Posts tagged ‘national poetry month’

April 3, 2014

Celebrating National Poetry Month: Poem in Your Pocket Day

by Melissa Harding

“You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.” Joseph Joubert

What can a poem mean to a person? What can a poem mean when you share it with a person? These are important questions, if you believe that poetry has a meaningful impact on those who read it. Poem in Your Pocket Day seeks answer to those questions, as well as to spread the power of poetry to the community. Poem in Your Pocket Day has a simple premise: carry a special poem in your pocket all day and share it with people that you meet, be they loved ones or strangers.  Started in 2002 by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Education and the Office of the Mayor, Poem in Your Pocket Day was created as part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took it national, encouraging individuals around the country to join in. Each year on Poem in Your Pocket Day, schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, and workplaces ring loud with poems. On April 24, people all over the country will engage in this poetry evangelism, hoping to bring joy and happiness to their neighbors and communities.

Why share poetry? Though some may think that poetry is becoming irrelevant in our modern world, there are many more who can tell you the impact that writing or reading poetry has on their lives. In fact, poetry is an important touchstone to reality in the digital era in which we live. A poem is a powerful thing. Sharing that power with others is a goodwill gesture that can transform the community. Just ask Charlottesville, Virginia, the subject of the above video. Each year, the town unites together with the local library, recruiting students, teachers, business owners and seniors to help distribute poems. They are able to distribute 7,000 poems to hospitals, schools, nursing homes, restaurants, malls, and even on the street. Participants report that they are touched just as much as those they serve, both groups feeling touched by the community spirit as much as by the poetry itself. After all, “Geniune poetry can communicate before it is understood” (T.S. Elliot).

Speaking of the poetry, there are no rules to what is an appropriate poem to share. If you don’t have a special poem to share, check out the Poetry Foundation’s great browse section or search by occasion, subject or poet. The best way to find a new poem is to search for a topic that interests you and see what comes up; you never know what new poet you may discover that way. Another great way to find a poem is to visit your local library and browse the poetry section there. After all, there is something striking about reading a poem in a book, smelling the pages and feeling the weight of it in your hand. Children may want to share something funny, like a Shel Silverstein or Brod Bagert poem. There are many poems for children or by children. You can even try writing your own!

So how do you do it? According to the Academy of American Poets, there are many easy ways to spread poetry cheer:
1. Start a “poems for pockets” give-a-way in your school or workplace
2. Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
3. Post pocket-sized verses in public places
4. Handwrite some lines on the back of your business cards
5. Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
6. Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
7. Add a poem to your email footer
8. Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
9. Project a poem on a wall, inside or out
10. Text a poem to friends

April 24th is a little ways away right now, but it will be here before you know it. Find a favorite new or old poem to share, or maybe both! Share as many poems as you like. This is a great family activity – a way to practice kindness and learn about the importance of community. It’s also good for scout and youth groups as well. Take some time this month and explore poetry and the poets who write it. You might just become a real poetry fan!

Will you celebrate with us? Poetry is best when shared. We will be sharing poems throughout the month, please share your favorite in the comments!

 To read more about how poetry can help connect us to nature, check out this blog post.

The above video is courtesy of The Academy of American Poets.

April 1, 2014

Celebrating National Poetry Month: Using Poetry to Connect Children and Nature

by Melissa Harding

cherry blossoms 2

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. – T.S. Eliot

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of the richness that poetry gives to our lives. Though some may think that poetry is becoming irrelevant in our modern world, there are many more who can tell you the impact that writing or reading poetry has on their lives. In fact, poetry is an important touchstone to reality in the digital era in which we live. A poem is a powerful thing – some poems can target your soul and never let go; the same poem can give one person a feeling of peace and yet stir the passions of another. To quote Plato, “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” It truly does deserve its own month of celebration.

