I’m back

I had a fine time in Paterson, New Jersey and my flights were on time coming home last night. Now it’s time to get back to work.

Here’s an update on our Woza Woza Poem. Who will add the next lines? Things are getting tense for our mystery critter!

She came to me, a stranger, and climbed on my lap.
She is so cute, I smiled and knew we would be friends
I stroked her fur; felt the scar upon her floppy ear.
Suddenly she jumped off my lap and headed for the door.
Out of nowhere a non-stop thumping echoed through the house
She suddenly stopped.
Fear filled her eyes as the thumping sounds came nearer.

And here’s where we are with the game of Poetry Tag. Remember, each poem added must tie in with the most recent one. However, the connection can be whatever you say it is. The idea is to have fun with the game. For example, I’ve just added a poem at the end of the list to follow up on Janet Gallagher’s poem, King Size Bed. I chose a My Bed from The Alligator in the Closet because both poems use a bed as a central idea.

Orthopedic Shoes Don’t Flamenco
by Jane Heitman Healy
Orthopedic shoes don’t flamenco.
They don’t tango, fandango, or romp.
They don’t cha-cha or foxtrot or two-step.
Their only dance is the stomp.

Orthopedic shoes help my feet grow
Into the shape they should.
Someday I’ll swirl, twirl and pivot
And give up orthopedics for good.

Untitled
by Cory Corrado
There once lived a girl who wished she could twirl;
The shoes that she wore only made her hair curl.
With a snippety, snip, snip
Her locks she did clip
When she stuffed them in her shoes, she began to pivot and swirl.

Untitled
by Scarred Poet
It was, I think,
The crutches that made me blink.
Look, now! The Orthopedic Shoes!
Made to shuffle the blues!
But man, they shine!
So, I won’t whine!
Soon I will be going fast,
Crutches lost at last!
And a chance…
Yes, a chance, perhaps, to dance!

Style Statement
By Ken Slesarik
Rhinos choose to wear shoes in hues of blues
and when venturing out in groups of twos
they’ll wear mismatched tuxes and ill fitting gowns
to sample fine dining in deep jungle towns.
But what does he eat, the powerful rhino?
How should I know?

The Perfect Diet
by David L. Harrison
Mrs. LaPlump weighed 300 pounds,
Her husband weighed 202.
“I’ve got to lose some weight,” she said,
“I’ll give up potatoes and pizza and bread.”
Mr. LaPlump said, “I will, too.
My darling, I’ll do it for you.”

When each of them lost 100 pounds,
He weighed only 102.
“I’ve got to lose more weight,” she said.
“This next 100,” said he, “I dread
For when we are finished I’ll only weight 2,
But darling, I’ll do it for you.”

They lost another 100 pounds,
Her figure was perfect and trim,
But there is a lesson here I think,
Mr. LaPlump continued to shrink
And one day disappeared down the sink,
And you may find this grim, my dears,
But it was the end for him.

A Perfect Diet follow-up…
by Cory Corrado
The potatoes were sour-creamed and plump-baked
The pizza was spicy, hot, and well-beyond dressed
The bread was warm, thick, and buttered-crusty
I gobbled them down with gusto and gluttonous-glee
Then bubbling like a ready-to-burst balloon
To the bedroom I waddled and flopped onto my bed

I tossed and I turned
I lashed and I thrashed
I dreamed of mountains of potatoes and pizza and bread,
I dreamed of baking and shaking, of banging and bursting
I dreamed of rumbling and grumbling, of rolling and mumbling. THEN…
a loud CRASH!!!

When in the morning I woke spread flat on the ground
I knew the dreams had not been dreamed in my head
The weight of the potatoes and pizza and bread made ‘TWIN’ see RED!

So now here I lie- my twin-bed is dead.
I pledge to give up (a few pounds of)
potatoes, pizza, and bread
And buy me a new king-size one instead!

King Size Bed
By Janet Kay Gallagher
I wanted one one for years
even cried a few tears.
Finally got a King size bed
for years a wonderful place
to lay my head
No more hugging the edge of
the mattress when hubby made
me mad
Now he is gone and I am sad
No more need for a king size bed
I need to get a full size bed instead

MY BED
by David L. Harrison
(from Alligator in the Closet)

Lazy me
Lazy day
I should be up
And on my way
Instead of lying
Here in bed
Pillows propped
Behind my head.

I should be dressed
But here I lie
Content to let
The world go by
Snuggled in
My toasty nest
Doing what
I love the best.

Lazy day
Lazy me
Nowhere else
I’d rather be
Than with a book
I haven’t read
Cuddled down
To stay in bed!

