Poetry Friday: I’m Hosting Poetry Friday

I’m hosting Poetry Friday.  It’s such a joy to be sharing all this good poetry today.  Please leave your links in the comments.  I will be back throughout the day to add them in.

And it’s my blogaversary!  Started in 2006 and moved to here in 2009.

Be  sure to read Brevin’s haiku.

Snow Poems at TeacherDance.

Spark 15 & The Water Tower at The Poem Farm.

Poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich on at The Write Sisters.

Review of Fold Me a Poem and Wabi-Sabi at Supratentorial.

A taste of  Tennyson today: The Lady of Shallot at Semicolon.

Jama has an interview with the wonderful Jorge Argueta today — he tells us all about his new cooking poem, “Guacamole” at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

Sally’s returning to Poetry Friday after a long blogging hiatus with “Bird-Understander” by Craig Arnold, plus a call to sonnet-writing at Castle in the Sea.

Liz has an original poem about early signs of spring on my blog Growing Wild.

For today, at Random Noodling I have an original “Reasons to Volunteer for the Band.”

Kids of the Homefront Army continues with “War-Time Romance.”

Kurious Kitty shares a poem by Louise Gluck.

And, the quote for today at KKs Kwotes is by Zora Neale Hurston.

Tabatha has some saski-naski for you today at Tabatha Yeatts.

A poem about the ordinary by Linda Gregg at Pentimento.

Laura has a melancholy bit from Part IV of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells.” Haunting and gorgeous as well as 15 Words or Less Poems (everyone, come join in!) at Laura Purdie Salas

I have been teaching and have a bit of a break, so here are more. Also our old school computers are not allowing me to embed links.  It won’t be pretty but you will have access.

Janet Squires has Guess Again!: riddle poems by Lillian Morrison with illustrations by Christy Hale at All About Books with Janet Squires.
At readertotz, we have Outside Your Window.

At On Point, I have this week’s haiku, Metal Mask

April says,At TeachingAuthors.com I have a poem inspired by the Teddy Bears’ Picnic–about Poetry Friday. 
The poem at www.TeachingAuthors.comis called a Lingo. What’s a Lingo? A Lingo is a poem based on the lexicon of a particular field of interest.
There’s also a writing prompt–write your own Lingo–and then sing it!

From Ed:  posted an original today at http://www.thinkkidthink.comcalled “Skinny”. It’s #2 on the slider (or visible just below it on the home page).
Also, a reminder to this group that you can still sign up for Madness! 2012 through March 9th. That said, 42 of 64 slots are already taken, and I sense that the rest will be filled pretty quickly. Just yesterday, Kenn Nesbitt (poetry4kids.com) signed up and alerted many other renowned poets as well. Some of you are already signed up, but if not this may be the last week you’ll be able to do so; I’d love for as many from this group as possible to join.

Father Goose has tips  for writing a love poem @  www.abc3340.com/video?clipId=6750729&autostart=true.

Books 4 Learning has this, http://books4learning.blogspot.com/2012/02/poetry-friday-i-am-book-compiled-by-lee.html

Over at DoriReads, Dori is  featuring Julia Kasdorf–some poet info, snippets of an interview, and her poem “What I Learned From My Mother.” Then an original poem on my mother, as well.

Maria posted a poem that would help the contemplation of things unsaid. http://www.ghpoetryplace.blogspot.com/

At Wild Rose Reader, I have a review of Janet Wong’s new poetry collection “Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year”–as well as some excerpts from the book. I also have five copies of Janet’s book that I’ll be giving away. If people would like to qualify for the giveaway, all they have to do is leave a comment at my post. I’ll include the names of everyone who comments in my drawing next Friday–when I’ll announce the winners.

