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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 29: Haiku on Haiku & a Book Giveaway!


Yesterday, we walked around a lagoon in the park, and I posted a silly haiku about my photography skills. (Yes, that's my thumb again in the photo above.) What I wanted to say was something about the flashes of red in the not-yet-spring landscape. Alas, it still eludes me. Here's what came out instead:

 

               too much to say
               in three short lines
               make it a tanka

               making words fit
               I lose the logic
               try another draft

               haiku on haiku
               no nature in these lines
               look out the window

               which matters more
               the form or the meaning
               neither
                              both
                                          let go

 

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share! 

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Day 28: Taking Pictures & a Book Giveaway!


birds, flowers, landscapes
all my photos look alike
thumb in a corner


We went to the park this morning to walk around the lagoon and see what was migrating through. I sat on a bench, waiting for the local geese to swim closer so I could count the goslings. They climbed the bank and waddled almost to my feet, pecking in the grass. I deleted the worst of the photos before I realized that my photography skills could be the topic of today's haiku. (In my defense, I was wearing mittens. In April-almost-May!)

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!  Read More 
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Day 27: Birthday Star, Poetry Friday, & a Book Giveaway!

               I got a star for my birthday.
               My grandparents bought it online.
               It came with complete care instructions.
               I think we will get along fine.

               Its name is all letters and numbers
               of the most scientific sort.
               I thought my star might like a nickname,
               so I call it Seven for short.

               Whenever I’m out in the evening,
               I look for my star in the sky.
               I don’t know if I’ll ever find it,
               but it’s surely worth a good try.

               Sometimes, late at night, I imagine
               my star’s up there thinking of me.
               I wonder, from up in the atmosphere,
               What on Earth can it see?

               I got a star for my birthday
               with all the proof I’ll ever need
               on this official print-it-yourself
               frameable title and deed!

 

I'm sorry to say that according to NASA, it's not actually possible to buy a star and name it. Phooey!

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

Irene has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Live Your Poem. Enjoy! Read More 

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Day 26: Poem in Your Pocket Day & a Book Giveaway!

              I have something in my pocket.
              It’s a poem I can say.
              I know all the lines by heart.
              I like to read it anyway.

              Do you have a poem to show me?
              We can share our poems. Okay?
              You read mine, and I’ll read yours
              on Poem in Your Pocket Day!

 

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!  Read More 

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Day 25: Brainstorming Silly Limericks & a Book Giveaway!


I had so much fun yesterday with my dog-training limerick that I decided to work on getting sillier today. In that early-morning daze that’s my most creative writing time, I thought about other animals and more goofy stunts:

 

          I’m teaching my camel to wink.
          It’s trickier than you might think.
          She is painfully shy—
          won’t look me in the eye—
          but sooner or later, she’ll blink.

          I’m teaching my penguin to sing.
          He keeps hiding his head in his wing.
          He hasn’t sung yet.
          When he does, you can bet
          it will be a remarkable thing.

          I’m teaching my zebra to sneeze.
          He’s very determined to please.
          He is such a good sport
          that he’ll shiver and snort,
          and he’ll sputter and sniffle and wheeze.

          I’m teaching my turtle to fly,
          and here is the main reason why:
          It’s not easily done,
          but I think she’d have fun,
          so I wish she would give it a try.

 

Why don’t you give it a try? An animal with a two-syllable name and the stress on the first syllable fits into the rhythm well. Here are some more options:

• muskrat
• eagle
• wombat
• walrus
• beaver
• groundhog
• peacock
• lizard
• bison

Remember that lines 1, 2, and 5 have three beats and rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 have two beats and rhyme. Maybe you can come up with a silly animal trick to teach, too!

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share.

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Day 24: Dog Tricks & a Book Giveaway!

          I’m teaching my dog to do tricks.
          She was born knowing how to fetch sticks.
          She learned how to shake
          when she jumped in the lake,
          so we just have some details to fix.

          “Roll over,” I say. She holds still.
          Sooner or later, she will
          follow my lead
          to get up to speed,
          but I’m dizzy from rolling downhill.

          She knows what I’m saying, it’s clear.
          She sits when I tell her, “Come here.”
          When I tell her to stay,
          she runs right away,
          but we’ve only been training a year.


