Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Monday, July 31, 2023

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes


Genre: Poetry
Source: I own a copy

 I love Nikki Grimes' poetry.  In this book, she starts out giving us a bit of history about the impact African American women have made on the world of poetry.  It has just been in the last couple of years that we have started seeing some of their poetry in our Language Arts books in school. We read poetry by Langston Hughes all the time, and have for years. Nikki's book is divided into three sections: Heritage, Earth Mother, and Taking Notice.  Each section has twelve to fifteen poems. If you are not familiar with this author's writing style she writes something called golden shovel poems. This is not something she invented. A golden shovel poem as she explains in her book goes something like this.
Find a poem that speaks to you. Copy it down.  Then choose a line that speaks to you or the whole poem. Write it one word at a time down the right had side of the paper. Create your poem in front of it so that the last word of the line is the word from the other poem.  When I first introduce my students to these they moan and groan because they are difficult. At the end of the unit when they write about the book of poetry they have written the majority tell me their favorite style to write was the Golden Shovel poem.  One of the reasons is because the punctuation can often end up in the middle of a line.  When I exaplained that to my students one spoke up and said, "It seems that with poetry, we should have the right to do it the way we want and put punctuation where we want, so this just makes sense."  Yes it does.  This was a child who told me up front they would create the book of poetry for the grade, but they hated poetry. When they wrote their final page of their book reflecting on their poetry they deicded they liked it because they could write what they wanted and express themselves.  Mission accomplished.  

Here is my quick and crude example of a golden shovel poem.

Fog by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on
Memories by Sandra Stiles

Memories I have tucked away become lost in my mind. The
time has robbed me of all that is precious, forming a fog
that slips in at the most inopportune times. It comes
when am with you trying to remember who you are. Come on
this journey down memory lane with me when you were little
and snuggled next to me purring words of love like a cat
who has found comfort sitting quietly wrapped around your feet.

One Last Word
, is another book of poetry about the Harlem Renaissance that Nikki Grimes has written.  I love her work. She has inspired many other writers.  I would not have known about Nikki's work had it not been for me reading the novel-in-verse book Hidden by Helen Frost. She explained her writing style for one of her characters as golden shovel poems and pointed me toward Nikki Grimes. Had it not been for her, it might have taken me longer to discover this wonderful author and her wonderful writing style.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wandering Among the Stars by Wirton Arvel

Genre: Poetry
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
The motivational biography of a poet, a tale written in prose with many poems and inspirational quotes.
‘Wandering among the stars’ tells the love story between the protagonist and life.

A story where poetry and prose are intertwined like soul and body, to bring this love story to life so the reader can live it.

So it’s not about a collection of poems, least of all a story in verse. Maybe it could be described as a book of ‘narrated poems’ or as a ‘literary musical'; actually it represents a narrative experiment that lies somewhere between a meta-novel, a collection of poems and an essay; its main aim is to encourage those readers that usually prefer to read only prose works to read poetry as well.

It includes chapters about love, the cosmos, death,spirituality and poetry itself.

My Thoughts:
This book is a mixture of both poetry and prose.  Through the author's writing we journey with him from the beginning of his writing of poetry to the present. His writing covers many themes, especially nature.  Reading his poetry we often find him incorporating lines that refer to "little rays of sunshine". His poetry is meant to be inspirational, first to himself and then to the reader.  In the beginning of the book he talks about what poetry is. He compares it to a painter or a juggler who plays wit words.  He metaphorically describes it as "moving along dancing".   It is emotional. He follows each poem with prose to explain it.  I didn't find this to be as enjoyable as the poetry which is why I gave it four stars.  I would have liked more poetry and less prose.  However, I do understand that this is his "journey" so the prose was necessary.  With all this said, I would definitely recommend the book.  His prose is a great way to explain to my students what poetry is.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Cat Does My Homework and Other Poems for Children - Isabella Johnson

What happens when a first grader writes poetry?  You get something fantabulous like this.

This collection of twelve poems, written by a young child, will delight readers ages 1-­9 and at the same time, show them that you do not have to be an adult to write poetry! Whether you are teaching children about poetry or simply enjoy reading poems to a child, this book is for you.

