April 12, 2016

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Welcome to Poetry Friday

Happy back to school week to everyone. My daughter started high school on 8/26, but my son's senior year began this week. It's a perfect time to throw a Poetry Friday party.

Poetry Friday is here!
I decorated just for you.
Leave your links in the comments.
Since I'm putting up the Host Post tonight, let's call this a poetry slumber party.

Whether you're the type who keeps everyone up until 2 am singing karaoke, the early riser who wakes the whole crew up at 6 am, or the kid who gets a good night's rest at home but shows up for pancakes in the morning, welcome! Please leave your link and a brief description of your Poetry Friday post in the comments. I'll be rounding up throughout the day.

We can't have a slumber party without some spooky stories, and I've got two to share with you. One is a novel. The other is a poem. Yes -- it's another "Chapter and Verse" pairing.

This is the eighth post in a series called "Summer Reads: Chapter and Verse." Guest bloggers and I are pairing books we've read this summer with a poem that complements the novel.

So far, we've paired:

Shared by guest blogger Janet Wong

with blackberry poems by Galway Kinnell, Sylvia Plath, and Crescent Dragonwagon

Pull up your sleeping bag and get ready for some spooky stories.

At the beginning of the summer, there was a lot of buzz about E. Lockhart's YA suspense novel WE WERE LIARS. It was my first juicy read of the season. (Check out the WE WERE LIARS tumblr.)

After two years away, Cadence returns to the private island where her Kennedy-esque family spends their summers. There, she's in the company of three generations of Sinclairs, a boatload of teenage cousins, and an outsider. Gat is not a Sinclair. He's not white. He's not rich. He is an extended-family hottie who is deliciously forbidden fruit for Cadence.

Cadence is trying to piece together what happened to her two years ago, when an undefined accident sent her to the emergency room with -- among other things -- a head injury and memory loss. No one on the island is talking, though. What Cadence ultimately learns about the accident, and her role in it, is a twist that readers won't see coming.

WE WERE LIARS is a fun read. Probably more fun for teens, who won't see a nod to a classic suspense movie, than for savvy adults or avid fans of thrillers. What I liked most about this novel was the tone. Cadence's voice was perfectly balanced between privileged and broken, making her a likable heroine. The setting -- imagine Martha's Vineyard owned and populated by one small family -- is filled with empty beach vistas that are both romantic and lonely. It's vast and claustrophobic, just right for an angst-ridden teen who is trying to piece her life back together.

Read a review of the novel from the New York Times.

My poetic partner for this novel is one of my favorites. It's a little thriller/mystery tucked into a surreal poem by the masterful Margaret Atwood. This one will play with your head.

Margaret Atwood
Source: Poetry Foundation
This Is a Photograph of Me
by Margaret Atwood
It was taken some time ago. 
At first it seems to be 
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks 
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner 
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree 
(balsam or spruce) emerging 
and, to the right, halfway up 
what ought to be a gentle 
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake, 
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center 
of the picture, just under the surface.
Read the rest of the poem at Poets.Org

If you teach high schoolers, ask them whether they've read WE WERE LIARS. They have? Hand them this poem. I promise, they will want to talk about the art of suspense, and what makes a great twist in a narrative.

Do you have an idea for Summer Reads: Chapter and Verse? I'm still looking for guest bloggers. The series will continue until summer ends on Monday, September 22. For more information, find a full explanation of this series and a sample Chapter and Verse pairing at this post.

Poetry Friday bloggers, please leave your links in the comments. I promise not to jump out and scare you!


Tara Smith at A Teaching Life is getting to know her new students this week. She shares the beautiful poem, "A Happy Childhood," by William Matthews today.

At Random Noodling, Diane Mayr has another entry in her Sketchbook Project -- looking at working children from the early 1900s. The "Little Shaver" is selling a newspaper that's bigger than he is!

In honor of National Chicken Month, Diane is featuring "Poor Patriarch" by Susie Patlove at Kurious Kitty. The poem reminds me of a rooster whose name was Waylon Jennings (all his hens were named after country music singers).

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes continues her series of spotlight author bloggers with Irene Latham. They have an interview (Irene recommends reading in the bathtub) with lots of great insights into Irene's new book DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST. There's also a Ditty of the Month Club Challenge for inspiration. You'll find it all at Today's Little Ditty.

An original poem, "Riverwalk," is Becky Shillington's Poetry Friday offering at Tapestry of Words. This poem made me want to get outside for a riverside hike today.

Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup is a Mediterranean feast today. She has a tasty, sensory-rich prose poem from Diane DeCillis's book STRINGS ATTACHED, and a recipe for her grandmother's hummus.

From Jan Godown Annino at Book Seed Studio, an original poem about reading work by poet Diane Ackerman. Jan says Ackerman's lines about doubting one's creativity will speak to your older students.

The Poetry Friday summer poem swap was a great success, judging from everyone's posts about it these last few weeks. Let's take a second to cheer Tabatha for creating and organizing the swap. Hooray for Tabatha! At her blog, The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha has the Ben Jonson poem "Drink to me only with thine eyes" sung by three different performers -- including Johnny Cash and Aretha Franklin.

Our first swap post is from Robyn Hood Black. She received a cinquain from Keri Collins Lewis. Keri's poem is a lovely nod to Robyn's big summer project -- moving house.

There's another poetry swap post at Jone's blog, Check It Out. Jone received a beautiful, summery Ode to Grass from Margaret Simon.

Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme has been working at the state fair. He's got an adorable little "Black Sheep" poem, part of a series of original animal poems.

There's a new series starting at Penny Klostermann's blog: A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt Present. Meet Penny's great-nephew Landon, who is an amazing illustrator! This dynamic duo's first offering is "Adventuresome Moose."

It's the first Poetry Friday in September. Karen Edmisten is celebrating with the poem "Absolute September" by (Baltimore local) Mary Jo Salter. The link is here.

But while it's September here, Douglas Florian reminds us that it's spring on the other side of the globe. In honor of Rio de Janeiro's rainy March weather, he has a "The Waters of Spring" by Antonio Carlos Jobim at the Florian Cafe. Follow the link at the cafe to hear a jazzy musical version of the poem performed on Youtube.

Many of us are sending love out to Linda Baie this week. It's been a year since her husband passed away. She says, "I have a sad post today, but needed to share a poem I wrote after my husband died one year ago. It's a special one to me, and I hope those who've felt loss will be touched by it." You'll find the poem at Teacher Dance.

The ladies at Gathering Books have been doing a powerful series on poems of conflict, with offerings from around the world. Myra is posting today, with a group of poems that includes Alice Walker's book "Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters The Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel;" Naomi Shihab Nye's "Blood" and, Myra says, "the immensely powerful video clip of 'We Teach Life, Sir' by Rafeef Ziadah, a Canadian-Palestinian spoken word artist and activist. Thanks for helping to give voice to the children who are affected by war in their homelands, Myra.

Greg Pincus must have worn his footie pajamas to our Poetry Friday slumber party. He's got an original poem up today, "The Middle Toe Sets the Record Straight." (I'm guessing you don't want sausages with your pancakes, Greg.)

At Wee Words for Wee Ones, Bridget Magee is punning it up. It's been so hot this week, she has a poem about what happens in the desert: "When things get hot, bake cookies." Get it? Her poem features a clever momma, an overworked air conditioner, and a great solution for avoiding the oven on baking day.

There are more sweet treats at Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem. All Irene wanted was a DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST picture-cake for her book launch. What she ended up with is a cake fail. (Irene includes a link to an NPR piece on Emily Dickinson, baker.)

Slumber party guests, let's walk off those pancakes, cookies, and Irene's cake. Take a hike with Mary Lee. She has an original free verse about her 5:30 am walk at A Year of Reading.

Margaret Simon has an original poem based on two photographs of the beach and how they dialogue with one another. "Dialogue Poem" is at Reflections on the Teche.

There's another ocean-related poem at Teaching Authors, Laura Salas's last post for that blog. Laura says Lilian Moore's "Until I Saw the Sea" is "unsettling and melancholy." Sounds like another good pairing for WE WERE LIARS.

Ms. Yingling has been saying hello to her new students all this week, but she's also saying goodbye to her parents' home. Read her original poem about place and memory at Ms. Yingling Reads.

Those who love both fiction and poetry -- Holly Mueller has a great list of recommended MG and YA novels that include poetry. The list of novels is at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

At Keri Recommends, Keri has summer swap poems from Poetry Friday bloggers Linda Baie and Heidi Mordhorst. 

The verse picture book IN THE WILD by David Elliott is Janet Squires' choice for this week's All About the Books. The book features beautiful, bright woodcut and watercolor illustrations by Holly Meade.

The poem for today at Bildungsroman is "Maud" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (A veteran English teacher I worked with years ago was still furious that the TV show "Maud" had ruined the name. She was a big fan of the poem.)