Last year, as part of a special series focusing on modern poetry, National Public Radio offered its listeners a chance to write and submit their own poems celebrating Washington, D.C’s famous cherry blossoms in bloom. After receiving hundred of submissions, twenty of the best were selected for reprint; the three best poems were used as the inspiration for several short films.

Here are several winning entries, in no particular order:

cherry blossom 2park bench take-away
the sky and cherry blossoms
in a cup of tea
— Paul Conneally

the petals fall from
an evening cherry blossom
she kisses him first
— Jenni L. Backs

Settled on a bench
In the lilting fragrance
of cherry blossoms
— Ric Cochran

Wet April morning–
Windshield wiper blades
heavy with cherry blossoms.
— Joel Dias-Porter

streetlamps in the haze …
this morning the stone lions
catch cherry blossoms
— Judy Totts

fhfhfhfh

Just as anyone who observes the world around them is a naturalist, so too is anyone who writes a poem a poet. Writing poetry is a wonderful way to connect to nature. While it may be difficult to go outside and draw a bird that you observe, it is very easy to write a short poem about it. If you or your child are feeling intimidated by the idea of nature journaling, try writing short poems about your time outside. Don’t worry about sounding like Walt Whitman, a poem doesn’t have to be an ode to a tree. It can anything, even humorous! Poems don’t have to rhyme and can be short or long; they can be about a bird or the gum on your shoe. Children in particular may enjoy writing poems about things that are gross, weird or funny. A poem describing the wonders of rabbit poop in the yard may seem silly, but writing it requires important time spent observing.

Poetry can help to express how nature makes you feel, what you experience with your senses and what you think about your time outside; it can clarify your experience in a unique way. In fact, writing poetry about nature can be a gateway to expressing other ideas as well; poetry can be a great way for children to express things that are difficult or scary. It can be a tool to help you understand your child’s feelings as well as a way for him or her to share openly with you. Additionally, poetry is a great introduction to reading for young children and may be useful in converting reluctant readers into avid ones. The poems of Shel Silverstein are silly and fun – perfect for a child who thinks reading is boring. Finally, poems make lovely gifts; tuck one in a library book before you return it or mail one in a card. This is a great way for your child to practice random acts of kindness towards others; it is really enjoyable to sneak poems into odd places with the hope of making someone else’s day.

In short, poetry is a great tool to keep in your nature journaling toolbox as well as in your life. Be open to the idea that a poem can be anything and anywhere; the sky is the limit when writing a poem. Remember, “You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.” (Joseph Joubert)

If you want to get started, try some of these easy tips for writing poems with your child:
1. Exaggeration Poem: Write a crazy poem that exaggerates the attributes of an object to great lengths.
2. List Poem: Make your poem a list of all the neat things that you see, attributes of a subject, or thing you feel.
3. Stretchy Metaphor: Find five verbs and five nouns from one subject area, like nature, and use them to write about another subject, like school.
4. Point of View Poem: Write a poem from the point of view of another object, like a plant or a bird.
5. Haiku: A haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, and 5 on the last.
6. Weather Poem: Start each line of your poem with the same phrase, like “When it rains” or “When it’s cold outside”.

To read more cherry blossom haikus and watch the accompanying videos, check out NPR’s article.

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate National Poetry Month or incorporate more poetry into your life, check out these ideas from The Academy of American Poets. Try writing a poem on the pavement or giving a poem to someone you love!

The above photos of cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.  are courtesy of NPR.

August 20, 2013

Celebrating National Poetry Month: Using Poetry to Connect Children and Nature

by Melissa Harding

Summer Reruns: Just like your favorite television shows go on hiatus for the summer, so does the blog. We will be running eighteen summer camps in eight weeks, so we will be a little busy! In place of original posts, Tuesdays will now feature some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last year. Fridays will feature that week’s camps, with pictures, crafts and lesson ideas for parents and educators.

cherry blossoms 2

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. – T.S. Eliot

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of the richness that poetry gives to our lives. Though some may think that poetry is becoming irrelevant in our modern world, there are many more who can tell you the impact that writing or reading poetry has on their lives. In fact, poetry is an important touchstone to reality in the digital era in which we live. A poem is a powerful thing – some poems can target your soul and never let go; the same poem can give one person a feeling of peace and yet stir the passions of another. To quote Plato, “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” It truly does deserve its own month of celebration.

