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Thursday, November 29, 2018

POETRY FRIDAY IS HERE

Welcome to Poetry Friday! 

I need to begin with an apology. I know people like to post early, and I apologize for being slow. I came home from work, thinking I was going to put my post up, only to discover I had no heat in my house. It's supposed to snow all weekend in Colorado, so I have spent the last four hours tracking down a repairman, who sadly, has declared my furnace to be in the final stages of rigor mortis....

Anyway, on to happier (and less expensive) subjects. I'm a First Round CYBILS Poetry Judge. Several years ago, CYBILS organizers expanded the poetry category to include novels-in-verse. That year,  I think it was 2015, I read HOUSE ARREST by K.A. Holt. I fell in love with Timothy, a middle school kid in a really hard situation. A medically fragile baby brother. A father who can't stand the stress and leaves. A mother who is doing everything she can to take care of her sick child, plus work and provide for her family. The family is in desperate straits, and Timothy, in an effort to help, makes a poor choice and ends up on house arrest. A terrific story.

Now there's a sequel. In KNOCKOUT, Timothy's baby brother, Levi, is now a seventh grader. Timothy has graduated from college and is studying to take the MCAT. Despite some lingering health issues, he desperately wants to be like everyone else, and takes up boxing. He knows his mother and brother won't be happy, so he doesn't tell them. His dad is all for it, at least until he starts having health issues again. Another great coming of age story...

Earlier this week, shortly after I had read KNOCKOUT, I came across a series of tweets on K.A. Holt's Twitter stream. I thought it was a really interesting commentary on novels in verse. It definitely gave me some things to think about as I'm reading for the CYBILS. 


* She followed up with a series of tweets that I totally loved...maybe because it represents some things I've been thinking about over the past few weeks. More than once, I've finished a novel in verse hoping that the author had some process notes in the back. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.…

Holt says (thank you to Karianne for letting me include them in my post):

(Each of them was actually one tweet on K.A. Holt's Twitter feed, but I can't figure out how to format it well).

"I feel compelled to remind them to keep reminding themselves of one very important thing: Verse novels are still poetry. I know that sounds like a silly thing to remind people...

BUT!

You can't just make words on a page look like poetry. You have to use your poetic elements: imagery, metaphor, simile, assonance, consonance... figure out if your characters might benefit from tanka or haiku or sonnets.

Remember…

The coolest thing about verse novels is that you're distilling the essence of a story to feelings, emotions, impressions, and you're letting your readers take all of that on so they can fill in the rest of the story. There's so much trust when you write poetry.

Don't be afraid to trust your readers to get the Big Ideas. They totally will, if you do your job with the poetry. Their experiences and your story will intertwine and create something really beautiful.

I mean... no pressure. ;)

Verse novels are just so incredible for the way they invite readers into the story. The way the poetry creates a wide, safe net of words is almost indescribable. Everyone can find themselves in a poem, because emotions are universal, right? Now imagine a narrative of poems.

Anyway... I could go on and on, but I'll stop. :) I'm just so excited to see so many authors fired up to write verse. We are at the beginning of a poetry explosion, I think. And y'all... I AM HERE FOR IT!!


One more thing... did you know that according to an NEA study in 2017, more people are reading poetry now than at any point in the 15 years the NEA has been conducting the survey? People seek out poetry in times of resistance and strife. We need it now, more than ever.


Today the author had another series of tweets about her thinking as she writes novels in verse…
When I sit down to write a verse novel, one of the things I like to do, is to incorporate different kinds of poetry into my books. I think this makes it extra interesting to readers, and it gives teachers ideas for poetry activities.

For example:


In BRAINS FOR LUNCH, the whole book is haiku. Zombie haiku! With puns. Super fun for kids to try on their own, and popular with students who think they aren’t good poets. (Spoiler: they’re GREAT poets!)




In RHYME SCHEMER, I wanted to try something different, so Kevin discovers found poetry (or blackout poetry). Kids looove creating blackout poems (but be careful with sharpies bleeding through into desks. Ha.)


With HOUSE ARREST, I went for a journal format, because that gave me parameters as an author. I needed a certain amount of poems per week, and that gave me structure. Students keeping poetry journals have structure, and a new way to express emotions — just like Timothy.


I wanted KNOCKOUT to be something completely different, so we tried some shaped poetry. It shows how words can mean different things, and how poetry helps you express yourself in many surprising ways. I also wanted a more visceral notebook for shared thoughts between characters.



