Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From the Office of the Future of Reading

Please help me welcome today's guest blogger, Jone Rush MacCulloch. Jone is a teacher-librarian during the school year, who writes, reads, and blogs (personal blog here and school blog here) the rest of the time. She’d rather write poetry than memorize it. She has had haiku published in Acorn; A Journal of Contemporary Haiku and the Haiku Society of American Members' Anthology. In 2012, she self-published a small collection of poetry and photography, Solace in Nature, and is currently working on a novel in verse. Helping with SCBWI-OR book sales is one way Jone gives back to a great writing community. You can follow Jone on Twitter.


Why Poetry Speaks to My Heart


Happy April Fool's Day. I am no fool when it comes to poetry. It's a part of my tapestry, my DNA. My grandmother and grandfather were poets. Here are ten reasons why poetry speaks to my heart:


1. Communication. Poetry is among the oldest forms of communicating. One only needs to read The Odyssey or some of Basho's haiku to be filled with a sense of wonder how cultures around the world found poetry as a way to express oral history, prayers, and stories.


2. Word play. The flow of words and the images created in poems. I love playing with words in a brief space that creates a thought than lingers after you have closed a book.


3. Pantoums and haiku. These two poetry forms are among my favorite to write. Haiku is the art of observation and the unexpected in three short lines. Pantoums: four line stanzas with a repeating pattern. Originally from Malaysia and at times sung. Write a pantoum and then cull a haiku from it.


4. Poetry Pairings. In the classroom, pairing a poem with at science or social studies lessons brings a different perspective on the topic to the table. Poetry pairings are featured at Check It Out, my school blog, the third Friday of every month.


5. Poetry Friday. These are my people. What better place is there to share poetry around the world? It's like a big virtual poetry reading every Friday to share. Plus it's a fabulous venue for student writers to share their work.


6. Comfort. A poem can reach you when times are difficult . I lost a very good friend in December from cancer. A poetry friend sent a poem that comforted her once and it
was a much needed gift for me.


7. Reachable. Students may struggle with reading or writing but when it comes to poetry, they usually get it. Perhaps it's the white space, the smaller chunks of information, or the way words are arranged on a page that makes it accessible.


8. Writing Mentors. Poetry is a fabulous writing mentor. Some of my favorite mentors include William Stafford, Naomi Shihab Nye, Valerie Worth, and Joyce Sidman.


9. Poetry challenges. Last month I was one of sixty-four 'authletes' who participated in Ed DeCarias' March Madness Poetry. We were given a word, and thirty-six hours to write a poem and then the world voted for their favorites. This challenge pushed my writing to a new level by making me think of structures and rhyme schemes.

10. Math and Poetry. I hate math. But when I write poems using different forms and structures, I am using math without thinking about math. There's a certain musicality that comes with writing in a structured form.


How to Write a Poem


Rise before dawn gathering words
Those juicy, succulent images
The aromatic ones which crinkle your nose
returning you to the shadow places.


Those juicy, succulent images
Found in the crevices of remembering
returning you to the shadow places.
Throwing the words into the calypso coral sky


Found in the crevices of remembering
An unexpected arrangement for early morning
Throwing the words into the calypso coral sky
watching them flitter-flutter, landing on prayer flags.


An unexpected arrangement for early morning
Waking before dawn, searching for words,
watching them flitter-flutter, landing on prayer flags
As the night watchers slip away


Waking before dawn, searching for words,
The aromatic ones which crinkle your nose
As the night watchers slip away
Rise before dawn, gathering words

By Jone Rush MacCulloch, March 2104

Thank you Jone for kicking off National Poetry Month so beautifully and poetically!

11 comments:

  1. Great post, Jone! I love the way you're encouraging "Poetry Plus" (poetry plus other areas of the curriculum)!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I try my very best.

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  2. Thank you, Kirby for the opportunity to share my love of poetry.

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  3. Lovely to read your ponderings on poetry, Jone! Thanks for guesting her here, Kirby. :) It's also cool that some students really "get" poetry more, for whatever reason. I'm currently actually reading a novel in verse right now, called ELEVATED by Elana Johnson. A creative way to tell a story!

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    1. Thank you Carol. I will need to look for that book.

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  4. Lovely choice of a poem for today. I love the Pantoum form and I also love writing Haikus. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

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  5. Jone,
    Thank you for crinkling my nose with your words. I would appreciate the comfort poem. I too have a friend "going home" as she puts it. What I choose to take to her when I visit is a poem. Or an acorn. Or the sent of daphne. Only the beautiful and true will do.

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  6. There is a poem in your words.

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  7. I loved reading How to Write a Poem. The words themselves were lyrical and created a magical dance. But when you repeated the lines, I found myself spinning and pulled into the music even more. Thank you, T.S.!

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