Friday, February 21, 2014

Sylvia Vardell's Poetry Aloud Here! Using Your Voice in a Poem of Instruction ~

Howdy Campers!

Happy Poetry Friday ~ the hostess for today's poetry feast is Karen Edmisten--thank you, Karen!

and congratulations to Sylvia Vardell on the publication of an updated, shiny NEW EDITION of her fabulous Poetry Aloud Here--Sharing Poetry with Children, which has been in print for over ten years (the new book is called Poetry Aloud Here 2)! I am elated that one of my poems (printed below) introduces the book.  Man-oh-man--what an honor!

Click here for Sylvia's description of her inspiring book (Booklist called the first edition "required reading for all children's librarians"), and here's the notice from ALA.

If you've been following TeachingAuthors, you know that we're in the middle of our series exploring Voice: what it is, how to find yours and/or how to teach it.  JoAnn kicked off our discussion with her definition of voice and her original poem, "I Have A Voice"; Jill continued with a real-life example of student voices and some wonderful picture book writers' voices; Carmela introduced us to a terrific book on this topic and offered an e.e.cummings poem as a stunning example of voice; Mary Ann showed us how she teaches how to create a character's voice; and Carmela came back with a Wednesday Writing Workout on distilling your own writing voice.

When talking about voice in my Writing the Children's Picture Book class, I read parts or all of the following books: Gennifer Choldenko's Moonstruck, Karla Kuskin's The Philharmonic Gets Dressed, Ruth Lercher Bornstein's Little Gorilla and Rabbit's Good News, Chris Raschka's Yo! Yes? and John Coltrane's Giant Steps, Susan Patron's Burgoo Stew, and many other books.  My heavens--what a chorus of wildly diverse voices in that flock of books!

Then I read them Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (sic)," which begins:

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!" (read the rest here)

and give them 10-15 minutes to write the same story from the POV of one of the characters in the story.  They may decide to become the Owl the Pussycat, the boat, the ring...whatever they want.  (Someone in today's class wrote from the POV of the Bong Tree!) The results are wonderful, distinct and often hilarious (Pussycat as a woman of the night, for example...)  We immediately discover both the writer's and the character's voice.

St├ęphane Jorisch illustrated this version of Lear's poem...
demonstrating his own distinctive voice

So many ways to convey one's voice!

Here's my poem that's in Sylvia's book (she says joyfully)--it's a poem of instruction

by April Halprin Wayland

To begin,
tell the poet’s name
and the title
to your friend.

Savor every word—

read it one more time.

Now, take a breath—
and sigh.

Then think about the poet,
at her desk,
late at night,
picking up her pen to write—

and why.

Now it's your turn: try writing your own poem of instruction!

poem and drawing (c) 2014 April Halprin Wayland, who thanks you for reading all the way to the end


skanny17 said...

Hi April,
I am going to share your poem with my students. I love how you are bringing the idea of voice to your class. It is something that some 3rd graders have naturally, yet others come to it more slowly.
Janet F.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Hello, Friend! Congrats on poetically introducing all the goodness in Sylvia's newest edition. (I MUST get this one to keep the first edition company.)

"Read it one more time" - yes, and probably many more!

Thanks for sharing this today.

laurasalas said...

That is such a lovely poem, April! I just bought my copy of this book and can't wait to read it!

jama said...

How exciting to have your poem introduce Sylvia's book! And what a cute drawing of you writing in bed :).

BTW, I LOVE The Philharmonic Gets Dressed.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Dear Janet, We'd love to hear how your 3rd graders respond to the poem!

Robyn and Laura--you'll love the book--it's jam-packed!

Jama--I love The Philharmonic Gets Dressed, too...I love reading it to my adult students and watch all of us, fascinated, as all 105 members of the Philharmonic put on their underwear...

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks so much for the lovely shout-out and especially for your perfect poem! You're the sweetest! Sylvia

Karen Edmisten said...

Congrats to Sylvia, and to you! Love your poem of instruction, esp.


Margaret Simon said...

I have been following along the posts on voice. You have given me some very specific content to work with both for myself and my students. Wow! to have a poem of your own introduce the book. Congrats! In poetry, each word counts. Reading aloud helps you to hear each word, savor each word.

Carmela Martino said...

Dear April, HUGE congrats to you on your poem opening the new edition, and to Sylvia, on the book's re-release. And thanks so much to the link on the lesson plan for writing a poem of instruction. I've bookmarked it to use with my students.

Buffy Silverman said...

What a terrific poem to introduce Sylvia's new book! Congratulations, April--and thanks for introducing Poetry Aloud. I'm putting it on my wishlist!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Sylvia, Karen and Buffy--thank you for coming by, and Carmela, yes, yes--isn't that lesson plan for writing a poem of instruction terrific?

Margaret--I've gotten so much from all my blogmate's posts on this topic. Very useful, specific discussion for me, too.

Linda B said...

I'm late to this PF party, but want to thank you for all the posts of the week, & this one today about this new edition. I've shown the post to our librarian-will be a lovely addition to our library for everyone to use. I have some poetry lessons coming up, about names and sound, but will keep this close as well. What fun it will be to do!