The new book, REDWOOD & PONYTAIL, is my most ambitious, poetically. Because it’s dual POV, I want characters to share poems, share thoughts, experience the same things in different ways. I also incorporated a kind of Greek chorus with poems you can read in any direction. Why?



Definitely some things to think about.

Saturday morning:
I finished the Roundup, but I'm having formatting issues. I am going to have to work on it later today.

39 comments:

Alan Wright said...

Carol thank you for highlighting Verse Novels and in particular the writing of K A Holt. I have previously purchased, read and enjoyed, 'Rhyme Schemer,' but now you have alerted me to more possibilities to add to my ever expanding collection of this genre. I shall do some delving on Twitter as well. These alerts have made my day! Thank you for hosting.

Alan Wright said...

https://alanjwrightpoetrypizzazz.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-beginnings-of-poetic-life.html
The origins of my poetic life are revisited this week...

Michelle Kogan said...

Fascinating post Carol, loved hearing all K.A. Holt's comments on writing novels in verse, I'm also looking forward to her new books. Good luck with your heating, I hope it gets fixed soon. Thanks for hosting the Roundup! I'm offering a post on–Giving Flowers of Hope, about the teens in the Tornillo detention center, near El Paso, TX: https://moreart4all.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/poetry-friday-giving-flowers-of-hope/

Little Willow said...

Thanks for hosting! I posted The Flower Press by Chelsea Woodard at my blog, Bildungsroman: https://slayground.livejournal.com/881582.html

Ed DeCaria said...

Congrats on judging the Cybils this year. I had a lot of fun doing it in the past, especially as a first round judge.

And I agree with the author of HOUSE ARREST and KNOCKOUT that we're ready for a poetry explosion!!!

As for Poetry Friday, I've been absent for a long while, but trying to get back to regular posting at TKT. So I posted a new "choose your own adventure" poem just for fun. Link: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/this-houseflys-life-is-in-your-hands-a-choose-your-own-ending-poem/

April Halprin Wayland said...

Wow, Carol...K.A.Holt sounds like she's unstoppable ~ Thanks for introducing me to her work.

And yes, Happy Poetry Friday!

In my post, crow Paul B. Janezko's latest NCTE award and share the backstory of my poem in J.Patrick Lewis' marvelous new anthology,
The Poetry of US: More than 200 poems that celebrate the people, places, and passions of the United States.

https://www.teachingauthors.com/2018/11/the-poetry-of-us-grateful-for-poetry.html
(link goes live Friday, Nov. 30th)

(If you had to write a poem that takes place somewhere in the US, what would it be about?)

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Hello! Thanks so much for hosting! Fats is up today for Poetry Friday. Here's the link:
https://wp.me/pDlzr-jp8

Tabatha said...

Hi Carol! So sorry to hear about your furnace. Ugh!!

Loved hearing K.A. Holt's thoughts -- thanks for sharing them. I have a post with poems by Maggie Smith (not the actor) and Maggie Blake Bailey: https://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-papery-dark.html

Thanks for hosting!

Donna Smith said...

Enjoyed this today!
I have a couple of my poems and a cheerful mouse drawing.
http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2018/11/artwork-and-wordwork.html?m=1 thanks for hosting!

Molly Hogan said...

I suppose more people reading poetry is a silver lining to our crazy times.What a fascinating post about verse novels and K.A. Holt's thoughts about them and poetry in general. Thanks so much for hosting this week! Also, I'm terribly sorry about your furnace. I live in an antique house with an aging furnace and live in fear of a dire diagnosis! Maybe increased fuel efficiency and lower bills will be your silver lining?

Molly Hogan said...

Oops! Here's my link! I'm in with a triolet this week.
https://mbhmaine.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/triolet/

Mitchell Linda said...

Hi Carol, Thanks for hosting! I'm talking craft today with thoughts on creative cross-training over at A Word Edgewise.

https://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/

Linda Mitchell

Mary Lee said...

GAH! Sorry about the furnace! It's always something...or two or three or five!

Thanks (to you AND to Karianne) for including the entire thread of tweets. Lots to think about! I'm definitely following her now!

I've got an original haiku in response to the OSU/Michigan rivalry, and the January-June sign-up for Roundup Hosts.

https://readingyear.blogspot.com/2018/11/poetry-friday-rivalry.html

https://readingyear.blogspot.com/2018/11/poetry-friday-call-for-roundup-hosts.html

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

Morning, Carol! I will be back to read your post this evening, but thank you for posting, and I hope you are warm! Thank you for hosting!

