April + cool = 1st Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month, 2015

Expect more than the usual fiesta on Poetry Friday each Friday in April – National Poetry Month!

Today Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s THE POEM FARM hosts PF with a melodic invitation. Click at her site that in April is like a free jukebox, daily spinning an original poem this month that is cleverly written to be sung to a familiar tune. I expect to be singing a few of THE POEM FARM’S ditties when I read with BookPALS, Amy. Thank you for the tunes! And I think it’s a Music Hall of Fame feat!

Marshmallows in National Poetry Month

For a good-looking & good-tasting April round up of poetree partees, with marshmallow pillows you will want to share, try a perfect portion of Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

Freehand, long hand

Here in North Florida April is a sweet month to live outside; the mosquitoes & other biting creatures aren’t bugging us, and heat hasn’t wrung itself out of the wash cloth sky to settle underarms, around the hairline, and between foot and flip flop.

Free time involves strategies to stay away from screen glare, to write in longhand in a blooming park. I also bring paper notebook-writing into our back yard, where green tree frogs jump out from the patio umbrella, their favorite shelter in this suburban neighborhood of tall pines and live oak trees that are perches for owls and other raptors.

The wild violet blooms curled and fell into the earth, so that means hot times are ahead. To prepare, I share lines from two poems by two different poets, which speak to times when sandy shores are visited barefoot.

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Laura Shovan

“American Flamingo,” is one of the striking poems in the chapbook MOUNTAIN, LOG, SALT, and STONE that has sustained me in the past week as I’ve gone around my everyday rounds and found nourishment in reading the collection’s quotidian observations that make me think, I wish I had written
like that. But since I didn’t, I’m glad this poet did.

The poems are by the award-winning Laura Shovan, of Author Amok, one of the significant PF partee hosts.

“Marsh wader
balanced on one leg
like an apple tree in bloom…

“Marble eyes blue as the water
your boomerang beak
scoops for shrimp…”
© Laura Shovan
from “American Flamingo,” in MOUNTAIN, LOG, SALT, and STONE

Nikki Grimes

It’s not too far along the shore to pluck from another perfect seaside poem.
Last year I bought the novella in verse, WORDS WITH WINGS by poetry powerhouse Nikki Grimes, and enjoyed sharing some of the poems from it at a summer writing workshop in middle school. It’s the story of a child’s process in poem-making and in understanding her parents.

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Today I return to a poem from it that visits the edge of sand and sea when father and daughter share a sweet moment.

“Say ‘sand’
and I am running
along the beach,
snatching up shells
for my memory box…”

Dad right beside me.
He oohs and aahs
when I find
a beauty…”
© Nikki Grimes, from “Sand” in the novella in verse WORDS WITH WINGS

Poet characters

ZURI Jackson is a junior poet character who writes:

Danitra’s scared of pigeons. I promised not to tell.

Then I opened my big mouth and out the secret fell.

I tried to shove it right back in, though it was much too late.

I told her I was sorry, but Danitra didn’t wait.

lines from “The Secret” in MEET DANITRA BROWN by Nikki Grimes.

 

 

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My, how I like it that this Zuri, lively child, is eager for the world to know about her buddy, Danitra Brown. And I like it that Zuri shares their foibles, with abandon. And  what introspections the two city girls trade.

A boy said Zuri has toothpick legs & he called out Danitra for her “big and thick and round” eyeglasses. (Since both accusations fit child days of yours truly, my heartmelt happened with the Zuri poem these moments are in,”Coke-bottle Brown.”)

But even more, I like it that Zuri expresses all her vibrant ideas through her own poetry, which tumbles through the entire picture book like a downspout gushing on a sidewalk.

Extra treat –  warm oil wash illustrations by artist Floyd Cooper  are expectedly poetic.   You’ll be wanting more of Danitra, especially her school events, and country days, so look into  her subsequent poetry picture books, also by the poet brings her to us, Nikki Grimes: DANITRA BROWN, CLASS CLOWN &  DANITRA BROWN LEAVES TOWN. They are, to borrow a word from junior poet Danitra, splendiferous.

JUNIOR POETS LIST

Lucky to meet

Zuri, Ratchet, Jack

poets who

hope

cry

laugh

love

in words on the page

Their names collected

on

JUNOR POETS page.

 

There is room for more. Send along a word about the character, title, author please to JGAoffice at gmaildot com

Let me know your name if that’s unclear from your email so I can properly thank you.

Citation: Poetry Characters/Bookseedstudio © Jan Godown Annino.