My Thoughts:
I first learned about this book from Isabella. She is my student and just nonchalantly mentioned that she had a book published. It seems her parents published her book of poetry when she was in first grade. She is in sixth grade now. I am pleased to say that a lot of her poems are great examples of metaphors. What a great resource/example to use for teaching the use of figurative language, especially in poetry.  Her topics range from bugs, to cats and everything between.  I have to say that I absolutely can not wait to see her writing this year.  I truly see great things coming from this young lady who is so passionate about her writing.

Friday, January 3, 2014

In Mint Condition 2013 - Shannon John, Editor

I was contacted by email and asked if I would be willing to read and review an anthology.  I happen to like anthologies so I had no problem saying yes.  This book is definitely different from most books.  The book is full of poetry and short stories that lean to the dark side of literature.  I enjoyed each story, some more than others.  One of my favorites was "A Place in Pine Island". This was the story of a man's run in with an alligator.  "Mr. Scratch's Murder Circus was a poem that reminded me of the freak side-shows at carnivals.  A lot of them dealt with the topic of death.  Call me a morbid person if you want but I enjoy reading things like this.  Each author was chosen from several people who had submitted their stories or poems.  After choosing the stories to be placed in the book, artists were found to illustrate each entry.  The book is full of both talented writers and artists.

You can find out more here.   The stories are so good that I read the entire book in a couple of hours.  I just couldn't put it down.  I will tell you the stories are for the more mature reader and there is some graphic language.  I would definitely read another anthology written any of these sixteen authors.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Student Saturday: Love That Dog - Sharon Creech

Publisher:  Harper Trophy
Pages:  112
Genre:  Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Poetry
Reviewer:  Lillian

Anyone who likes to read poetry would like this book! "Love That Dog" is a book about a boy who hates to do poetry and thinks poetry is only for girls.  he thinks any words in short lines is poetry.  After a while Jack decides to write a poem about an old dog he used to have.  Jack is a boy who obviously doesn't like to write poetry.  He also worries a lot and doesn't like his name on the board if it's his poetry at school where he is mostly at all times.

My connection with this book is that I like to read poetry but don't like to write it, just like Jack.  I kind of liked this book because the topic really didn't grab me like other books I have read but I still enjoyed the time to read it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Everblossom - Larissa Hinton

Everblossom is an anthology unlike any I have ever read before.  First of all it seemed strange to read something that was so casual in its style.  I almost felt as if I was at an oral story telling.  This is not bad, just different.  Her mixture of short stories and poetry was refreshing.  I loved the poem “Childhood”.  As I find myself getting older it was nice to read a poem that took me back to what it was like to be a child.

Just about the time I thought I had the author’s style pinned down she slipped in something new.  “Crack” seemed like a short story of an abusive mother.  It had a twist to it that caught me off guard.

I think I enjoyed the poetry more than the short stories.  I felt like there needed to be more to the stories.  Maybe it was just my desire for there to be more.  I do believe this is an author we will see more from.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Pictures, My Words - Mac Kenney

Publisher:  Outskirts Press
Pages:  46
Genre: Photographs and Poetry
Source:  I received a copy from the publisher

Product Description from Amazon
 Unique Book that Captures the Full Beauty of Nature and the Human Spirit. Stirring images and piercing poetry come together in this gorgeous collection from the multi-talented Mac Kenney. Here are vibrant color photographs that evoke the full range of human emotions, set against powerful verses on love, life, and the beauty that surrounds us. Ponder the mysteries of existence from a single lonely bench; reflect on what really matters as the sun drops beneath a brilliant red horizon; and examine the incredible diversity of life on our planet as you gaze on nature's wonders. Those images gain even more meaning as you read Kenney's memorable poems that urge a greater appreciation of our short time on earth. That's the message of the poem "Life," which reminds us of the dangers of settling for a "9-5" existence and the incredible reward of being bolder. "So Little Time" is about taking advantage of our brief appearance and our ability to take control of it. "You Are Here, Where Am I" is about accepting the love that's out there waiting for us. And that's just for starters. Add some humor and patriotism and you have a truly wonderful book. Perfect for reading in sequence or in bits and pieces as you need them, My Pictures, My Words is the kind of book you'll return to again and again to receive the most important kind of nourishment-food for the soul.