Teacher Girl has recently started a book review blog with her fourth grade students. She thought participating in Poetry Friday would encourage them to read (and write!) more poetry. She’sposted Eletelephony by Laura E. Richards, from the book Kids Pick the Funniest Poems:

Donna has “Thanks for This Moment”! at http://www.mainelywrite.blogspot.com/

Irene has some thoughts on bridges and poetry, with a poem by John Ashbery that is engraved on a bridge in Minneapolis, MN. http://irenelatham.blogspot.com/2012/02/poetry-and-bridges.html.

GatheringBooks’ contribution  is a combo of Maya Angelou and India Arie. http://wp.me/pDlzr-32a.

Carol has “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye. Amy, at The Poem Farm introduced me to this poem.

Tara has I have a selection odd subway poems at:

Renee has original children’s poem, “Scaredy Cats”: http://www.nowaterriver.com/poetry-monday-scaredy-cats/

My Juicy little Universe has a poem by Amy Lowell, “Astigmatism,” and a little dissection of how it swept her off her feet when she  discovered it.  http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2012/02/slow-motion-poetry-reading.html

Mary Lee is thinking ahead withRevolution for the Tested by Kate Messner — something to think about as we get closer to Testing Season.

Julie over at The Drift Record  today, is thinking about Renoir and reds and yellows, and she’s got a poem up titled “Yellow Bowl”  by a poet new to her  – Rachel Contreni Flynn.

Laura is sharing poems about current events from an online journal called The New Verse News. One is about the European deep freeze, the other about Whitney Houston’s passing. This is a great prompt for high schoolers!

Greg has another original, What’s Happening in My Brain:

Robyn has haiku with a haiku about seasons, too (a link to my poem in the new issue of MODERN HAIKU), and a few breezy thoughts:  http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm?post=841078.

I think I am got up for now.  Sorry once more about the lack of embedded link.  Silly computers. Wish our district had the money to update the whole technology scene: hardware, software, and infrastructure.

I will add on if any late ones arrive until 9:00 PM EST (6:00 PM PST)

Happy Reading


Poetry Friday: The Seasons by Brevin, Second Grader

 I am hosting Poery Friday. But first a series of haiku by second grader, Brevin.

Haiku Poems for


 Leaves falling off trees

Leaves are red, orange and purple

Autumn is so fun

 Autumn’s really fun

Fall is when leaves fall off trees

Yip-ee-i-o Fall

 Happy Birthday Fall

I love fall so much it’s fun

I just like fall


Snowball fights, kids play

Snowflakes falling on the ground

Everything is white

 Christmas is so fun

Santa going down chimneys

Opening presents
Winter is so fun

Playing in the snow all day

Winter comes each year


 Buds sprouting from trees

Kids playing outside all day long

Summer is almost here

Winter is all over

One more season til summer

Happy children play

Snow fun is over

Flowers grow all over now

My allergies come


Summer is so hot

Ice cream man comes in summer

A lot of camping

 One, two,  days of rain

Summer has June and July

Happy children play

 Sweating all day long

Friends are playing together

Playing with puppies

~Brevin, 2nd grade


Happy Reading.




Poetry Friday: Love

Sorry I am late today.  It’s a day off and I have exercised my ability to  take it slow all day.

On Valentine’s Day, our morning message included an original poem from one of our school custodians.  It was read as part of our morning message:

Love Is

Love is giving without thought
of concern
Setting an example of what is
important to learn.
Love is sacrifice of our time,
with it, to a greater purpose we
Love is a smile instead of a frown,
It’s building people up instead of
tearing them down.
Love isn’t saying that’s mine,
Rather how do I share, and help the
smile shine
Love is the basis of being good
when we are responsible and
do what we  should.
Love is greater than you or me,
It’s what we are here to learn,
don’t you see.
~David Owen

The students have complimented all week on his poem.  It’s  a great example for students to see others in our school family write.


Poetry Friday is at Gathering Books.

Happy Reading.


