Happy National Poetry Month! What an exciting week to join in the round-up of words and all things poetry! Irene is hosting the celebration at her space Live Your Poem. It's sure to be a splendid poetry party, so don't delay!
While every day is a day to honor the art of poetry, it's extra special to have thirty consecutive days devoted to the power of poetry. I look forward to this month all year long when everyone comes together to spread the poetry love.
Though I have not taken on a poetry project this month like many of my PF friends, I look forward to reading all that these magnificent poets will share! I plan on participating in my own way each day as well. So this week, I am looking back in my notebooks for notes or poems inspired by guest poets that I have had the privilege to hear speak over the years. The first notebook entry I found was from 2014 when the always amazing, Georgia Heard came to our school district to share. Here are a few of my notes from her workshop, along with a poetic entry it inspired. Happy #npm17!
in the moon, the stars, the sun on my skin, the birds in the trees, the voices of my children, beneath the water and the soil-
no matter where I am, it lives in me, somewhere quiet, dark and deep, but still, always with me, always carried in my soul wherever I go...the seashell on the beach, each speck of sand between my toes, and the waves that crash upon the shore.
Invitation to Write:
This month, poetry will be celebrated by many. It's so fun to learn about all the projects that poets role out throughout the month. What are your favorite poetry projects?
One of the best things about National Poetry Month is that there are endless ways you can join in the fun. So even if you don't decide to do a project, there are still opportunities to share in the joy of poetry. There are some great websites that will give you tons of ideas. One of my favorites is poets.org. You can find more about the celebration along with ways to participate. Twitter is another go-to favorite of mine for finding poetry inspiration throughout the month. Just search for #npm17 and you'll be set! Will you participate this year? How so?
You can start right now if you like! Think about where poetry hides for you. Finish this sentence stem inspired by the poet Georgia Heard.
It's Poetry Friday once again! A special thanks to Julieanne for hosting the round-up today. Be sure to visit her site below for more poetry!
It seems a new year school year is approaching fast. I know teachers and students are busy getting ready. These are exciting times indeed! However, it is often easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our daily preparations before heading back to school. As much as I look forward to the new school year, I do not want to lose my calm before the storm. I know that every person has a different way of keeping that calm when things get hectic in their lives.
I can find my calm by walking through the field or around my yard. This helps feed my soul and steady my mind from one day to the next. Even during a busy time of the year like now, I make sure to carve out that time to just walk. Today's poem is about how I find the calm before the storm during these whirl-wind moments of my life. I am also sharing a piece out of my notebook that reflects the thoughts I have been having lately. It is my wish for you.
My Notebook Entry:
Before the rush of schedules, meetings, and early morning routines-take a deep breath. Then let it go. Spend some time today doing what you love. Greet the day with happiness in your heart. Take a moment to just BE. Let the day unfold around you. Meanwhile, life will go on. Tomorrow will come. Time will change. Yet, may the feelings of your heart remain as each day turns the page.
Invitation to Write:
There are so many benefits to walking. Besides being healthy for your heart, it can help you relax and calm your brain after a busy day. Sometimes walking around your backyard or through your neighborhood can help you tune in to the world around you. So many ideas for writing may come to you throughout your walk.
I find great joy in walks. I wish for you the same kind of joy that a simple walk with nature can bring!
A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents back home. My mom and I were sitting out in the backyard just before dark. I was sitting there thinking about all the memories I have of this special place. It became clear to me that no matter how much a place may change, the way I feel about it and the memories that are there will always remain. This isn't just any backyard to me, it's a magical place that I know well. As I thought more about the attachments we form to certain places, I began to take in all the sights and sounds around me. That's when I heard the sound of whistling ducks and the pair of owls overhead. These were common sounds and sights from my childhood, so I just sat there in awe of what was taking place. Today's poem reflects my moment in a special place I know by heart.
Invitation to write:
Sometimes thinking about the places we know really well, can spark ideas to write. Think about a place, or go there if you can, and let your thoughts of that place surround you. Try writing about the past, present, or future of that place.
Since Thanksgiving is next week, I have been thinking a lot about the word harvest. Most of the time when we think of a harvest, we think of the gathering of crops. But a harvest can be anything that we intake or collect.
A few mornings ago, I stood at my open window in awe of all the marvelous shades of brown and gold in my yard. I never thought of brown as being such a wondrous color, until I took in all of it's color variations in the fall leaves and grasses around my home. Now I see brown in a totally different way. You might try harvesting a color, too!
