This is my playground for poetry written for children with ideas and inspiration for writing your own poems. Come on in. Sit for a spell, have a cup of words to swirl around and make your own cup of poetry. I'm so glad you are here. I hope you'll find the Kingdom of Poetry a fun place to be.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Palo Verde HAIKU

Palo Verde blooms
on hillsides and arroyos
draping yellow scarves

Everywhere you look, in all directions the Palo Verde trees are in blossom.

     Under the trees there is a yellow carpet where the blossoms have started to fall.  The bees are out collecting pollen,and the birds are busy nesting. 
     Are the trees where you live blossoming?  Are they yellow too or another color?  What birds live in your trees?
    Can you write your own haiku about your trees?  You can use the traditional 5-7-5 syllable pattern, or develop your own pattern spoken on a single breath.
Happy writing.  You're welcome to share your creations in the comments.  Can you draw a picture to go with your poem?  Have fun.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday White flower

large white flower
with white whiskers
rippling in a breeze
like Granpa's beard.

Some say
Angel Trumpet,
I say sweet mystery
scenting the afternoon air,
playing a tune for me.

     This is a huge flower, as big as a salad plate.  If smells very nice. Do you have a favorite flower? What color is it?  Would you like to try writing a poem about a flower today?  Have fun.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Kitten

   On Thursday i volunteered at my local library for National Poem in Your Pocket Day.  I helped the children make pockets.  We decorated them and then wrote poems to go in our pockets. 
   A group of young girls,Ariana, Leylany, Reece  asked me to write a poem about a cat.  After some brain storming, this is what we came up with:

I have a little kitten.
she calls to me meow.
She never, never scratches.
I don't think she knows how.

The only time
I hear her hiss
is when she wants
a good night kiss.

Meow, meow,
hiss, lick, kiss,

     Can you write your own poem about a cat,dog, or a fish?  Have a great weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Honeysuckle Scents

Scented memories
grow on honeysuckle vines
entwined in sunshine

      On my morning walk (I'm using that phrase a lot lately) I smelled a sweet familiar aroma.  I turned around and saw the source twining up the tree--a honeysuckle vine.  Have you ever pulled the blossoms to taste the small drop of honey at the base of each blossom?  I once made honeysuckle sorbet.  It was divine. 
     For today's poem can you focus on smell or scent?  What are some smells you like?
fresh baked pizza
baby powder
macaroni and cheese
fresh coconut

What are some smells you'd rather not sniff?
wet dog
burnt toast

I had an easier time making my bad smell list.  What about you?  Today write a poem about smell.
Happy Friday and I hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What do you see?

See, see,
 oh what do you see?
A bench
and a pond
beech trees.

    Can you see the bench under the trees?  If you sat there for awhile, you'd hear a mockingbird singing.  You'd hear the rush of water burbling over the rocks.  And if you sat very quietly you might hear the trees telling their stories.  Have you ever heard the whispers and creeks of beech trees?
    Just for today, find somewhere to sit quietly and listen for the stories.  Can you write a poem about that?
    Happy National Poem in your Pocket Day.  Today is the day to carry a poem with you to share with others.  Each time your take the poem out try to memorize a little bit more of it to make the poem your own.  Have a great day and enjoy poetry.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sparkling drops of dew
shine upon the morning grass
each drop a new world

     I just returned from a trip to North Carolina.  It is impressive to me how green everything is there.  So different from the desert of Arizona.  I love  seeing the dew on the grass on my morning walk. 
     Stop what you are doing right now and look down.  What do you see?  This spot where you are standing at this moment is your world.  If you were an ant what do you think it would feel like to be in this world.  If I were an ant crawling in this grass, I'd be having my morning shower.  I'd be waking to a world of sunshine and getting ready to fight traffic to get to school.  It might be along walk.  Can you write a poem, in the ant's voice about being in your landscape?
Today write a poem about where you are.  Have fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

bees dance
on the fairy duster.
springtime pollinators

oh, the magic of bees!

