Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Poetry Stretch - Feeling Fibonnaci

Have you seen this?

If you want more, you check out Part 2, and Part 3 of Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonnaci, and Being a Plant. Oh heck, while you're there check out Vi Hart's channel where math + art = poetry!

Now that you've seen the video, I know you're itching to write a Fib (or at least I am).

Greg K. from GottaBook posted his first Fib entry on April 1st, 2006. Was it an April Fool's joke? I think not. Here is an excerpt that describes the form of a Fib.
I wanted something that required more precision. That led me to a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8 – the classic Fibonacci sequence. In short, start with 0 and 1, add them together to get your next number, then keep adding the last two numbers together for your next one.
In the post More Fibbery, Greg talks about some of the rules he follows when writing. Here are a few of them.
Since I started Fibbing to focus on word choice, the one rule I've held myself to is "no articles in the one syllable lines." I also try not to use conjunctions, though part of that is that when I use them, I start singing School House Rock and annoy the neighbors.
You can read lots more about Fibs at GottaBook. So, just a reminder, here is the sequence for your Fib. Each of these numbers represents the syllable count for that line.
You can keep going if you like, just remember to add the previous number to the current line to get the next number of syllables.

So, your challenge is to write a Fib. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results later this week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award 2011

This year I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. After months of reading, the committee of judges met virtually to discuss our top choices. The authors have been contacted, so we've been given the go-ahead to share the news. I am pleased to announce this year's choices.


written by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

Honor Book

written by Helen Frost

Congratulations to Lee Wardlaw and Helen Frost.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cybils Winners Announced

Yes, they're in. Go now!
Cybils 2011 Winners

And here are the short lists they were selected from.
Cybils 2011 Finalists

Tuesday Poetry Stretch - NOT About WHO You Love, But WHAT You Love

I was given a book of love poems (Shelley) when I was a teen. My response then was ... YUCK! Thirty+ years later, my opinion hasn't changed much. I'm not a big fan of love poetry, but I am a big fan of odes. I enjoy reading about the things people obsess over. I could read poems about birds, a favorite pencil, dad's chair, and lots of other things you can name, over and over. So, while I'm not about the mushy, heartfelt, loving another human being desperately, kind of poem, I do appreciate other kinds of love.

This week let's write an ode to your favorite pair of slippers, an old t-shirt, that ticket stub collection, or anything else that floats your boat. What thing do you love? I can't wait to read your poems.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Poetry Friday - A Happy Childhood

I don't normally write about political issues, but today I must, so please bear with me. (If you just want the poetry without the preface, scroll down a bit.)

I was adopted in 1965 shortly after my birth. Just over a year later, "Baby Cross" officially became a member of the Stohr family. I was so fortunate, so lucky, and so loved. I still am. Because of this legacy, I believe that every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a loving home. I also believe that every willing and qualified individual and/or family should have the right to provide such a home. This is why I'm so disappointed that the Virginia state Senate approved a "conscience clause" bill that allows state-funded (albeit private) adoption agencies to deny placement services to children and prospective parents who "don't share their beliefs." The governor will sign this bill if it crosses his desk. When this happens, the state of Virginia will effectively legalize discrimination by allowing organizations to deny the adoption of children by gay parents. You can read more about this issue in the article Adoption agencies 'conscience clause' passes Senate.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be if I hadn't been adopted. Every child deserves to have the kind of childhood I had, and every family deserves an equal opportunity to provide it. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Since I'm wishing and hoping for homes and happiness for children everywhere, I'm sharing a poem that has many lines I love and reminds me in many ways of aspects of my very happy childhood. 
A Happy Childhood
By William Matthews
Babies do not want to hear about babies; they like to be told of giants and castles. 

Dr. Johnson 

No one keeps a secret so well as a child 

Victor Hugo
My mother stands at the screen door, laughing.  
“Out out damn Spot,” she commands our silly dog.  
I wonder what this means. I rise into adult air

like a hollyhock, I’m so proud to be loved  
like this. The air is tight to my nervous body.
I use new clothes and shoes the way the corn-studded  

soil around here uses nitrogen, giddily.

Read the poem in its entirety.
The round up today is being hosted by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids. Do stop by and take in all the great poetry being shared. Before you go, stop by and check out the skeletonic verses written for this week's poetry stretch. Happy poetry Friday all!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Monday Poetry Stretch - Skeletonic Verse

While looking over verse forms I came across some references to Skeletonic verse. Most references link back to Robert Lee Brewer's blog Poetic Asides, but I can't get the darn link to work. So, here's what I've been able to cobble together from other sources about the requirements for writing in this form.

  • Lines should be between three and six words in length
  • Every end word rhymes with the previous, until a new set of rhymes is started
  • The rhyme should stay the same until it loses its energy or impact

You can read a much more academic definition at Poetry Magnum Opus - Skeletonic Verse / Tumbling Verse / Sprung Rhythm. You'll also find an example here (in ye olde English!).

You'll find a nice description at Daniels Nester's Teaching blog with examples of rap lyrics that fit this form (though perhaps not the line length).

I'll share one more example, this excerpt from an Allen Ginsberg poem.
Jumping the Gun on the Sun  
by Allen Ginsberg

is the key
to living
in Eternity

If you love
Heav'n above
Hold your ground,
Look around
Hear the sound
of television,
No derision,
Smell your blood
taste your good
bagels & lox
Wash your sox 

Read the poem in its entirety.
So, your challenge this week is to write a skeletonic verse. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results later this week.