National Poetry Month 2012

Poetry Month 2012: Progressive Poem + Poem in My Pocket

It’s a big day, people! At least for me, and I’ve got lots of goodies to share with you…but first, look at the goodies I woke up to this morning…

Birthday Books!
Birthday Books!

Yup, it looks like my very attentive and alert husband saw my recent FB plea for reading suggestions — and then got me all of them, including one by our own Irene Latham! Is there anything better than a stack of new books? I can hardly wait until bedtime! I’m starting with Leaving Gee’s Bend, then who knows what tale will take me away after that? Now onto today’s poetry business…

An Honor for My Birthday

Lizard Lou by Renee LaTulippe and Marie RippelThat’s right, it’s my birthday, and I am honored that my bloggie friend Eric VanRaepenbusch is celebrating my day on his genius blog Happy Birthday, Author! If you don’t know about this site, check out my interview with Eric (he’s right under Green Eggs and Ham) and then get on over there to see all the amazing book extension activities he cooks up with his kids.

Today Eric is working with a poem or two that I wrote for Lizard Lou, a book of new and classic rhymes I put together with Marie Rippel as part of her All About Reading curriculum.  I have no idea which of my poems Eric chose or what he’s doing with them, so it will be a fun birthday surprise! Oh, and I also share a special birthday memory in the post…

An Interview and a Poem

Yesterday, Rena Traxel interviewed me on her writing blog On the Way to Somewhere. I ramble on about my favorite poets and why I stand in the woods reciting poetry, and even offer a couple of tips on reading poetry aloud. And I share the poem “Ugly Pants” from Lizard Lou, which hasn’t yet appeared on NWR. I hope you’ll pop over (mmm…popovers)!


A Poem in My Pocket

How lucky am I that A Poem in Your Pocket Day falls on my birthday? The idea is to choose a poem you love, carry it in your pocket, and take it out whenever the opportunity arises to share it with friends, family, and co-workers. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

The first thing I learned on this day is that there is a dearth of pockets in my wardrobe. While at least I’m in no danger of being invaded by Wockets, it was still a conundrum. But don’t worry — I dug out an old rumpled sweater with BIG pockets, and this is what I put in them:


Always Marry an April Girl

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true —
I love April, I love you.

–Ogden Nash




A Book

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

–Emily Dickinson


The 2012 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

It’s finally landed at No Water River! Started by the lovely poetess Irene Latham, the Progressive Poem is a group poem that’s been traveling around the blogospere all month, with each writer adding one line. I’ve been watching the poem unfold for 25 days now, seeing it creep inexorably toward me, filling me with a mix of terror and…oh, wait, no, it’s just terror.

Yesterday, Greg Pincus of GottaBook added his line and passed the baton to me. Since there are only four people left after me, we obviously have to wind this down, which the last few folks have begun to do with their concrete actions of bewaring, leaping, and landing. It also seemed time to steer the emotion toward a conclusion, and since I love a good Hollywood ending, I went the way of joy, and of knowing (since our heroine also needs some action!). I fiddled a bit with the form of the poem as well, arranging it in a way that made sense to me.

If you are reading this
you must be hungry
Kick off your silver slippers
Come sit with us a spell

A hanky, here, now dry your tears
And fill your glass with wine
Now, pour. The parchment has secrets
Smells of a Moroccan market spill out.

You have come to the right place, just breathe in.
Honey, mint, cinnamon, sorrow. Now, breathe out
last week’s dreams. Take a wish from the jar.
Inside, deep inside, is the answer…

Unfold it, and let us riddle it together,

…Strains of a waltz. How do frozen fingers play?
How do fennel, ginger, saffron blend in the tagine?

Like broken strangers bound by time, they sisterdance…
their veils of sorrow encircle, embrace.
Feed your heart with waltzes and spices.
Feed your soul with wine and dreams.

Humble dust of coriander scents your feet, coaxing
seascapes, crystal sighs and moonshine from your melody
Beware of dangers along the path of truth
And beware, my friend, of too much bewaring–

strong hands cushion you, sweet scents surround you—now leap
without looking, guided by trust. And when you land
on silver-tipped toes, buoyed by joy– you’ll know

Our heroine has been through a lot this month, what with all the intrigue and travel and exotic experiences. I wonder if she might find some rest and resolution in the next four days, or if this is only the beginning of her adventure. Only the final four can answer that, and so I pass our girl (woman? fairy?) off to the capable hands of Linda at Write Time…and wonder if Irene will eventually give our poem a name?

Here are all the places this poem has been and where it’s going still:

1  Irene at Live Your Poem
2  Doraine at Dori Reads
3  Jeannine at View from a Window Seat
4  Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
5  Susan at Susan Taylor Brown
6  Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
7  Penny at A Penny and her Jots
8  Jone at Deo Writer
9  Gina at Swagger Writer’s
10  Julie at The Drift Record
11  Kate at Book Aunt
12  Anastasia Suen at Booktalking
14  Diane at Random Noodling
16  Natalie at Wading Through Words
17  Tara at A Teaching Life
18  Amy  at The Poem Farm
19  Lori at Habitual Rhymer
21  Myra at Gathering Books
22  Pat at Writer on a Horse
23  Miranda at Miranda Paul Books
24  Linda at TeacherDance
25  Greg at Gotta Book
26  Renee at No Water River
27  Linda at Write Time
28  Caroline at Caroline by Line
29  Sheri at Sheri Doyle
30  Irene at Live Your Poem

Arrivederci! Goodbye! Auf Wiedersehen!
May you be well and rhyme-y til we meet again.