A LUCKY THING is the title of one of Ramona's favorite books, by Alice Schertle. She says it's "A great book to use in writer's workshop as you encourage students to closely observe the world around them." Check out the adorable cover of a mouse and a mouse at Pleasures from the Page.

Ruth poem today looks ahead to winter. It's "Lead" by Mary Oliver, at There Is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town.

Amy Ludwig Vanderwater is featuring another new book of children's poetry, Lee Bennett Hopkins' anthology, MANGER. She also has an original poem at The Poem Farm, about being the new kid -- something many of our students are coping with this week.

There are two Poetry Friday posts from Lorie Ann Grover: a haiku celebrating her 50th birthday at On Point. (Happy birthday, Lorie Ann!) It's called "Celebrating Fifty." She also has a book recommendation at Readertotz, the free verse picture book, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash (his second appearance at our Poetry Friday party).

More haiku -- it's a popular form this week -- from Carol Varsalona. She says, "My offering this week is a combination of an original haiku, Stillness and Serenity, for the upcoming Summer Serenity Gallery and a reflective poem by the 13th century mystic poet, Rumi." I like Carol's poetic reminder to stay grounded and make time for quiet reflection, even as the busy school year begins.

Let's end this party on a fun note. Joy at Poetry for Kids closes us out with two original riddle poems. That will give you something to think about as you  head home.

Thanks for visiting, everyone. I appreciate all of your contributions this Poetry Friday. It was a joy, as always, to read the posts and to participate in our wonderful community of poetry bloggers.


Tara said...

Thanks for hosting today, Laura. I discovered Atwood's poetry just recently, and this one is another treasure - so finely observed, so thoughtful. I'm thinking of happy childhoods this Poetry Friday:

Diane Mayr said...

Ooo...creepy poem! Unexpected at the end.

Nothing creepy from me this week. At Random Noodling is a very short Sketchbook Project poem, "Little Shaver." Click on the photo to make it slightly larger. The boy has such a wry little smile, you don't want to miss it.

Kurious Kitty has a chicken poem for National Chicken Month.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Love that poem! In tone, it reminds me of some of her early novels, but it also seems a lot like something Neil Gaiman might write.

At Today's Little Ditty, I have an interview with September spotlight author, Irene Latham. Come find out what she's chosen as this month's DMC challenge!

Becky Shillington said...

The book sounds great, Laura! And I really enjoyed the poem--it is definitely chilling and thrilling! In my Poetry Friday post this week, I'm sharing a poem I wrote entitled "Riverwalk." Thanks so much for hosting!!

jama said...

Oh, a slumber party -- what a spooky poem; didn't see that ending coming. I need to read more of Atwood's poetry!

Today I'm sharing a poem from Diane DeCillis's debut collection, STRINGS ATTACHED, and her grandmother's hummus recipe:

Thanks for hosting and have a good school year!!

jan godown annino said...

Appreciations, for the watery double-take from Margaret Atwood.

And for the novel/poetry pairings.

And for linking the links.

At Bookseedstudio this week I'm also thinking of the older student readers, with lines about
kindling creativity,
from Diane Ackerman.

The link is

It would boost my creativity, if you could visit.

Jone said...

I love the pairings and I really need to be doing it more. I have a final poetry swap poem from Margaret Simon, an ode.:

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Thanks for hosting, Laura! I haven't been able to check out all the pairings, but the ones I've seen are quite good! And Atwood's poem is just so powerful and touching...really love her stuff. Today I'm sharing a short little exercise that turned into a simple little poem, but I kind of like it!

Karen Edmisten said...

Wow, those pairings are so creative! And the Atwood poem ... new to me. And Creepy. Capital Creepiness.

I'm in this week with a poem by Mary Jo Salter called Absolute September -- perfect for this month, I think.

The link is here.
Thanks for hosting!

Linda B said...

I enjoyed We Were Liars a lot, Laura, so the poem is absolutely perfect, happy you found it. Shocking revelations in both. I have a sad post today, but needed to share a poem I wrote after my husband died one year ago. It's a special one to me, and I hope those who've felt loss will be touched by it. Thanks for hosting.

GatheringBooks said...

Thank you daer Laura for hosting today. I have known Margaret Atwod as poet first before a novelist. I didn't know about this lovely poem though, so thank you for sharing.