My Review
A simple, yet beautiful book at only 46 pages.  This book with its gorgeous pictures, photos the author had taken, along with simple poems with very deep meanings will lift, inspire and make you think about life.  It amazed me that something so simple could make me ponder so many things.  The pictures are beautiful enough to frame.  There is no age limit on this book.  The pictures could invoke hours of discussion with young ones and at the same time turn into conversations among the older ones.  My only complaint is that I would have loved to have known where some of these photographs were shot.  I hope he does more books like this because I would definitely buy them.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dust and Other Poems - Thomas Noel Smith

Outskirt Press
Pages:  90
Adult, Poetry
Copy for review from publisher

Thomas Noel Smith’s poetry is a reflection of life in all its nuances.  In his poetry we see his thoughts on life as he has lived it.  It is full and reflective showing life through his eyes.  This is not one of those fluffy, happy poetic books.  It makes us stop and reflect on our own life.  I had to ask myself what would the poetry of my own life look like?  In a world where everything must make us feel good and happy it was refreshing to read something that made us pause and reflect.  I have a student in my class who read poetry he feels.  The poem he turned in as one of his favorites was, “Life” by Charlotte Bronte.  Not too many kids read poetry like this.  He is an aspiring poet.  He told me he writes what he feels.  I will be passing this book on to him.  It will be interesting to get his impression of the poetry within.  It was great reading poetry like this.  I enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hate that Cat a Novel by Sharon Creech

Publisher:  Scholastic,
Pages:  153
Source:  My shelves
Genre:  Middle Grades Poetry

Sharon Creech has inspired me to use this book this next year.  I will read it aloud to my students.  It demonstrates  poetry in its uniqueness.  It lets every child know that there is no right or wrong way to write poetry.  It encourages students to write.  All of this is done through the character of Jack and his teacher Miss Stretchberry.  This was a very quick and easy book of verse.  I loved the "Books on the Class Poetry Shelf" in the back of the book.  It gave me some ideas to add to my own limited poetry shelf.  This is a definite read as is her book "Love that Dog".

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Surrender Tree, Chosen One, The Wall, Thirteen Reasons Why

Last week was awful at school. The students are shutting down. With less than 25 school days left they are acting crazy. Fighting, horse play, all of which cause injuries. I did get to read some great books this week.
 I ordered and read The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle. It was a great book. One of my students read it and told me how much he liked the poems.
The next book I read was Secret Keeper by Frances Hodgson. This is the story of a young girl waiting with her mother and sister while her father seeks work in America. Forced to live with her uncle she must make some choices that change her family's future. I asked myself if I could be as unselfish as she was.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams reminded me of so many scenes we have seen of religious groups gone bad. I was reminded of Jim Jones as I read this book. I could not put it down and finished it in two hours.
I purchased the book

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis. It was his story of growing up in a communist country after the wall was put up in Berlin. Although he was not in Berlin the stories were similar. It gave me more insight into the Berlin Wall. I have been doing research for my book. I recommend it to Middle School children to teach about life during the cold war.

The last book Iread this week was calld Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. This is the story of young girl who commits suicide then sends out a box of tapes to those who were a part of her story explaining why. I recommend this book to teens and adults alike. There were so many signs in the book that this girl was in trouble. It made me ask myself how often I have seen similar signs and didn't reach out to ask a question.
I am currently four lesson behind on my 2YN (for those new to my blog that means 2 year novel). We had global youth services week. During the week of the 21st our students did service projects. Each grade had their own day. By the end of the week they had logged in over 4000 combined volunteer hours. I had students making baby quilts in my classroom. They sewed them by hand. We have a total of 12 handmade baby quilts. It took a lot out of me but was so worth it. We start our next round of testing. My reading class had a benchmark and oral reading fluency test this last week. The county had a fluency test for all of my reading students that was separate from their other test. We have a test this next week for my English for Speakers of other Languages students. Then there are at least 2 others for our students. All of them fall this month. I am wondering when I am going to be teaching with only 24 days of school left. I am looking forward to the end of the school year. I have at least forty books that I plan on reading and I plan on hitting the writing hard.
This of course will be after my final eye surgery a week after school is out. Until later, keep reading.