Community Collection 7: MAKING POEMS with Pat Mora

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 a popular presenter, tireless literacy advocate, and the founder of El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day (Día), which takes place every April 30 to promote and celebrate literacy and what Pat calls bookjoy. Please welcome beloved poet …






How do you make a poem?



1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!


To Make a Poem

To make a poem
feel a phrase carry you
out of your space
to a place that’s, with meaning,

To make a poem
wander and wonder
without expectation
or judgment.

To make a poem
lower yourself
into memory’s well.

Rise up,

and then

dump the bucket.

© 2018 Heather Kinser


The Voice

He knocks in dactyls, anapaests,
He knocks in common time.
He knocks in couplets coupled up
In rhythm and in rhyme.

He knocks because he needs you
Just as much as you need him.
How do you make a poem?
When he knocks,
You let him in.

(c) PJ Henry


How to Plant a Poem

A prompt, a sight is all you need.
A simple thought becomes the seed.
It quickly sprouts within your mind,
its fibers reaching, trying to find
the nutrients to help it grow –
the words and phrases apropos –
to bring it to its final stage,
where it can blossom on the page.

Colleen Murphy  © 2018


Mornings I Write

Awake early,

After sunset
Tired from the day,

Morning rituals:
Wood walks,

Darkness is gone!
Light comes!
Awakens my soul
To creative flow.

Ideas come
Like a conduit.
Thoughts flow,
Something to show.
Writing process is mystery.

© Yvona Fast


How to Make a Poem

Put away the tools of making
and instead let some featherlike
angel snip a piece of your heart
or the heart-part of your brain
and do other things –
read a beloved book,
think about an amazing film,
do the dishes,
take a shower,
make matzah balls with chicken fat
for the Passover Seder
and think about family
coming together and the rising of love
at the table, binding us
and watch the matzah balls rise
and the poem will come.
© Carol Coven Grannick 2018

From My Heart to Yours

an image,
a feeling,
a thought,
a mood,
with strong verbs,
beautiful sounds:
set them free
to find a rhythm,
to paint a portrait
from your heart.(C) Sherry Howard

How to Make a Poem

It takes a magician.
Pull words from a hat.
Make them disappear, now reappear —
doubled in number with adornments of
emotion, rhythm, and fanciful description.
Saw it in half.
The last perfect rhyme is pulled from behind the ear.
Ta Da!
How did she do it?
It’s all an illusion.

© Judy Sobanski

How to Make a Poem

To make a poem, cut out
words like “octopus” and “dove,”
“turquoise” and “crystal,”
“jagged” and “stone.”

Grow a cord between
your heart and the words
and then keep writing

even if
a long,

You can write a light at the end.

© 2018 Gabi Snyder

Tippy-Top Sandhill

To make a poem
ponder–elephant echoes.
Sit by a sandhill sea
think thoughts of mystery.

To make a poem
you need to climb
that tippy-top sandhill
sifting mystery dreams.

To make a poem
you need to ride
elephants hide feeling
her warmth and wisdom.

To make a poem
you need to see
through elephant’s eyes
opening your heart’s dream.

To make a poem
you need to find
mysteries of nature
bubbling inside you.

Climb that tippy-top sandhill
ride on elephants hide
through mysteries bubbling
inside your nature.

Climb that tippy-top sandhill.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan


hold the feeling close,
tight as I can, gather
words from my eyes,
my ear, my nose,
swipe a few from my tongue
wander along the fingers
for pinches of extra spice
wrap them into
the poem package
for readers to unwrap
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

A Poem Inside of You

Close your eyes
Hear your breath as steady
As the lapping of waves
To shore.

Open your hands
Hear the words that ache
To tell of a moment lived
No more.

Feel your beat of nerves
Hear the pounding
In your chest, knowing
From your core

Tell your story, cresting
With the waves
A crescendo of truth
Una flor

Spreading its petals
Offering its face
Drink the colors bold
That restore

Share the words
That knit their way
To a place that is honest
And sore.

Smell the pain
Oozing to the edge
As your flor and you
Mark the grave once more.

© 2018 Shelley Smithson


How to Make a Poem

Paint images from your imagination,
Add snow in summer,
And wisteria in winter.
Mix with magic
Bake with bated breath.

