buzz with quiet chatter. “You forgot a period here, I think,” and “Tell me more about this picture,” began to fill the air. Nobody cried, nobody was frustrated.

And, the sign of true success? When our official Writing Workshop ended, and it was time for a bit of choice time at the end of the day, several teams asked if they could keep working.

I’m putting one in the “Win” column.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Wait! This is really important: small moments from Kindergarten #SOL21

“Wait! This is really important!”

In hushed tones I let him know we needed to transition from Reading Workshop to snack and recess. The window is short. The struggle is real. We’re five.

“No! This is so important! It can’t wait!”

“Go ahead. I can tell it is.”

“Everyone! Today I read for the very first time ALL BY MYSELF!” The room erupted with cheers.

“And how did that feel?”

“Amazing!” Knuckle bumps ensued.

“What book was it, buddy?”

“Knuffle Bunny!”

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Forgiveness #SOL21

Two months? How can it be two months?

Indeed it has been two months since my last Slice. I guess you could say I took the summer off. Well, took the summer off from Slicing, that is. It was anything but a restful summer here. It’s all in my notebook.

But I’m back and ready to get started. School has begun, new schedules and routines are in play, but they’ll settle down. As will I, with my notebook and pen alongside my writing community.

It’s good to be back.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Community Poem Part 2 #PoetryFriday

Welcome to Poetry Friday! I am delighted to play hostess for this week’s roundup, which comes to you live from Peaks Island in Casco Bay, Maine. We’ve been having the most exquisite sunsets, thanks in part to some beastly hot weather. Tonight’s, our last, is the grand finale! Wow, just wow!

All are welcome here at Poetry Friday — to read, to share, to comment.

In last week’s post, I shared the lovely Poetry Is community poem participants in my “Playing with Poetry” workshop in July contributed to. And guess what? I shared an invitation to add to our work and our poem has grown exponentially with poetry wisdom from some of you. Now it is a lovely patchwork of thoughts, ideas, and feelings about what poetry is to all of us. Thank you to those who joined us!

Poetry Is

Is it possible for poetry to be memory and discovery?
Come reader, I’ll take you to the sunspots that my mind is afraid of.
We’ll arrive at surprise itself and the journey will be worth it.

Poetry is the music of a whisper,
the shimmer of sun on a stream.

Poetry is our very best words
squeezed into tight spaces.
This is what causes the essential sparks.

Poetry is a particular pleasure,
a welcome word,
a heart sigh.

Poetry is indifferent to time or season,
and mostly requires the quiet.

Poetry is a doorway
a path, a conduit
to reading and writing.

Poetry is the releasing
of emotions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams
into the world.

Poetry is a sun note
opening day across a painted skyway,
a brushstroke of words illuminating a thought.

Poetry is playing with words,
our best friends,
in the sandbox.

Poetry is reaching into the depths–
an excavator of emotions
with gentle hands,
freeing anguish one time,
joy another.

Poetry is goose-bumpy wonder,
heart-piercing pain,
and shelter for seeker’s of solace.

Poetry is soul-feeding moments
of clarity, observation, memory,
reminders, connections, joy and more.

Poetry is music without a tune,
though when you know poems by heart
you can feel the symphony in your own body
when you recite, even silently to yourself.

Poetry is medicine
that heals and comforts,
cures loneliness, and brings friends.

Poetry is an unexpected delight,
like the first chocolatey bite
of an icy fudgsicle.

Even if you never meet the poet in person,
you feel a connection that makes you kin.

Their words linger longer.

Without poetry, what would we do?
It is as much a part of us as our fingers
and toes
and every cell of our being.

It is the air we need to live.

Poetry is a link to the past, a promise for the future,
a moment shared or stolen,
for those who pause to listen, to hear.

What exquisite thoughts from everyone! Many thanks to Michelle, Janet, Jone, Denise, Janice, Linda, Carol, and Alan for joining teacher poets Cherylann, Heather, Jonathan, Juliette, Kathy, and Marilyn. (Do let me know if I missed anyone!)

