Some Awesome April-is-Poetry Month Links + Two Silly Poems

NaPoMo is overwhelming. Here is a collection of things I’ve salvaged from the onslaught.

The Library of Congress is Uploading 75 Years of Poetry and Literature Recordings


Robert Frost

Yesterday selections from the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress became available to stream online for the first time — the launch of a project digitizing some of their 2,000 recordings from the past 75 years of literature. “I think that reading poetry and prose on the page is important, but there’s nothing that can replace listening to literature read aloud, especially when it is read by the creator of the work.”

International Lit Mag Focuses on Dissidents, Exiles and Asking the Hard Questions


(Review of World Literature Today, March/April 2015 by Nichole Reber)

The Children’s Poetry StoryBox is a physical traveling box that was launched at The Thurber Center in February 2014 and has returned to Columbus, OH.

(I want to do this so much, but it will have to wait until another April….)

story box

At a reception at the Thurber House, you will hear poetry that was begun by famous children’s poets – including current poet laureate Ken Nesbitt, Jane Yule, Georgia Heard, Nikki Grimes, George Ella, Lyons, David Harrison, Alan Wolf – and finished by hundreds of primarily elementary students around the nation.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, All 154, Reimagined Through A New York Lens

(Yes, really, all 154 sonnets, with video. Oh my.)


A crew filming Sonnet 108 at the John T. Brush stairway. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Mr. Williams tried matching sonnets with locations based on their “imagery and rhetorical arguments,” pairing, for example, the legal-minded Sonnet 46 with the State Supreme Court building. He mixed well-known locations, like Grand Central Terminal and the Unisphere, with less familiar ones, like the Holocaust memorial near Madison Square Park.

That’s enough for now. Whew. What a month.

I even wrote a poem, sort of a rant, really, actually two rant-like poems, very much the same. Here’s the second one.

Halloween Poems (in February)

I posted some interesting things on Facebook before this blog was up and running. One was a list of the Halloween Poems that I turned into anti-candy favors for trick-or-treaters who came to my door. This link will take you to the Facebook post where you can see the poems. (You don’t have to use Facebook to read the note.)

I did leave candy, too, with this note. You can’t just leave poems on Halloween. That’s an invitation for a egg to the front door, if I ever heard of one.


Prompt No. 8 for 11/28/13

“Thanksgiving Mad Libs Poem”

This week’s prompt is coming a day early, rather than a day (or two) late. I hope you’ll write a poem this weekend, after eating, relaxing, enjoying family. But I may be the only one who will write one tomorrow. So here’s the prompt for Thursday 11/28/13. I’m calling this the “Thanksgiving Mad Libs Poem.” If you don’t remember what Mad Libs are (or never knew the pleasure of them as a kid) check out this site for an introduction/review. Apparently there are Mad Libs books for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day — but none for Thanksgiving. I’ve used Mad Libs to teach poetry in the past; kids like them and their focus on words is a good warmup exercise for a stubborn class. But this time, I’m creating a poem using Mad Libs idea to create a prompt. Here’s how it works.

Fill in the blanks with words:
Favorite color ______________
Name a kitchen appliance ______________
Name a vegetable ______________
Name a state in the United States ______________
Name a transportation vehicle/mode of transportation ______________
Name a fruit ______________
Name a kind of monster ______________
Name a member of your family who is not coming for Thanksgiving ______________
Name something you like to do in November ______________
Name a type of ball ______________
Name something that smells really good ______________
Name something furry ______________
Name a sound that weather makes ______________
Name a different color ______________
Name an article of clothing ______________
What is your name? ______________

After you’ve done this, get a piece of paper and start writing “I am thankful for -” and then use the words from your list. The poem will work if you let your imagination hop around and if you really think why and how you might be thankful for the things you’ve listed.  If your list was written before you knew the poem would include being thankful for things, your words will be more interesting.

Here’s how I did it.

Favorite color green
Name a kitchen appliance refrigerator
Name a vegetable beets
Name a state in the United States Texas
Name a transportation vehicle/mode of transportation bicycle
Name a fruit persimmon
Name a kind of monster witch
Name a member of your family who is not coming for Thanksgiving my Mom 
Name something you like to do in November look at orange and yellow leaves
Name a type of ball ball of yarn
Name something that smells really good my husband making breakfast
Name something furry kittens 
Name a sound that weather makes wind banging against the house
Name a different color red
Name an article of clothing scarf
What is your name? Jennifer Brown

Now, here’s the “I’m thankful for” poem. It’s a long list poem, and I will probably continue to work on it. But for now, it’s a start and I hope an inspiration to you.

Falling for Persimmons and Yarn

I am thankful for green in the world. Green trees already here and green grass that we know comes with California rain.
I am thankful for refrigerators. The way they keep milk cold. The way they keep yogurt from getting moldy. They way my husband hides enchiladas in the small one and I find them.
I am thankful for beets. I wish we were eating some tomorrow. My dad loved them.
I am thankful for the people who live in Texas who might help that state to become less scary. I wonder if I’ll ever travel there again. I love the sound of the word “Texas” and hope that something wonderful will happen there soon.
I am thankful for bicycles. My yellow and black exercise bike is my new best friend.
I am thankful for persimmons. Oh my yum.
I am thankful for witches. I did not see this one coming and I even created the prompt. Witches have knowledge, wisdom, skinny legs and fabulous hats.
I am thankful for my mom. I wish she were coming to California to be with us now and will come again in the future. I am grateful that my entire family (except me) will be together in Massachusetts. I hope Mom has a good time and doesn’t end up doing all the dishes.
I am thankful for the wild colors of the trees where I live, especially ginkgoes.
I am thankful that balls of yarn exist in the world for kittens to play with and for me to knit with. I love yarn colors and textures.
I am thankful for the love of my husband and the way the house smells when he’s making breakfast for all of us, but especially if he’s teaching our son. Pancakes, French toast, sausage, bacon, eggs, waffles, banana bread, cinnamon rolls, you name it, it smells awesome. And even better when he’s making it with the love that lives in his heart.
I am thankful for our two furry kittens this year. I bet they will like turkey.
I am thankful for the wind that bangs against the house, even though it really scares me and I don’t like it. How to be thankful for something that’s necessary but frightening? An interesting predicament. How fun to get the word predicament into a poem.
I’m running out of steam so I’m going to be thankful now for scarves and for red at the same time: thankful for red scarves and hoping that my daughter will be wearing one when she gets off the plane tonight!
I am thankful for Jennifer Brown. For names that are common but unique in me. For names from my mother and father. For the self that is sometimes hard to love. Thanks.