Friday, November 30, 2012

NCTE and my Pink Poets

As many of you know, I was all set to attend the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in Las Vegas two weeks ago and then had to cancel at the last minute. Such a disappointment after not missing this wonderful conference for nearly 30 years! But my presentation panel forged ahead without me and did a wonderful job! Headed by the amazing and generous, Janet Wong, who videotaped the entire session, along with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Laura Purdie Salas, Lesléa Newman, Irene Latham, and Mary Lee Hahn, the audience was treated to each poet talking about her work and creative process in the session entitled, "Theme – Collect – Excite: Where Do Poems Come From?"

And in case you missed it, they also ALL WORE PINK in my honor-- as a tribute to my fight with breast cancer (which is now done, thank you very much!)-- the sweetest gesture ever. Here's a picture of them (along with Janet Fagal who also helped out). These ladies are rockin' the pink, don't you think?! They were even featured in Publishers' Weekly last week!

I would also like to share just a teeny clip of each poet from the video that Janet captured of the session. It's always a treat to hear the poet speak and read her work aloud-- I never get tired of that. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy these juicy tidbits.

Janet Wong

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Laura Purdie Salas

Lesléa Newman

Irene Latham

Mary Lee Hahn

Each of these poets has published her own work as well as poems featured in The Poetry Friday Anthology that Janet and I edited and published in September.  What a talented crew, don't you agree?! 

Janet told me to post this disclaimer too :-)
"Janet apologizes for the poor visual quality of these videos and asks you just to imagine that it is 1967 and your TV set's antennae just won't work, even with their little balls of tin foil . . . oh, well: please enjoy the show!"

Now head on over to the Poem Farm hosted by the very same Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (featured above).   See you there!

And don't forget to enter our poetry e-book giveaway (which ends Dec. 12). Details below.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jan Greenberg, the Arts, and BOOK LINKS

The November 2012 issue of Book Links features a focus on literature and the arts. I was fortunate enough to interview Jan Greenberg, author and collaborator on many nonfiction and biographical books about contemporary artists, as well as two fantastic ekphrastic (art-based) poetry collections, Heart to Heart and Side to Side. She shared the roots of her interest in art, back-stories on the creation of several books, including Ballet for Martha, the benefits of collaboration, her research process, and her views on the importance of art education. Look for "Talking with Jan Greenberg" (pp. 19-23) along with Common Core Connections and activities based on some of her works.

Here are a few extra nuggets that were not included in the print article!

More about her collaboration with Sandra Jordan--

Jan Greenberg: Once a guard at MOMA asked us why we were standing in front of a Jackson Pollock for such a long time. Most people, he said, last around 20 seconds in front of a painting. I might add that these field trips are accompanied by some delicious meals, much laughter, and visits to both our families. I feel as if Sandra’s Aunt Gay and her sister Nancy are my relatives too.

There are studies from the Getty and other research institutions that perception in the arts improves critical thinking skills. Although I believe in the arts for their own sake, I know what a wonderful teaching tool the visual arts are for stimulating discussion in the classroom. That there has been renewed interest in nonfiction in the Common Core curriculum is gratifying to me. I write for a nonfiction children’s literature blog. I.N.K, which has introduced me to authors who share many fascinating insights about their books, classroom activities, and technical information.

I also asked her about  the ideal role of technology in creating and/or promoting art and poetry for young people in this digital age.

Jan Greenberg:
The electronic media is very important. Google any artist, artwork, or poet or poem of note and up they pop on the computer screen. One of the most valuable parts of my education was memorizing poetry and reciting it in class. I still remember the lines to Wordsworth’s “Daffodils,” Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and the first stanza of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The rhythms, figurative language, and emotional qualities of poetry are enhanced by speaking the words out loud, by taking them in, and making them one’s own.

And here is a sampling of suggested activities based on her works.

In the classroom:
After reading selections and sharing art images from Greenberg’s Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art and Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World, invite students to talk about their favorite poem selections.

Which key aspects of the art does the poem showcase in the poem?
The image itself?
The story behind the art?
The emotional impact of the art?
How does the poet arrange the words, lines, and stanzas to create the poem?

