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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Completion!





"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 30 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

Well, it's been a month! I've had fun. I've learned, among other things, that I can write a lot more poems than I thought. And I've made some new friends, so April has been a good, full month. I leave you with one final creek poem. Then I'm going to put my feet in the creek and stay there for about a week!

Evening Nonet

Dusk.
The creek
clothes itself
with mystery.
Familiar shapes change
from sunlit certainty
to murky paths through darkness.
Unafraid, the creek surges on,
trusts it will find the way and the song.


Whether you find yourself on a path full of certainty or one with only the next step in view, may you move forward with a song and stop along the way to dangle your feet in the creek! Thanks so much for joining me on this poetry journey.


Week 1 Poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

Week 4 Poets:
April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes
April 24: Margaret Wise Brown
April 25: Allan Wolf
April 26: Renee Latulippe
April 27: Carl Sandburg
April 28: Joyce Sidman
April 29: J. Patrick Lewis

Friday, April 29, 2016

J. Patrick Lewis


"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 29 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

And we're CELEBRATING this final Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month with Buffy Silverman over at Buffy's Blog

Week 4 Poets:

April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes
April 24: Margaret Wise Brown
April 25: Allan Wolf
April 26: Renee Latulippe
April 27: Carl Sandburg
April 28: Joyce Sidman

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is J. Patrick Lewis who was U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate from 2011-2013. I have not met Pat, but I'm grateful for his poetry, his sense of humor, and his gracious personality. Some day I'll tell you about my poetic faux pas. (How do you make that plural?) I seem destined to make my most horrifying blunders with famous poets! 

Enjoy Pat read from National Geographic's Book of Animal Poetry!


from A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers


Illustrations © 2001, Brian Ajar.



First Girls in Little League Baseball

December 26, 1974
Title IX of the 1972 Education Act is signed, providing for equal opportunity in athletics for girls as well as boys.


The year was 1974
When Little Leaguers learned the score.
President Ford took out his pen,
And signed a law that said from then
On women too would have the chance
To wear the stripes and wear the pants.
Now what you hear, as flags unfurl,
Is "Atta boy!" and "Atta girl!

© J. Patrick Lewis, 2001. All rights reserved. Printed with the author's permission. 

My Intention:  Write a poem about history at the creek using couplet rhymes.

The Creek

The Red Sticks were a tribe of Muscogee
who lived by a creek they called Ocmulgee.
The red tribes made war, the white tribes made peace.
They celebrated victory with dancing and feasts.
The men hunted quail and squirrels and deer
while women grew beans and corn each year.
Then white men came and called them Creeks
and took their lands and spread disease
until all that's left are memories
and marks they carved on ancient trees.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 Poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Joyce Sidman



"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 28 of FEET IN THE CREEK. 

Week 4 Poets:
April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes
April 24: Margaret Wise Brown
April 25: Allan Wolf
April 26: Renee Latulippe
April 27: Carl Sandburg

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is Joyce Sidman. You may enjoy this Twin Cities Public Television program on the stories behind Joyce's award-winning book, Winter Bees. Here, Amy Meythaler interviews Joyce on combining science and poetry. I enjoyed this creative, collaborative work with teens.


Photograph © Doug Mindell, 2008.


from The World According to Dog: poems and teen voice


           Noses


                           Mine          Yours
        is an afterthought          is the main event:
                    a molehill          a long, elegant,
         a period between          labyrinthine
  two sentences of eyes         echo chamber of smell

                                  I           You
                  might deter          are sorting out
                      wet earth         the relative age of
  rank fists of marigolds        squirrels
       the distant tsunami         that passed this way
                       of skunk         last week

                            I live          You're sifting
            for bright quilts          the mystery
                        of color           of invisible breezes
the inflection of voices           messages
         ciphers on a page          from hoof and beak

        Wouldn't it be fine         And I could dive
                                  if,         through
                for a moment,        that ocean of smell
we could switch places?        finding answers to
               You could see         questions
             the distant stars.        I've never asked.

© Joyce Sidman, 2008. All rights reserved. Used with the author's permission.

My Intention: Write a comparison poem using Sidman's right aligned/left aligned format. 

