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Friday, April 30, 2021

Poetry Friday: Full Circle




I've always viewed scrapbooking as a form of storytelling. It's how we preserve the stories of the people and experiences in our lives. One of the first scrapbook pages I ever made was called "I is for Immigrant." 

My poem today is a poetic interpretation of that page. It's a shape poem - a poetic form where the words on the page form a shape related to the content of the poem.

This week's Poetry Friday is hosted by Matt Forrest at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.
Hop over here to find links to the other writers participating this week.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Poetry Friday: World Book & Copyright Day

 

Quote from Plato: “Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”


Today is Unesco's World Book and Copyright Day. I was fortunate enough to start my educational life at a school that encouraged reading, and it was there that my love of story took root. 

Quote: Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you." by Harold Bloom

Mine was a fairly solitary childhood, but with a book, I could enter the worlds of the characters I was reading about, and they became my companions. 

Quote: Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home. by Anna Quindlan

I read about dragons, sentient space ships, and the life of a family in political exile. 

I read books set in space, fantasy worlds, Siberia, England and New Zealand. 

I read books by contemporary authors, and authors long dead. 

I read poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. 


Quote: Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else. by Mark Twain


Books took me on journeys through time and space and around the world, and all the while offered me a safe place to curl up in when I needed it.



Once I was showing our neighbor our apartment (we have the same floor plan and she wanted to see how we were using the space). When we came around the corner to the study, she gasped. "You have so many books!"

I looked at the study, seeing not just the wall of bookshelves crowded with books, but also all the books we had to leave behind when we moved internationally - those former companions on our life's journey with whom we had to part ways. 

Our paths diverged - theirs taking them to the Friends of the Library store, to find new people to transport and inspire and educate and comfort; ours taking us to new homes, some of them in in the places I had read about in those very books. 

Today is not just World Book and Copyright Day - it's also Poetry Friday. A day for taking a virtual journey through the blogosphere, when poets share poetry on their own blogs and visit the blogs of other participating poets. 

So today I'm celebrating both World Book and Copyright Day and Poetry Friday with a Didactic Cinquain poem about books. This variant of the Cinquain form of the poet Adelaide Crapsey is often used in educational settings, when teaching children about poetry. An internet search will show you there are slight variations in the line content of Didactic Cinquains, but all use a 5-line form: 
  • Line 1: One word, that is also the title
  • Line 2: Two adjectives that describe the word in line one
  • Line 3: Three words that give more information about the subject 
    • [alternatively, three gerunds -ing verbs - that show the action of the subject]
  • Line 4: Four words (individual words or a phrase/sentence) that show emotion about the subject 
    • [alternatively, that describe another aspect of the subject]
  • Line 5: A synonym of the title or a word very similar to it.

Books
Paperback. Pixellated.
Engrossing, enlightening, inspiring.
My companions through life.
Guidebooks.
(c) 2021 Elisabeth Norton


This week the host of Poetry Friday is Catherine at Reading to the Core. You can hop over to her site to find links to all the other poets participating in Poetry Friday.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

National Poetry Month

Last April I posted a golden shovel poem based on Robert Frost's "Ghost House." Now, a year later, almost to the day, I'm posting about poetry again, with yet another nod to Robert Frost. 

It's been a poetic year for me. It's also been a year with limited time for writing. Perhaps that's why, since writing that poem last April, I've been spending more and more time in poetry. I've discovered new favorite poems, and new favorite poets. New poetry is becoming a part of my DNA, the words and phrases coming to mind spontaneously as they resonate on the same frequency as my life.

Yesterday, walking in the park, I saw this fellow standing in the stream.

duck standing in a stream divided in two by a small patch of land

As soon as I saw him standing there, the opening lines of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" sprang to mind:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

I carried Frost's words with me as we walked home, their cadence rolling through my mind, calling up memories of my own diverging paths, and interjecting mindful, reflective moments into an otherwise ordinary day.

I've written more poetry in the last year than in the past several years combined. Most of the poems are not for kids, but lyrical language has also become my focus in the writing I'm doing for young readers. I'm working on picture books, some rhyming, some not, but all of them written with lyrical language. 

I love the process of carefully considering words - their meaning, their shape, their sound.

I love how good it feels when you know you've discovered just the right one. 

I love the patterns they form on the page.

I love the rise and fall of their syllables in my ear.  

In the US, it's the 25th annual National Poetry Month

If you're feeling poetic, you can discover new poems and poets here and here. You can even get a new poem sent to your inbox every day. And if you want to follow along during the month of April, poet and writer Bridget Magee is writing a poem a day as part of National Poetry Month. You can check out her fun and funny poems on her website.