Invitation to write:
Try paying attention to the way things move and then try describing that movement in detail. Think about the objects around you or in nature. For example, you might try thinking about a bicycle, a clock, or maybe one of your favorite animals.
Invitation to write:
Even moments that we spend at little places that we love can spark ideas for writing. Think of the everyday moments you spend in your room, your yard, or even around the kitchen table. These little places can hold great significance for us. Sometimes thinking about the places we spend our day and the conversations or habits that happen within those places, can turn out to be a great starting point for getting our writing going.
Invitation to write:
Sometimes when we allow ourselves to listen to the sounds of nature all around us, we end up imagining what the natural world might actually have to say to us. So whenever you are outside with nature, try to stop, listen, and even have a conversation with some of her friends.
It's fair season! This week, the Brazos Valley Fair was the happening place to be. I started thinking about all of the wonderful memories I have of my experience at the fair. It is full of so much excitement and opportunities for fun around every corner. This poem comes from my own memories of the fair and as it might be seen through the eyes of two little boys, one day at the fair.
Sometimes when I am drafting a poem, I look for patterns that turn up between the lines. One of the first things I did was to think of a list of different things I remembered about the fair. I noticed that many of the words I had written began with the same first sound, so I decided to group those words together to roll off the tongue as you read down the list. Next, I counted the syllables in each line to see if any patterns emerged. You can see in my draft how I played with the arrangement of the lines, until I had the meter I was looking for. Before I was satisfied with the final poem, I read it out loud a few times to make sure I had the sound just write. So whenever you write your next poem or really any next piece, you might try looking for patterns and see where that leads you.
Last weekend I was sitting in the yard watching the boys play a game of flag football. The air was new from a cool front and the sunlight streaming through the trees gave just enough visibility to see the tiny gnats flying through the air. I felt like I had slipped into a beautiful dream. The world just seemed so surreal to me in that moment. Here is a poem inspired by my daydream on that perfect October day.
A common thread in our daily life is to day dream. Daydreaming allows us to step into a world of our own creation or place to follow our thoughts to reason. When you find yourself daydreaming, try to tap into the thoughts of your mind and the world around you. There is much to discover about ourselves when we let a little dream into our writing lives.
A few days ago, the first cool front of fall came through the Brazos Valley. I was headed to a meeting with one of my dear friends and we started talking about how nice it was to have some cool air. It reminded her of when she was a little girl, waiting for the bus to pick her up with the cool air of a fall morning on her skin. There is something magical about that first front. In that moment, we could not put into words the feelings that came rushing back with a simple childhood memory of a change in the weather. Every time I tried, I thought about the memory that my friend had described. I quickly reached for my notebook and began to write.
Here's a peek at my entry.
It amazes me how one little conversation about the weather can be snatched from the air, captured in an entry, and finally set free again as a poem. Writing ideas may seem to fall as light the leaves, but as we gather them in our arms and toss them up again, we see a lifetime of possibilities swirling in the air.
I took this entry and immediately envisioned it as a poem. It is written in first person, and it's not really about me. With this poem, I found it really enjoyable to step inside this memory and share it with my friend.
Here's a peek at one of my drafts.
The beauty of drafting quickly and sometimes having more than one draft, allows you the freedom to crack your entry open again and again. I love the surprise that's waiting for me inside each draft.
Having a quick draft also gives you the opportunity to play around with the design, language, order, and so much more. In this draft, you can see me reworking the title, rephrasing some lines, making decisions about word choice, and envisioning line breaks. Once I type it up, I revise again until I am happy with my final changes.
Welcome! I'm Kiesha Shepard, and I have a love for writing and the teaching of writing. Whispers From the Ridge is a place where I can share my words and ideas for teaching writing. It's also a place for you to find inspiration for writing the words inside of you. I invite you into my world of writing as I capture the whispers from the ridge.
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Schedule of Round Up:
2 Heidi at my juicy little universe
9 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
16 Christie at Wondering and Wandering -- optional theme: trees
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
30 Kat at Kathryn Apel
6 Sylvia (and Janet) at Poetry for Children
13 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
20 Linda at TeacherDance
27 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
4 Cheriee at Library Matters
11 Catherine at Reading to the Core
18 Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup
25 Karen at Karen Edmisten*
1 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
15 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
22 Rebecca at Sloth Reads
29 Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones
6 Tanita at [fiction, instead of lies]
13 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
20 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
27 Michelle at Michelle Kogan