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Need a break from the heat? Want to see some amazing art work, being made live, right in front of your eyes? Then come on over to the Poetry Center! Our Children's Corner is undergoing a major face-lift, specifically with a new mural. Come on over to watch local artist, Sid Henderson, paint a mural of a desert bed landscape. While you're there, Sid might even let you test out the river rocks, which are made of chalkboard paint! Once the mural is finished, patrons will be able to write chalk poems and draw pictures on the desert rocks. Pretty cool, huh? Sid will be working on the mural during the week for the next few months, from around 9am - 12 pm. Come on by and watch this amazing mural in progress, right before your very eyes.
Last March, the Poetry Center took their trusty typewriters out to the Tucson Festival of Books. At our booth, we set-up a gaggle of typewriters, and asked the Tucson community to type away! One of the writing prompts we asked was this: "Describe the contents of your pockets or purse." Below are some of the responses. Enjoy!
Contents of my pocket
The contents of my pockets show the true image behind my face
the lint tells a story my mouth never will
the change of past experiences now scatter the floor
pockets now empty
new adventures await my open pockets
to be filled with time and memories from moments long forgotten
pockets change in size
my hands will always fit inside
to be emptied and start anew
When I retired for the day I empty my heavy
River of Words: Images and Poetry in Praise of Water
Edited by Pamela Michael
HeyDay Books, 2003
Today in Tucson, we had an oven-like high of 113 degrees. I rode my bike in the middle of the day, the heat of the day (a mistake), and between shouts of OH-MY-GOSH and DANG-IT’S-HOT and YOU’VE-GOTTA-BE-KIDDING-ME, a desperate question branded my brain: When will the rains come?*
This is a question, a conversation that’s common among Tucsonans. In fact, a good chunk of us abandon the city in the summer. But for the die-hard (read: crazy), we withstand the abuse because we know that the monsoons are on their way.
In light of the recent heat wave, and in anticipation of the forthcoming monsoon season, I can’t think of a more fitting collection of poetry than River of Words: Images and Poetry in Praise of Water. This collection of poems and artwork, written and illustrated by youth, is an initiative through the River of Words® program, which “trains teachers, park rangers, youth leaders, and other educators around the world on ways to incorporate nature and the arts into their own work with children.” Co-founded by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and writer Pamela Michael, the organization promotes literacy, water-shed awareness, and the arts.
Lost & Found
by Shaun Tan
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011
I first came across Shaun Tan’s bestselling Lost & Found when I was at The Harvard Bookstore in Boston. My co-worker’s good friend is the children’s book buyer for the store, and as we were wandering around the stacks, she playfully demanded, “You need to read this book.”
The front cover piqued my attention, grabbed my curiosity. What is that red, industrial looking machine on the cover? What kind of apocalyptic town is this story taking place? Then I flipped to the back cover. Who’s that girl carrying the metal box? Why is she surrounded in darkness? I had many questions. Luckily, the book provided answers. More than answers, Lost & Found does what great children’s literature should do: it presents challenging material to youth in a way that’s easily digestible. The book provides meditations on huge topics like depression, post colonialism, and apathy. Lost & Found is a collection of three stories: The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits. The book takes these big topics and makes them easy to swallow with imagery and metaphors. In The Red Tree, dark imagery and a bleak urban landscape speak to a young girl’s depression and isolation. In The Lost Thing, a huge, red machine that’s lost in the city is paired up with a young boy, and we read into themes of displacement and friendship. In The Rabbits, a phalanx of rabbits invade a country and meditations on post colonialism arise.
The Children’s Area at the Poetry Center is undergoing some exciting new developments. We’re adding a mural, reorganizing the books, and getting some new furniture. As a result, the children’s collection won’t be available to patrons until mid to late August. Thanks for your patience! We’ll be posting updates on the mural’s progress here. In the meantime, check out our Education mascot, Joey, who's hard at work with his hard hat and gold shovel. And starting next week, we'll have exciting new blog posts here on Wordplay. Be sure to visit us!
Hi, everyone! Thank you so much for a wonderful Spring season on Wordplay. Thanks to our awesome contributors, we had some excellent posts this Spring: Recommended Reading lists, Reading Series in the Classroom posts, Book Reviews, Voca posts, Family Days writing, and so much more.
We'll see you back here in June 2013 for a whole new line-up of exciting posts and contributors.
See you soon!
The Wordplay Blog
For this month's Recommended Reading list, Alison Deming--Director of the Creative Writing Program and Creative Writing Professor at the University of Arizona--shares her recommended list of poems for youth. Enjoy!
Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses
Among my favorite poems in this book are “Bed in Summer” and “My Shadow.”
This was my first poetry book as a child. It taught me how musical both language and thoughtfulness can be. Be not afraid of the archaic poeticisms. This book speaks to a child’s inner life.
This past Saturday, we celebrated our last Family Days of the Spring 2013 season at the Poetry Center! Check out some of the awesome writing, generated by students during our Poetry Joey's writing workshops this past weekend. And be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, September 28th, the first Family Days of the Fall 2013 season!
Quiet as a flea
Quiet as a flea, quiet quiet as a bug on a tiny rug
A wall on a ball on a rolly-polly tolly
In California, I do warn you about the California scene
It will haunt you in your dreams forever and ever
Sneek the wall of windows or the wall of widows
Dad or mom of windows or dad or mom of widows
P.S. Was it 8 or 9 windows?
Window wall window wall through all your beautiful windows
Every day what do you see?
Through all your windows do you spy lots of cars on the rough road?
Tiny tiny little bug on your little little rug
This week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of Carmen Giménez Smith. She will read at the Poetry Center on April 25th at 7 p.m., along with J. Michael Martínez and Roberto Tejada. Giménez Smith’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but her poetry also appeals to a K-8 audience. Please print and read her poem “Photo of a Girl on a Beach,” with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. Hope to see you all at the Reading!
1. What words or images are most memorable to you in the poem?
2. Are there any lines or images that stick out to you as odd or quizzical?
3. Pick your favorite line and discuss it with a neighbor. Why did you pick the line?
4. At the end of the poem, there’s an interesting twist with narration. For most of the poem, the narrator is “I,” but by the end of the poem, the narrator shifts to “she.” Who, in your mind, is the girl on the beach? Is it the narrator or some other girl? Or do you have a different explanation?
5. Find a family photo when you go home tonight, and write a short imitation poem, based off of Carmen Giménez Smith’s “Photo of a Girl on a Beach.” For example, the title of your poem could be “Photo of a Grandpa at a Birthday Party.”
Join us for the 2013 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championships at 1:00 pm at the Poetry Center!
The 2013 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championship will be held Saturday, April 20th from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Twenty of Tucson’s most dynamic poets 18-and-under will rock the mic with their original poems in the 3rd annual competition. Judged by the audience, this is poetry that aims to surprise you. The event will feature a performance by nationally recognized performance poet CARLOS CONTRERAS of Albuquerque! The event will also mark the book release of LIBERATION LYRICS written by local students studying pressing social issues through original poetry.
The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam and Liberation Lyrics are programs of Spoken Futures, Inc. This event is made possible in part by the UA Poetry Center, the Tucson Pima Arts Council, the Crossroads Collaborative, Casa Libre en la Solana, Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea and broad community support.
See you there!