Happy National Poetry Month! This month I am tagging along with poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during what has become her annual NPM Project. You can click here to learn more about this straight from Amy! This year she is writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, is also a bit of an informal book study, as she’s using her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. Join us!
Today’s poetic technique chosen by Amy is a cycle of time structure. My subject is, and will be all month long, vernal pools. Tuesday I shared a circular poem I wrote for my Kindergarten students about the life cycle of a frog (click here to read). I suppose that would also qualify as a cycle of time structure, but there’s another cycle even more critical for our amphibious friends — the vernal pool cycle.
For those of you who do not live in parts of the country (or the world, for that matter) with dramatically changing seasons, you might not be familiar with this magical habitat. Here in New England, vernal pools appear in relatively shallow depressions in our landscape. They are filled with ground water that rises up, rain water coming down from the sky, and melting snow. As warmer weather approaches, vernal pools begin to shrink and sometimes disappear completely. When my students and I walk into the woods each fall, we often see just a large mud puddle, especially if it’s been a very dry summer. But as fall’s rain begins to come and eventually snow appears, the vernal pool comes back to life again, ready for its inhabitants to return.
Today I share not a finished poem, or even a draft of a poem, but the humble beginnings of a poem in my special “1 Subject 30 Ways” notebook. In it I have scribbled the vernal pool life cycle, the water cycle, a vernal pool diagram, and then on the right hand side is just a nugget of a future poem — “Rain collects. Life evaporates. Hope condensates. ? precipitates” A friend asked me the other day, “How are you cranking out these poems every day this month?” Some days they come easier than others. This one needs some more time to develop, just like the amphibians that make their home in the vernal pool.
I also hope you will stop by Live Your Poem daily to follow along the journey of the 2018 KidLit Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. The poem will magically, and quite literally this year, be growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine has taken off on a journey with Owl by the light of the moon. The process is fascinating and this year I am diving in for the first time with a line right in the middle of the month — April 18th.
This post is part of my personal National Poetry Month celebration. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your favorite poetic gems throughout the month of April whether they are written by you, your students, or another poet.