Divider Graphic

Middle school

Halloween Poems from Family Days

Photo Credit: Cybele KnowlesOur very own Family Days veteran, Danielle Wing, was recently featured on Arizona Public Media's "Arizona Spotlight" with Mark McLemore, reciting some Halloween poems from Family Days! Check out this link for more!

And since today is Halloween, we thought it'd be fitting to share with you some of our favorite Halloween poems on Wordplay. Each of these poems was written at our last Family Days on Saturday, October 13th. Enjoy, all ye ghouls and goblins!

Go Inside a Bat

Fuzzy felt and a flute
Tap music and a cold black
Night and an old oak tree
And Mars as bright
As the sun and a
Black light and a
Jet plane and a high
Pitch sound like a
Scream and a King
of hearts and a
Dust cloud and a key
hole and blue bells
Lightning was the bat's name
Died from a bug bite

--Danielle, 10

Created on: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Reading Series in the Classroom: Carl Phillips

Carl PhillipsThis week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of Carl Phillips. Phillips will read at the Poetry Center this Thursday, November 1st at 7:00 p.m. Phillips's reading will be best suited for high school students, but his poetry also appeals to a K-5 audience. Please print and read Phillip's poem, Civilization, with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. Also, to encourage your students to answer the writing prompts, we've included this Extra Credit Worksheet, which you can download, print, and hand-out to your students. Finally, as extension activites, feel free to check out this great reading and interview with Carl Phillips on PBS Newshour's Art Beat. Also, local poet and teacher, Christopher Nelson, shares his insights about teaching the Poetry Center's Reading Series in the Classroom in this great interview on Wordplay. Hope to see you all at the reading on Thursday!

1. In "Civilization," Phillips often inserts italicized snippets of dialogue into the poem. In a journal or on a piece of paper, record dialogue that you hear throughout the day. Then, write a poem, inserting bits of the dialogue that you heard in italics.

Created on: 
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Zaza Karaim

Zaza KaraimZaza Karaim is thirteen years old and an eighth grader at St. Michael's Parish Day School. She loves writing poetry and playing guitar. Zaza volunteered this past summer at the Poetry Center's annual Creative Writing camp. Below are a selection of her poems that she has graciously shared with Wordplay.

The Bamboo Tree

The green bamboo leaves
Twirl through the summer air
The stalks stand firmly
Their roots in the ground
Their fingers in the air
The light shines through the branches
And splatters the ground
With bright shapes
The wind blows
And the shapes dance around
On the soft dirt
Never the same.

Created on: 
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marge Pellegrino recommends...

Marge PellegrinoMarge Pellegrino recommends...

Poetry books for children make wonderful springboards to writing. Anyone who's been to a Family Days' event at the Poetry Center has witnessed the excitement that can ensue when the just-right poem inspires original words.

Since I've only got room for ten, I'll include books I've used more than a few times because they work with students and intergenerational groups in school, library and community settings:

For eight to twelve year olds:

  • Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is a dare book. I dare you to read it and not write a poem in response. This novel in verse begins with Jack writing an assigned poem: "I don't want to/because boys/don't write poetry." Seven poems from the likes of William Carlos Williams, William Blake and Robert Frost inspire some of Jack's poetry. The result is a heart-tugging narrative with a sampling of a variety of poetry styles.
     
  • Farm Kid by Sherryl Clark kicks off with a list poem “Farm” and finishes up with a poignant “Moving Day.” In between, Zack introduces us to the place he loves, all the more dear for the drought that will ultimately drive him away; “I can’t look/hard enough/ can’t see all the things I need to remember….” What would you want to remember if you needed to leave the place you loved?
     
  • A Light in the Attic, poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein, is a classic, but viewed through the lens of recent creativity research, the poems feel fresh. Most children I know are most creative when adults don’t reign those “what if” wanderings. Conversations spun from poems like “HOW TO MAKE A SWING/WITH NO ROPE/ OR BOARD OR NAILS” is just the ticket to get anyone of any age thinking in ways that can nurture their own fun word adventures.
Created on: 
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Exploring the Elegy

Jeannie WoodJeannie Wood is a junior at the University of Arizona studying poetry, astronomy, and Latin. She’s from Northern Arizona and spends her time writing for the Daily Wildcat, playing rough with UA’s Derby Cats, and biking. She enjoys disappearing into different areas of the state, and parts of California, on weekends.

It’s October, which is the greatest month of the year because it brings Halloween. I don’t know about you, but Halloween is my favorite holiday -- we get to dress up wildly (or not) and gorge on sweet delicious things (or not) and spend a whole night having fun and enacting another world for a while (or not...but why not?) Not to mention, Tucson starts cooling down a little bit, giving us all a little break. In honor of this ghoulish month, we’re going to look at elegies, poems for the dead.

According to the Academy of American Poets, the elegy started as a poetic response to death in a metrical form. These days, an elegy isn’t always in metrical form, in fact, the two we’ll listen to aren’t, but all elegies traditionally mirror the three stages of loss 1.) expression of grief and sorrow 2.) idealization of the dead by admiration, and 3.) consolation.

