The Light, a Poem Honoring CLA and Reading Teachers and Researchers

The LightHappy Poetry Friday!

(Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

I’m reflecting on groups today.

First up, the Poetry Princesses, aka Poetry 7, aka Poetry Sisters. We are Liz Garton Scanlon, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Andi Sibley, Tanita S. Davis, Kelly Fineman, Sara L. Holmes, and me. And we’ve been writing poems of a selected form each month and sharing them together every first Friday.

We’re a varied group–educators, librarians, and writers–all with a love of poetry. And that love has overcome, mostly, our insecurities. Whether it’s with Kelly’s vast knowledge, Liz’ always-encouraging nudges, Sara’s awesome science, Andi’s bravery, Tanita’s thoughtfulness about words, or Tricia’s shared resources, or everyone’s kindness, support, and phenomenal, laid-bare poetry, one or the other of them takes my breath away on just about a weekly basis.

Some months, we’ve shared and commented extensively during our writing process. Many months, we’ve come squealing in under the wire, tires melting, barely finishing in time to post publicly! And every month, one or more of us is mostly AWOL from discussion because of particularly heavy personal or professional demands. So the group has been…let’s say fluid and flexible!

And wonderful. This adventure started out as a birthday gift to Tricia, who wished we’d write more poetry together. And now we seven have conquered a year! And we’re looking at 2016 with a certain expectant gleam in our eyes:>)

We’re currently in the midst of a very ambitious collaborative poem right now that we’ll be sharing in January. But you can go here to read last month’s poems and find links to ALL of our previous collaborations!

Then there’s group 2, the amazing Children’s Literature Assembly–a fantastic group dedicated to helping children’s literature educators,  supporting reading research, and spreading book love. CLA celebrated its 40th anniversary at NCTE in November (woohoo!). 

And that led to a temporary group 3. For the CLA celebration, Mary Lee Hahn (happy birthday, Mary Lee!), Janet Wong, and I (all proud CLA board members and/or volunteers) collaborated on a poem. We used the symbolism of lights to honor just a few ways CLA has been and continues to be a light in the world of children’s literature and teacher education.

Here’s our poem–we got to read it out loud together, and a second time, with attendees joining in, at the CLA Reception at NCTE. What a lovely moment that was. Thank you, Janet and Mary Lee, and CLA for asking us to do this in the first place. Janet designed a lovely bookmark featuring our poem on one side, and that’s what I’m sharing with you to the right.

And thank you, my Poetry Sisters. Toasting all of our poetry moments this year!

Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Buffy’s Blog, where you’ll find many more poems to light your way! Her poem and story of recent travel will certainly brighten up your spirits:>)



23 Responses

  1. I can feel the snyergy that lit your group creativity with “The Light.” Appreciations for the links & for the peek into the 7 poetry sisters process, Laura.

  2. Sisterhood of the Traveling Poem ?? 🙂 Yay! Sharing the road (and the light) is one of the best parts about this life. Thank you for sharing about it here, Laura. Wish I could have heard you three reading your poem! xo

    1. The reading by the three of us was pretty straightforward. But the 2nd reading by the whole group of 100 was really amazing. I’m still not sure what exactly happened, because it was not an entirely simple orchestration. Mary Lee just whispered this to me as we got onstage: “Laura&I figured out the 2nd reading–justgowithit.” (Yes, “just go with it” was said as one word.) I went with it–and it was great!

      1. Wasn’t that awesome–pretty much all Mary Lee’s doing. I was just trying (and failing) not to fall off the “mayor’s box,” which I didn’t know was called that until you said it.

  3. I just love what you guys get up to — it’s always so wonderful to see the pictures and hear the stories. So many great connections in the service of books! Cheers!

  4. Love hearing all about your poetry sisters, Laura. There is not much of anything better than writing with good friends. I’ll look for your poem in January.

  5. Three cheers to your Poetry Sisters and to you and Janet in honor of our collaboration. I’m channeling your theme of community with my PF post this week!

    1. I thought the same thing when I read your post about who’s writing along with you on your December haiku. That’s such a lovely thing. Makes me sing “Somewhere Out There” from American Tail :>)

  6. I hate that I was away and couldn’t check in on Friday with everyone else. I love the poem you’ve shared and love your reflections on our work. I am in shock that the year has gone by so quickly. I have so enjoyed having something to work on and towards each month. And I can’t wait to see what happens in 2016.

    1. No worries! Hope you and your sister had a terrific day:>) It’s been a wonderful, poetic year…

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