Poets arrange words on the page much like artists use various media to create their art. Discuss the choices in spacing, line breaks and stanzas the students notice in the poems. Then invite students to try creating their own ekphrastic poems in response to artworks.

Begin by looking for compelling images from print resources like magazines, newspapers, or family photos or online resources like Flickr, Google images, or the GoogleArtProject. Students can work with a partner to choose a favorite piece, talk about the art, and create a poem inspired by the art. Then come together as a group to share art selections and new poems and post the pairs together in a class display.

Common Core Connections
RL.5.5. Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
RL.5.7. Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poetry Books for Thanksgiving

Looking for poetry to share for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? Here is my list of poetry books for Thanksgiving from my recent resource book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists. Enjoy!

Poetry Books for Thanksgiving

Here is a sampling of poetry books about giving thanks, celebrating Thanksgiving, and enjoying food, friends, and family times.

  1. Alarcón, Francisco X. 1999. Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  2. Bruchac, Joseph. 1996. The Circle of Thanks. Mahwah, NJ: BridgeWater Books
  3. Carlstrom, Nancy White. 2002. Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young. New York: Aladdin.
  4. Child, Lydia Maria. 2004. Over the River & Through the Woods. New York: Hyperion.
  5. Florian, Douglas. 2003. Autumnblings: Poems & Paintings. New York: Greenwillow.
  6. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million: Poems. New York: Amistad.
  7. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 1992. Ring Out, Wild Bells: Poems about Holidays and Seasons. New York: Harcourt Brace.
  8. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2000. Yummy! Eating Through a Day: Poems. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  9. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2005. Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More. New York: Greenwillow.
  10. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Countdown to Summer: 180 Poems for every day of the School Year. New York: Little, Brown.
  11. Livingston, Myra Cohn. Ed. 1985. Thanksgiving Poems. New York: Holiday House.
  12. Melmed, Laura Krauss. 2001. This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story. New York: HarperCollins.
  13. Mora, Pat. 2007. Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!: America's Sproutings. New York: Lee & Low.
  14. Mordhorst, Heidi. 2009. Pumpkin Butterfly; Poems from the Other Side of Nature. Honesdale PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  15. Philip, Neil. 2004. Hot Potato: Mealtime Rhymes. New York: Clarion.
  16. Prelutsky, Jack. 2007. It’s Thanksgiving!  New York: HarperCollins.
  17. Rogasky, Barbara. Ed. 2001. Leaf by Leaf. New York: Scholastic.
  18. Rosen, Michael, J., Ed. 1996. Food Fight:  Poets Join the Fight Against Hunger with Poems about Their Favorite Foods. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
  19. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2008. Shrinking Days, Frosty Nights: Poems About Fall. Minneapolis, MN: Capstone.
  20. Schnur, Steven. 1997. Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic. New York: Clarion.
  21. Shore, Diane. 2008. This is the Feast.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
  22. Swamp, Chief Jake. 1995. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. New York: Lee & Low.
  23. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1995. Gingerbread Days. New York: HarperCollins.
  24. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. Gift Tag.
  25. Weinstock, Robert. 2009. Food Hates You, Too. New York: Disney-Hyperion.
  26. Whitehead, Jenny. 2007. Holiday Stew; A Kid’s Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems. New York: Henry Holt.
  27. Wilson, Karma. 2007. Give Thanks to the Lord. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkids.
  28. Wing, Natasha. 2001. The Night Before Thanksgiving. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.
  29. Wong, Janet. 1996. A Suitcase of Seaweed, and Other Poems. New York: McElderry.
  30. Young, Ed. 1997. Voices of the Heart. New York: Scholastic.

I'm wishing all my poetry-loving friends and readers the happiest of Thanksgivings. I've had my own health struggles this fall, so I am especially grateful for all the many good things in my life.

Meanwhile, the lovely Anastasia Suen is hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Booktalking. See you there!

And don't forget to enter our drawing for a free poetry e-book-- details below!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Free poetry e-book!


