|The NPM 2015 Poster features|
lines from this poem by Mark Strand.
Throughout April, guest bloggers are putting on their costumes and best outfits as we feature poetry 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.
|Emily Dickinson tights from Etsy.|
|Ralph Waldo Emerson T-shirt from Etsy.|
|DIY poetic pants from the blog Stars for Streetlights.|
Meet today's guest blogger, poet and educator Linda Baie.
Thanks, Laura, for inviting me to your blog this month, of all things we wear. It’s been wonderful to read how others have connected to this theme.
I’ve written with middle-school students in poetry groups all through my teacher years, and find they often write about clothing. One of my students recently wrote a wonderful poem about what’s in her pocket, and I’m happy she gave me permission to share it today. When the girls wear such tight pants, I wonder if they have any room for anything, especially their phones. But they do wear hoodies or jackets, and perhaps that’s where the phones and other mysterious objects lie.
|A display of pocket poems|
at Linda's local library.
I used Lill Pluta’s Lillian’s Pocket as a jumping off point to share. You can find it here, in a post by Jama Rattigan from a few years ago.
There are no bats in pockets,
although the wool makes caves
for memories to roost in,
where discards hide away.
And here is the poem by my student who used Georgia Heard’s Falling Down The Page: A Book of List Poems as her mentor text.
In My Pocket
A pen that clicks
some tape that sticks
a paper clip
a silver thought
a tin robot
a black ink pen
a tiny ball
a dragon cave
a child saved
a drawing in
When I began to write about pockets, I was also reminded of Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried where he wrote of the Viet Nam war and what the soldiers had with them. In addition to the physical ‘things’, O’Brien wrote of more abstract things carried, like guilt in their jobs as soldiers-killing, and for leaving their families alone; worry that a girlfriend might not stay in the relationship or that the experience would change who they are for the rest of their lives. I teach young adolescents, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, some leaving our school in just a few weeks, on to high school. I know that some carry candy or snack bars, now their phones, pencils, paper clips, and erasers. Yet I also imagine some of those other “things” they carry, often as questions: “Will I keep my friends, make new ones when I leave?” What does it mean when someone doesn’t speak to me?” “I wish I didn’t have so much to do, sports practices, violin lessons, homework.” “How can I say no to drugs?” “Will anyone like me?” “Does anyone like me?” Pockets as metaphor? I fill mine for them with bright hopes for their futures, and at least one poem to carry along, too.
And, because it’s poetry month, I am also reminded of Poem In Your Pocket Day, April 30th We will be sharing poems all over school that day, poems that “fit” the place, or the person. I love that it’s another way for my students to dig a more deeply into poetry to find one special poem. My wish for you is that you always have a “poem in your pocket”.
|The Academy of American Poets has resources|
for Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 30, 2015.
Linda Baie moved from the classroom after 20 years of teaching gifted students in an independent progressive school in Denver, Colorado five years ago. This year, through the school’s need, she is back in the classroom again, in fact, the room where she started with middle school aged students. She will be retiring this year, misses working with all the teachers, but is loving this “last chance” to carry memories of students “in her pocket” when she leaves. She blogs at TeacherDance, and hopes all teachers would realize how important it is to write and share their writing with their students.
Thanks for this post, Linda. I love the way Brynn's poem moves from practical items to fantastic ones. Who wouldn't like a dragon cave in their pocket. I'm going to add some of your list poem ideas to the workshop I'm developing for elementary schoolers! (I asked the teacher to bring in their grocery lists for us to discuss. We'll see how that goes.)
ICYMI: In our poetry closet, you will find...
Jane Elkin looks in her childhood closet. Poems by Mark Irwin and Ron Koertge.
Margaret Gibson Simon tries on orange high heels. Poem by Ellen Bass.
Have you ever had an outfit that made you feel like a super hero? Or a pair of boots that, whenever you wore them, made you feel powerful? Whether it's a lucky shirt or a pair of jeans that fits you to perfection, write about a piece of clothing that makes (or made) you feel like you could take on the world.
Send your poems any time. I'll post original work and recommended poems on Friday.