So far this month, I’ve written a new poem each morning and posted it that day. I’m not always completely satisfied with the results. This one needs more attention, but I’m out of time for today, so I’ll have to get back to it later.

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 23: Insomnia & a Book Giveaway!

          For hours, I’ve been tossing and turning,
          trying to sleep for so long.
          I followed my usual bedtime routine.
          I don’t know what went wrong.

          I wrestled a bit with my brother,
          found some Halloween candy to eat.
          checked my status online to see if anyone
          noticed my latest Tweet.

          I watched a new horror movie,
          poured a big glass of water to drink,
          and played all my favorite video games,
          but I still haven’t slept a wink!


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 22: Earth Day & a Book Giveaway!

          Welcome to Earth Day!
          Hello to spring,
          to tulips and daffodils,
          robins a-wing,
          to earthworms below us,
          to buds on the trees,
          to migrating monarchs,
          and all kinds of bees.

          On Earth Day and every day,
          we must take care
          of prairies and forests
          and all who live there.
          From rivers and oceans
          to mountains above,
          Earth is our planet.
          Let’s treat it with love.


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 21: Beavers, Beware! & a Book Giveaway!

beaver dam on the Milwaukee River

          Slap your tail, Beaver!
          Smack a warning on the water for herons, turtles, frogs,
          and all the creatures on the pond beyond
          the dam you built.

          Slap your tail, Beaver!
          The fiercest predator on Earth is on its way
          with plans for a development
          and tools more powerful than teeth.

          Slap your tail, Beaver!
          Gather up your kits and swim away.
          Stake out a stretch of wilderness where you’ll be safe
          till people find a way to live in peace.


I've been researching beavers because we see signs of their activity--and once in a great while a glimpse of them--when we walk along the Milwaukee River. I keep finding articles about people who can't figure out how to get along with the beavers they are so lucky to see and insist that their only option is to relocate or destroy them.

I despair.

I hope someday we can all understand the benefits beavers provide. If you're interested, you can read more about these fascinating creatures at The Beaver Believers.

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 20: Swimming, Poetry Friday, & a Book Giveaway!

          I glide through the water,
          imagine I’m graceful,
          I’m mermaid, I’m sailboat,
          I’m swift submarine.

          Through the skylight above,
          I see clouds drifting by,
          pretend I’m afloat in
          a cedar-rimmed lake.

          Instead of the lane stripes
          painted below me,
          I dream sandy riverbed,
          turtles, and fish.

          In those glorious moments
          when I’m in the water,
          I’m weightless. I’m carefree.
          The world floats away.


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!

Tabatha Yeatts has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Enjoy! Read More 

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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 18: Technological Glitches & a Book Giveaway!

          Technology ought to work for us,
          but today, I’ve reached a dead end.
          Reluctantly, I’m forced to admit
          that technology isn’t my friend.

          I’ve reached out to ask the experts.
          I’ve Googled the night away.
          Technology ought to improve our lives,
          but not, alas, today.

          Oh, somewhere, machinery’s whirring,
          performing just as it should,
          but here, today, in my little world,
          technology’s not so good.


In the middle of my National Poetry Month Book Giveaway, it temporarily became impossible to post a comment on my blog. It seems to be working now! So if you’d like to win a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step, you can leave a comment here. Good luck!

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.

I'll choose one entry 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 17: Our Bed-Hogging Dog & a Book Giveaway!

          Sometimes, she stealthily sneaks aboard,
          and we find her there in the morning.
          More often, she clambers onto the bed
          with a wheezy, whiny warning.

          Somehow, she knows when we’re both too tired
          to defend our meager space.
          She’ll carelessly land on a leg or a hand
          with her nose in somebody’s face.

          She’ll burrow beneath the blankets.
          She’ll wriggle, she’ll shove, and she’ll snore—
          our seventy-two-pound Rosy,
          the bed-hogging dog we adore!


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! Read More 

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Day 16: Migration Advice & a Book Giveaway!

          Note to Birds and Butterflies

          If you’re migrating north
          with a plan for a feast
          of young bugs or fresh greenery,
          turn around!
          Circle back!
          Stay as far as you can
          from our winter white scenery!


