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JoAnn's Blog

Day 30: Migration Day & the Last 2018 National Poetry Month Book Giveaway!

               Today is the day that spring flies north.
               That’s what the forecasters say.
               I think I will lie right down in the grass
               and watch the sky all day.

               Our feeders are filled. We’ve put oranges out
               for the favorites we see every year.
               Orioles, grosbeaks, indigo buntings,
               and warblers are on their way here!

               Hummingbirds, tanagers, kinglets and wrens—
               I’ve got nothing better to do
               than to lie outside in the grass and watch.
               Come out and join me, won’t you?

 

Poetry has sustained me through this wintry National Poetry Month, but I’m always happy to welcome May with its migrating birds and bursting blooms. This year’s poem-a-day exercise has taught me good lessons about my voice and writing habits. I’m really glad I was able to stick to my plan and write something new every day. I hope to continue that practice, although I don’t expect to post every day.

I'm giving away a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step every day in April. Today is the last giveaway of the month! The book is based on my school visit presentations and includes a simple plan you can follow to create your own poems. I wrote it for students, teachers, and writers of all ages.

Post a comment here to enter. I'll choose one at random tomorrow and drop a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step in the mail—U.S. addresses only, please. I’ll email you for your mailing address if you win. Good luck!

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Day 19: Squirrel Treats & a Book Giveaway!

          we scatter peanuts on snow
          squirrel gets busy
          burying peanuts in snow

 

Here in Wisconsin, we're eagerly waiting for spring: keeping the bird feeders filled, throwing out nuts for squirrels, putting out raisins and berries for robins, and hoping the snow melts today.

I'm giving away a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step every day in April. The book is based on my school visit presentations and includes a simple plan you can follow to create your own poems. I wrote it for students, teachers, and writers of all ages.

Post a comment here to enter. I'll choose one at random tomorrow and drop a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step in the mail—U.S. addresses only, please. I’ll email you for your mailing address if you win. And if you don't win right away, please check back again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

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Day 12: What Spring Brings & a Book Giveaway!

          kids ride their own wheels—
          skateboards, scooters, roller skates—
          parents drive alone

          spring brings warm winds, migrant birds,
          budding trees, independence


Walking the dog this morning, I noticed an increase in kids making their own way to school. Warmer weather brings out the wheels!

I'm giving away a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step every day in April. The book is based on my school visit presentations and includes a simple plan you can follow to create your own poems. I wrote it for students, teachers, and writers of all ages.

Post a comment here to enter. I'll choose one at random tomorrow and drop a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step in the mail—U.S. addresses only, please. I’ll email you for your mailing address if you win. And if you don't win right away, please check back again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

If you get this error message

          V1 SHUTDOWN ON 2018-03-31
Direct site owners to g.co/recaptcha/upgrade

type anything in the box! (I'm working on it.)

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Spring in Wisconsin


                                                            Cold, damp, dreary day.
                                                            Robin’s sunny reminder:
                                                            Cheeriup! Cheer up!

                                                            JoAnn Early Macken

Happy National Poetry Month! Happy Poetry Friday! Tabatha Yeatts is hosting the roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.

Next week, I'll host the Poetry Friday Roundup at the Teaching Authors blog. Enjoy!

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Mittens in May?


Mittens in May!

Our massive piles of snow have mostly melted away.
Although the weather’s chilly, it gets warmer every day.
Squirrels shiver, fluff their fur—I think they’ll be okay.
Daffodils are popping up with just a slight delay.
Summer birds are back. I saw three chimney swifts today!
We’re celebrating spring while wearing mittens in May!



Regardless of the temperature, we always see chimney swifts by May 1. This year was no exception in spite of the unseasonably cool temperatures. I hope they find enough insects to eat! Here's a video I made a few years ago of chimney swifts flying into a chimney downtown. You can hear them twittering over the traffic sounds.

Liz is the winner of this week's giveaway of an autographed paperback copy of Write a Poem Step by Step. Tara (last week's winner), if you're reading this, please send me your mailing address so I can send you your book!

Katya hosts today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Write. Sketch. Repeat. Enjoy!
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Three Poetry Thoughts, a Spring Tercet, and a Book Giveaway!


When our kids were little and needed a bit more attention than they do these days, I used to wait till they were safely occupied or sleeping, make a conscious effort to let go of everyday concerns, sink down into a creative frame of mind, and open up to gifts from the blue. I’d tell myself to slow down and pay attention. I called that wonderful state Poetry Mode.

Later, I read For the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry by Georgia Heard. Heard describes a visit to her teacher Stanley Kunitz. Before she left, she asked him for any last advice. He said, “You must first create the kind of person who will write the kind of poems you want to write.”

The thought gives me goosebumps.

Then yesterday, though a Facebook post, I found this gorgeous poem, “Valentine for Ernest Mann” by Naomi Shihab Nye. The lines that struck me:

              “. . . poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
              they are sleeping. They are the shadows
              drifting across our ceilings the moment
              before we wake up. What we have to do
              is live in a way that lets us find them. . . .”



Slow down and pay attention, right?

I’m thinking in threes today. I planned to write a triolet, but my Book of Forms opened to the tercet page instead. Any poem of three lines, rhymed or unrhymed in any meter, is a tercet. Here’s mine:

              First Signs of Hope

              Among the dry, brown leaves that shield the hill,
              surprises bloom in spite of winter’s chill.
              Crocuses—an unexpected thrill!



Book news!
Write a Poem Step by Step is now available as an eBook from Lulu. Soon it will also be in the iBookstore and the NOOK Book Store. Paperback copies are available from Lulu, IndieBound, amazon, Barnes&Noble, and local bookstores.

Book Giveaway!
Post a comment to enter for a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of Write a Poem Step by Step. Be sure to include your email address so I can notify you if you win and ask for your mailing address and personalization request.

I’ll choose a winner at random next Friday from all entries posted by midnight (CST) Thursday. Watch for another chance to win next week. Good luck!

Poetry Friday
Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Poem Farm.

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