Friday, December 13, 2019

Three Poetry-Writing Titles for Your Bookshelf (and a Poem Inspired by Them)

Happy Poetry Friday! I share an original poem at the end of this post, along with a link to this week's terrific poetry-related Wednesday Writing Workout from Kimberly Hutmacher, in case you missed it. (The post includes a giveaway of Kimberly's nonfiction book Your Nose Never Stops Growing and Other Cool Human Body Facts (Capstone Press).

Today I'd like to share three poetry-writing titles for your reference. I was inspired by Esther's post last Friday, in which she shared five new titles of interest to aspiring writers of all ages, but especially young writers. While the books I'll discuss today are not new releases, two of them are new to me.

I mentioned last August that I've been reading and writing poetry as I work on my own poetry project. I've also been reading books on poetry writing. I started out by rereading Ralph Fletcher's Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out (HarperCollins). Even though the book is intended for grades 5-9, I find it helpful for my own writing, and I find the examples from young poets quite inspiring.

I read a second book that approaches poetry "from the inside out:" Sandford Lyne's Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice through the Craft of Poetry (Sourcebooks). While the book's focus is poetry-writing, I think it would benefit all sorts of writers. This is not a book that addresses rhyme, meter, or form. Instead, it's about how to open our awareness to the world around us. As Lyne says:
"Writing poetry is about seeing patterns, seeing resemblances, seeing symbols and metaphors; it is about seeing connections. Writing poetry is about a deeper appreciation and deeper discernment, about respecting our own individuality and the individuality of others. Writing poetry is about economy, about bringing order out of chaos, about fine-tuning the aesthetic sense; it is about nurturing our sensitivity to beauty and preserving the beauty of the world."
After reading the book, I researched Lyne to see what else he'd written and was very sad to learn that he died in 2007, the same year this book was published. I found a lovely tribute to him online that talks of how he shared his delight in poetry with thousands of children and teachers. He compiled two anthologies of poems by some of the children he taught: Soft Hay Will Catch You: Poems by Young People (Simon & Schuster, 2004) and Ten- Second Rainshowers: Poems by Young People (Simon & Schuster, 1996). He used some of those poems as examples in Writing Poetry from the Inside Out, too.
Lyne's book includes a writing exercise called poem-sketching that's been helping me develop my poetry muscles. The poem I share below came out of that process.

The poetry-writing book I'm currently reading, The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (University of Nebraska Press) by Ted Kooser, was included in the list of "Suggested Reading" in Lyne's book. Although it was published in 2005, Kooser's book is new to me. I'm finding it both inspiring and, as the subtitle says, filled with lots of practical advice.

Kooser says:
"What is most difficult for a poet is to find the time to read and write when there are so many distractions, like making a living and caring for others. But the time set aside for being a poet, even if only for a few moments each day, can be wonderfully happy, full of joyous, solitary discovery."
I've been experiencing some truly "joyous" moments playing with poetry the last few months. As I mentioned above, the poem I'm sharing today was inspired by Lyne's poem-sketching process. (You can read more about the process here and here.) The word group that prompted my poem consisted of "poems, flock, wings, fly."

Inspired by April's willingness to share her poetry-writing process, I give you first an early draft of the poem:

        Flocking Poems 

     Poems flock to me
     like migrating birds.
     Their wings rustle
     in the distance.
     I wait, smiling,
     as they fly nearer and nearer.
     they alight on this table
     waiting to be heard
     and fed.
  Copyright 2019 Carmela A. Martino 

Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

You can see I used all the words in the initial draft, but some were edited out in the revision process. Here's the current, much shorter, version.

       Flocking Poems 

     Poems flock to me
     like migrating birds.
     They alight on the page
     waiting to be heard.
  Copyright 2019 Carmela A. Martino 

Not sure I'm satisfied with this one yet. I'd love to know your thoughts on both poems. I plan to include this post in this week's Poetry Friday round-up over at Elizabeth Steinglass's blog. When you're done there, don't forget to read Kimberly Hutmacher's poetry-related Wednesday Writing Workout and enter our giveaway of her nonfiction book Your Nose Never Stops Growing and Other Cool Human Body Facts (Capstone Press).

