Friday, April 1, 2016

Science Poems. Poetry Month. Poetry Friday. Oh, My!

Howdy Campers!

1) Today is the first day of National Poetry Month, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary!
2) Today I'm sharing "a treasury of the greatest science poetry for children ever written"!
3) Today is Poetry Friday! (a poem by Steven Withrow and the link to Poetry Friday are both below.)

Lions and tigers and bears--oh, my!

HAPPY National Poetry Month (held in a month near and dear to my heart)! I'm celebrating by climbing a tree and singing praises for Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's marvelous new anthology, The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for KIDS. (Full disclosure: TeachingAuthor Esther Hershenhorn and I both have poems in this do a TON of poets in the kidlitosphere. Poets, give us a shout out if you're in this anthology!)

News Flash...Janet just sent me the whole list of poets...ready? The 78 poets in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science are (can you say all their names in one big breath?):

Joy Acey, Alma Flor Ada, Linda Ashman, Jeannine Atkins, Carmen Bernier-Grand, Robyn Hood Black, Susan Blackaby, Susan Taylor Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Leslie Bulion, Stephanie Calmenson, F. Isabel Campoy, James Carter, Kate Coombs, Cynthia Cotten, Kristy Dempsey, Graham Denton, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Shirley Smith Duke, Margarita Engle, Douglas Florian, Betsy Franco, Carole Gerber, Charles Ghigna, Joan Bransfield Graham, Mary Lee Hahn, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Terry Webb Harshman, Juanita Havill, Esther Hershenhorn, Mary Ann Hoberman, Sara Holbrook, Patricia Hubbell, Jacqueline Jules, Bobbi Katz, X.J. Kennedy, Julie Larios, Irene Latham, Renée M. LaTulippe, Debbie Levy, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Heidi Mordhorst, Marilyn Nelson, Kenn Nesbitt, Lesléa Newman, Eric Ode, Linda Sue Park, Ann Whitford Paul, Greg Pincus, Mary Quattlebaum, Heidi Bee Roemer, Michael J. Rosen, Deborah Ruddell, Laura Purdie Salas, Michael Salinger, Glenn Schroeder, Joyce Sidman, Buffy Silverman, Marilyn Singer, Ken Slesarik, Eileen Spinelli, Anastasia Suen, Susan Marie Swanson, Carmen Tafolla, Holly Thompson, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Lee Wardlaw, Charles Waters, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Steven Withrow, Allan Wolf, Virginia Euwer Wolff, Janet Wong, and Jane Yolen.

218 Poems from the Teacher Edition + 30 Fun Bonus Poems =
A Whole Lot of Science Learning
Co-editor, publisher, author, and poet Janet Wong, who has been appointed to the NCTE Commission on Literature, the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry committee, and the IRA Notable Books for a Global Society committee, and her partner in crime, co-editor, professor, best-selling author, former chair of the NCTE Poetry Award committee and consultant to the Poetry Foundation, Sylvia Vardell write:

Teachers and parents asked us to make a Children's Edition of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR SCIENCE (Teacher Edition) with the poems grouped by theme--all the Ecosystems poems together, Lab Safety poems together, Math poems together, etc. (instead of grouped by grade level). So we did, and this is it--with 30 more poems than the Teacher Edition! Kids always ask me, "What is your favorite (of your own) books?" For now I have to answer: THIS ONE! Maybe because this one is the brand-new baby, or maybe because I think the illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang really fit the text perfectly. I hope you agree!

Well, the National Science Teachers Association sure agrees. Here's what they say about the teacher's edition: "This is a treasury of the greatest science poetry for children ever written, with a twist—it can be used to ignite the spirit of students in a different, out of the box way. ” (NSTA Recommends)

If you were Janet and Sylvia, wouldn't you swoon when you read that review?

Poems in this book are grouped into 24 themes such as “Push and Pull,” “Ecosystems,” “Lab Safety,” “Computers,” and “The Math of Science.”

Use this link to get your paperback copy, and this link to get it as an ebook. I am in love with this anthology. It's so much fun to read. And apparently I'm not the only one...

Janet and Sylvia write:
Ben Franklin loved the poem about him—thank you for your poem “Discovery," X.J. Kennedy! In fact, he loved the whole book and got very excited when we gave him a copy—so excited that he handed his phone to a security guard, asking him to take a photo with his phone, too.  

When I flipped through to find a poem I wanted to share I ended up with a list numbering a million gazillion favorite poems. I finally threw my hands up in the air, closed my eyes and threw a dart into my list.

The dart hit Steven Withrow's marvelous poem. 

Steven, will you please introduce your poem?

Sure! Science, I've learned from working for many years with scientists and medical researchers as a journalist and editor, is a kind of poetry. To communicate science is to use the language of metaphor and symbol, as well as persuasive sound and rhetoric, and it's no surprise that many scientists also write poems.

When talking with children about poetry, I often bring in concepts and images from science. A metaphor is not an equivalence, but a suggestion of likeness, of linkage. As Robert Frost wrote in an essay for The Atlantic Monthly in 1946, “There are many other things I have found myself saying about poetry, but the chiefest of these is that it is metaphor, saying one thing and meaning another, saying one thing in terms of another, the pleasure of ulteriority.”

"What Makes a Turbine Turn" was inspired by the massive wind turbines being constructed close to my house in New England. I hope my turbine poem captures a hint of this pleasurable otherness.

What Makes a Turbine Turn
by Steven Withrow

The formless force
that waggles a flag
and shapes a ghost
from a plastic bag

and levitates
a dragon kite
and wrestles with
the trees at night

is named the same
as that airy motion
which blusters over
field and ocean

and charges up
electric motors
with each revolving
round of rotors.

