We have student W.O.M. poems!

Hi everyone,

With thanks to teacher/poet Ken Slesarik, who teaches at Esperanza Music Academy in Phoenix, we have four poems posted by Esperanza students this month. Click on “Young Poets W.O.M. Poems” and check out the efforts of two fifth graders, Daniela and Emma, and two fourth graders, Landen and Trace. Way to go kids!
Ken Slesarik Photo
I met Ken in 2011 when he was one of eight poets in my first Highlights Foundation workshop near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. We were all taken by Ken’s adroit juxtaposition of words, unexpected rhymes, and wry humor. He’s not only a master teacher and accomplished children’s poet, he also does school visits when his time permits. Meanwhile he’s inspiring Esperanzo students to reach higher and learn the satisfaction of expressing themselves through poetry. It’s a lucky student who has Mr. Slesarik for a teacher.

At a time when so many good teachers everywhere are struggling to find the moments to post their student’s work, Ken remains one of the few who somehow make it happen, and for that I’m grateful. Please read the poems by these young poets and give them the encouragement they deserve.

Thanks, Ken!

David

1,500 posts

Hi everyone,

The stats on my blog inform me that today marks the 1,500th time I’ve posted something. I know that some of you have been at it longer but this sounds like quite a few to me. Thanks to everyone who has joined me along the way and enriched the experience with your wisdom and support.

As we begin the last five days of October, I hope to see other poets join us in celebrating the 5th anniversary of Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. It has been a good month and I’ve enjoyed hearing from you, some for the first time and others who haven’t been around in a while. Here’s the roster of contributing poets so far. Let me know if I’ve overlooked you, and please keep them coming.

ADULTS
Jane Yolen
Kelly Kusterman
Jeanne Poland
Jessica Jensen
Cory Corrado
Julie Krantz
Linda Baie
Joy Acey
Linda Boyden
Mary Nida Smith
Karen Eastlund
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
Chareika
J. Patrick Lewis
Ken Slesarik
Patricia Cooley
Deborah Holt Williams
Michelle Kogan
Bridget Magee
Kenn Nesbitt
Buffy Silverman
Leone Anderson

STUDENTS
Ana, 4th grade, Montverde Academy, Montverde, Florida, with thanks to teacher Kelly Kusterman
Emma, 4th grade, Esperanza Music Academy, Phoenix, Arizona, with thanks to teacher Ken Slesarik
Kristene, 4th grade, Esperanza Music Academy, phoenix, Arizona, with thanks to teacher Ken Slesarik

Living and Dying with Grace

BULLETIN: Kenn Nesbitt, Our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, has joined the celebration this month of our 5th anniversary of Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Not once but twice! With thanks to Kenn, I hope everyone will scroll to the bottom of the adult poems for excellent examples of Kenn’s winning humor!

REMINDER: We are also blessed this month with the first student poems we’ve seen in a very long time. Please read them and let the students know how much we enjoy their work and appreciate them and their teachers!

Hi everyone,

Let me tell you about a new book. It’s called LIVING AND DYING WITH GRACE: A CAREGIVER’S JOURNAL. and is written by Susan Carmichael. I met Susan when she attended my first poetry workshop in 2011. The Barn wasn’t built yet so we met in the farmhouse that once was home to the founders of Highlights.Poetry Workshop at Honesdale, 2011 024 The picture is of Susan (left) and Heidi Mordhorst having an animated chat. Eight poets attended that workshop and we named ourselves SWAP 8+1. Swap had to do “with us swapping poems, energy, problems and success, plus all the help we give each other.”

True to our name, the members of SWAP 8+1 have remained faithful with correspondence. We have shared sadness, job and address changes, and warming success. Quite a bit of publishing news has been shared and I continue to be impressed by the determination of these poets to find outlets for their work. I’ll report on everyone’s adventures in a blog this week.

But for now, back to Susan and her new book. This one is not poetry. It’s about Horace, her father-in-law, who was a fine man and her good friend. Toward the end of his life Susan was deeply involved in caring for Horace and learning from him, in the process, the grace of dying with humor, kindness, and consideration.

I began reading this book as a favor and ended it with appreciation, not to mention the lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I recommend Susan’s book for anyone who is caring for, has cared for, or might find themselves caring for a beloved family member. Susan, thank you for writing this.

If you want a copy of your own, http://www.livinganddyingwithgrace.com is the only place Susan is selling it. She says, “if a group would like several copies, e-mail her at susan@livinganddyingwithgrace.com and she will gladly fill the request.

Word of the month for September

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Hi everyone,

Yesterday I had bubbles on my mind so let’s go with BUBBLES for our September W.O.M. word. We had a strong turnout for DOGS in August so I hope we keep our momentum as we approach October and what I want to be a true family reunion of all the poets who have ever posted a poem on this blog. Spread the word!!

By the way, Lester Laminack is growing a list of books to read to students during the early days of this school year. If you have an interest in reading the list and/or adding to it, here’s Lester’s link. https://www.facebook.com/lester.laminack/posts/10152405317992523?comment_id=10152405713412523&offset=0&total_comments=21

Onward and upward!

David

My Word of the Month poem for September

Hi everyone,

I posted one tendril poem under W.O.M. but today I saw something that inspired a second one. Here it is.

I’ll Be Here All Week
David L. Harriosn

Sere brown leaf
suspended on spider silk
stem-down
like a microphone
with no one there,

Unless the leaf,
in comic relief,
is performing improv
for flies,

In a chlorophyll-less rasp,
“Have you met our host?
A real standup guy,
looks you right in the eye,
and the eye,
and the eye and the eye,
and the eye and the eye,
and the eye,
and the eye.
Hey, I got a million of ‘em!

“Two leaves falling,
one yells, ‘I’m dying!’
Second says,
‘You’re not dead, dummy,
it’s the sudden stop on the sidewalk
that kills you!’

“Drum roll please!

“Wait! I got more!

“Have you heard the one
about the spider and the fly?”

The leaf is released,
cause unknown,
tendrils toward the sidewalk sighing,
“I thought I was booked all week!”