Remember to always Write with Joy!


Linda Mitchell said...

Wow! What a great post. I love the book titles, have copied and pasted Kooser's quote into my journal and enjoyed seeing your sketch and revision. The interview with Kimberly is super good. I have gone to the links suggested and picked out articles to begin with. I really do love combining science and poetry.

Irene Latham said...

Carmela, thank you for sharing this learning journey! I have Lyne's Rainshowers book and adore it. I'm also in love with his definition of poetry and so must find that book, too. These poems are lovely, and my poet-heart, which yearns for specificity, wants to know: what kind of birds??? Please keep tending your flock, and thank you for sharing your beauty with all of us!

Liz Steinglass said...

I love your use of flock as a verb and in conjunction with poems. How lovely that they fly to you. Thanks for sharing the books. I had to laugh when I saw the cover and title of Ted Kooser's book. I listened to a radio interview with him long ago and have loved his work ever since.

Linda B said...

I have the two by Fletcher & Kooser, but the other is new to me, Carmela. What a lovely post so filled with inspirational links. I'll try to visit Kimberly's Workout, too! I like both poems & this line in the first quite a lot: "Their wings rustle/in the distance." What a challenge it is to choose sometimes! Thanks for all!

Carmela Martino said...

Linda, so glad to know you enjoyed the post and quotes as well as Kim's Writing Workout.
Liz, I'm smiling at your response to Kooser's book. I'd heard of him but never read his poetry before I picked up the book. Thanks for stopping by!

Carmela Martino said...

Hi Irene. I love your question about the birds. I'll need to think on that. And your encouragement to keep "tending the flock" may be the inspiration for another poem. :-)

Carmela Martino said...

Hi Linda B. Thanks so much for the feedback, and for stopping by!

Janice Scully said...

Thank you for the book recommendations. I have the Kooser book and love it. As for your poem, I do like the second shorter version, but I would find a way to add the rustling sound back, as it might add another dimension to it. Happy Holidays!

Linda said...

The writing books you shared are some of my favorites. They have been helpful in my teaching and my own writing. Your poem is gorgeous! I especially love,
"flock to me/like migrating birds." Wow! Thanks for sharing!

Janice Scully said...

Thank you for this post. I would love to read these titles. I already have Kooser and it's useful to read over and over. I like his humor.

Rosi said...

Thanks for the post. Very useful. Some of these titles are new to me.

Mary Lee said...

I'll have to add Lyne's book to my shelf of resources!

Carol Coven Grannick said...

Hi, Carmela:
I love this post, and your poem—which wonderfully and weirdly captures the exact feeling in the first post I've written for my new group blog (but haven't posted yet!). Your poem captures that sweet, gentle, exquisite way poetry flies to us, and how we receive it. I also take Ralph Fletcher's book off my shelf frequently to re-read and feel grounded again and again, and I look forward to exploring the two other, as well. Thank you so much!

Carmela Martino said...

Janice, thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Happy holidays to you, too!
Linda Kulp Trout, so glad you enjoyed the poem.

Carmela Martino said...

Rosi and Mary Lee, thanks for stopping by.
Carol, that is weird about the Synchronicity. I hope I get to read your blog post.

Kay said...

I have and have read Kooser's book, but will have to look for the other two. I've enjoyed Fletcher's wisdom from other books and workshops. I love the quote you shared from Lynn. I found your first draft delightful-especially the image of poems flocking to you like migrating birds. The brevity of the second draft concentrates the image even more.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks so much for the feedback, Kay!

Mrs. Wyman said...

I love both versions! Every time I see a bird, I feel like a poem is winging its way to me. Thank you for sharing this! -- Christie @

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Christie!