Monday, April 25, 2016

A Poetry Slice of Teaching

                                 I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today.  
            Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb, we keep going! I'd also like to offer a 
special thanks this time for all the support, work and learning shared from Tara and Anna who are leaving the group, but who will return occasionally. Best wishes to you both.


Be sure to go here to Renee LaTulippe's post at No Water River for line number twenty-six of Irene Latham's Progressive Poem.  There are only five lines left, and the story is still quite a mystery!

Sometimes for sharing a slice of life, I am inspired to talk about a teaching time I loved. Today, spending time with my daughter, out to lunch, to various shops, I took a picture that I would have used with students if I were still teaching. All through the years there are certain topics that have inspired amazing poems. With other mentor poems, or photos, these particular subjects always, always brought great stories, usually in poem or prose poem form.


When I brought in a picture to share, I also wanted students to understand that I, as a writer, was always looking for the interesting, the unusual. I wanted them to do that, too, in their everyday lives, in their travels, watching people and things. Today this is what I saw:
 
shoes hanging from the wire

And this is what I wrote. I encouraged students to respond in any way they chose, from the silly to the serious. And we have fun with poetry, a picture, and words.

Poem # 16

With Apologies to Robert Frost
    
Whose shoes these are I think I know;
his house is down two streets or so.
He’s wearing new Chuck Taylors now.
In youth, all feet are wont to grow.

I wonder if he gave a cheer
to rid himself  of that old gear.
shoes with holes and broken strings,
ones flung up to disappear.

The new shoes keep the boy awake
wondering what his friends will make
of wearing them at school next day.
He fears the jeers with some heartache.

He lights his lamp; he cannot sleep,
He nestles shoes that make him weep.
The ones he wanted most to keep,
the ones he wanted most to keep.
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

          I have collected lots of poems about shoes during my teaching. There are many others to be found. Here are a few titles, some you may know, hoping you can find them. If you’d like me to copy and send a file, I’ll be happy to.

          Pablo’s Tennis Shoes - Gary Soto
          Shoes - Valerie Worth
           The Need For Shoes - Molly Bendall
           Johnny Laces Up His Red Shoes - Liz Rosenberg
           Shoes - Cynthia Rylant
           My Shoes - Siv Cedering Fox

           Bound Feet - Janet S. Wong

           The most I'd want from any writing session is to take the ordinary in our lives and make it extraordinary because of the words one wrote from it. 

30 comments:

  1. This is so much fun Linda - I love that you have found art in that image and then stolen from the masters to create this poignant poem. The contrast between joy and regret made me read it a few times just too appreciate it fully.

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    1. It was a lot of fun to write, Cheriee, and I immediately thought of the old poetry times when we wrote about shoes. Thank you.

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  2. The poem and the picture are wonderful. There is something about shoes. Fascinating. It reminds me of the picture book, Those Shoes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4Bwre2HELA.

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    1. Thanks, Julieanne, and I do have that picture book, which connects beautifully. Glad you reminded me!

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  3. That's so wonderful Linda. Too bad we weren't teaching a the same time. I could have learned a lot with you :)

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie, I do wonder about shoes that hang on wires, have seen them more than this time.

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  4. Fabulous poem, Linda! I've often wondered about those shoes dangling from electric wires, but never thought to write about it! Well done!

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    1. Thank you, shoes are so connected to us in many ways. I wonder too how and why they are there.

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  5. I love that you shared a poem today whose opening lines were inspired by another poet. (I did the same!) Your poem is amazing Linda. I am going to go searching for those poems you list at the end of you slice.

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    1. How fun that we connected in that way, Lisa. I hope you can find the poems. I'll scan and send if you need me to. Thanks!

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  6. You look up at the shoes and make a poem. I look up at the shoes and say how the heck did they get there????

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    1. I ponder that too, Bernadette, but this time my strange brain went to the past poetry times. Thanks.

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    2. What a poignant post you wrote today. I love that you went back into your memory bank when you saw those sneakers on the wire. And then you "borrowed" from Robert Frost to create such a touching poem that any student can relate to. Your students were doubly blessed with your eyes and your ears to serve as mentors for them. Beautiful sharing.

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    3. Love this idea, Linda. I like that the students were given free reign to write in whatever genre they chose. It would be neat to have students look for and take interesting pictures and use them as a prompt for a weekly writing workshop.

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  7. Thanks Barbara and Bob, I've long been a champion of choice, helping students to take challenges of different genres, but then find the one they feel comfort in, too.

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  8. This is just great! When I see things like this, I always stop and wonder. And here's Eric Ode's "I Love My Shoes" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Eyn96kfjrU

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    1. Terrific! I knew some of you would know other poems or books. Thanks, Jane, will add to my collection!

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  9. I appreciate that you didn't let this opportunity pass even though you are not in the classroom anymore. Keep observing, noticing, wondering, writing, sharing. I have never noticed shoe poems. Now I am sure they will start popping up.

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    1. I bet they will show up, too, Terje. Whenever we are touched to notice, it seems to happen. Thank you.

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  10. My kids who live in Brooklyn tell me that they often signify where drugs can be purchased. I prefer to think of other, more whimsical reasons for their presence...and so I love your take on Frost, Linda.

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    1. Considering where we were at this time, Tara, that certainly could be true. What a strange world we live in! Thanks!

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  11. Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary! I love thinking of writing in this way. The memoir I just told you about - Bettyville - has an interesting focus on shoes. Our library aide and I love noticing how many book covers have just shoes on them. Could make a fun display - book covers with shoes and poems about shoes! I'm sure there's a good poem out there somewhere about rain boots

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    1. Oh, I wondered if that's why you texted it. It also sounds like places where I grew up, Ramona. The picture reminded me about my shoe collection of poems, and how so many students wrote such rich pieces when that was the topic. Memories? Wants & Needs to have the latest? I don't know for sure, but it was fun to write again about shoes! Thanks!

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  12. That's how writers are different from others. Your shoe sighting creates a poem, others probably don't even notice the shoes hanging.
    My brother-in-law claims shoes dangling from wires is related to gang activity. What a sad state of life that is. I much prefer your version.

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    1. The shoes dangling evidently is not a good thing, according to Tara too. I've seen them through the years, and never knew. I prefer my version, too, Elsie. Thanks!

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  13. Cleverly re-purposed, Linda! Speaking of purpose, here's what the Snopes site says about the rationale for such marooned shoes: http://www.snopes.com/crime/gangs/sneakers.asp

    More informative, than definitive, I'm afraid.

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    1. Thanks, Brian, funny how something I thought was something emotional has turned into something so different. I'll look!

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    2. Actually the article made me feel better, Brian. At least everyone doesn't agree on the drug-related throwing of the shoes. Again, thanks.

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  14. "The most I'd want from any writing session is to take the ordinary in our lives and make it extraordinary because of the words one wrote from it." This is such a laudable goal, Linda. Voice Matters!

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    1. Thank you, Carol. It is important to me, always has been.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!