April is Poetry Month and there is still one more week to celebrate!
There is so much good stuff to share. If you are looking for classroom inspiration try:
The Parkmont Poetry Festival for Students
AAPI Women: Untold Stories Through Poetry Unit (Elementary/Middle)
This month I am reading:
Hybrida by Tina Chang
The Freedom Business by Marilyn Nelson
Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
I have not always been a fan of poetry, but I have always been drawn to it. I have been very lucky to collaborate with several teachers over the years who LOVE it (shoutout to Gini, Thu, and Becky!) Following their examples has increased my own appreciation, as well as my ability to authentically share poetry with students. Their best advice has been to stop trying to get it. Just let the words wash over and see what sticks. I do this now and find myself less frustrated.
For my next trick, I will share two poem drafts of my own (SCARY!). While I am not a poet, I do prefer poetry to “journaling” and find it an effective way to capture moments and feelings as they happen. Leaning into poetry has certainly improved my prose, as well as my overall ability to notice the minutiae of life and its impact on the senses. Poetry is about the kernel of a thing and when you don’t have time for a cob (P.S. I stole this metaphor from Jason Reynolds), I find it’s exactly the right bite.
The woods shed winter
like the crispy skin of an onion,
the crackling crust breaking open and then falling away.
I am surprised by the snowdrops, which appear
out of nowhere – a herald.
My son and I step lightly around the mulch,
there is something now to disturb.
Days later come the daffodils,
yellow yolk middles with ivory and golden crowns.
They spray forth and lean across the path,
beckoning with promises of more.
Cherry blossoms come early to ensure they
are spring’s star.
As the snowy petals drift to the ground
which signal to the Kwanzan,
which pull irises and azaleas out of the wings.
Suddenly the sky that seemed so big
through the bare exposed branches
The view is seized by
millions of tiny verdant leaves.
You are either lying to them
or to yourself
Which is it?
You have to decide now.
No sitting on the fence,
no double talk,
no side eye, no asides.
It’s time to be all in,
pull the sword, claim the throne.
The bags are packed and the
journey is the destination,
you have long left the station.
Can’t you just see, honey?
You have already
I stand in front of the classroom and
tell my students, You are real writers.
I stand in front of the mirror and