When next you see
a three-armed beast
who might be facing

don’t worry if
you feel thin-skinned.
“It’s just my pinwheel,”
says the wind.

Copyright © 2016 Steven Withrow. From the book The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. Pomelo Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Wow. The thing that strikes me about this poem is that I see how wind moves...and I am moved, too. Thank you, Steven!

Campers, if you were to write a children's poem about something in science, what topic would you choose? And don't forget: if your work is in this anthology, let us know!

Thank you, dear Amy at The Poem Farm, for hosting PF today!

posted poetically by April Halprin Wayland...with help from Eli, Snot, and Sheldon ~


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

No joke. How Providential to have been named April; science-related poems or not, imagine the blessing of having a whole month of poetry celebrated in your honor! From the very beginning, I wonder: did your family know you would be a published poet? (Bet an autographed copy of the new anthology will be a treasured family legacy.) Congratulations! God bless you. (Sorry for earlier delete. Cleaned up misspelling.)

author amok said...

What a wonderful poem. I love how it explores all of the things the wind can be. I'm partial to that plastic-bag ghost -- such a great visual.

Anonymous said...

What an effortless build of energy there is in this poem. I too like the image (and rhythm) of the plastic bag ghost. And can only imagine the awesome topics/poems that must make up the collection.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

What a wonderful poem with its movement like the wind itself, moving swiftly from image to image. I lie rotors rhyming with motors. The poem has that quality of feeling so right, it just had to be written. I want a copy!

Linda B said...

I love every bit of your excitement for April, not surprised, and Stephen's poem offers wind a new image, despite its "formless force". Thanks, April.

Liz Steinglass said...

I like the exploration too--the breezy move from place to place just like the wind.

Amy LV said...

This is simply a fantastic poem. Steven is a magician with words, and the idea of the wind itself having a turbine pinwheel is perfect! Thank you for highlighting Steven's work and this great anthology. I feel lucky to have been part of these books so well conceived and developed by Janet and Sylvia! Happy Poetry Friday, friend! Dayenu! xo

April Halprin Wayland said...

CB ~ In fact, my mom and dad named me after the Ogden Nash poem, "Always Marry an April Girl"!

Laura & KatsWhiskers ~ I'm partial to that plastic bag image, too! And it does feel like an effortless poem, doesn't it, KatsWhiskers? The mark of a true craftsperson.

Brenda ~ yes, yes as you say: "The poem has that quality of feeling so right, it just had to be written."

Linda B ~ My mentor always said that you want to create a fresh image...Steven sure has!

Liz ~ yes, his form and words feel like wind itself.

Amy ~ We are so lucky to have Janet and Sylvia in our poetry universe! Dayenu indeed.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

This just proves that I--included in the anthology--have not spent enough time with it...I hadn't read this fine piece! It's very timely for a windy time of year, and Steven and all of us benefit from your highlighting this new version. Happy double April!

Steven Withrow said...

Thank you all. I really appreciate your wonderful comments!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

What an amazing poem, Steven! The imagery and wordplay is fantastic— I'm simply blown away. ;) I will definitely be keeping this as a mentor text for myself. Thank you for sharing it, April!

Violet N. said...

What a wonderful poem! My son-in-law works on a wind farm in northern B.C. so this poem has special significance. Wind is truly a marvel!

Robyn Hood Black said...

LOVE this post. And all the personalities in it, though I haven't directly met Mr. Franklin, but I think I should like him, too. Thanks for the spotlight on this terrific anthology (I'm lucky to have three poems in it). I shared this volume Thurs. with some students in Georgia, in fact. :0)
Echoing praise for Steven's way with words - "shapes a ghost/from a plastic bag" - beautiful.

Janet Wong said...

SO grateful for this wonderful post, April--and all the poets who participated in this project!!!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Happy Poetry Month, April (YOU!), and happy ME to be included in this lovely post. Thank you for YOUR wonderful science poems and for helping us get the word out about this wonderful book. We love how poetry people are exploring science through this book and how science people are loving the surprise of poetry in the science area. Win Win!

Anonymous said...

I have the teachers edition of the PF Anthology for Science, but will have to order the children's edition. I love the idea of these turbines being the wind's pinwheel! Thanks so much for sharing!

jan godown annino said...

Imagine what a partee it will be if all the talents who contributed to this new anthologee
were collected in one space!
If I were writing a science poem & actually I am it will be on earth science/biodiversity/web of life,
I am so excited for all my friends in this collection & for all the well-known poets whose poetry
I have enjoyed reading so very much.
Launch a weather balloon, spin a turbine!
Stepehn's poem lifts me up - a perfect selection by chance of the lance.

And April - totally a giggle that your parent's named you for the Ogden Nash Poem! A first in the Poetry Friday world, me thinks!!!

Happy National Poetry Month to every reader, writer & especially poem makers.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Heidi ~ I'm relieved to hear that you haven't spent enough time with it--me neither! Is there ever enough time for all the deliciousness in life? *sigh*

Michelle ~ I'm glad you're planning to share this poem. I couldn't help it!

Violet ~ it's interesting to contemplate a wind farm...I wonder what wind seeds look like ~

Thank you, most prolific Robyn!

Janet and Sylvia ~ you said it right: the surprise of poetry + science. That's exactly it!

readingtothecore ~ thank you for reading our posts!

Jan ~ thank you for your comment. The other night, someone read that Odgen Nash poem (Always Marry an April Girl) to a large group. My face was burning :-)

Charles Waters said...

Wow! The combination of April and Steven cannot be denied. WAYLAND and WITHROW POWER!!!!