Taking a little break

BULLETIN: Stop what you’re doing and go do this: http://www.nowaterriver.com/poetry-friday-poems-from-the-writers-renaissance-florence-italy . Renee LaTulippe has presented us with yet another wonderful experience, including our friends Julie Hedlund, Cory Corrado, and others at Julie’s recent Writers’ Renaissance workshop in Italy!

Hi everyone,

I need to break away for a while to catch up with and/or meet various deadlines. I hope to see more WORD OF THE MONTH and THEME OF THE MONTH poems come in. If you haven’t joined in yet, there’s still time. Remember that the word is fog (thanks to Mary Nida Smith) and the theme is fishing (thanks to Don Barrett).

I’ll be around and will chime in when I can. I’ll also announce the new theme for June. I already gave you the words for the next several months but here they are again.

June’s word, provided by Jeanne Poland, is HARRUMPH.
July’s word, provided by Don Barrett, is BOWL.
August’s word, provided by Linda Baie, is TRAIN.
September’s word, provided by B. J. Lee, is BOSK.
October’s word, provided by Deborah Holt Williams, is MAY.
November’s word, provided by Renee LaTulippe, is AWNING.

For anyone traveling, be safe.


Baby wrens

Hi everyone,

We have a wren on her nest in a flower pot only inches from our patio window. I can sit in the chair next to the glass and watch her as she flits here and there after bugs for her brood and then returns for a while to feed the youngin’s and sit on them for a time.Tucked quietly away in a flower pot She seems to be a single mom. There were five eggs in the beginning but I’ve only see two chicks so far and they are so quiet that I wonder if they’re sickly. We have two neighborhood cats that take their annual toll on the bird population. When the cats walk by the wren’s nest, which is well hidden among last year’s dead plants, one peep from one small bird and the game will be over.Peeking into the nest I hope for the best. Maybe they’re quiet by nature or maybe they’ve been lectured enough by Mama that the lesson stuck.


Poetry word list challenge

Hi everyone,

We recently played a game based on the approach I used to write poems for LEARNING THROUGH POETRY, the series of books co-written with Mary Jo Fresch and published by Shell Education. Each poem demonstrates a different sound (phoneme) that children learn in the process of becoming readers. In each case I began with a list of words that featured the subject sound and looked for something to write about that would use as many as possible of those words.

A number of you pitched in a poem or two inspired by the same word list I used and it was fun to see the diversity of expression that came from the exercise. You also said you’d like to try this again so here’s another list of words to get the juices flowing.

This list features the rime sound ATE. I’ll keep this posted for a while and then show you what I wrote based on this list. Remember that your target audience is preK-2. Start your engines.

Bait, celebrate, crate, date, eight, fate, freight, gait, gate, grate, great, hate, Kate, late, mate, Nate, plate, rate, skate, slate, state, straight, trait, wait, weight, and many more that you can think of.


Poetry workshop set for 2014

Hi everyone,

David and Charles TaylorAs some of you know, my Highlights poetry workshop scheduled for September 30 – October 3 reached its quota of fifteen people a month ago. We have people on a waiting list and expect more over the next four months.

Because of this I’ve agreed to go ahead now to announce a new Highlights poetry workshop for next year. The dates in 2014 are September 29 – October 2.

Jo Lloyd will contact the poets who are currently waiting and offer them options of remaining on this year’s list and/or placing their names on the 2014 list. If you or someone you know might be interested in applying early for the 2014 workshop, you can let Jo know at Jo.LLoyd@highlightsfoundation.org

Let me know if you have any questions. As I’ve said before, I look forward to working with this year’s family of poets in that beautiful Pennsylvania landscape. I don’t want to wish the year away but I’m eager for September.


Eight rules about writing

Hi everyone,

My son, Jeff Harrison, sent this along quite a while ago and I’ve forgotten the source. If anyone else has seen it and can tell me who gets credit, I’ll gladly add it right away. Eight rules about writing:

How to Write Well

1…. Don’t ever present your ideas in the form of a numbered list
2. Never repeat yourself or say things more than once
3. Avoid (whenever possible) the use of parenthetical phrases (unless absolutely necessary)
4. The use of foreign words and expressions is considered a faux pas
5. Avoid cliches like the plague
6. Never adopt a condescending tone with your readers – that means to talk down to them
7. To be avoided at all times is the reverse construction of sentences
8. Eschew obfuscation