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


  1. That is a sad history. I like the idea that you can still see their marks on ancient trees.

  2. You've captured this sad history... love Pat's "Atta girl" too.

  3. You've connected your poem well to Pat's, but my question is always, why do those in power always want to change the names? And I like that you know some of the history of your creek, too, Doraine.

  4. Sad indeed. Your poem reminds me of a book I read recently--The Orenda--by Joseph Boyden. It's a novel about the Iroquois, the Huron and the Jesuit priests. You've summed up a long aboriginal history (played out on both sides of the border) in a few lines.

  5. Sad, but true. And it's important that we continue to tell the truth.