Saturday, April 30, 2011

National Poetry Month

I can't sleep because I slept most of the day. Stomach flu. And Gwen's on my lap because a nightmare woke her up. I won't be sorry to see this month of perpetual sickness end, but I would like to throw contribute something to National Poetry Month.

On Monday, April 4th, I taught a haiku workshop to a class of third graders. We read ONE LEAF RIDES THE WIND, by Celeste Mannis,
One Leaf Rides the Wind

and I showed them how I try to convey emotion through images. Apparently, I was more successful at conveying humor (through discomfort) in the first poem than I was at conveying fear or caution in the second.

A herd of horses 
turn long tails to the wet wind.
Rain pelts their behinds.

The metallic wasp
flickers blue in the sunlight
and works undisturbed.

It's always interesting to get reactions and questions from a large group. I've never taught a workshop on haikus, partly because I've never sold any of mine, but that's what this teacher asked for. Well, that's not true. At first, she asked me to teach free verse because she thought that was my specialty, but when I explained which forms I liked using, she jumped on haiku.

Then I turned them loose (with nature magazines) to write their own haikus, making little suggestions here and there, mostly just enjoying what they came up with.

I wish I could share the poem I wrote earlier this week, but if I did, I couldn't sell first publication rights. So, I'll leave you with Christopher Walken's reading of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."

Did you do anything fun for National Poetry Month? And if you're feeling the urge, your haikus are welcome in the comments!  


  1. One Leaf Rides the Wind is one of my favorites!

    I use it for teaching haiku every year.


  2. My household is going through a month of perpetual sickness as well. Hope you and your family start feeling better soon.

  3. I didn't realize it was National Poetry Month. (We did just get this snazzy calendar that tells you what every month and day is, though. Today, for instance, is National Honesty Day, Hairstylists Appreciation Day, and Sense of Smell Day, to name a few.)

    It'd be fun to teach kids about writing.

  4. Shows how tuned in I am. I didn't even realize it WAS National Poetry Month.

    Happily, I did write and post a lot of poetry in April. Do you think that excuses me?


  5. Shelley, I used it as a counting book in preschool this year, too. It's such a beautiful book.

    Thanks, Ryan. I hope you and yours do, too.

    Krista, I didn't know that April 30th was Sense of Smell Day. I'll have to remember that. :o) And yes, it is fun. I either volunteer or get asked about once a year, though I'm not sure who referred me this time.

    Yes, Sue, I think it does.

  6. Poor you. I hope you and your family get better soon. Nothing worse than a tummy bug. My girl is a lot better today. Thank goodness. School starts again tomorrow after two weeks break.

    I love your poems. ewww horrible wasps or is it a helicopter? Beautiful horses. Take care of yourself XX

  7. Thanks, Niki! It's a wasp. I'm glad your daughter is feeling better.

  8. Oh, this looks wonderful, Myrna!
    We've been sick around here, too, but with nasty colds, not stomach flu. I'm so sorry you've been ill!