Today at The Poem Farm, I have a letter poem in response to a painting by Jan Irene Miller...a part of SPARK 39!

http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2018/11/spark-letter-poems.html

xx

Ruth said...

Thanks for hosting - so sorry about your heat! I'll be back to read the rest of your post later, but meanwhile, here's my contribution for today. I have a poem about marriage by Margaret Atwood, and one by me. https://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/2018/11/poetry-friday-marriage.html

Author Amok said...

Hi, Carol. Thanks for hosting! I'm pairing COUNTDOWN -- a beautiful verse art book about America's moon missions -- with a new MG novel, Ruby IN THE SKY. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17270333-another-day-as-emily

Brenda Harsham said...

So many great Novels in Verse, including ones by authors in the PF family. I wish those had been a thing when I was a teen. I like the advice you rounded up, too. I love that you are forecasting a Poetry Hurricane. :-) My link is here: https://friendlyfairytales.com/2018/11/29/in-love/

Margaret Simon said...

I was in a session at NCTE with K. A. Holt. She is a great presenter. Thanks for reaching out to her and curating her thoughts. I've written a few naturey poems this week, one about sandpiper murmurations and a haiku about cypress trees. Thanks for hosting. https://reflectionsontheteche.com/2018/11/30/poetry-friday-mesmerizing-nature/

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

So sorry to hear about the furnace, Carol - we went through that just a few years ago. And then found out last year that the actual TANK needed to replaced, as well! Hang in there. Glad we are CYBILS judges this year, so I'm eager to hear what others think of this and some of the other many books we've read through.

Today I'm sharing another response to a poetry prompt from the Highlights poetry workshop in Oct.: https://wp.me/p2DEY3-24e

Robyn Hood Black said...

Hi, Carol - will be right back to read on a real screen. I have wee post about the wee folk today - http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog/posts/17532

Thanks so much for hosting!

Diane Mayr said...

I've spent some time without heat here in New Hampshire, so I feel your pain!

I hope to catch up on some of the novels in verse you've listed--I've missed so many!

At Random Noodling I have an illustrated cherita that touches on the winter blues. http://randomnoodling.blogspot.com/2018/11/poetry-friday-and-so-it-begins.html

Kurious Kitty has "found" a poem for Shirley Chisholm's birthday. http://kuriouskitty.blogspot.com/2018/11/poetry-friday-happy-birthday-shirley.html

Buffy Silverman said...

Hi Carol, I'm rushing out to morning yoga and will be back to read your post later--today I'm sharing "First Snow," my winter poetry swap gift from Irene Latham.
http://buffysilverman.com/blog/?p=1447

Irene Latham said...

Carol, I am sorry about your failed heating! :( Know that you are keeping us all warm in spite of it. And KariAnne's tweets sound just like her speech at NCTE. I do love white space and giving the reader space to engage, feel, relate, etc... thank you for your Cybils reading! It's a big job, but a fun one. Sending love! And my post is all over the place with a look at TRIBE OF MENTORS, some questions and answers that all have poetry at the heart. https://irenelatham.blogspot.com/2018/11/mentors-prophet-and-poetry-as-answer.html Thanks for hosting! xo

Linda B said...

Sorry to hear about your furnace, Carol. Never a dull moment with a house! I've had some plumbing probs this week! And thank you for sharing these threads from K.A. Holt. I loved House Arrest & now need to find Knockout & will note the next ones, too. I have a poem memory written from an Edward Hopper painting today. Thanks for hosting! https://www.teacherdance.org/2018/11/poetry-friday-edward-hopper.html

jama said...

Wonderful post, Carol. I haven't read any of Holt's books and now I must. What gems of wisdom she shared in her tweets!!

Sorry to hear about your furnace. As Linda said, there's always something with a house, unexpected repairs and expenses.

This week I'm featuring Jorge Argueta's first poetry picture book, A Movie in My Pillow/Una pelicula en mi almohada, with information about the Library of Dreams he founded in El Salvador.

https://jamarattigan.com/2018/11/30/review-a-movie-in-my-pillow-una-pelicula-en-mi-almohada-by-jorge-argueta-and-elizabeth-gomez/

Thanks so much for hosting this week. Keep warm!

Erin Mauger said...