I’m delighted to see so many good Word of the Month poems being posted this month. There is still lots of time so don’t forget to post yours!

rubberman

David

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Last day in Paterson

Hi everyone,

Over the past three days I’ve been visiting students in Schools 24, 26, and 29 in Paterson, NewJersey. I’m enjoying the hospitality here and, of course, the opportunity to spend time with children in grades three, four, and five. I’m here as part of a grant-funded project to promote poetry in the classroom to enhance learning, stimulate a love of writing, and model teaching strategies.

I’ve presented Word of the Month Poetry Challenge as well as half a dozen other strategies, including reading and writing poems for two voices. The favorite? Poems for two voices. Kids in all three grades love to read them and nearly every hand goes up when I ask for volunteers. For those of you who teach elementry school or have children in the family in that age range, consider adding poems for two voices to your library. Reading aloud together with a young person quickly turns into a favorite time for both parties. Not only that, this is an activity that improves reading fluency and understanding.

I don’t want to nag but contributions to our Woza Woza Poem and our game of Poetry Tag have fallen off to nothing. If you have any new ideas to add, please get us going again.

I’m looking for my next Guest Reader. If you haven’t been featured and would like to send me your story about your journey as a writer — or anything else germane to children’s literature — get in touch and we’ll see about getting you posted.

I’m also working on a list of new Featured Guests. It has been a while since I sent out invitations but I hope to get back on task soon.

David

Update on WOM, Woza Woza, and Poetry Tag

Hi everyone,

Here’s an update on our three concurrent poetry exercises this month.

ONE:

Word of the Month Poetry Challenge needs more poets and poems. At this point we can be grateful for Steven Withrow, Gay Fawcett, Ken Slesarik, Julie Krantz, Cory Corrado, new poet Autumn Harrar, Mary Nida Smith, and Euleta Usrey for sharing their efforts. As for our WOM Young Poets, thank goodness for Omar Teran who has posted the only poem so far. Don’t forget, the word for December is WEATHER.

TWO:

Our Woza Woza Poem got off to a good start before everyone put their pens away and headed for the mall. Here’s as far as we got before the specials hit the papers.

She came to me, a stranger, and climbed on my lap.
She is so cute, I smiled and knew we would be friends
I stroked her fur; felt the scar upon her floppy ear.
Suddenly she jumped off my lap and headed for the door.
Out of nowhere a non-stop thumping echoed through the house

(I’m eager to learn more. What is this creature? Who is doing the thumping?)

THREE:

We also got off to a quick start with Poetry Tag but we haven’t had as many takers lately. Here’s the history so far.

Orthopedic Shoes Don’t Flamenco
by Jane Heitman Healy

Orthopedic shoes don’t flamenco.
They don’t tango, fandango, or romp.
They don’t cha-cha or foxtrot or two-step.
Their only dance is the stomp.

Orthopedic shoes help my feet grow
Into the shape they should.
Someday I’ll swirl, twirl and pivot
And give up orthopedics for good.

Untitled
by Cory Corrado

There once lived a girl who wished she could twirl;
The shoes that she wore only made her hair curl.
With a snippety, snip, snip
Her locks she did clip
When she stuffed them in her shoes, she began to pivot and swirl.

Untitled
by Scarred Poet

It was, I think,
The crutches that made me blink.
Look, now! The Orthopedic Shoes!
Made to shuffle the blues!
But man, they shine!
So, I won’t whine!
Soon I will be going fast,
Crutches lost at last!
And a chance…
Yes, a chance, perhaps, to dance!

Style Statement
By Ken Slesarik

Rhinos choose to wear shoes in hues of blues
and when venturing out in groups of twos
they’ll wear mismatched tuxes and ill fitting gowns
to sample fine dining in deep jungle towns.
But what does he eat, the powerful rhino?
How should I know?

The Perfect Diet
by David L. Harrison

Mrs. LaPlump weighed 300 pounds,
Her husband weighed 202.
“I’ve got to lose some weight,” she said,
“I’ll give up potatoes and pizza and bread.”
Mr. LaPlump said, “I will, too.
My darling, I’ll do it for you.”

When each of them lost 100 pounds,
He weighed only 102.
“I’ve got to lose more weight,” she said.
“This next 100,” said he, “I dread
For when we are finished I’ll only weight 2,
But darling, I’ll do it for you.”

They lost another 100 pounds,
Her figure was perfect and trim,
But there is a lesson here I think,
Mr. LaPlump continued to shrink
And one day disappeared down the sink,
And you may find this grim, my dears,
But it was the end for him.

