THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY

THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY
April 12, 2016

Monday, April 22, 2013

National Poetry Month 2013: Amok with Irene's Progressive Poem

I've got drama on my mind.


It was a dramatic week at our house. My son (16) jetted off to California for the VEX Robotics World Championships. It was exciting to watch his team's robot battle on Livestream.

My daughter (13) came down with stomach flu. During her school musical's opening week. I had one unhappy stage manager on  my hands. But she battled through and made it to opening night. The show must go on!

And the show must also go on in Irene Latham's 2013 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. We wouldn't have a progressive poem without Internet and blogging technology, so it's a perfect feature for today's "Welcome to the TechnoVerse" post.


In just its second year, the poem has become a National Poetry Month tradition. It starts with a single line on April 1. Each day, a poet/blogger loans his or her talent by coming up with the next line.

I love how this year's group effort began with writing as a form of dance. Soon, we were full-on "Dancing with the Poets" (ballet, samba, tap and jitterbug made appearances). Then, we made a stop at "The Kidlitosphere's Got Talent," with our protagonist poet balancing in a death-defying trapeze act.

Baltimore Ravens' superstar Jacoby Jones is on this season of
"Dancing with the Stars." From sbnation.com
According to several sites (here's one), the idiom "the show must go on" originated with the circus circa 1941. (Wasn't there a clown in stanza three of our poem?) Ringmasters would say the phrase to a big top audience if the lions got loose. Comforting, I'm sure.

In the progressive poem, we last saw our dancing, clowning, daredevil of a speaker recovering from a tumble, learning from a mistake. ("All part of the act," Tabatha wrote in yesterday's line. Spoken like a true theater person.)

I'd like to see our speaker back on her nimble feet, ready to perform. With one last thank you to Irene and the other progressive poets, here is the 2013 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem as of 4/22:

When you listen to your footsteps 
the words become music and 
the rhythm that you’re rapping gets your fingers tapping, too. 
Your pen starts dancing across the page 
a private pirouette, a solitary samba until 
smiling, you’re beguiling as your love comes shining through. 

Pause a moment in your dreaming, hear the whispers 
of the words, one dancer to another, saying 
Listen, that’s our cue! Mind your meter. Find your rhyme. 
Ignore the trepidation while you jitterbug and jive. 
Arm in arm, toe to toe, words begin to wiggle and flow 
as your heart starts singing let your mind keep swinging 

from life’s trapeze, like a clown on the breeze. 
Swinging upside down, throw and catch new sounds– 
Take a risk, try a trick; break a sweat: safety net? 
Don’t check! You’re soaring and exploring, 
dangle high, blood rush; spiral down, crowd hush– 
limb-by-line-by-limb envision, pyramidic penned precision. 

And if you should topple, if you should flop 
if your meter takes a beating; your rhyme runs out of steam— 
know this tumbling and fumbling is all part of the act,

so get up with a flourish. Your pencil's still intact.

A list of stops on the 2013 Progressive Poem's tour of the blogosphere is posted here at Author Amok. You'll see the full roster of poets on the right. I've had a great time following along: Not only each new line, but also reading what each blogging poet has to say about contributing to a group verse.

Tomorrow in the TechnoVerse, Poetry Friday blogger Diane Mayr (of Random Noodling) tells us about Archive.Org.

And...Curtain!

Photo of actors taking a bow
From PBS.org

17 comments:

Irene Latham said...

Love it love it love it! Sometimes it is hard to pull off that flourish, isn't it?

Thank you, Laura, and cheers for the kid-happenings. Another thing that's hard is showing up when you'd rather be in bed. Sigh.

Liz Steinglass said...

What a journey this poem has taken. I'm happy to see the pencil's still intact. Sometimes all you can do is keep writing.

Katya said...

It sounds like a pretty dramatic week...

I love the idea of getting up with a flourish when you stumble -- I need to adopt more of that attitude.

Diane Mayr said...

I'm starting to get nervous--will I be up to the task of adding to this already wildly colorful, action-packed, poem. Two more days. Yikes!

Linda at teacherdance said...

Love that you rhymed, & that you brought back the writing part more concretely, Laura. Beautiful to read aloud! I liked the intro too. You certainly did have a busy week! Stomach flu is not fun!

pennyklostermann.com said...

I'm so relieved the pencil is still intact! Where would we be without it? Very nice line-done with flourish!

Renee LaTulippe said...

I love the drama of a drama! Way to make the poem land on its feet, Laura. I'll be curious to see if the remaining poets put that pencil on paper once and for all.

And kudos to your daughter. Stage managing is a thankless job, but the most important one in theater. No stage manager, no show. She made sure the show went on indeed. :)

Joanna said...

Oh, superb! I do hope I can flourish my pencil as well tomorrow.

Great intro too, wow, what a wild week for you, too!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Everyone. Thank you for the comments. I appreciate the positive feedback. Collaborative writing is a fun process, but there is also (self-induced) pressure not to let the group down by contributing a clunker.

Julia is feeling much better! The play has wrapped. She's back to eating like a teenager and getting caught up on missed homework. My son is home safe. It's good to be back to normal. I can breathe a sigh of relief, pick up my own pencil after a stumbling, fumbling few days, and get back to writing too.

Good luck this week Diane and Joanna. You're sure to bring your personal flourish to the poem.

Donna said...

Great next line! Good that the pencil's still intact! Can't wait to hear the rest! We're gearing up to a grande finale!

Carrie F said...

Nice line, Laura, definitely not a clunker. :-) I've enjoyed following this and can't wait to see what the final few poets do with it.

Tabatha said...

I'm glad Julia was well in time for her show! Ariana had a show last weekend also -- big weekend for school musicals!

"Flourish" has a lot of flair!

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Love the 'pencil's still intact' line, like so many others...great way to bring us into the home stretch!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Your line made me laugh, Laura--I like the contrast of "flourish," which suggests fancy feathered costumes and gold-trimmed fountain pens, with the matter-of-fact pencil--a bit grubby, chewed and entirely serviceable.

Do you ever write in pencil, really?

skanny17 said...

Late with my comment as I was at IRA and flying home yesterday night. Got to see PF bloggers and poetry friends. Plus meet Haiti Ruth!! Lucky to have been with Mary Lee Hahn at the Pre-conference Institute and hear how she uses poetry with her 5th graders. We had a nice "picnic" lunch sitting outdoors at the Convention Center soaking up the sun. Saw and heard Amy LV, Janet Wong, Sylvia Vardell and also Joyce Sidman talk about poetry.

Now your line. LOVE that FLOURISH. Pick yourself up, dust off the cobwebs or the poetry fears or whatever might befall your antics and continue. Great!

Glad all is well with your kids!
Janet F.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

Oh, I like the rhyme coming back too. And the powerful voice. Getting back up matters greatly for a writer or performer.

Congratulations and wishes for health for your family!

Linda said...

I'm a little behind on commenting, but I had to drop in to read your line, and I love it! Every now and then we all need to remind ourselves to get back up!