Here's an opportunity to win a copy of one poetry e-book from the PoetryTagTime series:

Decide which book you'd like to win and post your 12 word comment at the blog for that book. Choose from:

PoetryTagTime (for children)
P*TAG (for tweens and teens)
Gift Tag (for all ages)

Remember, 12/12/12 is the deadline!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Poetry panel at upcoming NCTE conference


Are you heading to the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in Las Vegas next week? It's one of my favorite events and I haven't missed it in nearly 30 years. Unfortunately, I have to miss this one. Darn it! So my illustrious presentation panel is moving on without me. But as you can see (above) our session is in excellent hands with an amazing group of talented poets. Note the day and time: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 4:15-5:30pm. And just in case you cannot attend-- just like me-- we're hoping to have some video snippets of the session to share with you later on this blog, so stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, head on over to Think, Kid, Think for the weekly Poetry Friday get-together.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Poetry Text Sets (Ages 13 and up)

Here's the final installment in my series on poetry "text sets." This one is for young adults (ages 13 and up). Once again, each mini set includes 3 or more poetry books authored by one poet, focused on a single topic or theme, and formatted to be very similar in design and appearance which helps promote discussion, comparison, and analysis. This list is drawn from my recent book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists available here.

FOR YOUNG ADULTS (Ages 13 and up)

Global poetry
Nye, Naomi Shihab. Ed. 1992. This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World. New York: Four Winds Press.
Nye, Naomi Shihab. Ed. 1995. The Tree is Older than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems and Stories from Mexico with Paintings by Mexican Artists. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Nye, Naomi Shihab. Ed. 1998. The Space Between Our Footsteps:  Poems and Paintings From the Middle East. New York: Simon & Schuster.

African American History
Nelson, Marilyn. 2001. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
Nelson, Marilyn. 2004. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
Nelson, Marilyn. 2005. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Nelson, Marilyn. 2008. The Freedom Business. Asheville, NC: Front Street.

Poetry paradoxes
Vecchione, Patrice. Ed. 2001. Truth and Lies. New York: Henry Holt.
Vecchione, Patrice. Ed. 2004. Revenge and Forgiveness. New York: Henry Holt.
Vecchione, Patrice. Ed. 2007. Faith and Doubt. New York: Henry Holt.

Poetry anthologies
Rosenberg, Liz. Ed. 1996. The Invisible Ladder. New York: Henry Holt.
Rosenberg, Liz. Ed. 1998. Earth-shattering Poems. New York: Henry Holt.
Rosenberg, Liz. Ed. 2000. Light-gathering Poems. New York: Henry Holt.
Rosenberg, Liz. Ed. 2001. Roots & Flowers: Poets and Poems on Family. New York: Henry Holt.

Poetry, people & history
Philip, Neil. Ed. 1995. Singing America. New York: Viking.
Philip, Neil. Ed. 1996. Earth Always Endures: Native American Poems. New York: Viking.
Philip, Neil. Ed. 1998. War and the Pity of War. New York: Clarion.
Philip, Neil. Ed. 2000. It’s a Woman’s World: A Century of Women’s Voices in Poetry. New York: Dutton.

Poetry by teens
Franco, Betsy. Ed. 2001. Things I Have to Tell You: Poems And Writing by Teenage Girls. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Franco, Betsy. Ed. 2001. You Hear Me? Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Franco, Betsy. 2008. Ed. Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.

Novel in verse trilogies
Wolff, Virginia Euwer. 1993. Make Lemonade. New York: Scholastic.
Wolff, Virginia Euwer. 2001. True Believer. New York: Atheneum.
Wolff, Virginia Euwer. 2009. This Full House. New York: Harper Teen/The Bowen Press.

Hopkins, Ellen. 2004. Crank. New York: McElderry.
Hopkins, Ellen. 2007. Glass. New York: McElderry.
Hopkins, Ellen. 2012. Fallout. New York: McElderry.

Please let me know if you have any additional text sets to recommend for the secondary level.

And be sure to swing by Mainely Write for the Poetry Friday gathering. See you there!

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2012. All rights reserved.