     Don't you love the name for this plant? Quick time yourself for a moment.  How many flowering plants can you name in a minute?
On my walk this morning
I saw belted Galloway cows,
a donkey, pygmy goats, 
a red tailed hawk,
a Great Blue Heron,
two gold finch
a cardinal female
a squirrel
a robin,
a mockingbird,
a brown sparrow,
Then later in the day 
I saw a huge black turkey vulture.
I'd say it was a pretty good day.

    Can you make a list of all the animals you see today?  Or if you'd rather you could make a list of all the plants you see today.  Use this data to write your own list poem.  Have a great day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Merry Monday

Just for today
let me be the quail
with my imperial feather
bobbing in desert winds.

Let my song 
be a mermaid's siren
calling to you
to come enjoy
the desert sun.

     I'm having fun watching the quail with their funny strutting walk.  The top feather really does bob.  And this one in particular had attitude.  He seemed so full of himself as he walked from one end of the fence to the other and then back again. 
    Have you ever felt that way?  Like you want to strut your stuff?  Today find something you really feel proud of yourself for. Walk with confidence and share your goodness with the world.  Write a poem. Share it with others.  Have a great day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nesting Cactus Wren

A desert sunrise
shining on a Saguaro
where cactus wrens nest

      I'm not sure if you can see the wren in this picture.  She is peeking out of her nesting hole on the right side of the cactus.  She has a nest in this Giant Saguaro.  It is spring time and plants and creatures are birthing.  There are lots of golf ball sized quail scurrying over the road and new little western cottontails are the size of a softball.  I counted six on my walk one morning this week.  
    What new is happening in your part of the world?  Can you write a poem about it?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cowboys Winners

   Congratulations to Carol Baldwin who is the winner of the autographed copy of David Harrison's beautiful poetry collection COWBOYS.
    Carol if you'll let me know how you'd like the autograph personalized, I'll pass the word on to David Harrison and he'll get your book in the mail to you.

    Thank you all for helping me celebrate the birthday of my blog.  We're all winners.  You can find your own copy of COWBOYS to read at your local library, your local independent book store or you can order it  here .
    Cowboys is one of those beautifully, artistic books that one MUST really hold in his hands to truly appreciate. 

     And, the winner of the prize of a poem written especially for them by me is Cory Corrado.  Congratulations. I'll be in touch with you about how I'm going to do this.

   THANK YOU.  THANK YOU.  THANK YOU.   I feel so blessed.  Now go out and write more poems for children.

Cowboys Free Book

     The birthday party is now officially closed.  I'll put the entries into my hat to draw the winner and be back with you shortly.  Good Luck to everyone.  Thank you for stopping by for the party.  WOW!  What a celebration.

Bird Song Morning

The cactus wren sits
atop the giant saguaro
to sing a trilling song
in the early morning.

She calls to the hummingbird
who sits at the top
of the ocotillo
to enjoy this early morning.

The hummingbird calls hello
to the white wing dove
who sits atop the giant saguaro
to eat from the fragrant blossoms.

It is a morning full of bird song
trilling, thrilling
atop the giant saguaro.

     What are the sounds you hear this morning?  Can you write a sound poem?  Have fun and I hope you have a great weekend.  I'm off to North Carolina today.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Party Time

      There are still more than 3 hours to leave a comment for the opportunity to win a copy of COWBOYS, David Harrison's recent poetry book.
And can you believe it,I'm close to 10,000 page views.  (I really need to stop looking at the stats.)

Happy Birthday

     I'm so happy.  Today is the one year birthday for Poetry for Kids Joy.
I can hardly believe I've been writing a poem a day for a whole year.  Zowee!
   To celebrate David L.Harrison is donating a copy of his most recent poetry book COWBOYS.

     Yesterday  David shared the wonderful poem "Bunkhouse."  Today we're getting a peek at  "Spittin' Mad." 


Not fair!

"You're too little," they say.
"Go play with your dolls."

Been ridin' since I could walk.
I could break a bronco
good as they can.

"You're a girl," they say.
"Stay out of the way."

