Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Poetry Friday! Poem-Making!

Howdy Campers, and Happy Poetry Friday!

PF is hosted by Sheri Doyle this week--thanks, Sheri!  Poetry Friday hosting can be a big job, folks, so make sure you help Sheri put away the chairs and stack the dishes before you leave.

I'm continuing the TeachingAuthors thread we're calling Books We Recommend On Writing which Esther began, reverently offering M.B. Goffstein's A Writer...(which I, too, have on a golden altar in my bookshelf!)  On Poetry Friday, Carmela continued with her top three books on the art and craft of writing poetry, and then Mary Ann offered her favorite one or two books in three categories: Inspirational Books, Craft Books and Craft Books for Kids.  Jill gave us three writing books packed with great information and inspiration, while Jeanne Marie focused on books about plotting...and one on writing "Hit Lit."

I'm going to recommend one of Monkey and my favorite books on writing poetry, POEM-MAKING ~ Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston.
We like it because it's written for a ten year old--just about my level. For more on this book, read Elaine Magliaro's really excellent review of it on The Wild Rose Reader--I couldn't review it any better.

Myra Cohn Livingston was the "Mother of Us All," as Janet Wong writes.  She was Poetry Mentor/Mother to me, Janet, Ann Whitford Paul, Sonya Sones, Hope Anita Smith, Alice Shertle, Kristine O’Connell George, Deborah Chandra, Madeleine Comora, Joan Bransfield Graham, Tony Johnston, Monica Gunning, Karen B. Winnick, Anita Wintz, Ruth Lercher Bornstein and many, many other children's poets (Who am I missing? Let me know!). 

I have previously talked about two books I require in classes I teach through the UCLA Writers Program.  One of the books is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, about which several TeachingAuthors have waxed poetic in the past. 

Here's a poem from that blog post inspired by Lamott's chapter on jealousy:

by April Halprin Wayland

Varda once told us
we were all cans on a shelf.
Cans of chili, kidney beans, split pea soup.
I decided that I was a can of apricot halves.
She said that the shelf was only one can deep
but that it stretched out forever
so there’s always room
for one more.
“You don’t have to be afraid that adding another can means 
there isn’t enough room for you,”she said.
“You can even help a new can
onto the shelf next to you.”
And she never talked
about jealousy again.
poem (c) 2013 April Halprin Wayland.  All rights reserved.

My brilliant teacher Barbara Bottner taught me to write about my greatest fear...because chances are, we all share it.
Monkey is writing about his fear
of writing something stupid in a blog post.


Mary Lee said...

LOVE this! I'll be a can of macadamia nuts!

The newest quote at my desk is from Wallace Stegner:

"...loyalty to the next adventure of writing is more important than any kind of 'success.' "

Liz Steinglass said...

I love the title (who doesn't feel that from time to time?) and the long row of cans. It's such a great way to express the idea that there's always room for more. I'm going to be thinking about writing about a fear for a long time. I share monkey's fear for sure.

jama said...

Thanks for this wonderful poem and for including Monkey in your post :). I'm a can of tomato soup!

Doraine said...

Love this post. So good to face those fears, especially when they are put in such wonderful words. I think I'm a can of black beans, you can do so much with them, even make dessert.

Bridget Magee said...

Fabulous poem! I love the line:
"She said that the shelf was only one can deep
but that it stretched out forever.
so there’s always room for one more."
Being the youngest of 10 kids I like the thought of there always being room for one more...=)

Linda B said...

What a sweet post, April, so reassuring. I have the second meeting of a new writing group this coming week & I think it will be wonderful to share this with them. More are joining us this time so I suspect they will be a little nervous. I have the Livingston book & have used parts of it with students. Perhaps I should take a look for me! Thanks for all your words!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Mary Lee, Liz, Jama, Bridget, Doraine and Linda ~ Monkey was a little bit astonished that the poem hit a harmonic chord for all of you. He is so excited, he is now writing a ten-book series.


Margaret Simon said...

I'd like to have Doraine's recipe using black beans for desert.
I'll be a can of pumpkin. I bought too many during the holidays, so every time I open the cabinet, they look at me, just like the blank page.
Thanks for always encouraging the writer in us.

Sheri Doyle said...

Inspiring poem filled with wisdom! Love that little brave monkey, too.
Hmmm - I think I'll be a can of peaches.
Thanks, April!

Ruth said...

I'm a can of spaghetti sauce. With mushrooms and lots of garlic. :-) I love this poem. Jealousy is such an unpleasant emotion to feel, and I really like this way of looking at it.

Charles Waters said...

That's a darn good story poem. Nice metaphors. Enjoyed it!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Margaret, Sheri, Ruth--you can be whatever can you'd like...ha ha...

And hi, Charles...why aren't you watching the Oscars?!?!


Carmela Martino said...

Love your post and your poem, April. I think I'll be a can of artichoke hearts. :-)