As I was brainstorming body parts to compare and how this could fit into the creek series, I settled on the raccoon, a critter as yet unnamed in these poems. But then there was this girl that showed up last week with Lee Bennett Hopkins' poem. So I settled on a three-character poem--the raccoon, the girl, and my narrator.



                             Raccoon          Girl

                                    Your          Her
                        tender paws           long, thin fingers
          dabble the creek bed           brush dirt
              searching for food.          from a stone.

                                                I watch
                                   from my den in the trees.


                         Your hands          Her hands look
              name you arakum--        soft, keen, precise.
      "he who scratches with          What name would
his hands." Algonquin, who         the Algonquin
    never came this far south.        give her?

                                               I call her
                                           water sweeper.

        You churr your happy          She hums and holds
 sound and rinse your food,         her rock in the stream
  feel it with your forepaws,        picks stubborn dirt from
   find the best place to bite.        its surface with her nails.

                                       I listen in quiet wonder,
                                             want to speak.

                Your paws hover          Her hands gather
           in the shallows, feel          the rocks in a sturdy pile,
                 small vibrations          top it with a willow flag
              the crayfish make.         and stretch toward sky.

                                     I stand, rub my sweaty palms,
                                              decide to wave.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 Poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Carl Sandburg



"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw


Welcome to Day 27 of FEET IN THE CREEK. 

Week 4 Poets:
April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes
April 24: Margaret Wise Brown
April 25: Allan Wolf
April 26: Renee Latulippe


For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.


Today's poet is Carl Sandburg.

Sandburg quotes:

     Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.
     Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Listen to this lovely reading by Sandburg of his children's poems.

 



Rat Riddles
by Carl Sandburg

There was a gray rat looked at me
with green eyes out of a rathole.

"Hello, rat" I said,
"Is there any chance for me
to get on to the language of the rats?"

And the green eyes blinked at me,
blinked from a gray rat's rathole.

"Come again," I said,
"Slip me a couple of riddles;
there must be riddles among the rats."

And the green eyes blinked at me
and a whisper came from the gray rathole:
"Who do you think you are and why is a rat?
Where did you sleep last night and why do you sneeze
     on Tuesdays? And why is the grave of a rat no
     deeper than the grave of a man?"

And the tail of a green-eyed rat
Whipped and was gone at a gray rathole.


My Intention: Write a free verse poem in which the narrator has a conversation with an animal. Let the animal respond with questions that don't give a definitive answer.


Sing Your Own Song

A dark green bull frog looked at me with bulging eyes
and croaked his deep bass croak
unlike any other on the creek.

"I want your voice," I said. "Teach me to sound like a bassoon."

He flicked his tongue and snatched a fly
and looked at me unmoved.

"Tell me how to make that sound so I can
boss the frogs around and I can sing a song of the creek."

The big eyes stared, the deep voice blared.
"Jug-o-rum. Jug-o-rum. Where does the wind come from?
Can a blade of grass become a tree? Does beaver wish
to be some other beaver on the creek? Why does one
petal from the tulip tree float by me?
Jug-o-rum. Jug-o-rum."

The webbed feet pressed the rock. His legs
stretched long and free as he splashed
into the creek.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Renée LaTulippe


"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 26 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

Week 4 Poets:
April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes
April 24: Margaret Wise Brown
April 25: Allan Wolf

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is the delightful Renée LaTulippe. Click here to learn a thing or two more about her. Renée developed and teaches an excellent (I've taken it!) online course called, The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry. 

Here's Renée at her theatrical best! Enjoy!



THE SEASIDE CRAB BALLET

Welcome. Enter. Sit right there
upon our finest driftwood chair.
We know that you’ll enjoy the show.
Our dancers are beyond compare.

Curtain up! Waves scroll back,
leave an iridescent track.
The stage is set, a wet tableau—
Sh! It’s time. Lights fade to black.

Up they pop from bubbling holes—
dancers playing tidal roles.
First the eyes, then toe toe toe—
pouring out crustacean souls.

Claws aloft in fifth position,
side chassé in repetition.
Pirouettes! Now fast, now slow.
They leave us breathless...

