THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY

THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY
April 12, 2016

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NPM 2015: What Are You Wearing, Jan Godown Annino?

What are you wearing for Poetry Friday readers?


Wearing this week's Poetry Friday host tiara
is the one and only Renee La Tulippe
of No Water River! Put your party clothes on
and go ring on Renee's doorbell. There will be plenty
of poetry sweets and treats for all. 
Today, I'm wearing a paisley scarf in black and Poetry Friday green in my hair. The scarf belonged to my grandmother, who was my first and dearest mentor. She died in 2003 and I treasure the Nanny Joy treasures that were handed down to me. They include a few pieces of clothing: the scarf I'm wearing, a corduroy jacket in plum.


Author Amok (circa 1972) and a super-stylish Joy
wearing a plum leather ensemble.
Throughout April, guest bloggers are dressing up in their poetry finery as Author Amok features poems about clothes. Why clothes? Read this post.

In addition to the guest bloggers, every Friday in April I'll post a round-up of original and recommended clothing poems. (Send those via email to laurashovan at gmail dot com or leave them in the comments). You'll find this week's writing prompt at the bottom of this post.

Today's guest blogger is Jan Godown Annino of Book Seed Studio

After I read Jan's original poem for today, and some of its back-story, I told her about my grandmother. No wonder Joy's clothes carry so much meaning for me. There's an intimacy to clothing, because we layer it on our physical forms and wear it against our skin. After Joy's husband died in 1977, she adopted his button down shirts and wore them until she passed away nearly 30 years later.
Joy in one of Poppy's shirts.
The little guy is my soon-to-be high school grad!
Like me, Jan has a piece of clothing that belonged to someone who was important in her life. So, Jan, what are you wearing?

Cloth Rainbow
©Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved
honoring the Memory of Medicine Woman Ada Tiger,
her daughter’s first teacher

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper (1923-2011)

by Jan Godown Annino

She sits
sits and may feel a stitch
Bending to a small black machine                                        
she makes the Singer sing
Foot pumps a thread and needle
thrums a song of stitches

She stitches
sits and stitches colors
hides the stitch in her side
sits minutes making hours
strip sewing cloth into clothes

She stitches
sun yellow sky blue sun red night black
sits stitching cotton strips
Crawdad four directions lightning snake
hides the stitch in her side

She sits
wears a flowing skirt like one she stitches
orange bands aqua bands black bands
red diamonds purple diamonds yellow triangles
stitches a reservation rainbow

She sits
remembers 1937
boarded in cold mountains
sat for class
wore first store-bought dress
longed for Dania, Florida skirt
sang silently off cloth rainbows
hid the stitch in her side

©2015 Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

In Jan’s child days her father made a marionette stage for her stringed puppets. She lives in North Florida with her family and delights in the mysterious hurricane lily of their autumn yard.

©Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

After knowing Betty Mae Tiger Jumper for many years, this legend-keeper Seminole Indian leader authorized Jan to write about her for young readers in She Sang Promise. It is a Florida Book Awards winner and on national reading lists. Connect with Jan on twitter, JGA@BkSeedStudio and her site Bookseedstudio. Newish to PF Jan appreciates the morsels gleaned from PF posts.

You'll find the Kirkus review here,
but you have to scroll down!

Thanks so much for spending Poetry Friday at Author Amok, Jan. Your poem gave me a lot to think about and reminded me how much my grandmother's clothes mean to me, just like Betty Mae Tiger Jumper's beautiful rainbow skirt is meaningful for you.

ICYMI: In our poetry closet, you will find...

Jane Elkin looks in her childhood closet. Poems by Mark Irwin and Ron Koertge.
Linda Baie's outfit would not be complete without a poem in her pocket.
Robyn Campbell is showing off her favorite vintage clothes with a poetic picture book from Mary Ann Hoberman.
Donna Smith twirls her poetic skirts for us.

Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for suggesting a clothing-related rap song for us this week. Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" is awesome, but the non-radio version has a lot of non-kid-friendly language. I'll leave it to you to look up this ear worm if you're interested.

*Your suggested clothing poem prompt for Friday, April 24: Vintage
Tell the story of an old article of clothing. It might be the oldest thing currently hanging in your closet, something you found in a vintage or second hand store, a Christening gown passed down through your family (I have my grandfather's, from 1898), or an old concert tee that you can part with, even though it no longer fits. Begin with "It reminds me of the time when..."

Send your poems any time. I'll post original work and recommended poems on Friday.

11 comments:

LInda Baie said...

It's nearly the end of your April clothes, Laura, and Jan's poem seems to gather all the 'stitches' beautifully, like an exclamation point for your idea. I like the multiple meanings within the poem, those 'stitches' that both bind and ache, a memory ache too? Thanks to you and Jan for this lovely post. I love "stitches a reservation rainbow".

jama said...

Can't believe this is the last PF of April already!

Thanks to both you and Jan for today's touching post. Gave me a lot to think about -- love that your Nanny Joy wore her husband's shirts, and love Jan's interweaving of beauty, memory, and longing in her poem.

Tara Smith said...

Your post brings to mind my Aunt Pat's Hermes scarves - she left them to me, and although I can't bear to wear them (her perfume lingers still, all these years later and fills me with such sadness) I treasure them. Love the story of your grandma, and those photographs.

Author Amok said...

Tara, I was speaking with 3rd grade students today about how scents linger on clothes. New clothes always smell a little bit like the store -- even in your closet. Clothes can hold someone's scent for years.

Cathy said...

This post reminded me of my own grandmother whose clothes were always fabulous and who spent countless hours quilting and sewing, sewing and quilting. I loved to get in her closet to play with her jackets and shoes, and could spend hours just sitting beside her as she sewed. Loved Jan's line: "thrums a song of stitches."

Cathy

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Laura, your memories of your grandmother reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of clothing in college– my grandfather's bathrobe. Thinking about it now, perhaps it was a funny piece of clothing to have handed-down. I have no recollection of asking for it when my grandfather passed, but I guess I must have. Wore that till it was in shreds.

Jan, thank you for sharing your own special memories with us. What a beautiful poem and tribute to an amazing woman and your bond of friendship.

jan godown annino said...

Thank you Laura for wrapping me into this event & everyone for visiting.

It's sweet to know about your grandmother & the memory.

And I like the way we did this together, organically.

My grandmother treasure is her pin cushion & from all the ancestors, photographs, but alas, no clothing.

(My mother was the baby of six siblings & she was always nostalgic about there not being a whole lot left by the time she married later in life, for that time, to receive the special coat or hat or etc.)

And as I child I loved to look my mother's smart big city newspaper-work outfits that now hung unused in our country closet, especially her alligator handbag, but she gave those away when we moved from the North to the South. And I'm sure they lived fine lives with someone else. But I didn't want to write a sad poem about that loss.

Laura you provide much to think about this month & I appreciate you & Author Amok.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Hmm--there are many little mysteries here in Jan's post. I knew about Seminole strip quilting, but there's so much more I want to know now about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper! Luckily there's a book to help me out...

Beautiful stitching poem, lovely language.

Laura, I do not want this plum corduroy project to end!

Mary Lee said...

I can't wait for time to go back and read all the posts I've missed here this month!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Oh wow. That book cover looks gorgeous. Will definitely look for that book! I love how intimate this entire post is - the resonances of clothing and comfort and memories. :)

jan godown annino said...

Appreciations everyone for these lovely comments - they feel sewn by talented hands.