A Perfect Diet follow-up…
by Cory Corrado

The potatoes were sour-creamed and plump-baked
The pizza was spicy, hot, and well-beyond dressed
The bread was warm, thick, and buttered-crusty
I gobbled them down with gusto and gluttonous-glee
Then bubbling like a ready-to-burst balloon
To the bedroom I waddled and flopped onto my bed

I tossed and I turned
I lashed and I thrashed
I dreamed of mountains of potatoes and pizza and bread,
I dreamed of baking and shaking, of banging and bursting
I dreamed of rumbling and grumbling, of rolling and mumbling. THEN…
a loud CRASH!!!

When in the morning I woke spread flat on the ground
I knew the dreams had not been dreamed in my head
The weight of the potatoes and pizza and bread made ‘TWIN’ see RED!

So now here I lie- my twin-bed is dead.
I pledge to give up (a few pounds of)
potatoes, pizza, and bread
And buy me a new king-size one instead!

King Size Bed
By Janet Kay Gallagher

I wanted one one for years
even cried a few tears.
Finally got a King size bed
for years a wonderful place
to lay my head
No more hugging the edge of
the mattress when hubby made
me mad
Now he is gone and I am sad
No more need for a king size bed
I need to get a full size bed instead

I hope some of you will be inspired to pitch in to one or more of our ongoing exercises for the month. Thanks.

David

Woza Woza, Poetry Tag, and WOM Poems

Hi everyone,

I’m home for a while and have a lot of catching up to do. Here are three cases in point.

ONE:

I haven’t kicked off a Woza Woza Poem for this month. This suggestion came from Silindile Ntuli. The idea is that someone begin with a first line and others add a line (or more) each day to see how the poem develops and where it takes us. We tried the first poem in November but somewhere along the line we got bogged down and never finished it. I’ll go first again this month. Here is my line to get us started:

She came to me, a stranger, and climbed on my lap.
She is so cute, I smiled and knew we would be friends
(2nd line just now added, thanks to Janet Kay Gallagher.)
I stroked her fur; felt the scar upon her floppy ear
(Thanks, Cory Corrado.)

Thanks and keep the lines coming. Let’s keep this poem free verse. It needs no meter or rhyme.

TWO:

On December 1, we started a game of poetry tag, which was suggested by Jane Heitman Healy. She started with a poem about orthopedic shoes and was quickly followed by Corry Corrado, Scarred Poet, and Ken Slesarik. Each poet picked up some element of the preceding poem to relate to. Ken left us with a hippo and no notion of what it migh eat. That’s how poetry tag works. We started with shoes and wound up with a hippo with a mystery diet after only three new poems.

In the spirit of keeping the game of tag going, here’s my contribution. My poem is connected by the idea of diet. The poem is previously published in the book THE BOY WHO COUNTED STARS.

The Perfect Diet

Mrs. LaPlump weighed 300 pounds,
Her husband weighed 202.
“I’ve got to lose some weight,” she said,
“I’ll give up potatoes and pizza and bread.”
Mr. LaPlump said, “I will, too.
My darling, I’ll do it for you.”

When each of them lost 100 pounds,
He weighed only 102.
“I’ve got to lose more weight,” she said.
“This next 100,” said he, “I dread
For when we are finished I’ll only weight 2,
But darling, I’ll do it for you.”

They lost another 100 pounds,
Her figure was perfect and trim,
But there is a lesson here I think,
Mr. LaPlump continued to shrink
And one day disappeared down the sink,
And you may find this grim, my dears,
But it was the end for him.

I hope this poem will inspire some new directions with your poems that somehow relate. Think humor, weight, diet, sink, food, pizza, etc. There are lots of ways to tie in.

THREE:

I’m glad to see that we already have two poems posted for this month’s Word of the Month Challenge. From Steven Withrow we have “Climate Change in Faeryland” and in the WOM Young Poets, Grades 8-12, Omar Teran has posted his poem, “Weather.”

I look forward to December, as busy as it is, to see what will come from your creative spirits during the month.

Thanks everyone,
David

Gone fishing

Hi everyone,

I left this morning for a two day trip. I loved the initial reaction to our new poetry tag game and hope that while I’m away you will continue to find ways to relate other poems. At this point I suggest that we move away from Jane Heitman Healy’s original poem about shoes and branch out in other directions. We don’t have to be literal in making our connections.

For example, some shoes have tongues. Some loaf. Some leap higher than the tallest buildings. Tongues can lead us into gossiping. Loafing reminds me of drone bees. Leaping takes us to track games, to childhood, to hasty conclusions. Tall buildings inspire us with poems about cities. Cities take us all sorts of places.

Let’s see what comes to mind over the next couple of days. I’ll be back in touch soon. If anyone wants to start the next Woza Woza Poem, be my guest!

David