I'm tougher'n any boy.
Mess with me,
I'll poke 'em in the eye!

Not fair.

Not fair!

I'm so mad
I could kick a cow chip!



      I love the idea of being so mad you could kick a cow chip.  Actually, I can see the t-shirts now.
     Gosh, I think this is a beautiful book.  I love the variety in the poems and the illustrations just blow me away. Don't you just wish you could sit in Dan Burr's studio and watch him work his magic?
     And I greatly appreciate David Harrison adding this birthday gift to our party.  If you'd like to win the autographed copy that David has donated, leave your own comment or cowboy related poem in the comments below.  You have until midnight tonight.  Then I'll put all the names into a cowboy hat (of course) and draw one name out.
    Actually, I'll draw two names and the second name drawn, I'll write a poem for you.

Here's my poem for today:


I have a pony, Pokey.
He's a sweet little paint.
Cause when I'm in a hurry--
Pokey, he ain't.

     Oh that is bad.  I think I need to go drink some sarsaparilla.  Have a good weekend and Happy Poetry Friday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let the Party Begin

This Friday marks the first year birthday for Poetry For Kids Joy, and to help us celebrate David L. Harrison is giving away an autographed copy of his most recent poetry book COWBOYS.   Cowboys
So, Buckaroos, to get you in the mood, David Harrison is allowing me to share two of the poems from COWBOYS with you.

I'll post one today, and the second one tomorrow.


Reckon this place could use a cleanin'.
Some boys hang their clothes on the floor
so they can't fall off nuthin',
and I've seen more'n one jaw of juice
fail to make it plumb out the door.

The walls are purty good,
got mostly recent papers pasted on.
Helps keep out wind in winter
while we catch up on the latest news.

It's nice to have a bunkhouse
in case you're partial to smellin' sweat,
boots trackin' cow manure,
and lamps burnin' skunk-fat oil.

Mighty warm in summer, though.
Good part is
the snakes eat the rats,
but the stink'll make your eyes water some.

Don't much care for sleepin' in.
Bugs gnaw plugs right outta your hide.
Reckon that's why I spread my roll outdoors.

     Isn't that fun?  I love reading this out loud and trying to sound like a real cowpoke.  Can you imagine what skunk fat smells like burning in your lamp?
   If you'd like to win the copy of COWBOYS, Davild L. Harrison's (davidlharrison.wordpress.com/) book of poetry, beautifully illustrated by Dan Burr, just leave a comment, or your own cowboy poem in the comments below.  You have until midnight on Friday night.  Then I'll put all the names in a hat and draw one.
     On my walk this morning I was thinking about all the names for cowboy, buckaroo, jackaroo, bronco-buster, gaucho, vaquaro , wrangler, cowhand, cowpoke, drover, herder, and Hawaiian paniolo who were responsible for bringing slack key guitar to The Islands.  So now see, you could write a poem about any one of these or your own choice that somehow tags cowboy.  Just have fun and enjoy the birthday party.  I'll have another surprise for you tomorrow.

Here is the start of my poem.  I have no idea where it is going to go.

If I were a cowpoke
here's what I'd do,
I'd hop on my horse
and ride to see you.

I'd bring along
a billie can or two
so we could drink tea
or make trail stew.

We'd brand the stray doggies
and push cows along
we'd sing ay-yay-yay-yay
our cowboy song.

     Now it's your turn.  Leave a cowboy poem or your own comment below.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who Lives Here?

See these holes
in the Saguaro?
Who lives here
do you know?
Elf Owl?
Cactus Wren?

Do not knock
upon their door.
Cactus spines
make knuckles sore.

     Yesterday morning I saw a cactus wren sitting at the edge of an opening in the Saguaro cactus.  The bird sat there singing, but just as soon as I got my camera out the wren ducked inside the hole.  I waited and waited. but the bird did not want her picture taken. 
     Can you write a poem about picture day at your school? Do you like having pictures taken, or would you rather be like the wren and have a hole to duck into?Have fun writing

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


An arid state,
Rich in resources,
In her people
Zuni to Zapotec,
Optimistic with canyons grand,
A place called home.

