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Archive for August, 2009

Poetry Friday: Back to School

This week sitting in meetings has been the order of the day. Next week the students arrive.

I discovered this wonderful poem in Naomi Shihab Nye’s collection, This Same Sky, a Collection of Poems from Around the World:

The Pen
Take a pen in your uncertain fingers.
Trust, and be assured
That the whole world is a sky blue butterfly
And words are the nets to capture it.

–Muhammad al-Ghuzzi

Translated by May Jayusi and John Heath-Snubbs

We should all be fortunate to have students arrive thinking that words are the nets to capture the sky-blue butterflies.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Do you blog about YA and Children’s books?  The CYBILS Awards are in their fourth year and are looking for judges and panelists for the myriad of categories.  If interested, you can find out more here

This yer I am the organizer of the Nonfiction Picture Book (NFPB).  Am excited to serve in this capacity.

Poetry Friday is over at Book Aunt. Thanks, Kate.


Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: News and Final Reflection on Reichhold’s Book

Writing and Enjoying Haikuby Jane Reichhold is a book chock full of goodness for anyone wanting to delve into this poetry form.  The remaining two chapters (only four in the book) are “Enjoying Haiku with Other” and “Using Your Haiku Skills in Related Poetry Forms”.

Chapter three covers attending poetry readings, getting work into magazines, and other ways to publish your work. 

Probably one of the coolest things I read and will share with not only my poetry kids but drama kids is four things you want your audience able to do:
1. hear
2. think
3. react or feel
4. understand
The reading of poems or saying lines in a manner that the audience gets it is one of the biggest challenges at elementary school.

 One great idea about organizing your haiku is to consider organizing by season and then by the categories or attributes of the seasons such as celestial, terrestrial, and livelihood.  Other ways is to do so alphabetically or chronologically.

Reichhold has several suggestions about creating little haiku books to give as gives.  One of my favorites was to recycle envelopes incorporating the envelope writing and stamps in the design of the book.  She suggests that when putting together a book to organize the poetry seasonally beginning with spring.

I found her section on teaching haiku in the schools to be very helpful and am excited to work my young writers:

-encourage students to use their senses and create images from them
-get them to think outside and beyond themselves (a big challenge)
-suggest that the try using 6-8 words to begin.
-provide first ors second lines and have the students come up with the original third line to start.
-display the haiku.

Reichhold writes about getting published and talks about finding on-line publishing.

This is my news.  My poem “Nirvana” was published on-line at Four and Twenty: A Short Form Poetry Journal.  Click on the shirts, p. 22.   Another poem, “Tatted Stories” will be featured on Sept 1.Both poems began as haiku.
I highly recommend Writng and Enjoying Haiku.  In fact, I may buy a second copy to have at school so I don’t have to carry mine back and forth. So glad I took the time with the book this summer.

Am back to school and next week will share a school-related poem.  More poetry goodness can be found at The Boy Reader.  He is featuring a book I adore, The City I Love  by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Book Study with Jane Reichhold

This is the ongoing book study I am doing with Jane Riechhold’s book, Writing and Enjoying Haiku.

Reichhold’s follows the twenty-four haiku techniques with a way to “actually get a haiku written.” I tried it this week with a previously written haiku. She suggests selecting a someone else’s, perhaps a style you like or a technique you admire and through this process you will revise it. I decided I had plenty of haiku for trying this idea.

The Process:

Take unlined paper and turn sideways: wider than tall

Left edge at the top, write the first line of the haiku, do the same in the middle of the paper for the second line and then at the bottom write the third line.

Work each line and come up with as many variations of the information by substituting nouns and verbs, relevant or not, Reichhold says” Let your inner self play with the words.” Do this for the first two lines.

Next look at the third line of the original haiku. Does is fit with what you have written? Do you have a better ending?

Get a clean sheet of paper and now write your own haiku from the sets of three lines. Try all combinations.

Reichhold goes on to state “listening to your inner self is the most vital thing you can do” and to save and review in the days and months to follow.

foamy ocean waves
lace pattern on wet sand
crab scuttles alone

This haiku originally appeared in May 2007. Here is how I have revised it.

