By Janice Ewing
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
Mary Oliver (from “Sometimes”)
These are among my favorite lines from Mary Oliver, and I think that these “instructions” apply to poetry, too. Once again we find ourselves in April, Poetry Month. Many of us have considered the value of giving poetry its special twelfth of the year, versus reading, writing and enjoying it all the time. This year, I’m feeling a little more mellow about that issue. I’ve come to believe that we can immerse ourselves and our students in poetry through all seasons, and still take the month of April to celebrate it with fun and fanfare. Read more
As National Poetry Month draws to its close, we thought we’d share a small trio of poems, written by two of our own here at PAWLP, Lynne Dorfman and Kathy Barham. As you can see, Lynne’s “Country Inn: Imagining a Different Life” draws on rich sensory detail—the “fireplaces crickles and crackles” and “pageantry of brilliant color.” Meanwhile, Kathy’s “Spring” brings the reader up close and personal to Nature in an encounter with a cardinal in springtime, while “Hard to be a Cod” takes playful inspiration from, of all things, a typo. Read more
By Tricia Ebarvia
Every year as April approaches, my colleagues and I gather together to make a decision. What poem will we choose to celebrate National Poetry Month this year?
For the last nine years, students at Conestoga High School have marked National Poetry Month with a celebration known as “One Poem, One ‘Stoga.” Each April, every English class takes a break from its regularly scheduled programming to study one poem together. That means that more than 2,000 students, from 14-year-old freshmen to 18-year-old seniors, read the same poem. It’s one of the few shared experiences students have that transcends age, grade, and academic level. Read more
By Rita Sorrentino
“Poetry doesn’t belong to those who write it, but to those who need it.” These are the sentiments of Mario Ruoppolo in the film Il Postino. Mario, the temporarily employed peasant postman, is introduced to poetry late in his life through a developing friendship with his only client, the briefly exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda’s passion and Mario’s urgency combine in this tender tale of friendship, love and the power of poetry. In a significant segment of the film, Mario enthusiastically tape-records the beautiful sounds of the Mediterranean island. Seagulls, church bells, waves and fishnets symbolize Mario’s life, love and loyalty, and initiate his desire to express his thoughts and feelings in poetry. Read more
By Janet Wong
UPDATE 4/15/15: And we have a winner! Jo Anne Johns – you are the lucky recipient of a copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can put you in touch with Janet. Thanks so much to everyone who participated and left wonderful comments and ideas below.
UPDATE 4/11/15: We’re so happy to announce a GIVEAWAY! Janet Wong has graciously offered to give away a copy of the Teacher / Librarian Edition of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. To enter, simply post a brief comment below and share one of your favorite poetry activities to do with students or how you plan to celebrate poetry this month! Please post your comment by Tuesday, 4/14, at 11:59 pm EST. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday morning.
I agree with Janice Ewing: I too “have mixed feelings about special months designated for things that should be embedded into our teaching and celebrated all through the year.” Poetry is so easy to incorporate into your teaching day; most poems take less than a minute to read. Poetry is so useful, too, especially in teaching other content areas (science, math, social studies, the arts, and P.E. or sports). Saving it just for April would be like saving cake just for birthdays.
But there are some designated months that are still very necessary. Read more