Community Collection 29: MAKING THINGS with Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!
Remember: The Community Collections are open indefinitely, so you can visit each post at your leisure to add your poem!


Today’s Guest…

is the coziest poet on the block. She makes all sorts of things, including wonderful books of poems like With My Hands, and has a habit of inspiring others to observe the world and write about it, too. Please welcome author and educator … 




(Click to enlarge)



In second grade, as a little girl in upstate New York, I carved a soap whale (Ivory soap) for a school project. Forty years later, I cannot tell you whether I washed with that whale or threw it away, whether I gave it as a gift or lost it.  However, I know for sure that my soap whale lives on inside my body and inside my heart. I was so proud of it! I still am. Such handmade things live forever.
Remember something you made with your own hands. What was the object? What did it feel like to make it? Where is this object now?
Remember an object that someone made for you with his or her own hands. How did it feel to receive this object? What lives on?
Allow yourself to travel back in time. Feel your own hands making or receiving.
What do you see? Who are you in this moment? How is it to be a maker? How is it to receive the gift of a maker?
These thoughts and rememberings will lead you to your poem.



1. Click the pink + circle on the bottom right.
2. Type in your title and copy in your poem
3. Don’t forget to include your name/copyright (e.g., (c) 2018 Gladys Poet)!
4. To make it stick, click on the background pic OUTSIDE the white area of your post.
5. Use the tools on the bottom of your post to easily upload images.
6. Scroll to read and comment on others’ work!

If you have any trouble posting your poem, you may email it to me at and I will post it for you!

Made with Padlet


Amy Ludwig Vanderwater is the author of books including Forest Has a Song, Every Day Birds, Read! Read! Read!, Dreaming of You, With My Hands, and Poems Are Teachers. A writing teacher and journalist as well as a poet, Amy has a master of arts in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught fifth grade and directed a summer writing program for many years. She currently works in schools throughout the United States, teaching teachers about writing workshops, studying literature, and conferring with students. 

Amy lives in Holland, NY with her family, blogs for young writers at The Poem Farm and Sharing Our Notebooks, and posts on Twitter and Instagram as @amylvpoemfarm.

Discover more about the author and her books at


For young makers and artists, brief, lively poems illustrated by a NYT bestselling duo celebrate the pleasures of working with your hands.

Building, baking, folding, drawing, shaping . . . making something with your own hands is a special, personal experience. Taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into something real is satisfying and makes the maker proud.

With My Hands is an inspiring invitation to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things. (from


Twenty-three poems capture the joys of reading from that thrilling moment when a child first learns to decipher words to the excitement that follows in reading everything from road signs to field guides to internet articles to stories.

These poems also explore what reading does, lyrically celebrating how it opens minds, can make you kind, and allows you to explore the whole world. Ryan O’Rourke’s rich artwork beautifully captures the imagination and playfulness in these poems. (from



“Poems wake us up, keep us company, and remind us that our world is big and small. And too, poems teach us how to write. Anything,” Amy Ludwig VanDerwater explains in Poems Are Teachers.

This is a practical book designed for every classroom teacher. Each lesson exploration includes three poems, one by a contemporary adult poet and two by students in grades 2 through 8, which serve as models to illustrate how poetry teaches writers to:

  • find ideas
  • choose perspective and point of view
  • structure texts
  • play with language
  • craft beginnings and endings
  • choose titles.

Students will learn how to replicate the craft techniques found in poetry to strengthen all writing, from fiction to opinion, from personal narrative to information. “Poets arrange words and phrases just as prose writers do, simply in tighter spaces,” Amy argues. “In the tight space of poetry, readers can identify writing techniques after reading one page, not thirty pages.” (from

Don’t miss a prompt! Save this calendar to your desktop.


Check out the poetry video library!
“Soap Carving” and prompt copyright © by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater.
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Arts and Crafts photo by via Pexels (no attribution required).

You may also like...


  1. Oh, R! You have a way of welcoming folks to No Water River that just makes us feel cozy. Thank you for your beautiful series this month, for always sharing poetry for children, for your own poems, and for inviting me to join your April calendar. Today: origami with children at a book event to close out April. Hug. xx, a.

    1. I still can’t believe you sent me a soap carving poem! I looked high and low for the carvings I did as a girl, which I still have, but alas I could not find them. I have a pig and an elephant that I did when I was in high school (soap carving ain’t just for little kids, you know!). It was one of my favorite rainy day pastimes. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

  2. Your words make me wonder if kids still do create things with Ivory Soap, Amy? I did, too, but don’t remember what! There are all kinds of wonderful things to make, and your book gives a boost for “doing”. Thanks, Amy and Renee for a month of poetry inspiration!

  3. A fantastic prompt! I spent the day at the Virginia Fine Arts Museum yesterday….it was a swim in a pool of creativity. Just what I needed. I’ve loved your April project. You inspire!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *