Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Margarita Engle

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

Welcome to Day 12 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni

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 Margarita Engle. Her poetic memoir, Enchanted Air, won the 2016 Pura Belpré Award, as well as many other awards. On her website, Margarita says, "I love to write about young people who made hopeful choices in situations that seemed hopeless. My own hope is that tales of courage and compassion will ring true for youthful readers as they make their own difficult decisions in modern times." Her work resonates with that hopefulness.

Biology Field Trip

I know that my friends
all expect me to pretend
I hate walking around
like a silly little kid
who searches for insects
flowers, and fossils,
then peers—like an old person—
into these miniature centers
of life…

but the secret sway
of arms and legs as I walk
feels so natural, and so wide awake
that I can imagine becoming a nomad,
a wandering scientist, always traveling
toward unknown

© Margarita Engle, 2014. Published at YARN. All rights reserved. Used by permission of author.

My Intention: Write a poem that shows the narrator finding the comfort that comes with being in the right place. 


I told Sam
I was going to play
a game on my device.
Instead I pad along the water's edge,
my pockets stuffed with bottles
big enough to hold
insects from the creek.

When grandpa comes
and dinner is done,
we'll open those bottles,
search specimens books,
and write each name
in Latin on labels that
tell me one day I will be
as good a scientist as he.

© 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


  1. I love this. Makes me want to know why this character fibbed about playing a game on his device. Is he not quite comfortable with people knowing about his scientific aspirations? Also, the surprise rhymes in the last two lines are a fun bonus.

  2. Yes to being in the right place... and being exactly who we are. xo

  3. What a fabulous series of poems you're creating here! Thanks too for introducing me to so many wonderful poems and poets. I'm picking up ways to use mentor poems from you...much good stuff!

  4. You've really captured a sense of character here, Dori, and I sense Margarita's influence, as well – the honesty and hopefulness of the writing.