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! Read More 

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Day 15: Daily Inspiration & a Book Giveaway!

          November snow is a pleasant surprise.
          Everyone wants to go play.
          December snow adds a festive feel
          to a winter holiday.
          In January, shoveling
          is part of our daily routine.
          In February, everyone dreams of
          a springy change of scene.
          By March, we’re all growing weary
          of blizzardy gusts of snow.
          In April?
          In April?
          Oh,

          no.


So far this month, I’ve written a new poem each morning for National Poetry Month. From the beginning, I’ve told myself that I could always post an old poem if I couldn’t find a good idea. Today’s inspiration was unavoidable. It swirled all around. And there’s no point in shoveling yet—it’s still coming down!

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! Read More 

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Day 14: Last Night, This Morning, & a Book Giveaway

          outside our window
          house finches shelter
          in bare Rose of Sharon
          tree limbs block the driveway
          pinecones litter the lawn
          wind roared through my dreams

          what happened last night


I went to bed worried last night and woke up feeling obligated to check the news even though part of me did not want to know what happened overnight. I stayed in bed as long as the dog let me, walked her in the rain, and started writing this before I looked.

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 13: Poetic License & a Book Giveaway!

          I’m applying for my poetic license.
          The paperwork’s due today.
          I’m gathering poems and filling out forms
          and figuring out what to say.

          I’m applying for my poetic license.
          I’m nervous about the test.
          I have a feeling the judges won’t be
          easily impressed.

          I’m applying for my poetic license.
          I’ve brainstormed and scribbled and scanned,
          grateful to every poet who
          has held out a helping hand!


Happy birthday to Lee Bennett Hopkins, whose helping hand has reached out to spread poetry joy around the world!

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!

Robyn Hood Black has today's Poetry Friday Roundup and a celebration for Lee Bennett Hopkins at Life on the Deckle Edge. Enjoy!

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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

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Day 11: Sunshine! Book Giveaway!

          Sunshine! Oh, sunshine!
          Good morning! Hello!
          You wrap up the world
          in your warm, soothing glow.
          Shine on all creatures.
          Make everything bright.
          Sunshine! Oh, sunshine!
          We all need your light.

 

Last night, I heard Jack Prelutsky's "Homework! Oh, Homework!" in a TV commercial. With that sound in my head, I thought it might be fun to use it as a model for a new poem. Mine ended up going in a different direction (as poems do), but the exercise was fun!

Jack Prelutsky's poem appears in The New Kid on the Block. Some of the poems in the book (but not "Homework! Oh, Homework!") are included in a sampler here.

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

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Day 10: Following a Sound & a Book Giveaway!

          snowflakes camouflage
          demolition in progress
          hammering echoes


See the woodpecker halfway up the utility pole? I had to follow the sound of its pounding to find it yesterday. It was almost invisible in the falling snow, but I could sure hear it!

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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Day 9: Tomorrow & a Book Giveaway!

          Today, I started three new poems
          but didn’t finish one.
          I always wish I had more time,
          but clearly, I have none.
          Tomorrow is another day
          to redo what I’ve done,
          to take the time to try to finish
          what I’ve just begun.

 

I often start the day at the playground with the dog. I gather up the gloves and hats that appear when snow melts, leave them in a conspicuous spot like this bench, and hope their owners find them. I like the message on the glove in the middle.

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. Be sure to include your email address with your comment—it won’t post, but I can see it. 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 8: Do I Know You? & a Book Giveaway!

          You remind me of somebody.
          I don’t know who.
          Do I look like someone
          familiar to you?

          We might be related.
          Do you think we might be
          buds on the branches of
          one family tree?

          Or you could be someone
          that I used to know
          when I was younger
          a long time ago.

          Your face is a face that
          I wouldn’t forget,
          so it doesn’t seem possible
          that we just met.
          But the memory hasn’t come back to me
          yet.

          You remind me of somebody.
          I don’t know who.
          Do I look like someone
          familiar to you?