For Poetry Friday at GatheringBooks today, I have Alice Walker's little book entitled "Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters The Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel." I also shared Naomi Shihab Nye's "Blood" and the immensely powerful video clip of “We Teach Life, Sir” by Rafeef Ziadah, a Canadian-Palestinian spoken word artist and activist, reciting her poem for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Here is the link:

Douglas Florian said...

Thanx for hosting and posting, Laura. While it's September now in New York, in Rio de Janeiro it's March, the rainiest month. And at the Florian Cafe there's a song/poem, The Waters of Spring by Antonio Carlos Jobim

Greg Pincus said...

Thanks for hosting and sharing/pairing, too.

I'm up today with an original - The Middle Toe Sets the Record Straight. (Pair with breakfast, I say!)

Bridget Magee said...

Thanks for hosting, Laura! We Were Liars was such a good book - and that Atwood poem - wow!

This week I have a poem about what happens in the desert...when things get hot, bake cookies. = )

Mary Lee said...

Ooh! Creepy, indeed! Love it! Now I want to read WE WERE LIARS.

I have an original free verse description of one of my morning walks this week.

Irene Latham said...

Haven't read LIARS yet, but I have long been a fan of Margaret Atwood's poetry. Thank you for sharing -- and for hosting! I'm in with my yesterday adventures in cake...and a bit of trivia about Emily Dickinson.

Margaret Simon said...

I have not read We are Liars, but now I want to. You have intrigued me with the poem choice, such a shocking twist. Is there one in the book?

Thanks for hosting. I have a dialogue poem inspired by two photographs by a fellow blogger.

laurasalas said...

Wow. That poem is shocker. I love it--so unsettling!

I'm in with "Until I Saw the Sea" over at Teaching Authors. I love Lilian Moore's work! Sometimes a bit unsettling and melancholy, though not as much as this Atwood poem:>)

I just started The Night Gardener, and the creepy tree has drawn me into its limbs already.

Happy Poetry Friday! Thanks for hosting.

Ms. Yingling said...

I don't normally do Poetry Friday, but was moved to do this today:

Holly Mueller said...

Inspired by reading Kate Messner's latest ARC, I post about middle grade and young adult novels that feature poetry. I JUST had a long e-mail discussion with my cousin's wife about WE WERE LIARS. It's a stunning and disturbing book!

Keri said...

I think Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" scarred me for life. I've been curious about We Were Liars, so thanks for the synopsis! I'm sharing the last of the poems I received from the Summer Poem Swap at Keri Recommends:

Janet S. said...

Thanks for hosting.
My selection is "In The Wild" by David Elliott with illustrations by Holly Meade.

Ramona said...

Arriving for brunch at the slumber party (hope there are still pancakes) and sharing a favorite book of poetry, "A Lucky Thing," by Alice Schertle. A great book to use in writer's workshop as you encourage students to closely observe the world around them.
Thank you, Laura, for hosting today and for sharing the poem by Margaret Atwood.

Ruth said... I'm in with some Mary Oliver today. Thank you for posting!

Ruth said...

I mean thank you for hosting. Not posting. Well, thanks for that too. :-)

Amy LV said...

Laura - That one got me too! I've been reading YA books recommended by my daughters, so I've been filling up with some haunting stuff. Thank you for hosting today and for these great pairings. I hope your daughter is enjoying her new adventure!

At The Poem Farm, I have a poem about being the new kid, and a bit about MANGER, the new anthology by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Ooo. Love the pairing of book with poem. Brilliant! And thank you so much for Margaret's poetry.
At On Point, I'm continuing my celebration of turning 50 this month. The haiku is Celebrating Fifty. Thanks for hosting!

Lorie Ann Grover said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lorie Ann Grover said...

And at readertotz, we are recommending a beautiful free verse picture book, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. Enjoy!

Carol Varsalona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Varsalona said...

I am sorry that I am late to the slumber party but I was away on an island in the Long Island Sound closer to Connecticut delivering professional development to the teachers there for two days.

My offering this week is a combination of an original haiku, Stillness and Serenity, for the upcoming Summer Serenity Gallery and a reflective poem by the 13th century mystic poet, Rumi. In addition, I tinkered with an Animoto video, my first attempt with this platform. The video illustrates the beauty of the paired pieces set to music and vivid images.

Thank you for hosting Posting Friday today.

Joy said...

I'm very late for the party again. I have an original riddle poem today and a poetry prompt at

Thanks for hosting us this week.

Carol Varsalona said...

Thank you Lauren for hosting this slumber party of poetry and pictures. It has been an enjoyable time sneaking in Poetry Friday readings amongst the tasks that must be completed.