Earth Day Poetry: Upcycled Poetry Books

Upcycled Poetry Book picture I’m so excited about this program which is fast approaching! Next Thursday (4/26), I’m hosting an Upcycled Poetry Book workshop in honor of Earth Day and National Poetry Month.

This program is a little different from past workshops. It began months ago when I talked to local writer and artist Keiko O’Leary about doing a joint program. When Keiko and I got together to discuss possible programs, she mentioned Earth Day. I loved the idea, and we decided to go home and play around with different recycled books.

At home, I tried several types of book styles from recycled materials, but as soon as I saw this “blossom” style accordion book (thank you crafter Jen of Eve for the inspiration from her Smash Book series!) I knew it was the one!

I quickly made a prototype and couldn’t wait to share my discovery with Keiko. She loved it, too, and made this handy video that shows how it opens and closes (thanks, Keiko!) Here are some photos of the prototype I made! (The pages in the photos have yet to receive their poems.)

I hope you’ll join me at this free workshop! At the event, we’ll open with a quick poetry warm-up exercise, then Keiko will teach some hand lettering techniques so we can make our books even more beautiful. Finally, we’ll spend time constructing our books from recycled materials, then transcribe poetry onto the pages of the books.

Participants should bring their own poetry if they’d like to transcribe their own work OR a favorite poem (or two) by another writer. I will also have poetry on hand for those who would like to choose poems at the workshop. Additionally, all book-making materials will be provided, but participants may bring their own recycled papers, favorite magazines, etc., to use for making the cover if desired.

To register, simply email me! Hope to see you there!

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National Poetry Month: Poetry Postcards

During National Poetry Month, it’s fun to celebrate poetry in small, unexpected ways. The other day, I received this postcard in the mail:

It was delightful to catch this snippet of poetry in my hands, particularly because it was so unexpected and surprising. It made me think that sending a poetry postcard is the perfect way to celebrate creativity and create delight for someone else.

The rules are simple:

  • Write a poem (or part of a poem) on a postcard
  • Be sure to include the title and author (if you’re sending the card anonymously and including something you wrote, you may leave the author off the card – just be sure to credit someone else’s work)
  • Send to friend, acquaintance, small business, etc.

That’s it! Simple and easy, yet powerful.

If you send or receive a postcard, drop me a note in the comments section and let me know about the experience!

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Creativity Workshop: Word Collage!

try-something-newWhat a fantastic morning today at the Cupertino Senior Center with an amazing bunch of creative woman! I am grateful to have spent this time in community with each and every one of them. Here is a partial sampling of the creative work that resulted from today’s workshop on Word Collage. Amazing!

The idea behind Word Collage Poetry is to focus on connections and patterns and create meaning from the juxtaposition of language and images. The poet can then let the work stand or can continue to explore the connection and revise. Thank you, all, for a phenomenal Thursday!

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National Poetry Month: PLAYING WITH FORM!

national poetry month 2It’s April and that means it is National Poetry Month! Even though I love a good celebration as much as the next person, I can’t help but wonder what does it really mean to have a National Poetry Month?

On one level, it means there’s an increase each April (since 1966 when NPM began) in poetry awareness and appreciation, which means it can be easier to find a poetry-related event in our community or a book about poetry at the library. This is exciting and fun to see because poetry often gets overlooked amidst the prose. And during April, most schools teach poetry-related lessons, which is phenomenal because I love thinking about kids having fun with poetry.

But still I wondered, What does it mean for me, the aspiring poet, at the most basic and personal level?

I’ve decided that beyond the sense of belonging a month of national celebration evokes, NPM meant for me, personally, it is time to try new things, new forms, new language, new ideas. A time to be a bit reckless and whimsical. A time to truly embrace poetry as a means of capturing the abstract, of painting with language, of experimenting with sound. A time to be brave with words.

Hand-drawn light bulb over bright colorful blots of paint, on wh

In the UK, they celebrate National Poetry Day in October, and it just so happened one October a few years ago in honor of the UK NPD I was flipping through The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop and learned about a form of poetry previously unknown to me – the sonnenizio. It was a moment of pure joy – a new form, a sparkly name… time to play!

Poet Kim Addonizio made up the form by playing with a sonnet. Thus the name, sonnenizio (sonnet + Addonizio) was born.  The rules are simple:

  • Borrow a line from someone else’s sonnet
  • Take a word from that line and repeat it in every other line (in some form – homonyms work!) in the poem
  • In true sonnet form, the poem should be 14 lines and the last two should rhyme 

try-something-newIn honor of National Poetry Month, I encourage you to play with the form. Even if you don’t consider yourself a poet, stretching yourself with a little poetry will work wonders for the rest of your creative life.

And if you do write something, let me know! I’m collecting poems inspired by Cupertino Poet Laureate events for publication in a community anthology. So email me with “Anthology” in the subject line with your sonnenizio (or poem in any other form!) or use the contact form on this website if you’d like to see your work included!