Interview Wednesday: Laurel Snyder

This year, the fifth graders at my school had the opportunity to join the Fifth Grade Lunch Bunch Bookclub.  I read an advanced copy of Bigger Than a Breadbox. It was very fun and great that not only girls joined but several boys as well.   A couple of weeks ago, we Skyped with author, Laurel Snyder.  Here’s their interview.

Students during the SKYPE visit asking Laurel questions.

LUNCH BUNCH: Why seagulls? Do they have meaning?

LS: I think we talked about how the seagulls are “home” to Becks, because they’re part of what she never noticed or appreciated until it was gone. But also worth mention: seagulls are sturdy birds, strong scavenger animals.  They’re pretty from a distance, but up close they’re pushy and they fight for what they want. They survive. I think that was in my head too.

LUNCH BUNCH: How did you get the idea?

LS: Initially it was all about the box.  I was driving fromAtlanta toIowa, just staring out the window for hours, and the idea for the box popped into my head– a box that gave you whatever you wanted, but took it from someone else…

LUNCH BUNCH: Why did you want to write the book? What inspired you?

LS: So, that was the initial idea, but once it took on a life of its own, the story was mostly about the family, which was modeled on my own family, in different ways.  Reaching back for those memories was the true motivator once I realized it was happening.

LUNCH BUNCH: Did the characters talk to you as you wrote the book? Did you change anything as a result?

LS: YES!  Absolutely.  I think the main things were that Jim (dad) became weaker, and Rebecca became stronger.  Also, the stuff where Becks gets information that makes her sympathize just a little with hannah– see her as NOT just a villain/bully. That was something that “came” to me.

LUNCH BUNCH: Were the old lady and the spoon real?

LS: No, not at all. Adda is modeled on several aspects of my grandmother (sadly) and I have a little spoon.  But the stories around them were an invention.

LUNCH BUNCH: How could she know the spoon was in the ground?

LS: How could Adda know that?  Because she was there when her husband was buried.  ANd then she told Rebecca.

LUNCH BUNCH: Why the bread box and not something else?

LS: I like old things. I like thrift stories and yard sales, and hunting around in them.  Bread boxes are something you see a lot at places like that. I like things that have been discarded.

LUNCH BUNCH: Did Grandma know that the box was magic?

LS: What do YOU think? I think she did know something, but I don’t think she knew exactly what was happening. I think Gran has had her own experience with the bread box.

LUNCH BUNCH: What are you working on now?

LS: A book about Annie, when she was 12 years old. She has her own magical adventure.

LUNCH BUNCH: What was the first book you wrote?

 LS: The first book I published with a traditional publisher was for grownups, a book of poems.  The first book I wrote was when I was in the fourth grade. I did a lot of them, and can’t quite remember the very first one, but “Classroom Masquerade” was one of them.

Tales from the Rushmore Kid() is hosting Interview Wednesday.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: On the Eve of the CYBILS

It’s actually four more sleeps as I tell my grandgirls when waiting for time to pass.  I thought it a good time to interview last year’s CYBILS winner, Marilyn Singer.  Her book Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse was named best book in the poetry category.

Your Reading Life

 MsMac: What books are on your night stand?

 MS: I have different books for different reading locations.  On my night stand, for reading in a chair or in the bathtub (see below), I currently have THE CUPCAKE QUEEN by Heather Hepler, which I’m finishing, and BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney, which I’ll read next.  For reading on the subway and in coffee shops, in my tote bag I have THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST by Tim Harford, which I’ve also nearly finished.  The next book in that queue is HOW CARROTS WON THE TROJAN WAR by Rebecca Rupp.  For sitting outside on a lounge, once the weather gets warm, the first book I plan to read is Stephen Sondheim’s LOOK, I MADE A HAT (I read FINISHING THE HAT last summer).

 MsMac: There are some books on the list that I will need to check out. What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen?  As an adult?