As part of a special series focusing on modern poetry, National Public Radio offered its listeners a chance to write and submit their own poems celebrating Washington, D.C’s famous cherry blossoms in bloom. After receiving hundred of submissions, twenty of the best were selected for reprint; the three best poems were used as the inspiration for several short films.

Here are several winning entries, in no particular order:

cherry blossom 2park bench take-away
the sky and cherry blossoms
in a cup of tea
— Paul Conneally

the petals fall from
an evening cherry blossom
she kisses him first
— Jenni L. Backs

Settled on a bench
In the lilting fragrance
of cherry blossoms
— Ric Cochran

Wet April morning–
Windshield wiper blades
heavy with cherry blossoms.
— Joel Dias-Porter

streetlamps in the haze …
this morning the stone lions
catch cherry blossoms
— Judy Totts

fhfhfhfh

Just as anyone who observes the world around them is a naturalist, so too is anyone who writes a poem a poet. Writing poetry is a wonderful way to connect to nature. While it may be difficult to go outside and draw a bird that you observe, it is very easy to write a short poem about it. If you or your child are feeling intimidated by the idea of nature journaling, try writing short poems about your time outside. Don’t worry about sounding like Walt Whitman, a poem doesn’t have to be an ode to a tree. It can anything, even humorous! Poems don’t have to rhyme and can be short or long; they can be about a bird or the gum on your shoe. Children in particular may enjoy writing poems about things that are gross, weird or funny. A poem describing the wonders of rabbit poop in the yard may seem silly, but writing it requires important time spent observing.

Poetry can help to express how nature makes you feel, what you experience with your senses and what you think about your time outside; it can clarify your experience in a unique way. In fact, writing poetry about nature can be a gateway to expressing other ideas as well; poetry can be a great way for children to express things that are difficult or scary. It can be a tool to help you understand your child’s feelings as well as a way for him or her to share openly with you. Additionally, poetry is a great introduction to reading for young children and may be useful in converting reluctant readers into avid ones. The poems of Shel Silverstein are silly and fun – perfect for a child who thinks reading is boring. Finally, poems make lovely gifts; tuck one in a library book before you return it or mail one in a card. This is a great way for your child to practice random acts of kindness towards others; it is really enjoyable to sneak poems into odd places with the hope of making someone else’s day.

In short, poetry is a great tool to keep in your nature journaling toolbox as well as in your life. Be open to the idea that a poem can be anything and anywhere; the sky is the limit when writing a poem. Remember, “You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.” (Joseph Joubert)

If you want to get started, try some of these easy tips for writing poems with your child:
1. Exaggeration Poem: Write a crazy poem that exaggerates the attributes of an object to great lengths.
2. List Poem: Make your poem a list of all the neat things that you see, attributes of a subject, or thing you feel.
3. Stretchy Metaphor: Find five verbs and five nouns from one subject area, like nature, and use them to write about another subject, like school.
4. Point of View Poem: Write a poem from the point of view of another object, like a plant or a bird.
5. Haiku: A haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, and 5 on the last.
6. Weather Poem: Start each line of your poem with the same phrase, like “When it rains” or “When it’s cold outside”.

To read more cherry blossom haikus and watch the accompanying videos, check out NPR’s article.

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate National Poetry Month or incorporate more poetry into your life, check out these ideas from The Academy of American Poets. Try writing a poem on the pavement or giving a poem to someone you love!

The above photos of cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.  are courtesy of NPR.

