Friday, August 10, 2018

#pb10for10 - Encouraging the Skill of Observation

I've spent the last two weeks cleaning my office and weeding my bookshelves. That means I've put my hands on every book and have had some time to think about my offering for the Picture Book 10for10 event.

In February for the Nonfiction 10for10 event, I shared a list of books to inspire future scientists. I'm still thinking about science as I prepare for the upcoming semester and am already selecting the books I will use in those early weeks. This time around I'm focusing on the books I share to teach and encourage the skill of observation.
written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

written and illustrated by Ed Young

written by Maranke Rinck and illustrated by Martijn Van Der Linden

written and illustrated by Olivier Tallec
(Definitely check out the companions to this title: Who What Where? and Who Was That?)

written and illustrated by Britta Tekentrup
(Tekentrup has SO MANY amazing books in this same format. Don't miss The Odd One Out, One Is Not a PairWhere Did They Go?, and Where's the Baby?)

written by Bob Raczka

written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

written and illustrated by Henry Cole
(Also check out I Took a Walk.)

written and photographed by Walter Wick
(Wick photographed the I Spy books and eventually developed this series of his own, which contains numerous titles.)

with riddles by Jean Marzollo and photographs by Walter Wick
(As you know, there are also many books in this series.)

written and photographed by Frank Serafini
(This is part of a series that also includes books for pond, shore, rainforest, forest, and desert.)

I know this is 11 books, and I suppose I cheated a bit by mentioning other related books, but it's so hard to stop at just 10! You can read the lists others have put together at Picture Book 10 for 10.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Writing Sestinas with the Poetry Sisters

This month the challenge we undertook was to write a sestina. It's been 3 years, so it seemed like time. Yeah, not so much!

A sestina is composed of 33 lines in five stanzas of six lines each, with a envoi of three lines for the final stanza. The form is created by the repetition of the six end-words of the first stanza. The final tercet is called the envoi and contains all of the end-words. Here is what the form looks like.

Stanza 1: ABCDEF
Stanza 2: FAEBDC
Stanza 3: FDABE
Stanza 4: ECBFAD
Stanza 5: DEACFB
Stanza 6: BDFECA
Envoi: BE / DC / FA

Each of us offered up two words to create a list of words to choose from. Those words were: face, down, mirror, ground, prism, prison, block, bend, wishes, beam, string, and blade.
I found the word pool hard to work with. The six words I chose were face, mirror, blade, down, prison, and wishes. After several false starts, I decided telling a story might help me make this form work. Here's what I came up with.

Madwoman in the Attic
She cannot see her own face
but remembers its reflection in the mirror
too dangerous, they say, shards too like a blade
he believes he can keep her down
locked inside this third floor prison
she won’t be honoring his wishes

She longs for freedom and she wishes
to confront him face-to-face
he’s the one deserving prison
yet he smiles at himself in the mirror
one day his world will tumble down
he’ll feel it as the sharpest blade

She’d like to wander in the grass, relish every blade
run to the well that’s made for wishes
toss a coin and follow it down
imagine the shock upon his face
her’s will be his mirror
guilt soon will be his prison

but the attic’s not her prison
it’s her mind that is the blade
she’s chopped up in the mirror
sharp edges, blurry lines, and wishes
all wrapped inside a fractured face
she’s keeping up appearances, but it will all come crashing down

Her nursemaid says, “Calm down.
Thornfield is not your prison.”
But the lie shows on her face
Grace has cut her like a blade
no one answers to her wishes
so untruth is what she’ll mirror

“Who’s the fairest, magic mirror?”
she asks while sitting down
she has nothing left but wishes
so she plots escape from prison
she stabbed one with a blade
burned another, marred his face

Amidst the flames she mirrors his pain while breaking from this prison.
She jumps and tumbles down, pain slicing deeper than a blade.
It’s insanity that wishes, one last look upon his face.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

I started a second poem, but after the third stanza I didn't know where to go with it. Instead of a story, I thought perhaps disconnected stanzas mights be easier to write. The six words I chose were ground, beam, face, down, string, and bend. Here's the rough draft I have so far. I hope to return to this one, perhaps as a tritina or some other form.

In the News (2018)
Young boys trapped underground
no light, no single beam
such fears they had to face
through water they dove down
the path to freedom marked by a string
they didn't break but had to bend

Staunch politicians will not bend
standing firm on 2nd amendment ground
we cannot pluck their heart strings
Undecideds walk the beam
"Can't let constituents down!"
but it's survivors (children) they must face

You can see acceptance on their faces
to Mother Nature they must bend
seems the world is falling down
cracking roads and shaking ground
lava burns houses to their beams
life holding to a string

Draft ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the pieces written by my poetry sisters at the links below. Life has called some sisters away this month, but they'll be back.
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Mary Lee at A Year of Reading. Happy poetry Friday friends!