Thanks Carol. It is pretty cool how there are more novels in verse being written - which reminds me there's a few on my TBR list that I've been wanting to get to. & it might be an interesting thing to attempt to write if I ever decide to get ambitious. This week I've just written a little poem in response to recently moving house. Keep warm!

https://maugerkid.blogspot.com/2018/12/poetry-friday-send-them-packing.html

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. I'm a huge fan of Kari's too and my post today is about our session at NCTE (with Kari, Janet Wong, and principal Tom Marshall). Link: https://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/2018/11/poetry-principals-and-ncte.html

Elaine Magliaro said...

Carol,

Sorry to hear about your loss of heat. Been there--last winter!

I just received a copy of Knockout. Hope to read it this weekend.

At Wild Rose Reader, I've selected a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay titled "When the Year Grows Old."

http://wildrosereader.blogspot.com/2018/11/when-year-grows-old-by-edna-st-vincent.html

Carol said...

I hope you find a reliable source of heat! I love your blog!
I was a slicer until this past fall and have not sliced for a couple of months now, for a variety of reasons.
However, I am writing daily on my blog - The Apples in My Orchard. I do see some familiar names/blogs on the comment section.
This is just the second or third Poetry Friday to which I've submitted.
I"m so glad I found the link today for the round up - sometimes it seems difficult!

I'm somewhat confused as whether I should be submitting poem I wrote or a link to a book with poems I enjoy.
https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2018/11/30/poetry-friday-oceans-of-trash/
So, I am submitting a poem I wrote this morning, but if I am to do the other let me know and I'll also submit a book of poems I enjoy! Thanks,
Carol

Buffy Silverman said...

Sending you warm thoughts, Carol--hope your house is cozy soon! I went to a novel-in-verse webinar last month that featured KA Holt--not sure I'll ever attempt one, but the webinar was fascinating. Those tweets look like the cliff notes of the webinar!

Jone MacCulloch said...

I have a sneak peek at the companion memoir to Enchanted Air. Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle will be available in February 2019. I have an ARC to share. https://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/poetry-friday-sneak-peak-at-soaring-air-by-margarita-engle/

Jone MacCulloch said...

At Deowriter, I have a haiku and photo. Also a remember to sign up for New Year Postcards (totally different from student poetry postcards).
https://deowriter.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/poetry-friday-november/

Robyn Hood Black said...

Okay, I'm not RIGHT back but I am back to thank you for this fulsome, insighful post and for rounding up today. I hope you have gotten your heat worked out - brrrrr.! WARMest wishes your way.

Catherine Flynn said...

Thank you for hosting today, Carol! I'm sharing a draft of a poem inspired by an image from Google Arts & Culture:
https://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/poetry-friday-finding-a-poem/

Carol Varsalona said...

Carol, thank you for hosting today and I am sorry about your troubles. I really enjoyed your post today and wanted you to know that I heard K.A. Holt speak at NCTE18 a few weeks ago. I am sharing student poetry that will be showcased in my upcoming fall gallery, Abundant Autumn. I am also sharing the slide I presented at NCTE 18 with the student's work. http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2018/11/student-voice.html

Susan Bruck said...

Thanks for hosting today--and thanks for sharing from K.A. Holt. I haven't read any of her books--but I want to! I think it's amazing that anyone can write a whole novel in poetry. And that more people are doing it now is awesome!

I hope your heat is back on by now~
Today I shared a winter's lullaby I wrote for my early childhood class a while back: https://www.soulblossomliving.com/a-winters-lullaby-to-keep-you-warm-on-this-cold-night/blog/

janice Scully said...

Thank you for posting about verse novels and what to remember the writing is still poetry. I will definitely find the work of K. A. Holt. I need to read more of this genre. Thanks again.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

I read House Arrest with you a couple of years ago, and I saw Karianne speak at two different sessions at NCTE. She's one of those geniuses who seems really regular and normal and not intimidating at all.

BUT

she's incredibly insightful and knows how to get all kinds of points across with subtlety and humor.

I'm back, I think, and better late than not at all!

http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2018/12/out-of-sync.html

Mitchell Linda said...

Carol, I feel your pain! On Tuesday our new (and pricey for us) heating and air unit is being installed. There's just never a good time for these things. I've been away at a conference this weekend and am circling back to Poetry Friday now that I am home and settling back into regular life. I so enjoyed what you captured from K.A. Holt's twitter feed. Thank you! At my conference I shared verse books that can do the heavy lifting of history. I've already decided that will be the theme of my post next Poetry Friday. I hope you are warm and cozy soon.