*** Intermission ***

Spotlights, formed by dappled sun,
show the second act’s begun.
Shore performers, row on row,
rise on tip-toe, one by one,

six legs bent in full plié.
Arabesque! Now grand jeté!
Then dancers disappear below
the sand at Seaside Crab Ballet.

© 2015 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved. Used with the author's permission.

My Intention: Write a poem about the creek as a form of entertainment. Use iambic tetrameter and aaba rhyme scheme.


Creek Gossip

Raccoon's papa threw him out.
The neighbors heard the snarling shout
tell the kid that he should be
something other than a lout.

That cow bird mama, such a shame,
she doesn't know her baby's name.
She watched 'til Robin didn't see
and left an egg that Robin claimed.

The mantis kneels and seems to pray
when all the time his big eyes stay
focused on that helpless flea
just waiting for a feasting day.

A wicked spider trapped a fly
and watched his innards liquify--
'twas murder in the first degree
when he sucked those innards dry.

Don't stay inside. That's a mistake.
The action at the creek can make
the best reality TV
including a commercial break.

If life were perfect, you would never
be asked to clean your room. Be clever!
and hire Buzzard Sweepers. You'll see. 
I'll pick your room clean forever.

And now...back to the creek!

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

Monday, April 25, 2016

Allan Wolf



"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw


Welcome to Day 25 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

Week 4 poets:
April 23: Langston Hughes
April  24: Margaret Wise Brown

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today I feature poet, performer, and educator, Allan Wolf.  His book, The Watch the Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic is one of my favorites. Click here to see Allan's other published books. Watch for new books coming soon from Candlewick Press.

"The Dactyl Poem" by Allan Wolf. This one requires listening!



My Intention: Write a poem about the creek in dactylic meter.

As Allan and I communicated about his poem, he said "the Dactyl is ofter treated as a romping polka. But it CAN have a whole softer feel. As if the swirling wind. Or twirling with the girls, a slow emotive waltz." I'm not sure which of the above rhythms will become dominant. I think I just have to start somewhere with this one. And remind myself this is just a first draft!!!


My Intention: Write a poem with dactylic meter about the trash in the creek. 

Rubbish!

I am the champion
trash-picker-upper
after the storm waters
finally slow. It's
crazy ridiculous
how many people don't
care about littering,
trashing the creek.
Habitats suffer when
people don't think. 
Grocery sacks
styrofoam 
coolers and cups,
paint cans and
lawn chairs and
bicycle parts,
mattress springs,
shopping carts,
old tennis shoes.
Someone has
thrown their piano away. 
Certainly somebody
needed those eighty-eight 
keys and it wasn't 
the fish or the birds or the 
bees, so obliterate littering.
Please!

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Margaret Wise Brown



"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 24 of FEET IN THE CREEK.
Week 4 poets:
April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is Margaret Wise Brown who wrote over a hundred books for children, including The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon. You may enjoy reading this article, "Discovering the Unexpected: The Margaret Wise Brown Collection at Wyndham Robertson Library, Hollins University" by Beth S. Harris. And if you're anywhere near Roanoke, Virginia, what an amazing field trip this would make! Click here for the story behind Goodnight Songs.






The Secret Song
by Margaret Wise Brown

Who saw the petals
   drop from the rose?
I, said the spider,
But nobody knows.

Who saw the sunset
   flash on a bird?
I, said the fish,
But nobody heard.

Who saw the fog
   come over the sea?
I, said the sea pigeon,
Only me.

Who saw the first
   green light of the sun?
I, said the night owl,
The only one.

Who saw the moss
   creep over the stone?
I, said the gray fox,
All alone.

My Intention: Write a question/answer poem with a soft dactylic (/uu) rhythm.


Fishing Song

Who saw me tiptoeing
down to the creek?
Only the turtle, but
he doesn't speak.

Who saw me choosing
a long, narrow stick?
The bluebirds all saw,
but they flew away quick.

Who saw me drawing
the string from my pocket?
A gray squirrel saw and took
off like a rocket.

Who saw me tying
the stick with my string?
The chipmunk was watching
but won't say a thing.

Who saw me pulling
a worm from the ground?
The worm saw, of course,
but he made no sound.

Who saw me tossing
my line in the brook?
Maybe a fish who will
chomp on my hook.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black