 MS: That’s really hard to answer as I’ve liked so many books.  I loved Grimm’s fairy tales, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and Sydney Taylor’s ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY a lot when I was a kid.  As an adult, I reread Shakespeare whenever I’m going to see one of his plays.    Some books I loved and have given often as gifts include R.A. MacAvoy’s TEA WITH THE BLACK DRAGON; SILK ROAD by Jeanne Larsen; M.T. Anderson’s FEED; Louis Sachar’s HOLES; and Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy.

 MsMac:  What an eclectic list.  FEED was banned at middle school in my district. Any particular genre stand out?

 MS: I don’t think so.  You can tell from my current list that I like both fiction and nonfiction, though I don’t get to read much adult fiction these days.  I also read much children’s poetry, and you can guess why.  😉

 MsMac: Where’s your favorite reading spot?

 MS: I love reading in the tub and also outdoors in natural light (I can’t wait for winter to end!), as well as on the subways.  But needless to say, a comfy chair is also good.

MsMac: Which do you prefer a real book or ebook?

 MS: I don’t read e-books—don’t own an e-reader.  I can see that they’re great if you do a ton of traveling or have to lug textbooks, though.

 Your Writing Life

 MsMac What does a day of work look like for you? Favorite time of day?

MS: I’m an owl, not a lark.  Though I do sometimes start writing immediately when I wake up, I usually do most of it in the afternoon/early evening.  Occasionally, at 2 a.m. as I’m about to fall asleep, I have to jump out of bed and write something down because I just had an idea.  Groan!

 MsMac: Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?

 MS: Well, I revise as I write, but I guess I like that first burst of creativity the most.  However, revising is essential, so I like that, too.

  MsMac: What does your writing space look like?

 MS: I write everywhere—in my house in Brooklyn (both in my office, which is a room filled with books, objects, and three live birds and in my living room/dining room, in coffee shops, on the subway, by the pond at our place in Connecticut, at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and in the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which has been called “Marilyn’s office.”

MsMac: What are you currently working on?

 MS: I’m working on a book of poems about the U.S. presidents and I’m doing a lot of research, both through books and on the Internet, for that.  I also have a number of poetry books coming out this year and next:  A STICK IS AN EXCELLENT THING, ill. by LeUyen Pham (Clarion); EVERY DAY’S A DOG’S DAY, ill. by Miki Sakamoto (Dial); THE BOY WHO CRIED ALIEN, ill. by Brian Biggs (Disney-Hyperion); THE SUPERHEROES EMPLOYMENT AGENCY, ill. by Noah Z. Jones (Clarion); A STRANGE PLACE TO CALL HOME, ill. by Ed Young (Chronicle) and another book of fairy tale reversos (Dial), once again illustrated by the divine Josée Masse.

MsMac: What might readers find you doing when you’re not writing?

 Taking swing/ballroom/Latin dance classes with my husband, birdwatching, walking, shopping, playing with and training my dog, going to the theatre, watching TV, eating, sleeping, and, of course, reading.

 About Your Book

 MsMac: Where did you find the inspiration for Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse?

 MS: As I mention in the back matter to MIRROR MIRROR, I was watching my cat asleep in a chair and a poem came into my head—plus its reverse.  I wondered if I could write more poems like it, so I tried.   I showed that first batch to an editor.  Among those poems were some based on fairy tales, and she suggested that I write more fairy tale poems.  I thought that was a great idea because these tales often have two points-of-view, which is perfect for the reverso form.  So I took her suggestion.  The word “reverso” was my husband Steve Aronson’s brainstorm.  I was calling them “reverse poems,” but he said, “How about something Italianate,” and presto!  Just one of the reasons we’ve stayed married for over forty years.

 MsMac: Where there any challenges during the writing of the book?

