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Showing posts from March, 2018

Wonderful, Wild Wordplay

I recently had the pleasure of conducting a workshop on Wordplay and its important role in growing writers. Here are some of the messages I was able to share with participants. Trust they add to your thinking around the teaching of writing...

Wordplay is such an omnipotent thing. It is unavoidable. Conversation, songs, TV shows advertisements, literature , greeting cards, brochures magazines and newspapers all employ word play abundantly. Everywhere we go, it leaps out at us.

In many schools however the study of words, has over time, been shrunken down to mean little more than reading and vocabulary knowledge. And yet, I still recall my teachers encouraging me to play with malapropisms, oxymorons, listen for tautology and wonder at the mystery of invented words in Lewis Carroll's poem 'Jabberwocky.' I recall the fun we had creating rhyming couplets and discovering palindromic words. At home, my father regularly engaged me in wordplay and riddles. There were also a fair smatt…

Hard Lines Poem

We sometimes can't avoid lines. Often, we resent having to stand in line and wait for extended periods of time. Waiting, waiting, waiting...
Lines are a fact of life however. Maybe, we should put the time we spend waiting in line to more productive use. Hhm?

Recently, as I stood in line at my local bank with at least twelve people ahead of me, I began to think how I could 'make' a poem based on my line experience. 

In my mind I took myself to a different time and place. A place in a queue a long way from the bank. I began to rehearse my words. I could feel a poem forming in my head. It helped me pass the waiting time. Poetry can happen anywhere, anytime. We just have to be ready to receive the words that come floating in our direction.

So now it's time for me to put it all on the line...

Hard Lines

I stand in line
A line stretching forever
A line for which I have no time
A line for which I have no mind
Not even a line in the sand
Not the line of least resistance
Not a fine line

Celebrating Everyday Matters

The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda exalted the basic things of our daily existence. He celebrated the mundane in ways that were quite extraordinary. Through his poetry he discovered beauty in everyday  moments and objects, making them appear remarkable and worthy of sharing. Check out Pablo Neruda'sOde To My Socks.

I also recommend Valerie Worth's book, 'All the Small Poems And 14 More.'  Worth celebrates a range of everyday earthly wonders. Each poem a precise tribute to ordinary things. These poets have taught me to recognize the innate value of everyday objects and events.

When we sit quietly for a while, we begin to notice the beauty surrounding us. We develop a renewed appreciation for the seemingly invisible events that make up our lives. Young writers and poets need exposure to such potentially rewarding activities. Beauty exists in simple, everyday tasks and pleasures. We must show them how we engage in the celebration of the everyday, -how we smell the roses...


Poetry Friday- Billy Collins: Introduction To Poetry

I am keen to share this Billy Collins poem with you, dear readers. It so precisely sums up what a poet wishes a reader will do with the words they have created. The poem reveals the poet's desire to have the essence of the poem embraced. It speaks of his regret about what so often befalls a poem. In the hands of misguided meaning seekers poems are frequently torn apart; their beauty is lost. Once more, let us revel in the words Billy Collins provides. Let them gently seep into your consciousness. Let them reach your poet's heart.

Introduction To Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light 
like a colour slide
or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They …