      This is the centennial year for Arizona, the 48th state to join the Union on February 14th, 1912.  When did your state join the Union?  Can you write an acrostic for your state?

Monday, April 16, 2012


One hundred years of
Cacti growing
Over all
The state,
In this one
Little red flowers flame
Like sparklers
On the Fourth of July.

    Arizona was the 48th state to join the Union on February 14, 1912.  So obviously the ocotillo have been growing here for longer than that, but the 100 years is a reference to Arizona's centennial.  
    This ocotillo with it's torch red flowers grows next to a young saguaro.  Saguaro don't start to grow their "arms" until they are 50 to 75 years old.  Interesting to look at plants and realize that they have been on this planet far longer than I have.  It does make me think I need to do a better job of taking care of my planet.
    This particular ocotillo I see on my morning walk and for several mornings there has been a Costas hummingbird sitting on the same top branch watching me walk by.  Some mornings she chooses to talk to me and always I pause to enjoy the beauty and to say a few words to the bird.  It is a great way to start my day, having a conversation with  a hummingbird.
    If you could have a conversation with anyone you choose, who would it be?  Can you write a poem about that?  Have a great day on our planet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


And a rosy
Glow covers the sky,
Receive us--
Open and welcome.

     The Saguaro cactus grows in the desert around my house.  The lovely white lei of flowers that grows around the top of each arm is just starting to bloom.  And the elf owls, cactus wrens and the gila woodpeckers are taking up residence in the holes that are made in the cactus.  Spring is here.
     This poem is an acrostic.   Can you write an acrostic about a plant or animal from around where you live? 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Harris Hawk

how graceful,
how the hawk
circles, soars,
floats a thermal
while a lizard
and squirrel
scurry below.

     Have you learned about the food chain?  I once read a statistic from the LA Zoo that only one in every 1,000 bird eggs reaches maturity.  They advised if you found a baby bird out of its nest, to leave it alone.  I also think there are 1,000 poems written for every one that gets published.
     Today's poem is a reminder that there are pluses and minuses in every event.  It was beautiful for me to see the soaring hawk; it wasn't beautiful for the lizard or squirrel.  Can you think of other examples?  Can you try writing a poem about it?
Try beating the odds and leave your poem in the comments section below.  Have a fun weekend.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spider People

Natives talk
of spider people
who spin our future
weave links to the past.
Their silver threads
stitch our hopes
to the stars
to twinkle,shine,glow
even in the darkest
of times.

     Today is Friday the thirteenth.  There are lots of superstitions surrounding this date.   What is your favorite fairy tale, fable or folk tale?  Can you turn it into a poem?
I hope you have a happy, safe day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to Make Poetry Sing

Open your mouth,
let the happiness erupt.
Let the words spread
like butter on hot toast.
Send a small song---
a sonetta to your tonsils,
let them vibrate
in every color of the rainbow.
Breathe deeply.
Let your heart turn golden
from the glow of your words 
on fire.

      This is a free verse poem.   If you wanted to make your poems sing, how would you do it?  Notice the concrete words in this poem?  Are the verbs strong enough, or could I have found some better ones?  Have I used any similes or metaphors in this poem?  Do you find any of the lines cliché?  Which ones? 
Can you write your own poem about how to write a poem?  Poems written about poems or poetry are called ars poetica.  Please share your thoughts and comments with me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


There Is A Monster

There is a monster
all in red
with a great
hairy head.
He is hiding. He is hiding
under my bed.

There is a monster
with sharp yellow teeth
and I see him underneath.
He is hiding. He is hiding
under my dresser.

A mean orange monster
with big floppy ears,
his cheeks are damp
with great big tears.
He is hiding. He is hiding
in my closet.

There is a monster
with a green scaly tail.
He quivers and shakes
to no avail.
He is hiding. He is hiding
in the toy chest.

There is a monster
with a purple furry neck.
He doesn't like me
even a speck.
He is hiding. He is hiding
on the shelf.