For inspiration, here’s an example by the inventor of the sonnenizio, Kim Addonizio, I found on Genius.com:

Sonnenizio on a Line from Drayton
by Kim Addonizio

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part;
or kiss anyway, let’s start with that, with the kissing part,
because it’s better than the parting part, isn’t it –
we’re good at kissing, we like how that part goes:
we part our lips, our mouths get near and nearer,
then we’re close, my breasts, your chest, our bodies partway
to making love, so we might as well, part of me thinks –
the wrong part, I know, the bad part, but still
let’s pretend we’re at that party where we met
and scandalized everyone, remember that part? Hold me
like that again, unbutton my shirt, part of you
wants to I can tell, I’m touching that part and it says
yes, the ardent partisan, let it win you over,
it’s hopeless, come, we’ll kiss and part forever.

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Lunch Hour Poetry!

The Modern Sonnet ShakespeareI’ve been having a blast running the Lunch Hour Language Artists workshops. Last week, we met for Session 1: Workshop 3 – The Modern Sonnet. I continue to be humbled by the amazing work that participants generate every session, and The Modern Sonnet was no exception.

The sonnet can be a daunting form, so to kick things off and get us in the spirit we broke into four groups and completed a group sonnet. The first three groups each wrote four lines in A-B-A-B rhyming pattern, and the fourth group wrote two stand-alone couplets. We then combined each groups’ work to form an English (or Shakespearean) sonnet. The couplet group listened to the first three sets of lines before choosing which couplet they felt best fit the poem.

It was a fun experience to watch unfold, and it helped the workshop participants loosen up and get into the mindset of sonnet writing (I hope!). If you haven’t joined us for an LHLA workshop, next week is your chance – we’ll be diving into our final form, cinquain!

Lunch-Hour-Language-Artists Sonnet #1

The flickering warmth of a candle light,
a beacon shining through the dark.
The warmth of your hug is my delight
enveloping my heart with your loving bark.
A Valentine, a lacy, red, dripping heart;
I give to you. What will you give to me?
My heart and gifts fill an every-growing cart
that overflows until we make our love into three.
Love is surprising, catches us off guard;
pulls me in undiscovered directions,
blurs my senses, stumbles into my backyard;
hijacks my unrelented affection –
but since I don’t possess a Shakespearean wit
I was not able to finish it.

15 March 2018

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Lunch Hour Language Artists – Workshop 2!

Write a Blackout PoemI had so much fun at the first Lunch Hour Language Artists workshop on Golden Shovel poetry, that I have been bursting at the seams thinking about the second workshop in the series on erasure (or blackout) poetry! We are going to have a great time learning about this unique form and try our hand a crafting a new poem or two. If you’re interested in attending, simply email me for more information or to be put on the reservation list! We will meet this Thursday (3/1) from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm at the Cupertino Library.
Hope to see you there! 

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Community Poetry Night – Celebrating the Lunar New Year!

chinese-new-year-2018Yesterday (Feb. 8, 2018), I had the pleasure of hosting my first Community Poetry Night as Cupertino Poet Laureate. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the evening special! With over 30 attendees present it was an exciting night, and your presence was a wonderful way to kick off the Lunar New Year & Spring Festival season.

Most importantly, I feel grateful and inspired after listening to everyone read their poetry or put their voice and emotional stamp on the poetry of others. What an amazing gift all of you have given to me and to each other. I look forward to hosting many more Community Poetry Nights during my term.

Over the next two years, one of my goals is to gather work from local poets and poetry enthusiasts, and to put them together in an anthology. If you’re interested in being a part of this project, please stay posted for more information and/or send in your work via email. If you would like to send in a poem from the reading, please feel free to email your work to me for a future compilation! 

Here are some photos from the evening … and if you have pictures to share, please email them to me at poetlaureate@cupertino.org!

Photos courtesy of Alex McCormick (c) 2018.

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Poetry Comes to Storytime!

animated-clipart-groundhog-12On Monday (January 29th), I had the privilege of reading both a story book and poetry to the Storytime gang at the Cupertino Library. In honor of the holiday approaching this Friday, our theme was Groundhog Day! I had a blast working with Elizabeth, one of the children’s librarians, and all of the amazing little people who attended the event. I especially loved asking our little groundhogs what their weather predictions were for Cupertino. I’m happy to report that with only one or two exceptions, the Cupertino Groundhogs predict and early spring!  I’m definitely looking forward to bringing poetry to Storytime again!

Here are some photos from the event, and below you can read one of the Groundhog Day poems we decorated and enjoyed!

Event Photos:

Photos courtesy of Alex McCormick (c) 2018.

Groundhog Day Poem & Picture:

GHD poem and picture

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Celebrating Generosity – Nature Comes Alive

Saturday, June 24, 2017 a gathering of 30 in the Story Room at Cupertino Library celebrated the generosity of nature through poems read by our Cupertino Poet Laureate Ann Muto, and others.

