Thursday, May 8, 2014

November Night and My Clippings

I just read the beautiful book, Firefly July, full of super-short poems (I LOVE super-short poems) celebrating the seasons. Our own April Halprin Wayland is in there, and Joyce Sidman, and so many other fantastic poets.


Here's one of my favorites. I adore both cinquains and fall, so this poem really hits me every time! This is by Adelaide Crapsey, who invented the cinquain form of 2-4-6-8-2 syllables.

November Night

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

--by Adelaide Crapsey, all rights reserved

It's Poetry Friday, and the very generous Jama Rattigan at Alphabet Soup has the Roundup today. Head on over and check out all the lovely poems!

We're talking about writing clippings here on Teaching Authors, so I will share a few of mine. I collect mostly two kinds of things: 1) bits of text from other books (usually fiction) that I think might make a cool jumping off point for my own poetry or picture books, and 2) articles I tear out of science magazines or bookmark that I think are good topics for assessment nonfiction or poetry passages.

Here are 3 random ones:

1) "serpentine spaghetti" - highlighted in a book I was reading on my Kindle. That has got to make it into a poem!

2) "We see their flights as perfect forward motion, but nothing could be further from the truth. In truth, every flap is followed by a tuck and a sweep, hasty and high stakes; hot on the heels of every flickering gain in altitude comes a small, heart-thudding drop." - a description of bird flight, also highlighted in a book on Kindle. I love this concept. No idea how I might use it in my writing, but I love it.

[I don't know what books the above came from. I just started saving highlighted quotes in a Word document a couple of months ago. I'm realizing that I need to also note what book they came from!]

3) - Here's an article I read in Discover Magazine. Then I searched for it online and saved it as a bookmark, because my paper files are so overstuffed! I thought these nifty facts might spark a nonfiction passage for older readers.

Happy reading, writing, and clipping!

--Laura Purdie Salas

P.S. I'm in New Orleans for IRA and beignets! So I likely won't be able to respond to comments for about a week. But I'd love to hear from you:>)

P.S.S: From Carmela: If you haven't entered our current giveaway yet, don't forget to check out Jill Esbaum's post about her most recent publication, Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest (National Geographic Books), and enter for a chance to win your own autographed copy. 


Linda B said...

Firefly July is indeed a wonderful new book, Laura. Already in our library! Have fun at IRA, & thanks for the clippings, My bookmarks, & paper files are full!

Margaret Simon said...

I bought Firefly July for my classroom and have already gotten lost in the poems and the images. I like to hear that you use things you read in poems. I've taught my students about lifting a line and using it in a poem. Kevin Hodgson has invaded our kidblog from time to time to leave behind a small poem with a lifted line.
How do you credit the first writer? And how many words can you steal without giving credit? This is fuzzy for me. I usually italicize the lifted line and credit the author like this, "with a line from Laura Purdie Salas."
Have fun in New Orleans, my favorite city.

Liz Steinglass said...

This is one of my favorite poems. I love frost-crisp'd. Actually I love all of it.

laurasalas said...

I hear that! Having a blast in NOLA so far:)

laurasalas said...

Great question, Margaret. I rarely steal the actual words in the same order. It's more the concept. I wrote about this a bit in in one of my Poetic Pursuits columns, I think. I'll search when I'm home. If I used the two words "serpentine spaghetti" in a poem about snakes--which I don't think the original passage was about--I *think* it was about wires--I probably wouldn't do anything as far as credit, though if I was telling people the origin of the poem, I would say I read that phrase and it stuck with me, etc. if I did actually use a whole line, I'd probably put something like an italics line with the credit at the end of the poem.

laurasalas said...

(Continued) But generally, it's the idea or a comparison that I use, not a string of words.

Pls excuse typos--on my phone!


laurasalas said...

Me, too! Especially in the humid heat here in NOLA!

jama said...

Love "November Night" -- frost-crisp'd is perfection.

Thanks for sharing your clippings, too!

Did someone say beignets? Have fun at IRA :).

Carmela Martino said...

Great cinquain--thanks for sharing it, Laura! I'm also doing more of my "clipping" online, though occasionally I find that when I go back to a link I've bookmarked, the original text is gone. So if it's an article I REALLY want, I also cut and paste it onto my computer.
Hope you're enjoying IRA.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

That cinquain is to die for. So beautiful in every line, every word. Fun clippings too!

Buffy Silverman said...

Putting this on my to read list--thanks, Laura!

Karin Fisher-Golton said...

I'm glad to know about Firefly July. I love short poems and just about anything about seasons. "November Night" is wonderful. Crapsey makes great use of those 2-syllable lines.

Joy said...

Have fun in New Orleans. I want to talk to you about word stacking for writing poems. Have you tried this technique?

Anonymous said...

Isn't FIREFLY JULY spectacular? And I love that middle quote about birds in flight, too. Nice starter.

Have fun in New Orleans!

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for the question about line lifting, Margaret, and thanks for your answer, Laura! I'm playing around with this a bit. For right now, I'm using my students' lines from our class KidBlog, and so they get immediate recognition as the source. I'll have to be as diligent about attribution for lifted lines in the larger world as I am about attribution for photos.

GatheringBooks said...

I visited New Orleans around three years back. And oh wow, do I miss those beignets and gumbo! Have fun! :)

laurasalas said...

Jama, thanks! I had fun at IRA--intense and overwhelming, as always:>)

Marti, so true. If it's something crucial, I print it or tear it out of the mag.

Michelle, glad you liked it!

laurasalas said...

Buffy, enjoy!

Karin, me, too! That's why this book really hit a sweet spot for me.

Joy, I'm not familiar with word stacking, unless it's something I know by another name. I'd love to hear more details...

laurasalas said...

Kelly, I did, thanks. Good to be home, though!

Mary Lee, I saw a bit of your line lifting poems--such a cool project!

Myra, I had beignets twice while there. Yum. Grits--about four times. Mac and cheese--a few times. I don't eat any seafood, so that severely limited my NOLA food choices:>)