There is a monster
with blue eyes.
He wants to wear
a good disguise.
He is hiding. He is hiding
in the trash can.

There is a brown monster
who is a strange fellow.
He is hiding. He is hiding
under my pillow.

There is a monster
with shiny black horns
he is shy and bashful
and all forlorn.
He is hiding. He is hiding
behind the hamper that is full.

All these monsters
I can see.
I wonder what
it can be.
Why are they all
such big scaredies?
They are hiding. They are hiding
away from me.

     I love the idea of furry monsters.  My imagination congers all sorts of interesting creatures.  Do you like monsters too?  OK, so let's try writing a poem about a monster today.  What does your monster look like?  What does your monster do?  Does it make your bed, do your homework, wash your hair?  Remember to use your five senses.  What does it smell like?  What does it eat?
  Have fun writing your monster poem.  Please share with me in the comments below.  Have fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Good Morning

Under the great blue sky,
there are yellow marigolds,
a tall yucca plant,
and a saguaro cactus
standing bold.

Inside the cactus
is a nesting elf owl
who yips and yaps
like the bark
of a coyote's howl.

There's a rabbit hopping on the sandy trail
and a covey of quail.
Underground in a dark hole
are three digging voles.

And two whiptail lizards rest in the sun watching hungry javelina on the run
and a packrat races by while a Cooper's hawk circles in the sky.
And a blue copper rock and doves in a flock.

Cars driving by zoom, a cactus wren sings a sweet tune,
and an Indian woman sits at her loom.

Good morning desert.
Good morning sun.
Good morning elf owl having fun.

Good morning coyote, and good morning quail.
Good morning rabbit and good morning trail.
Good morning holes and good morning voles.

Good morning lizards resting in the sun.
Good morning javelina on the run.

Good morning packrat and Cooper's hawk.
Good morning doves and blue copper rock.

Good morning cars, good morning tune,
and good morning to the woman
who sits at her loom.

Good morning desert sky, good morning desert air.
Good morning to creatures everywhere.

  Sorry this is such a long poem today but I got started and couldn't stop.  What should I have left out?  I've been having fun playing with creatures in the desert and writing list poems.  Can you write your own list poem saying hello or good by to the things at your school or home.  What are the steps you take to go to school? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Left Over Eggs

In my lunch sack
is a hard boiled egg.
I'll let you have it
no need to beg.

Would you like
a deviled snack?
I also have those
in my sack.

   Jelly beans, chocolates, hard boiled eggs?  What left overs do you have from the holiday weekend?  Can you write a poem from the left overs?  Perhaps you'd like to try an acrostic.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

My Easter pin wheel
spins in the wind
going round and round.
It whirs and whizzes
in the wind.
Oh, what a wonderful sound. 
   I hope you are having a great day.  Did you get a chocolate bunny?  I remember when I was a little girl about 10 years old the Newberry's Five and Dime store in my little town had chocolate eggs for sale and for 50 cents extra you could get the lady to pipe white frosting in your name on the egg.   I thought that was the most wonderful thing.  So I saved my allowance and bought an egg for my mom and had the lady write MOM on it.  The lady was so impressed that I'd saved my money in the first place to spend it on my mom that she didn't charge me for the piped frosting.  Do you have memories of past Easters?  What did you do or are you doing to make today memorable?  Perhaps you can write a poem to save today's memories.  Ah, you knew I was going to do that, so give it a try and let me see your creation.  Have fun with your family and friends and your writing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter

I'm still working on acrostics.  Searching for just the right poem.
Today I thought I'd try a mesostich.  If the middle letter of each line spells out a word, this is called a mesostich. 

So let's see if this works.

Happy Easter

I'm hunting
  for my EastEr Eggs
  to put them in my bAsket. Look low. 
     Look in, and out.   Search in the roots
of the old sycamore Tree. Look high. 
   Look around everywhEre, found each egg.
              Sit to rest. Oh deaR, found one more.        
        I sat on it.

