Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back-to-School Book Giveaway!

For the first time in nearly twenty years, no one in our house is going back to school! I won’t miss packing lunches or saying goodbye every day. But I am looking forward to visiting schools myself. I love working with students and teachers in poetry presentations and writing workshops. (For program details, see my web site.) 

Many teachers and writers I’ve worked with have asked for a poetry writing plan they could follow on their own. Write a Poem Step by Step is that plan, based on the workshops I present in schools. It describes a simple, logical method of writing a poem. It includes examples written by elementary school students in my workshops. And we’re giving away an autographed copy! You can enter to win below. The giveaway is set to begin on Friday, August 7, and run through Friday, August 21. 

In our neighborhood, we’ve still got time to squeeze in more summer fun before the back-to-school frenzy begins. Here’s a summertime poem from Write a Poem Step by Step.

The Beach

The waves come
and crash on shore.
Shosh, shwash, shosh, shwash
The sand is as smooth as a wooden polished floor.
The sand goes through my toes.
The day was as hot as a heating vent.
I built a sandcastle,
but the waves washed it away.
Shosh, shwash, shosh, shwash.

Sarah Ilbek, Grade 3

The line “Shosh, shwash, shosh, shwash” uses invented words that sound like waves crashing on the beach. Like many creative writers, Sarah made up words to fit her poem. I recommend using this technique sparingly and only when a reader can understand the meaning from the context.

Sarah also repeats the line “Shosh, shwash, shosh, shwash.” Watch for a Wednesday Writing Workout on using repetition in poetry next week.

Don’t forget to enter our Book Giveaway below!

Tabatha Yeatts is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Linda B said...

I am the lucky owner of your book already, JoAnn, and used parts of it this past year. Someone will be lucky to win it! The beach poem is perfect for me today. I'm off to the beach for a family vacation tomorrow, can't wait! Time does fly, doesn't it? No more school lunches to pack, unless you do one for you, then write about it? Enjoy the time in schools!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thank you, Linda! Enjoy the beach!

Donna Smith said...

I love Sarah's poem. Her made-up words and their repetition are wonderfully "just right"!
Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing for your book. What a great resource you have written!

Carmela Martino said...

Love this poem, JA! And thanks for the reminder that there's still time to enjoy summer. :-)

Rosi said...

What a sweet poem! This book sounds wonderful. Thanks for a chance to win. I'm sure the teachers at my granddaughter's school would love to have a copy.

Unknown said...

Love books on writing poetry!

Unknown said...

Love books on writing poetry!

Unknown said...

Good luck everyone!

Margaret Simon said...

I have a copy of this delightful book in my collection. Love this beachy poem by Sarah. I like to use models for my students from actual students. From this poem, they can learn about repetition and circle format as well as creating your own sound words. Lovely imagery too.

Mrs. Snow said...

In the past I have let April be my poetry time with students, but I have decided this year to try and do a poetry lesson each 6 weeks.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Yes, isn't Sarah's poem wonderful? I love the original comparisons for the sand and the heat of the day. And I'm always happy to hear about teachers helping students write poetry!

Carol Varsalona said...

JoAnn, the student sound poem is lovely and the visual in the shape of a heart- how charming. Thank you for sharing. I am hoping that you will join my newest summer gallery, Summer Splashings this year. The information is at I created a trailer that can be found at If your student would like to post her poem and image, I will be delighted to showcase it on Summer Splashings.

Rita said...

THis is great. I am so into writing poetry at the moment.

Suzanne said...

I have a wonderful writing mentor who suggests to schedule every week some writing just for yourself.
Not for publishing, not for critique, just for you to enjoy. And she also suggests it's a great way to try a new genre. For me poetry is my new writing just for me. I can't wait to read your book.

Lois said...

Isn't it just wonderful what children can do with a little instruction and encouragement? Their poems are beautiful. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of JoAnn's book. It looks wonderful!!

Jane Heitman Healy said...

I'd love to win this book, but if I don't, I'm going to buy it--and put it to good use! Thanks, JoAnn!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

I'm so happy to hear from so many enthusiastic poetry fans! Carol, I'll checkout your link--thank you! Suzanne, I agree with your writing mentor's advice. Writing poetry is a wonderful way to look at familiar topics in a new way. Lois, I find that helping children write poetry is mostly encouragement--they find their own inspiration.

Birdhouse Books said...

I love poetry and think this book is a wonderful idea!