Friday, October 23, 2015

Poetry Friday - Poems Children Will Sit Still For

I recently picked up this 1969 publication ...
I had to laugh when I read the back cover, though I wholeheartedly agree with the sentence I've highlighted.
When a favorite aunt is reading to her favorite nephew (and she has her arm around him) she can read Shakespeare's sonnets or Milton's epic verse or T.S. eliot's Wasteland and still hold - if not the child's attention, as the leas the child himself. 
In the classroom, as every teacher knows, it's different. Each of the 106 poems in this this book was chosen with this difference in mind. They were chosen expressly for a teacher to read aloud to—and with—her class. Every selection invites the listeners' participation—vocal, physical, or emotional. 
The selections cover an extensive range of primary-grade children's interests and experiences. There is plenty of nonsense and humor, and there are some sad poems too. 
For many of the poems, we have offered a few suggestions for reading, of for audience participation, or for possible discussion. But it is well to remember that a poem doesn't have to lead to discussion , or art activities, or anything at all. A poem can simply be enjoyed for its own sake. We hope this little book will help you transmit to your boys and girls the joy of poetry.
This text is actually excerpted from the introduction to the book. There are a few additional sentences, some of them about how to actually read a poem. But I thought this one was most interesting.
The only rule we would like to insist upon is: If you don't like a poem, don't read it. (Enthusiasm and boredom are equally contagious.)
When I read a poem and at first glance (or listen) don't like it, I actually re-read it, multiple times. I want to know what doesn't work for me. Why don't I like it? It becomes a puzzle I need to figure out. Is it the rhyme? Or meter? Is it the subject?

This book is divided into the sections (1) Fun With Rhymes; (2) Mostly Weather; (3) Spooky Poems; (4) Story Time; (5) Mostly Animals; (6) Mostly People; (7) Seeing, Feeling, Thinking; (8) In a Few Words; (9) Mostly Nonsense; and (10) Numbers and Letters. I will admit I found it odd the Frost's poem Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening was in the Spooky poems sections!

I suppose I decided I needed this one because it contained Sanburg's Arithmetic, as well as poems by Mary Ann Hoberman, Karla Kuskin, John Ciardi, Eve Merriam, Myra Cohn Livingston, and others.

Today I'm sharing two poems in this book by Karla Kuskin, from the sections Spooky Poems and Mostly Nonsense.

Knitted Things
by Karla Kuskin

There was a witch who knitted things:
Elephants and playground swings.
She knitted rain,
She knitted night,
But nothing really came out right.
The elephants had just one tusk
And night looked more
Like dawn or dusk.

If I Were A . . . 
by Karla Kuskin

If I were a sandwich,
I'd sit on a plate
And think of my middle
Until someone ate
End of the sandwich.

Not sure these are worth sitting still for, but I enjoyed them.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy poetry Friday friends! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Poetry Stretch - Tritina

I'm working on an ekphrastic poem and have been playing around with a number of different forms as I write to the image. Right now I'm playing with the tritina.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the form.
10-line poem made of three, 3-line stanzas and a 1-line envoi

There is no rhyme scheme but rather an end word scheme. It is:



A, B, and C (all in the last line/envoi)
You can read more about the tritina at Poetic Asides.

So, the challenge for the week is to write a tritina. Won't you join me? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Poetry Stretch - Deibhidhe Variation

If orange is the new black, than Tuesday is the new Monday. My apologies for posting late. Here is this week's challenge.

Deibhidhe Guilbnech Dialtach is an Irish verse form written in quatrains. Here are the requirements.
  • lines are 7 syllables in length
  • rhyme scheme is a/a/b/b
  • end words should end in a consonant
  • each line has two alliterated words
  • poems can be any number of quatrains

You can read more about this form at Poetry Magnum Opus.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing this variation of the Deibhidhe. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Poetry Stretch - The Bop

Forgive me for being a day late. I leave for a conference on Wednesday and I'm a bit at loose ends right now. 

The bop is a form invented by poet Afaa Michael Weaver.  Here are the requirements.
  • 3 stanzas, each followed by a repeated line or refrain
  • 1st stanza is 6 lines and states a problem
  • 2nd stanza is 8 lines and expands on the problem
  • 3rd stanza is 6 lines and resolves the problem (If a resolution cannot be found, the final stanza describes the failure to do so.)
You can read more about this form at and Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a bop. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Poetry Seven Write Etherees

This month my poetry sisters and I tackled the etheree. An etheree is a poem of ten lines in which each line contains one more syllable than the last. Beginning with one syllable and ending with ten, this unrhymed form is named for its creator, 20th century American poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong.

Variant forms of the etheree include the reverse form, which begins with 10 syllables and ends with one. The double etheree is twenty lines, moving from one syllable to 10, and then from 10 back to one. (I suppose a double etheree could also move from 10 syllables to one, and then from one back to 10.)

I made the etheree the first poetry stretch for the month of September. I did this to avoid procrastination and to encourage myself to write early. How did I do? Terribly! I was still writing and rewriting in the wee hours before this post was scheduled to go live, in the hopes that something good would come out of the bits and pieces I was tinkering with. Early in the month the theme of relationships was bandied about, and that's when I really got stuck. It seemed to me that relationships required two poems, or at least a conversation. Alas, I couldn't seem to make this one work.

As I prepare this post I am reminded that we promised ourselves to write and share REGARDLESS of the state of the poems, knowing that much of the time they won't be perfect. That means today I am embracing imperfection and sharing the most polished pieces of the lot.

First up is a pair of poems I wrote about a dog and cat who share the same home. I thought about titling them "Cat to Dog" and "Dog to Cat," but I'm not sure that's necessary. (Does anyone else struggle with titles like I do? Sometimes I find them harder than the poems!)

Flea scratcher,
frisbee catcher,
king of the beggars …
you think you are special,
but our human loves me most!
With my playful pounce, tender touch,
intelligent and commanding ways …
look and see! No one can resist a cat.

Mouse chaser,
sun spot bather,
queen of aloofness …
you think you are all that,
but our human loves me most!
With my soulful eyes, thumping tail,
affectionate and faithful ways …
look and see! No one can resist a dog.

I also wrote numerous poems about my dog. I like this one best, as it's a true story.

Finding Cooper

watching humans
come and go ... he waits
for one tender-hearted
to heal, to love, to comfort
him. She falls in love at first sight,
knows without doubt that he is the one
who will save her. They rescue each other.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.

You can read the etherees written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below. 

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe. Happy poetry Friday friends!