  Have you ever accidentally sat on an egg?  I did.  I was so embarrassed.  I also tried to make this a concrete poems.  Do you think I was successful?  
  So now it is your turn.  Can you write a mesostich?  Or try a  telestich where the last letter of each line spells out a word.  Challenge yourself.  I'm sure you can do this.  Have fun.  Please share your poems with me.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Year

In September, I got a new blue backpack to start school.
In May, a wren built a nest in the planter outside my window.  I heard the birds sing.
In November, Grandma sent me a new pair of soft red mittens.  I lost them before the new year.
In June, I went swimming in the cold water of the lake.
In January, I didn't celebrate my birthday, the snow was too deep.
In August, Grandpa took me fishing, I caught my first fish.
In October, Daddy took a trip to Texas and brought me back a t-shirt.
In February, my younger sister stole $5 from Mom's purse to buy books at the book fair.
In July, I ate six ears of buttered corn at the Fourth of July picnic.
In March, the frogs croaking down by the creek were so loud they kept me awake.
In December, I got a bicycle for Christmas and was so happy.
In April, it was National Poetry Month when I wrote this poem.

     Here is another list poem based on the months of the year.  I've mixed up the months to keep the poem more interesting and less predictable.  What line do you think is the most interesting?  I've tried to include the five senses--smell is probably the weakest in this poem.  What would make a better line to feature smell?
    So here is your assignment.  Write 12 lines of poetry based on the 12 months of the year.  Try to include your five senses.  Make one line a negative line of something you didn't do or something that didn't happen.  If you have a sibling, make one line about something your sibling did or likes.  Do you have a pet, devote one line to your pet. Start by making a list of things you've done, seen, received--that sort of thing, and then pick some interesting ones to shape into your poem.  Have fun.  Please share your creations with me in the comments below, or at least share your most or least interesting line.  Write on.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sweet Dreams

Please cuddle me
in your dreams.
Lumpy in foam or
Lofty with down. Shhhh,
only remember
we want
sweet dreams.

     OK, I'm in a hurry today.  It is my 42nd wedding anniversary and I've got things to do and places to be.  So let's try another list acrostic today.  Look around the room and select an object.
    Here we go again, for an example, your Pencil.  Quick for a minute write down everything you know about pencils--
yellow #2
bold, soft, hard
dull,sharpened to a fine point
make maps,
take spelling tests.
 used for making pin wheels

   Oops,see I'm starting to drift in the many uses for a pencil.  Now lets start with the letters and see where this takes us.  Remember the lines can be any reasonable length, and they don't have to rhyme.

Please, hold me gently, my
erasure smiling upward.
Never chew or munch me.  I
can't stand that.
I want to write
love letters to my friends.

  OK, that is a start.  Since I have several capital letters on the left margin, I'm going to make all of the left margin letters bold and capital, so the poem is easier to read.

Please, hold me gently, my
Eraser smiling upward.
Never chew or munch me.  I
Can't stand that.
I want to write
Love letters to you.

   Can you see other changes I made?  This can also be called a persona poem, because it is written in the voice of the pencil.  Now it is your turn.  Try your own acrostic.  Please share your creation with me in the comments section below.  Have fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


in the 
zenith of the sun
a whip tail
deep in shadows.

for many
wisteria vines
entwined with
roses are 
sent to loved ones.

Easter lily
Sent to say I love you.

     Most acrostic poems are a variation on the list poem.  So today I've been playing with those.  
     Remember that list of animals you made on Monday?  Can you take one of the animals and write an acrostic for it, or use the word ANIMAL and write an acrostic list poem using that word.  
    Have fun.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Library Books

This book went to the library.
This book stayed home.
This book was lent to friends to read.
This book was left to roam.
This book crackled, cheeped, and peeped--
it was full of poems.

