May 23, 2014

POETRY FRIDAY: Lanturne Poetry

Thanks to Violet Nesdoly, today's Poetry Friday hostess!
* * * * *
A few weeks ago I discovered a poetry format I hadn’t heard of before, the lanturne poem. This format has five lines and describes a single-syllable noun in a specific syllabic pattern. When complete, the poem takes the shape of a Japanese lantern.
The formula for writing a lanturne poem looks like this: 
Line 1:  1 syllable
Line 2:  2 syllables
Line 3:  3 syllables
Line 4:  4 syllables
Line 5:  I syllable
I am a big fan of short poetic formats and had fun writing my own lanturne poems:
drip, dripping
torrents pelting
blows in,
then settles
gently into
I was excited to discover this (new to me) format. Like haiku, lanturne poetry zooms in on its subject and presents it in a neat little package. There is something very satisfying about this! Why not try writing your own lanturne poem today? 
Happy Friday, and Happy Writing!

May 19, 2014

Going With the Flow

Time flies when you’re having fun” has always proven a true statement for me. But lately I’ve been contemplating another phrase I have heard over and over again: “The older you get, the faster time goes by.” I’ve been told this many times throughout the years, but never really believed it until my boys were born—and then time started zipping right along! Now, in three short weeks, they will be graduating from fifth grade. (Although why we call this “graduating” is beyond me; I would prefer to refer to it as a “promotion” and save “graduation” for the far, far distant future…but this is a whole different discussion!)

The same thing has proven true in my writing life—years ago when I first started writing, a two or three month response time seemed like an eternity. Now that wait time doesn’t seem nearly as long. When working on a project, I am decidedly more patient with myself and am learning to focus less on how long something is taking and more on doing it right. It has taken me awhile to figure this out, but it is very freeing, especially during busy times like right now!

Every year, the month of May sneaks up on me. Each May in my world, soccer overlaps with the beginning of swim season, school and church volunteer opportunities multiply, and there is always one special event after another (filling up weekends, weeknights, and many weekdays). Mix in with this my husband’s birthday, Mother’s Day, my boys' yearly piano recital, our spring children's musical at church, scouting stuff, end-of-the-school-year activities, and so on, and I end up with a fun—but FULL—month!  

Trying to maintain a semblance of productivity in my writing life is a challenge at this time of year, and reminds me of the pre-holiday rush in November and December. I have to make a conscious (daily) effort to go with the flow, and remind myself that the life experiences I am gathering are the “kernels of inspiration” for future poems, stories, etc. It is only when I relax into this busy time that I am able to fully appreciate and enjoy it, and have the mental dexterity to get any writing done at all.
Although this is exhilarating and inspiring...
THIS is much more relaxing to me!
So here’s to “going with the flow.” May YOUR busy times—whether now or later—bring lots of ideas your way!

Happy Writing!

May 9, 2014

POETRY FRIDAY: Book Spine Poetry

Thanks to Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup for hosting Poetry Friday today!
* * * * *
I have been out of the blogging loop the last few weeks, but for a good reason—I have been pushing through the last stages of a major revision of one of my manuscripts. This whole rewrite has taken me around six months, and then about a month ago I had to make a few more structural changes. I’ve always loved the revision process and this one has really stretched me as a writer. I’m looking forward to getting feedback from a few trusted writer friends, doing a final revision, and then sending my manuscript along its merry way. But more than anything I am looking forward to working on my next book—it feels so good to know that will happen SOON! ☺

To celebrate all things BOOKS, I thought I would share some book spine poetry today! Book spine poems are created by gathering different books and stacking them so that the titles create a poem. This is a very creative, free, and flexible type of poetry!

In preparation for a poetry lesson that I presented to some fifth graders a few weeks ago, I visited my local library and set to work creating a few book spine poems of my own. Here is an example of a book spine poem I created using picture books:

And here is one I “wrote” using titles of Newbery Award winning books:
The kids were so excited about this poetic format—one class even took a trip to their school library to create book spine poems of their own! As I shared with the kids, book spine poetry can quickly wreak havoc upon a library’s organizational system. To circumnavigate this problem, I used several of the books on the “to be shelved” cart and then was careful to keep track of where I found the others so I could return everything at the end of my “writing session.”

Try creating your own book spine poem sometime soon. This unique creative process engages a slightly different writing muscle than straightforward writing, and is a lot of fun!
Happy Friday, and Happy Writing!