 MS: As you may imagine, there were many challenges.  It’s not an easy form to write.  A reverso is two poems in one.  The first poem has to say one thing.  When reversed, changing only punctuation and capitalization, it has to say something different.  That’s hard to pull off.  First I had to think about what things the poems would say.  I looked for stories or characters with dual points-of-view (or a point-of-view that I could MAKE dual, as with the Ugly Duckling).  I usually write on a legal pad, but I wrote the reversos on my computer so I could shift lines and words, to see if they made sense.  I think of it as creating and solving a puzzle—sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately satisfying if I pull it off.

MsMac: What kind of research was required before writing the poems?

MS: I read a lot of fairy tales, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  That was pretty much it for the research. 

 MsMac: How did you find out that you had won the CYBILS award for Poetry?

MS: On the web site when I woke up.  What a lovely valentine!

 Just for Fun

 MsMac: Chocolate:  white, dark, or milk?

 MS: Dark.  White isn’t even chocolate!

 MsMac: Coffee or tea?

 MS: Tea only—but caffeinated.

 MsMac: Dance: funky chicken or the tango?

MS: Just learned some American tango.  But my favorite is Lindy.

 MsMac: Favorite Quote:

 MS: Here’s my favorite quote about poetry by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

 “Prose = words in their best order; poetry = the best words in their best order.”

Thank you, Marilyn.  We’ll have to stay tuned for who wins this year’s CYBILS Award in poetry on Tuesday, February 14. 

Poetry Friday is hosted at Writing World for Kids by CYBILS very own poetry judge, Laura Salas.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: A Black Hole is Not a Hole

A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, illustrated by Michael Carroll gives readers much to think about regarding the universe. In her introduction she begins:

“Have you heard the news? In outer space, mysterious entities called black holes seem to be up to no good.” It is followed up with an explanation that they are not monsters and not even alive.  The illustration on the opposing page is a dark starry night with a speech bubble saying, “YIKES!”

What are black holes? How did they begin? Where do black holes come from?  These questions and more will be answered.     Any young scientist or astronomer should be able to navigate the text as each two page spread is a combination of text and stunning ilustrations.Bold headings, charts, tables, and graphics are infused throughout the book.  Carroll’s illustrations were created using acrylic and Adobe Photoshop.

Here’s some fun facts:

  • There is plenty of light in the back hole but we can’t see it from the outside.
  • Black holes come from stars.
  • A black hole is like a giant whirlpool.
  • A black hole is like a hiding place with footsteps leading to it.
  • The discovery of black holes has something to do with the telephone.

The Author’s Note at the end of the book: “How Do You Know I Know?” explains DeCristofano’s  research in writing the book. There is also a glossary, resources, websites, image credits, and index.

Title: A Black Hole is Not a Hole
 Author: Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
Illustrator: Michael Carrol
Published: 2012
Pages: 74
Reading Level: 5th grade and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1-936157091-783-7
Source:  Sent by publisher upon request for review.

Nonfiction Monday is held at Capstone Connect.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Student Haiku

Today I am featruing the haiku of fourth grade students in Mr. Yates class.

up trees squirrels race
splitter rain falls on windows
crunch leaves fall on ground

the grass is silver
I like when it snows winter
winter very cold

outside is cold now
rainbow sparkling in morning light
shine in gold sunlight

a falling snowflake
as I look up at the sky
it’s winter white snow

hawks perch high on tree
feathers keep them warn outside
puff  up to heat up

snow is falling down
beautiful snow is coming
snow is here now

snowflake in mid-air
trees are breaking from wind breath
cocoa warming up

a big fat snowman falls
while the wind drifted in the air
snow on ground felt soft

birds are too cold now
branches have no leaves on them
crispy crunchy grass

frosty grass is hard
outside is frosted snowballs
frost freezes my nose

April, National Poetry Month is just 57 days away.  If you would like a poetry postcard sent to your mailbox from Silver Star students, please contact me at macrush53 at yahoo dot com.

Visit next Friday when I interview Marilyn Singer, winner of last year’s CYBILS Award for Poetry.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Karissa at The Iris Chronicles.

Happy Reading.