This was a fun one to model, even if I didn’t follow the idea exactly it was a nice jumping off point for me. Read the original poem Ars Poetica #100: I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander.
Here’s my first draft.
Ars Poetica #1:Learn to See
Let me explain.
Poetry is that first sip of coffee in the morning
a fresh orange
cod liver oil.
Poetry is the exactly right shade of pale yellow
to match the roses that climb the gazebo at the park,
the cinnamon red of my favorite boots
the rusted rims of the old car deserted in the woods.
Poetry is the smell of chopping onions for dinner
wet dog and cotton candy
the garbage can overflowing behind the fish market.
Poetry is my husband’s kiss goodnight
the soft velvet of a hazelnut leaf
A snake. A slug. A snail.
Poetry is my grandson’s giggles
my mother saying “I love you” on the phone
my daughter’s tears.
What do you mean you don’t understand poetry?
It’s all around you.
Susan Taylor Brown
Very nice, Susan. I love your two last lines. Do you know Taylor Mali’s version of this? Have you ever seen him? He was at a conference and I thought he was impressive at both his keynote and workshop. I have a goal to get to the Bowery Poetry Slam sometime!
Thanks, Janet. No, I don’t know Taylor Mali’s version. I’ll have to go look for it. Thanks. Off to find some YouTube videos of him. 🙂 I hope you make it to the slam someday.
Hi Susan, such beautiful imagery here. I especially love “…cinnamon red of my favorite boots” and “my grandson’s giggles.”
I’m enjoying following your poetry project and wish I could participate, but between teaching, a long commute, family- I have to put some things I really want to do on hold. So, I’m printing some of the model poems you’re using and this summer I’ll give it a go and see what happens. I look forward to reading more of your poems this month! Linda
Linda I so appreciate your comments, especially when you are so busy yourself. It helps me feel like I’m not just talking to myself. 🙂
I’m glad you’re enjoying the project and hope you have fun with it when you have a chance to play.
I will try to get you the exact title. I have been reading his book before bed the past few days and had just read his I Believe version. He has a lot on YouTube. Writes a lot about teaching. I am going to try to memorize one to do at the Poetry Olio at IRA, but may not have enough time to learn it. We will see. He has some FUNNY bits mixed in serious and true. Back to your poem, I read it again (yesterday a flurry of reading here and writing there) and I like how you took in all the ordinary things in life to show that poetry filled with what we know can take us to places we don’t sometimes. I am also with Linda. I use this approach with third graders. Mentor poems are magic, but I give free reign, too. Have you seen Laura Purdie Salas’ videos? Short and sweet and something for teachers to use. I am SUPER impressed with the creative friends I have found and made here in the Kidlitosphere and particularly the March Madness and Poetry Friday crowd and others like PACYA with Steve Withrow. I am SOOOOO late to this party but am loving it here. Did you see my guest blog at Irene Latham for the Progressive Poem? Thought you might like to “check me out” a bit.
I just love anything that gets me started thinking about poetry and this one really jumped at me. I usually do a sensory warmup exercise at the beginning of every class where the students pick a word and then brainstorm metaphors using the five senses. It’s a great ice breaker.
I haven’t made the rounds of the poetry month blogs yet. Hoping to do that this weekend and get caught up. Will look for your post.
Yes, I’ve seen Laura’s wonderful posts. She’s a long time friend and so extremely talented.
This poem I was thinking of is Silver-Lined Heart. May relate to an earlier poem I read here. His book The Last Time as We Are is the one I have been reading.
He has a great website.
Also he grows his hair for locks for love, cuts and grows again. Very interesting guy……
BIRTH OF A POEM
Every poem is unique
For every word is chosen
Crafted from an inner voice
Or many voices united
Words come to life
A masterpiece unfolds
With meaning, conviction
To inspire many
It evolves from the heart
Like an obsession
That can only be starved
Once the words are written
Some have a clear message
Others are filled with fun
Taking you on a journey
Poetry is an adventure
Conceived from a single thought
That can leave your own mark
On the world forever
– Anne McKenna
You are leaving your mark for sure, Anne. Way to go!