I'm still having fun with the This Little Piggie exercise, I hope you are too.  I always enjoy poems about books and libraries.  One of the longest recent list poems I have read was 9 pages, titled Library, written by Albert Goldbarth and included in his award winning collection SAVING LIVES.  The poem is a list of all the books in his library and is full of rich details so the reader can personally know each book too.  As the lead poem in the SAVING LIVES collection, Library starts

This book saved my life.
This book takes place on one of the two small tagalong moons of Mars.
This book requests the author's absolution, centuries after his death.
This book required two of the sultan's largest elephants to bear it; this other book fit in a gourd.
This book reveals The Secret Name of ...

You can read the rest of the poem at Poetry Daily. You can learn more about Goldbarth at http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1295    or http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/albert-goldbarth

Look at the books on your own bookshelf, or go to the library and look.  If you were going to write your own library poem what would you include?  Are there details you could use for each of the five senses?

For another fun idea, Travis Jonker a librarian in Michigan, is featuring spine poems on his blog this month.  It is a fun exercise if you want to try it, check out his blog at http://100scopenotes.com/2012/03/06/wanted-book-spine-poems/

Have fun.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Five Little Lizards

 This little lizard sat on the wall,
 having fun.
This little lizard slept under a rock
out of the sun.
This lizard ate a gnat or two.
This lizard changed colors
from red to blue.
This little lizard dashed fast 
off the wall
because  he heard 
the hawk's call.

 I'm still working away on list poems.  They are also called catalog poems  I started pulling all the poetry books off my book shelf and checking the index to see if the book included any material on list poems.
I did pull out my copy of THE LIST POEM A Guide to Teaching and Writing Catalog Verse, written by Larry Fagin, published in 1991 by the Teachers and Writers Collaborative. 
   I noticed he has a chapter titled: This Little Piggie (Lists and List Poems)  I won't bore you with all the details of this chapter except to say that Fagin points out that we start children on lists with poems like this little piggie, the A B C song, The House That Jack Built and Old MacDonald Had A Farm. 

 So here is today's exercise.  Take a sheet of paper and writing as quickly as you can make a list of animals. Include domesticated animals, farm animals, zoo animals, birds, beasts--any kind of animals you can think of, but only write for a minute.  Making one-minute lists is a fun thing to do if you just have a short amount of time.  Take any noun--dogs, hats, flowers, food,  --and see how many things you can write down that fit your noun category in one minute.  I frequently let my students name the category.  They are very creative.  We've done mall stores, video games and even video game characters. 

Now remember the This Little Piggie rhyme?

This little piggie went to market.

This little piggie stayed home.

This little piggie ate roast beef.

 This little piggie had none.

This little piggie cried wee-wee-wee all the way home.

Now take one of the animals from your list and plug that into this form poem.

This little _______________went to________________.

This little _______________stayed home.

This little  _______________ ate  _______________.

 This little  _______________ had none.

This little _______________ cried  _______________ all the way home.

For an example, I can do this with goldfish

This little goldfish swam over the dam. (Notice I changed words for a stronger verb.)

This little goldfish stayed in the pond.

This little goldfish  ate  flies for breakfast.

 This little goldfish had none.

This little goldfish  cried gulp, gulp, gulp all the way home.

The pattern is easy enough to follow that in no time, I predict you will want to change the words a bit to make your own variation on this list poem.   Have fun playing and please share your creations with me.  What is the silliest thing you can write a poem about? 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A list poem

I've been working all day on putting together materials for how to write a list poem.

For an example I wrote three stanzas on a desert scene--so my list has to be all things in the desert.

Here is what I've started with.

Under the great blue sky,
there are yellow marigolds,
a tall yucca plant,
and a saguaro cactus
standing bold.

Inside the cactus
is a nesting elf owl
who yips and yaps
like the bark
from a coyote's howl.

Down in a hole
is a resting snake
who is out of the sun
and taking a break.

    I have some more stanzas to write, but I like the direction this poem is going.  Any ideas that you'd like to add are welcome.  
    Your task for today is to write your own list poem.  It could be a list of things in your desk, under your bed, things you like (or hate) at school, or things in your backpack.  Almost anything is a subject for a list poem and list poems do not have to rhyme.  But they should be fun.  I hope you'll share your list poem with me and remember to use all of your senses for good details.  

    Happy Poetry Month