Take 2: Driving Through Farm Country and Heart of Earth Choral Work

Logo by Linda Mitchell

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

I’m just back from Texas, where I got to share with educators about poetry and also about mentor texts for informational writing. It was an awesome conference and a short, intense, very hot trip! My blog comments were broken last week, and I think they’re working now, so I’m going to repost for this week. I don’t usually do that, but I’m eager for answers to the question I ask below the poetryaction. Thank you to folks like Carol V. who shared my post last week, and to Mary Lee and others who let me know comments weren’t working, and to Marcie, who gave her thoughts on my question in an email. I’m grateful to all of you. Now, for take 2!

This week, I’m sharing a poetryaction to a terrific new rhyming picture book called Thank a Farmer, by Maria Gianferrari and Monica Mikai. The first one I wrote was sort of a food chant, but it didn’t have any heart in it. So this is the first draft of a second version. (You can see all my poetryactions here.)

Also, a question for those of you who post your poems as graphics (like I do below) and also as written out text: Why? I’m wondering about the primary reasons for presenting it both ways. Is your main reason readability? Accessibility? Searchability? Anti-plagiarism? Would love to hear why folks do both so I can see what changes I need to make. Thank you!

Also, remember how a couple of weeks ago I told you that composer Shruthi Rajasekar had adapted some lines from my poems to use in a choral work, “Heart of Earth”? Well, it premiered at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and then it was broadcast on BBC3 last week. You can listen to it here! At about 17:38, you hear clapping. Shruthi made this song kind of a community event, with group clapping along with the singing. For the performance, the singers were seated in the audience, and the clappers were on stage. So the balance of clapping versus voice is a bit uneven in the recording, since the mics were on stage. “Heart of Earth” ends around 21:15. The whole concert is full of beautiful music, including two other compositions by Shruthi. It’ll only be available online until about July 22, 2023, so listen while you can!

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with educator/artist/poet Linda Mitchell (who also made the Poetry Friday logo above).


16 Responses

  1. Thanks, Laura. I enjoyed this post–it evokes many drives through rural Minnesota.

  2. I love the music and the hat tip to farmers…I grew up around farmers in western NYS. Farmers work so hard with all kinds of variables that are tough to beat. I appreciate them.

  3. Laura, the music is gorgeous! I love the audience participation. Like Linda, I grew up in Western NYS and knew farmers who worked so hard to make enough money to do it all again the next year. In answer to your question, I have posted both an image and the text of a poem primarily for readability because I felt the text got lost in the photo. I would be interested to know if others do it for a different reason as well.

    1. Thanks for weighing in. I may have to do a post and share Marcie’s email (with her permission), because I’m trying to figure it it out for myself :>D

  4. I’m not sure what prompts me to post my poems with images. But my summer poetry project has been to write ekphrastic poems. I’m sending them as gifts for my 2023 Summer Poetry Swap partners.

  5. Hi Laura! I finally made it to Poetry Friday! I love your poem-very reflective. Also, so cool about someone using your poem for a choral!

  6. Great tribute to farmers! I really like the lines “gold and green squares with black crow polka dots” And congrats on having your words set to music. Lovely!

  7. I love the progression of your poem–how it begins with you in a car filled with “story and a/c”, then moves to the farmer and his story and then merges you both in your restaurant meal. I’ve been thinking a lot about farmers with the crazy weather we’ve been having. In answer to your question, I typically post image and poem for readability. As I write that, I’m thinking that if readability is a potential issue, I should probably rework my image! There are some issues that might arise with different devices though… Food for thought! Glad you had a great trip to TX and I just love that your words have been set to music ! Congratulations again!

    1. Thanks–and thank you for your thoughts on posting image and poem separately…

  8. Thanks for sharing your poem tribute to farmers. I love “black crow polkadots.” This book looks like a wonderful resource to raise awareness of the important job farmers do. Do you know I Am Farmer by Miranda and Baptiste Paul? Your words put to music in a choral work and broadcast by the BBC- very cool!

  9. What a tribute to the poetry book. i love “black crow polkadots.” You raise a really great question about using both graphic and text. I am inconsistent but it makes sense to have both for readability and access.

  10. Many Congrats on your words intertwined in this beautiful and rich piece, what an honor–and wish it was around longer to listen to again! I too like the shift in your poem from I to the man in the poem, I can feel the emotion and struggle in your poem. In response to your posting of poems, I often post an image with words combined like yours, but also with the text separately, mainly for the viewers ease in reading, as all can’t always navigate the words in the image as well as the words alone, thanks for all Laura!

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