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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

P.S. If you get this error message

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Day 7: The View from My Window & a Book Giveaway!

          sunlight spreads
          across frosty rooftops
          windows reflect hope

 

Will spring ever really arrive? I woke up way too early today, restless. Coffee and the view reminded me that the world is still turning. Everything looks better in the morning!

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

If you get this error message

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Day 6: Helping the Planet, Poetry Friday, & a Book Giveaway!

          If you walk along the river,
          you’ll find trash among the bushes,
          snagged in branches,
          stuck in trees.
          You will find a plastic bag.
          Plastic bags are everywhere.

          Pick one up. This is important.
          Fill it with the trash you find.
          Yes, I know you didn’t drop it.
          Help the planet anyway.
          Someone has to be a steward.
          Someone has to care.


For the past year, a group I cofounded (Bring Your Bag Shorewood in Shorewood, Wisconsin) has been sewing reusable shopping bags from donated fabric and stocking them in a local grocery store. People who forget their bags can borrow one and bring it back for someone else to use. I wrote about it on the Authors for Earth Day blog. Tonight, we’ll be at the Shorewood Conservation Committee’s free screening of Bag It at 7 p.m. at the Shorewood Village Center. We'll talk about reusable shopping bags and our group’s efforts to reduce the use of unnecessary disposable plastic.

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

If you get this error message

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Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm. Enjoy!

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Day 5: Buckle Down Day & a Book Giveway!

          Do you ever bite off more than you
          can chew?
          Does your To-Do list flow beyond the page?
          Mine, too.
          Though all the old advice sounds trite,
          I figure it’s most likely right.
          There is no way around it—
          only through.


I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed this morning. Can you tell? So I’m declaring this a Buckle Down Day. Wish me luck!

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share!

If you get this error message

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And one more National Poetry Month resource: 30 ways to celebrate national poetry month from The Academy of American Poets. Enjoy!
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Day 4: Lalalalala & the Daily Book Giveaway!

          A song is running through my head.
          Been hearing it all day.
          Unfortunately, it’s the only thing
          my brain will play.

          A song is running through my head.
          It’s driving me insane.
          I have to find a way to shut off
          my annoying brain!

A song is running through my head.
There’s only one solution:
Replace it with a song that doesn’t
sound like ear pollution!



I almost always have a song playing in my head. One song might stick with me all day or be replaced by something better—or worse. Lately, many of the songs I’ve been singing to myself are songs I remember my mother singing. Today, I woke up with this one.

My brother-in-law swears by "Lemon Tree" as the best replacement for an earworm. I maintain that then I have to replace "Lemon Tree" with something else. Fortunately, I have lots of options!

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 try again. I'll have 31 copies to share! Spread the word!

If you get this error message

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For more poetry goodness, check out Jama Kim Rattigan's roundup of Poetry Month events. Enjoy!
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Day 3: Annual Duck Sighting & Daily Book Giveaway!

          neighborhood ducks
          flap into town—
          snow on its way


Ah, spring! Here in Wisconsin, it’s unpredictable. As I gazed out the window watching for inspiration, it flew by. Lucky me!

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. Be sure to include your email address with your comment—it won’t post, but I can see it. 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

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Day 2: What's That? Book Giveaway #2!


     What’s that flying from the tree?
     A kite? Balloon? A flag?
     Take a closer look and see:
     another plastic bag!


Especially since I wrote an educational book for kids about plastic, I’ve noticed it everywhere. There’s a bag flapping in a tree across the street that I can see from my window as I write this. Because it's such an important environmental issue, I'll come back to it again later this month. Stop by and see!

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 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

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

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Day 1: What's with the Weather? & Book Giveaway #1

I woke up this morning, grabbed a cup o' coffee, checked the weather forecast, and changed my plan for today’s post.


          The weather here’s a little cool.
          Is this a joke? If so, it’s cruel!
          I’m wrapping up in layers, hoping
          someone will say, “April Fool!”


I'm celebrating National Poetry Month by 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 winner at random 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

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


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National Poetry Month & Book Giveaway Start Tomorrow!

Happy National Poetry Month!

Starting tomorrow, I'll celebrate by 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.

If you don't win right away, please check back later in the month--I'll have 31 copies to share!

And if you try to post and get this error message

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


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