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JoAnn's Blog

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!

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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!

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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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The View from Our Kitchen

              Through the Window

              Woodpecker tilts his head
                       flash of red
                       banded cheek
                       pointed beak
              pecks at the suet
              peeks in the window
              watches me watching him
                       cautiously motionless
                       watching him watching me
                       taking in that feathered scene
              both of us filling up

              JoAnn Early Macken



Buffy Silverman has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Buffy's Blog. Enjoy!

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Recipe for Morning

              Recipe for Morning

              One dog
              One sunrise-red sky
              One wind-chilled field
              One ball—watch it fly!
              One scramble-sprint-leap
              One catch dropped at my feet

              Repeat

              JoAnn Early Macken



This poem was inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Recipe for Joy." Check it out and try your own recipe poem.

Amy's new book Read! Read! Read! brought back memories of reading comics, road signs, and cereal boxes. Enjoy!

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Random Noodling.

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Evidence (A DMC Challenge Poem)

One way to find tiny monarch caterpillars on milkweed leaves is to look for their characteristic C-shaped chewprints.

I wrote this poem as a response to editor Carol Hinz's November 2017 Ditty of the Month Club challenge for Michelle Heidenrich Barnes's blog, Today's Little Ditty. The challenge was to write a poem that finds beauty in something not usually considered beautiful. Visit the padlet to read all the inspiring poems.

              Evidence

              Something is eating the milkweed plants,
              nibbling them naked,
              stripping the garden bare.
              Something is chomping this tattered leaf.
              It left its mark in the shape of a C—
              C for chewing
                       and crawling
                                 and caterpillar
                                           and cheering!
              Hooray! The monarchs are here!

              JoAnn Early Macken



Mary Lee Hahn is hosting Poetry Friday at A Year of Reading. Enjoy!

Whoops, I forgot this at first: For more monarch info and photos, see my Monarch page.

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