David Wojahn’s White Lanterns is a seven-part elegy about the speaker’s accountant mother. Listen here, and read along here. What’s neat about this poem, is that it plays with time throughout the whole piece. Wojahn takes us back and forth from the 1960’s to the late 1980’s, showing the mother in her younger years from a child’s perspective, and then to her aging and ultimate death. Wojahn also weaves us through the three stages previously mentioned, but they aren’t in any overt order-- something the temporal changes aid. The speaker is obsessed with his mother’s lipstick, a characteristic that represents her younger vitality and precision, the latter being an important and constant attribute the speaker is sure to bring to our attention.

Created on: 
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guest Blogger: Zaza Karaim

Zaza KaraimZaza Karaim is thirteen years old and is an eighth grader at St. Michael's Parish Day School. She loves writing poetry and playing guitar. Zaza volunteered this past summer at the Poetry Center's annual Creative Writing camp. Below are a selection of her poems that she has graciously shared with Wordplay.

The Book

                —a poem from Lady Gaga’s point of view

It’s a book.
But it could be a hat.
Or a shoe.
Or an earring.

Perhaps I could have it surgically attached to my knee
Or I could weave the pages together
And make it into a mitten.
Or I could sing a song about it
Or have it tattooed on my shoulder!

Or—
Maybe, just maybe,
I could read it.

Created on: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Family Days Fiction: From Jupiter, Well, I'm From MARS

Photo Credit: Cybele KnowlesIn anticipation of our next Family Days on Saturday, October 13th, we'd like to share some collaborative fiction pieces from a previous Family Days. Enjoy!

From Jupiter, Well, I'm From MARS

     "Ouch! Loser," Anne cried as she tripped on my red sandal.

     "Next time, be a litte more careful," I sneered, hiding my guilt.

      "Nice work Jessie," my "bff" Chelsea said, high fiving me. Ever since I'd started trying to fit in, I had to be mean. These people weren't my friends! But it would take a long time for me to realize that those "popular" people were actually just using me.

     I began to spend more time in the attic after supper, not for any particular reason, except perhaps that my subconscious was bored already with socializing with mundane people. One night, my mother didn't come to get me like she usually did. That was the night I found an object hidden in a chest behind some boxes.

     I carefully peeked into the chest. I was expecting something marvelous, something that would change my life. Perhaps some kind of treasure that was hidden thousands of years ago by some famous pirates. But instead, what I found was a piece of pizza.

     "Mmm... pizza," I said aloud. I looked around, made sure no one was watching, picked it up, and ate it! But immediately after I finished, I knew something was wrong.

     I started to grow talons and feathers, my nose stretched out and became a sharp beak. Could it be true? Was I becoming an eagle of hope? It was everyone's dream to be one. I could fly around and drop hope into people's heads. That's where people got the idea about birds.

     At last, I was happy.

Created on: 
Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Blogger: Zaza Karaim

Zaza KaraimZaza Karaim is thirteen years old and will be entering eighth grade at St. Michael's Parish Day School this coming fall. She loves writing poetry and playing guitar. Zaza volunteered this past summer at the Poetry Center's annual Creative Writing Camp. Below are a selection of her poems that she has graciously shared with Wordplay.

The White Cat Under a Shredded Black Cloak

The stars are holes in the dark night
The small points where day seeps through
A white cat under a shredded black cloak

The moon was the sun’s dearest friend
Peacefully willing to sleep through the day
But they fought one day and it was never the same

Earth longs to sparkle like the sun
So we light our torches
The sun laughs as our candles flicker and die

The earth and the sun and the moon
The twirling paparazzi and the smiling star
So different from the lonely white spot in the night
Yet still, at dawn, they all hold hands

Created on: 
Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joni Wallace Recommends...

Joni WallaceJoni Wallace recommends…

1.  Alphabet Poem, Nonsense Alphabet, Edward Lear, The complete Verse and Other Nonsense, Penguin Books, 2002.

Lear’s abecedarians slyly introduce symbol, i.e. letter as sound, stage, scaffold, prop and actor in a kind of Jack and Jill tumbler. Kindergarten.

2, 3. Snow Piece and Drinking Piece for Orchestra, Yoko Ono, Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings, Simon and Schuster (2000).

Ono shows – never tells – how to hear with the acutest ear, how to see with that same eye, how to be listener, artist, poet. Each piece is an irresistible invitation to imagine. Get the book. You’ll fall in love. Kindergarten and up.

4. Maggie and Milly and Molly and Mae, e.e. cummings, The Complete Poems: 1904-1962, Liverwright Publishing Corporation, 1991.

“All that we call the world is the shadow of that substance which you are,” wrote Emerson. Each of four girls finds self-reflection in the sea. Grades 3 – 5, particularly girls.

Created on: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Animated GIFs at the Poetry Center

Check out these animated GIFs, made by Leon De La Rosa. Leon will be teaching youth how to make animated GIFs, like the ones you see below, at Family Days this Saturday, September 22nd from 11:30am-1:00pm at the Poetry Center. Be sure to stop on by!

A quick Animated GIF’s how-to to be used as part of the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Family Days.

This is an Animated GIF
 

It is a sequence of still images that played in rapid succession, will give the illusion of movement. This particular Animated GIF consists of 21 still images, which we can appreciate better at a slower frame rate.

Created on: 
Friday, September 21, 2012
Arizona Board of Regents