Foamy ocean waves

wave foam
ocean foam
lace foam
foamy ocean crochet
ocean crochet

Lace pattern on wet sand

wet sand lace
sand lace
foam lace on sand
foam crochet

Crab scuttles alone

Solitary crab scuttles
hermit crab scuttles
ebb tide remnant
crab scampers

Revision 1:

ocean crochet
solitary crab scuttles
ebb tide remnant

Revision 2:

solitary crab scuttles
over foamy crochet
ebb tide remnant

This chapter ends with two extensive checklists for revision, over 84 suggestions! And it is followed by Bashp’s motto: Learn the rules, and then forget them.” But first learn the rules.”

Next week I will features ways to preserve your haiku, getting it published, and implications for teaching haiku in school.

Andi is hosting Poetry Friday at a wrung sponge. Find out what others are doing.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday A Day Early

 A ferry headed to Victoria, BC tomorrow, time with my college pals this weekend is the reason I am posting a day early. 

So enjoying Writing and Enjoying Haiku by Jane Reichhold.  A fabulous book on the instruction of haiku.  Today’s reflection is about one of the techniques from the last half of the list.

Techniques thirteen through twenty-four include some of my favorites to write: the “yugen” or the mystery, “sacredness in common things”, the paradox in which the haiku engages the reader and then leaves something to ponder further, and finding the divine in the common which tends to happen unconsciously.

My first blog post three years ago was based on a haiku prompt, the yugen. There is a photo with the haiku of a summer thundercloud.

messenger spirit
waving summertime greetings
twilight clouds gather

Today I read this and wonder if there is enough mystery or sacredness of common things within the haiku?  Are summer thunderclouds common enough? When I revised it for my print on demand book, Solace au Naturel, I revised it this way:

spirit orchestra
sky harp melodies ascend
heavenly bridges
diaphanous souls given
solace, vessel left behind

How could I revise it to make it stronger yet?

spirit orchestra
solace for diaphanous souls
vessels left behind


spirit orchestra
diaphanous souls
vessels left behind


twilight clouds
sky harp melodies bridge

Reichhold makes me rethink and revise. ( and I am going through all the haiku in Solace au Naturel to revise)  Perhaps revision is never completed. Next week I will share some from her “haiku revision check list”.

Poetry Friday Round-up is at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks, Tricia.

BTW, Pam C. aka Mother Reader has opened up registration for the Third Annual Kidlit Con. It’s the weekend of October 16-18, 2009 in Washington, DC and promises to be a smashing event. More information here.

Happy Reading.


Wangari’s Trees of Peace and the WCCPBA

I am thrilled that the Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award (WCCPBA) has several of the nonfiction books from last year’s CYBILS Nonfiction Picture Book nominee list.  It is a vast improvement over last year’s list.  Some one must have been listening.

Two titles on the list made our CYBILS short list. One is Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.

I briefly mention the book last winter in my blog post about the CYBILS shortlist.  Never got around to fully sharing the book for Nonfiction Monday.

“Peopel fight over water, over food…we plant the seeds of peace.”–Wangari Maathai.  This quote is found in the back of the book. 

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africais the story of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan girl who went to America to school and upon returning home from her studies discovered that land stripped of its beautiful tree.  Wangari proceeded to make it her mission to revive the land.  She began in her own backyard and encouraged other women to do the same.  Eventually the “Green Belt Movement”  planted over 30 million trees.

Wangari’s work had such an impact that she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2004 for her work.

Winter uses spare vocabulary and vivid acrylic painting in a folk style to depict this lovely story.  She includes an author’s note at the end of the story.   I am thrilled to share this book with students this coming year.

Title: Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
Author: Jeanette Winter
Date Published: 2008
Pages: 32 pages
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
ISBN-10: 0152065458
ISBN-13: 978-0152065454
Source of Book: Silver Star Library

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Diane Chen at School Library Journal this week.  Head there for other great nonfiction titles.

Happy Reading.