Thank you for joining us this lovely Poetry Friday. Click the link to join the roundup! And don’t miss Matt Forrest Esenwine’s post here. InLinkz is misbehaving for him!

Community Part 1 #PoetryFriday

During the month of July, my Teach Write “Playing with Poetry” workshop participants and I gathered virtually on Wednesday afternoons. We chatted, laughed, shared hopes and dreams for the school year ahead, shed a few tears, and built a lovely little community. Oh, and we read and wrote poetry, too! As personal and solitary as poetry can feel at times, it can also bring individuals together joyfully. Truth be told, we lingered an extra week, because we didn’t want it to end. One participant even suggested we get together from time to time for a mini reunion of sorts. That’s community to me.

To end our official time together, participant Heather Morris suggested we share a few thoughts on what poetry means to us for a community poem. Not a week went by when Kwame Alexander’s community poem collaboration with NPR didn’t come up in our conversation. (Google “NPR Community Poem” if you are unfamiliar with this wonderful, inspiring partnership.) What a wonderful way to celebrate!

Just like a potluck supper when every dish serendipitously goes with its neighbor on the table, the lines we contributed fell into place with a bit of community poetry midwifery. Several rose to the top, beckoning to serve as an introduction, while others found their way to the end, serving as our delicious dessert. It’s still a work in progress, as we await another dish or two.

Poetry Is (draft)

Is it possible for poetry to be memory and discovery?
Come reader, I’ll take you to the sunspots that my mind is afraid of.
We’ll arrive at surprise itself and the journey will be worth it.

Poetry is a particular pleasure,
a welcome word,
a heart sigh.

Poetry is a link to the past, a promise for the future,
a moment shared or stolen,
for those who pause to listen, to hear.

Poetry is a doorway
a path, a conduit
to reading and writing

Poetry is the releasing
of emotions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams
into the world.

Poetry is playing with words,
our best friends,
in the sandbox.

Poetry is an unexpected delight,
like the first chocolatey bite
of an icy fudgsicle.

Many thanks to teacher poets Beverly, Cherylann, Heather, Jonathan, Juliette, Kathy, and Marilyn for playing in the poetry sandbox with me this summer.

AN INVITATION!

And now, dear Poetry Friday community, I’d like to invite you to contribute your own poetic salad, side dish, or dessert to extend our Poetry Is community poem. I am hosting the roundup next week and would love to see what poetry means to you. If you wish to participate, please send your line or lines to me at wymanc@weston.org putting Community Poem in the subject field. By Wednesday would be terrific. All are welcome!

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Mary Lee. You can find her roundup on her blog, A(nother) Year of Reading. I hope you will join us for reading, writing, commenting, and celebrating Poetry Friday!

No reply at all #PoetryFriday

This week, my Teach Write “Playing with Poetry” workshop participants are hearing voices. Figuratively speaking, that is! We are playing around with voices and perspective, including, but not limited to, writing to someone or something or as someone or something.

While preparing for this week’s time together, I reviewed my own body of work and discovered I have written more poems of address (or apostrophe poems) than I realized.

to a willow catkin
to our class wood frog babies
simultaneously to my writing notebook and Henry David Thoreau

No reply at all,” to quote the lyrics to one of my favorite Genesis songs.

My mystery bird of course hasn’t shown up since the Cornell Lab of Ornithology added “Sound ID” to their already amazing Merlin app earlier this summer. It figures, right?

Isn’t it interesting how we are drawn to certain forms and subject matter more than others? Who or what do you write about or to? Which poetic forms are in your comfort zone? And what about audience? In this week’s session we had a great conversation about who we tend to write poetry for — kids or adults — and what makes a poem a “kid’s” poem or and adult poem.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Rebecca Herzog, for hosting this week. You can find her roundup on her blog, Sloth Reads. I hope you will join us for reading, writing, commenting, and celebrating Poetry Friday!