Happy Poetry Friday! Welcome, everyone! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
Two things first:
Teachers, before I move on to my Poetry Friday post, I need your help! I’m revising a picture book and need to find names for several kid characters whose families come from different areas in the world. The kids are not the main characters, but the main characters mention the kids by name. And the kids will be in the illustrations. I want names that are NOT the MOST common name and therefore perhaps a stereotype, but names that are common enough to be recognizable to people of that background. If you’re a teacher and can share given names of students you’ve known over the years and have seen the names at least a couple of times, I’d be so grateful! Or if you can answer from your own personal circle of family and friends, wonderful! I keep getting mired in research, but so many names are used as both surnames and given names and are also gender neutral that it’s tough to come up with names that hint at a clear background and gender. And plenty of non-specific names will be used, too. Specifically, I’m looking for suggestions from the following cultures. (Others are represented but already taken care of.) Multiple suggestions welcome, as these will appear in poems and sometimes I need particular sounds or syllable counts.
- girl – East Asia – India
- girl – Japan
- boy – China
- girl – Saudi Arabia
- girl – Native American
- boy or girl – Nigeria
Thank you so much!
And any Poetry Friday friends who know April Pulley Sayre or simply love her work, she is facing extraordinary medical challenges. If you’d like to contribute a page TODAY with a few words or a beautiful nature image for a virtual book Liz Garton Scanlon and I are putting together, please go here. And if you’d like to contribute to the nonprofit nature conservancy she and her husband Jeff are starting, you can learn more (and a bit more about the medical crisis) here. I know April and her beautiful books have influenced many of us. Here’s a chance to show our care, appreciation, and love.
Okay–hello again! I’m so excited. So. Excited. In 2021, my Poetry Sisters and I are trying something new. We wrote together. Live. Online, but still. All seven of our faces together on one screen. It was magical.
Our prompt for our January poem was to be inspired by words from our birth year, via the Merriam-Webster Time Traveler: https://www.merriam-webster.com/time-traveler/
As we all Muted and went to writing for 35 minutes, I browsed my list of words and copied out the ones that resonated with me in some way:
- bullet train
- bunny slope
- cold call
- cost effective
- domino effect
- found poem
- freak out
- instant replay
- ripple effect
- street smart
And then I began writing. I went free verse, and my poem turned out to be about my arrival in my family–which makes sense since I was thinking about my birth year. My first draft had maybe 7 or 8 of these words, but with each draft, I lost a word, it seemed. I didn’t want them to be quite so obvious, so if they didn’t fit in at least a little bit organically, I tossed them. “Unlinked” was the word I kind of started with, thinking about how in 1966, I unlinked my body from my mom’s body. But that word didn’t even end up staying in the poem. In our discussion afterward, Liz Garton Scanlon commented on how even the words that didn’t stay in the poem delivered (ha!) the poem to me. I love that.
Here’s what I ended up with (draft 5). Might like to play with this one some more!
I can’t wait to see what my Poetry Sisters came up with. We didn’t share our drafts in our Zoom. We just chatted a bit about how we were finding our way in to a poem. Fascinating to hear everyone’s approaches!
Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations.
Want to try our next month’s challenge and post with us? We’d love for you to join us! Here’s the plan: Whenever you’re ready to write, roll a set of metaphor dice and write a poem inspired by your metaphor. If you don’t have metaphor dice, try an online metaphor generator, like this one: https://perchance.org/ve4axzbkx4 Then share your poem on Feb 26 in a post and/or on social media – #PoetryPals. Hope you’ll join us on Feb 26!
And clever and wonderful Jan Annino is rounding up Poetry Friday. Make sure to visit!