© 2018 Kirstine Call


The Poet’s Process

I start with a rhythm that taps in my feet.
I let my mind grove to the poem’s heartbeat.
Before there are words there is rhythm within.
I tap to its music and let my heart swing.

And when the momentum is firm in my soul,
I let the words flow and I see where they go.
With no inhibitions, the lyrics flow free.
I follow their threads as they grow out of me.

When things become tricky and words do not rhyme,
I mix the up structure or perpetrate a rhyme crime.

Each word is selected meticulously –
a difficult jigsaw made effortlessly.
From hours to days, or while cooking the tea,
THAT’S how my poems have each come to be.

© 2018 Kate Talbot


Recipe for My Poem

Pat, you asked
how I make a poem.
I guess the answer is
the poem makes me.

© 2018 Robyn Campbell



Pat Mora is the author of dozens of books for children, teens, and adults. Forthcoming in 2018 are her seventh adult poetry collection, Encantado: Desert Monologues, and a new children’s poetry collection, Bookjoy, Wordjoy.

A literacy advocate excited about sharing what she calls “bookjoy,” Pat founded Children’s Day, Book Day, in Spanish, El día de los niños, El día de los libros, “Día.” Pat and her partners, including the American Library Association and First Book, nationally promote this year-long initiative of creatively linking all children and families to books and establishing annual April Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations. Pat’s Book Fiesta captures this bookjoy spirit. April 30, 2018 is the 22nd anniversary of this initiative.

Among Pat’s awards are Honorary Doctorates from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo, a Life-time Achievement Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, a Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, an Honorary Membership in the American Library Association, a Life-time Membership in USBBY, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship to write in Umbria, Italy, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Texas at El Paso. She was a recipient and judge of a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a recipient and advisor of the Kellogg National Leadership Fellowships.

Born in El Paso to a loving, bilingual family, Pat lives in Santa Fe. A former teacher, university administrator, museum director, and consultant, Pat is a popular speaker about creativity, inclusivity and bookjoy. She is always working on new books.

Discover more about the author and her books at
(adapted from the author’s website)



DOÑA FLOR: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart
DOÑA FLOR: Un Cuento de una Mujer Gigante con un Grande Corazón
Doña Flor is a giant lady who lives in a tiny village in the American Southwest. Popular with her neighbors, she lets the children use her flowers as trumpets and her leftover tortillas as rafts. Flor loves to read, too, and she can often be found reading aloud to the children. One day, all the villagers hear a terrifying noise: it sounds like a huge animal bellowing just outside their village. Everyone is afraid, but not Flor. She wants to protect her beloved neighbors, so with the help of her animal friends, she sets off for the highest mesa to find the creature. Soon enough, though, the joke is on Flor and her friends, who come to rescue her, as she discovers the small secret behind that great big noise.

The creators of TOMÁS AND THE LIBRARY LADY, Pat Mora and Raul Colón, have once again joined together. This time they present a heartwarming and humorous original tall tale-peppered with Spanish words and phrases about a giant lady with a great big heart. (from the author’s website)


I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE (with Libby Martinez)
Libby’s great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years, and she wants to become a U.S. citizen. At the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Libby is also learning the Pledge this week, at school—at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in the Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together—asking questions and sharing stories and memories—until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts. (from the author’s website)




A collection of fifty poems about love: Shared and unrequited. Lasting a moment and lasting a lifetime. Love for a pet, a sport, music. And love for a boyfriend or girlfriend, family, our world.

Each poem features a different teen narrator sharing unique thoughts, moments, sadness, or heart’s desire: the girl who loves swimming, plunging into the water that creates her own world; the guy who leaves flowers on the windshield of the girl he likes. These teens will be recognizable to the reader as the universal emotions, ideas, impressions, and beliefs float across the pages in these gracefully told verses.

Also included are the author’s footnotes on the various types of poetic forms used throughout to help demystify poetry and showcase its accessibility, which makes this a perfect classroom tool for teachers as well as an inspiration to readers who may wish to try their own hand at writing. (from the


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


Check out the poetry video library!
“One Blue Door” and prompts copyright © by Pat Mora, from This Big Sky (Scholastic, 1998)
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.
Blue door photo by Fancycrave via Pexels (no attribution required).