April 18, 2013

Celebrating National Poetry Month: Using Poetry to Connect Children and Nature

by Melissa Harding

cherry blossoms 2

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. – T.S. Eliot

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of the richness that poetry gives to our lives. Though some may think that poetry is becoming irrelevant in our modern world, there are many more who can tell you the impact that writing or reading poetry has on their lives. In fact, poetry is an important touchstone to reality in the digital era in which we live. A poem is a powerful thing – some poems can target your soul and never let go; the same poem can give one person a feeling of peace and yet stir the passions of another. To quote Plato, “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” It truly does deserve its own month of celebration.

As part of a special series focusing on modern poetry, National Public Radio offered its listeners a chance to write and submit their own poems celebrating Washington, D.C’s famous cherry blossoms in bloom. After receiving hundred of submissions, twenty of the best were selected for reprint; the three best poems were used as the inspiration for several short films.

Here are several winning entries, in no particular order:

cherry blossom 2park bench take-away
the sky and cherry blossoms
in a cup of tea
— Paul Conneally

the petals fall from
an evening cherry blossom
she kisses him first
— Jenni L. Backs

Settled on a bench
In the lilting fragrance
of cherry blossoms
— Ric Cochran

Wet April morning–
Windshield wiper blades
heavy with cherry blossoms.
— Joel Dias-Porter

streetlamps in the haze …
this morning the stone lions
catch cherry blossoms
— Judy Totts

fhfhfhfh

Just as anyone who observes the world around them is a naturalist, so too is anyone who writes a poem a poet. Writing poetry is a wonderful way to connect to nature. While it may be difficult to go outside and draw a bird that you observe, it is very easy to write a short poem about it. If you or your child are feeling intimidated by the idea of nature journaling, try writing short poems about your time outside. Don’t worry about sounding like Walt Whitman, a poem doesn’t have to be an ode to a tree. It can anything, even humorous! Poems don’t have to rhyme and can be short or long; they can be about a bird or the gum on your shoe. Children in particular may enjoy writing poems about things that are gross, weird or funny. A poem describing the wonders of rabbit poop in the yard may seem silly, but writing it requires important time spent observing.

Poetry can help to express how nature makes you feel, what you experience with your senses and what you think about your time outside; it can clarify your experience in a unique way. In fact, writing poetry about nature can be a gateway to expressing other ideas as well; poetry can be a great way for children to express things that are difficult or scary. It can be a tool to help you understand your child’s feelings as well as a way for him or her to share openly with you. Additionally, poetry is a great introduction to reading for young children and may be useful in converting reluctant readers into avid ones. The poems of Shel Silverstein are silly and fun – perfect for a child who thinks reading is boring. Finally, poems make lovely gifts; tuck one in a library book before you return it or mail one in a card. This is a great way for your child to practice random acts of kindness towards others; it is really enjoyable to sneak poems into odd places with the hope of making someone else’s day.

In short, poetry is a great tool to keep in your nature journaling toolbox as well as in your life. Be open to the idea that a poem can be anything and anywhere; the sky is the limit when writing a poem. Remember, “You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.” (Joseph Joubert)

If you want to get started, try some of these easy tips for writing poems with your child:
1. Exaggeration Poem: Write a crazy poem that exaggerates the attributes of an object to great lengths.
2. List Poem: Make your poem a list of all the neat things that you see, attributes of a subject, or thing you feel.
3. Stretchy Metaphor: Find five verbs and five nouns from one subject area, like nature, and use them to write about another subject, like school.
4. Point of View Poem: Write a poem from the point of view of another object, like a plant or a bird.
5. Haiku: A haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, and 5 on the last.
6. Weather Poem: Start each line of your poem with the same phrase, like “When it rains” or “When it’s cold outside”.

To read more cherry blossom haikus and watch the accompanying videos, check out NPR’s article.

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate National Poetry Month or incorporate more poetry into your life, check out these ideas from The Academy of American Poets. Try writing a poem on the pavement or giving a poem to someone you love!

The above photos of cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.  are courtesy of NPR.

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