April 12, 2016

Thursday, April 16, 2015

NPM 2015: What Are You Wearing, Catherine Johnson?

Let's talk verbs, writerly friends. Active, meaty verbs.

We're celebrating National Poetry Month
at Life on the Deckle Edge this week.
Thanks, Robyn Hood Black, for hosting
the Poetry Friday round up!
How many verbs does it take to get dressed for the day?

Maybe you:
                     pull off, push down, lift up, or peel away

your jammies, then you:
                                             select, admire, organize, create

the day's outfit, and finally you:
                                                            slide on, zip up, button, brush off, smooth, layer

your clothes.

Throughout April, guest bloggers are dressing up in their poetry finery as we feature 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, we're talking about the act of getting dressed. Carefully chosen verbs, like a carefully chosen outfit, can help set a poem's tone and voice. Let's hear more about style (poetic and personal) from our Poetry Friday guest blogger, poet Catherine Johnson. 

When Laura said she wanted poems about clothes I thought:  Interesting. I love clothes! I dressed better in my teens that at any other time, but let's see ... I had  couple of small jobs and still lived a home, so my mum bought us nice stuff and we had spare money to get nice clothes too. We lived within an hour of York, Doncaster, and Leeds. All great cities for shopping. 
My favorite clothes shop was The Warehouse. It was funky! Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share a few photos. I'm afraid I can't find one of me in brown patterned pants and brogue shoes, or the time I wore purple doc martins and purple flared corduroys. Those were the days. These days I just go to Walmart and a second hand store where people drop off super nice clothes they bought in the nice shops ;) I also hit the closing down sale at Target for a nice dress for a wedding.
I came across this poem real quickly in my search for a clothes poem and I love it. I hope you do too.
Getting Dressed
by Alexander Resnikoff
Isn't dressing depressing?
Button the buttons
Snap the snaps
Hook the hooks and
Zip the zippers
Tie the ties and
Strap the straps and
Clasp the clasps and
Slip the slippers
Buckle the buckles and
Knot the knots and
Pin the pins and
Lace the laces
Loop the loops and
Lock the locks and
Belt the belts and
Brace the braces-
What I like the best is my own skin-
That is the dress I'm always in.
Catherine Johnson is the author/illustrator of three books of poetry for children: Weirdo Zoo, The Everglades, and Zompoems.

Catherine's zombie is wearing a vintage,
hand-distressed T-shirt in snot green.
I am enamored with this poem, Catherine. I love the idea that getting dressed takes so many verbs! And loving the idea made me slow down and think about the act and complications of wearing clothes.

*Your suggested clothing poem prompt for Friday, April 17: Secret Identities.
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.


Linda B said...

Oh Catherine, I would love to see that picture of you in those brown-patterned pants! It is fun to think of all the verbs involved in getting dressed. I won't dress tomorrow without thinking of your funny piece. Thanks!

Diane Mayr said...

Oh yes, I'd love to see those photos! Quite a fun post today!

Sally Murphy said...

What a fabulous clothes poem! Thanks for sharing it Catherine.

Catherine Johnson said...

Oh where did I put those pictures. If I find them, I'll tag you all in on Facebook ;)

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Laura. Finding that poem was fun!

I love that you analyzed the zombie's attire :)

jama said...

Love the poem, Catherine, and I'd also love to see some photos of the cool clothes you mentioned. Purple doc martens and flared cords!

Robyn Hood Black said...

I'm certain you made quite the fashion statement in those purple flared cords! Thanks for sharing the fun poem by Alexander Resnikoff. Makes you appreciate what folks with less-than-nimble fingers have to deal with every morning and night!

Buffy Silverman said...

Love this poem, Catherine! How fun to think about all those verb/noun combos!

Linda said...

This is a wonderful series, Laura. I haven't been able to follow every day, but I'm going to try to catch up this week.
Thank you, Catherine. I would like to see a picture of those brown pants too! : )

Doraine said...

So much fun here! Thanks to both of you.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

What a fun poem! Catherine, you reminded me of how much as a teen, I enjoyed going with my friends into New York City and shopping at all the cool places in the East Village. I have a few pictures of my own I'd love to show you... if, like you, I could only find them!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Catherine, this poem makes a fine contrast to the idea in my post that some of us are a little less comfortable dressed in our own skin than in the "costume" that we strap on each morning.

Almost my favorite part of your post is the description of what your zombie is wearing. : )

Laura, you speak of active meaty verbs the way I talk to kids about juicy, powerful words! It really is all about the verbs, isn't it?