Fred Brown, a fellow docent at Pt. Lobos came from Carmel to share his poetry, mostly tributes to aspects of Pt. Lobos that catch his fancy. Ann Muto and her husband Art are long-time docents at Pt. Lobos and so she shared her writings specific to her experiences there, as well as other nature poems.
Open Mic readings were shared by several who have participated in the various Poet Laureate workshops throughout the year, most specifically at McClellan Ranch Preserve. Additional poetry was shared, including works by the Poet Laureate founder, Ron Miller, who also facilitates the Poetry Circle at the YMCA. Parthinia Hicks, the former Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, read as well.
The collective sentiment of the participants and the attendees was that they experienced nature at its best “and some darn good poetry.”
The Cupertino Poet Laureate Selection Committee is now soliciting applicants for the Poet Laureate position to serve from January 1, 2018-December 31, 2019. Please email for an application: poetlaureate@cupertino.org.

 

 

Students at Eaton Learn Pantoum

Early June 2017, Cupertino Poet Laureate Ann Muto visited the 5th grade class of Patricia Biocini. They explored the poetry style called “pantoum.” The lines are grouped into quatrains (4-line stanzas). The final line of the Pantoum must be the same as its first line. The Pantoum has a rhyme scheme of abab in each quatrain.

While this style can seem intimidating, the students were willing to give it a try.

Below are samples from the class, shared with their permission. They exemplify what we can do when we just try!  Give the pantoum a try yourself!

Unicorn Traffic

There was a crash on Magical Lane
Unicorns are cramped
Cloud caution tape in a square
They call 9-sparkle-1-1-glitter

Unicorns are cramped
There is chaos everywhere
They call 9-sparkle-1-1-glitter
Unicorn police are on their way

There is chaos everywhere
Glitter and sparkles everywhere
Unicorn police are on their way
Rainbows flying through the air

Glitter and sparkles everywhere
Cloud caution tape in a square
Rainbows flying through the air
There is traffic on Magical Lane

By Aditi Gangasani and Sierra Chen

The Bakery

I peer through the window and I see a bakery
Pies cakes and pastries
People line up at the counter
Bakers working hard inside

Pies, cakes, and pastries
Delicious smells come from inside
Bakers working hard inside
Smiling faces everywhere

Delicious smells come from inside
Tip jar full of money
Smiling faces everywhere
Different flavors galore

Tip jar full of money
People line up at the counter
Different flavors galore
I peer through the window and I see a bakery

By Aditi Gangasani and Sierra Chen

The Sea Turtle Swims Along

The Sea Turtle swims along
Its shell glitters in the sun
Floating calmly in the sea
Nibbling on sponge coral

It’s shell glitters in the sun
Swimming swiftly from a shark
Nibbling on sponge coral
Playing in the sea

Swimming swiftly from a shark
Taking shelter in the coral
Playing in the sea
Watching fish swim by

Taking Shelter in the coral
Floating calmly in the sea
Watching fish swim by
The Sea Turtle swims along

By Savi Kolari

In the Ocean

While swimming in the ocean,
Seeing stingray swim above me,
Bubbles popping at the touch of coral,
Kelp floating in the sea.

Seeing stingray swim above me,
Turtles nibbling on coral,
Kelp floating in the sea,
Sharks racing through the ocean

Turtles nibbling on coral,
A school of fish swim past,
Sharks racing through the ocean,
Waves crashing through the water

A school of fish swim past,
Bubbles popping at the touch of coral,
Waves crashing through the water,
While swimming in the ocean

By Savi Kolari

Millie The Cat

Millie the cat!
Pouncing on string
Laying in warm sunshine
Nibbling on juicy tuna

Pouncing on string
Paws as white and fluffy as snow
Nibbling on juicy tuna
Rushing up and down the stairs.

Paws as white and fluffy as snow
Part ginger, part tabby, part every breed
Rushing up and down the stairs.
Who is this wonderful fatty?

Part ginger, part tabby, part every breed
Laying in warm sunshine
Who is this wonderful fatty?
Millie the cat!

By Jolie Han (Catalina Mao), Jennifer Hu, and Tahlia Wu

The Cat on The Moon

The cat on the moon,
Beautiful and black,
She’s the one who brings good luck,
Although she’s stuck in the sky.

Beautiful and black,
She watches over everyone,
Although she’s stuck in the sky,
She will always be there for us.

She watches over everyone,
Though she is not well-known,
She will always be there for us,
And her name is Shadowed Night.

Though she is not well-known,
She’s the one who brings good luck,
And her name is Shadowed Night,
The cat on the moon.

By Jolie Han(Catalina Mao) She will always be there for us

Sick Johnny

Johnny was sick
Maybe he was tired
He could of been choking
He might have been faking

Maybe he was tired
Or he was just out of breath
He might have been faking
He drank a lot of water

Or he was just out of breath
He ran 10 miles
He drank a lot of water
He was starting to sleep

He ran 10 miles
He could have been choking
He was starting to sleep
Johnny was sick

By Aayan Rizvi ™