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!

Changeover Delayed #PoetryFriday

My “Playing with Poetry” workshop participants are playing around with ekphrastic poetry this week. We shared images with one another for inspiration — paintings, photographs, wood block prints, etc… Some of you here know me well enough to know that I leapt (bad pun intended) at the chance to write to the vernal pool photograph taken and shared by participant Marilyn Miner.

Pondering where to go with it, several influences came into play. The first was that we have had record amounts of rain here in New England this summer, giving vernal pools a much longer active season that usual. The second was that I’ve been reading Natalie Goldberg’s Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku. I love knowing that the haiku masters often ignored what we now consider the standard 5/7/5 format and were pithy and humorous. And lastly, we will soon begin a week in a vacation rental, which has me pondering the busyness of changeover day process.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Molly, for hosting this week and keeping the glass half full in regards to the progression of summer. (Anyone else live with someone who proclaims “Summer’s over!” each and every Fourth of July? Honestly!) Add porch rocker to the list for me, Molly! That’s where you’ll find me morning, noon, and night, reading, dozing, writing, and listening to my “every day birds” and the Assabet River rolling by. You can find Molly’s roundup on her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone. Thanks for hosting, Molly.

Summer Dreams #PoetryFriday

Summer break, all 72 days of it, goes by in the blink of an eye. Every year, within days of school finishing up, I try to make a list of all I wish to accomplish. The list is usually made up of a combination of chores and tasks as well as fun to-dos. This year I’m adding some of each to my Summer Bingo card, inspired by my notebooking buddy, Michelle Haseltine.

I used the squares on my personal Summer Bingo card to inspire this list poem, a form teacher-writer participants in my “Playing with Poetry” workshop for Teach Write dabbled with this week. Some of our lists were of a powerful and serious nature, while others were more light-hearted and playful. This time around, mine fell into the latter category.

Summer Dreams

Picnics packed

Hikes taken

Blueberries picked 

Kayaks paddled

Life List birds found

Garden beds planted

Junk purged

Ice cream flavors tried

Books read

Poems written

Friends visited

Family aided

Whoosh!

Summer’s gone

— Christie Wyman, 2021 (draft)

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Margaret, for inviting us to join her on the banks of her beloved bayou for this Poetry Friday. You can find the roundup on her brilliant blog, Reflections on the Teche Thanks for hosting, Margaret, and congratulations to all teacher-poet participants who contributed to Bridge the Distance. I’m looking forward to reading your work when my copy arrives.

#PoetryFriday #PoemsforMaryLee #MarvelousMaryLee

Gosh! I’ve never had to keep a surprise this long! Now it’s finally time.

(A little early for our friends across the globe to join in the fun!)

SURPRISE, MARY LEE!

Are you ready? Because we are definitely going to be doing some celebrating this Poetry Friday. I’m beyond thrilled to be playing host to this special gathering, with hugs and support from Irene Latham. And it’s my birthday today, so let’s have some cake!

True confession! I’ve been a Mary Lee fangirl for a while. Yup! I have! And we can thank Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for bringing us “together” through their Poetry Friday Anthologies. We’ve never met in person — missed my chance at my one and only NCTE in Baltimore 2019 — but as an educator who believes poetry can and should be incorporated into every school day of the year and across the curriculum, Mary Lee is someone I have looked up to for quite some time. Her poems reveal so much to me about her, her interests, teaching style, and much more. Here are two of my teaching favorites.

From The Poetry Friday Anthology For Celebrations, compiled by Vardell and Wong, Pomelo Books, 2015.

My Kindergarten poets have enjoyed using Earth, You Are as a mentor text to inspire their own poems, swapping in and out what they love about mighty Mother Earth.

From The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science: Poems for the School Year Integrating Science, Reading, and Language Arts, compiled by Vardell and Wong, Pomelo Books, 2014.

Pumpkin Experiment is fun AND informative and so me! You had me at “land lab,” Mary Lee. Be still my science geeky heart! And that repeating line, “in the land lab–,” again is a perfect mentor text. SWOON! Over decomposing pumpkins! Every October, after celebrating pumpkin math and science, my Kindergarteners and I process out to our equivalent land lab to deposit our pumpkins and Mary Lee’s poem comes along for the ride.

I could go on and on all day with more adoration for Mary Lee and her craft, but I can’t wait to hear what everyone else has for Mary Lee Show and Tell!

So………

Heartfelt congratulations on 37 amazing years in education, Mary Lee. What lucky, lucky students you have nurtured, and how lucky we are to know you — in person or on the page. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

Just click HERE to add your link and we’ll get this party started!

And lastly, some fun news…I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives throughout the year (or if you are!), I’d love to have them (or you) join me! To learn more, click here.

brilliant blazes flash #PoetryFriday

I know! I know! NPM is over and I can’t help myself! New birds keep showing up!

I have never had Baltimore Orioles before, so I am BEYOND thrilled that this handsome devil has been hanging around my apple tree and front garden since at least last Saturday. I heard they were in my neck of the woods — MetroWest of Boston — a few weeks back, so when I put out my hummingbird nectar feeder at the end of April, I figured I’d chance it with orange halves and grape jelly. BINGO! And the Mrs. made an appearance mid-week, too. I hope they stick around for a while. I love hearing their unique squeak from wherever I am, indoors or out.

And some fun news…I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives (or if you are!), I’d love to have them join me! To learn more, click here.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Irene, for inviting us to join her on this Poetry Friday. You can find the roundup on her blog, Live Your Poem Thanks for hosting, Irene! I am hosting next week and I am looking forward to seeing everyone!