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Guest Post: Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem by Tabatha Yeatts

It has been a very busy April with a variety of poetry.  I am so happy for all the participants this year, spreading their wings into new territory.

I hope that you’ve all found something new to read for the rest of the year and that it is a new poet or collection.  Click the icon at the left to see the whole tour and more!

Thanks to everyone for joining in the blog tour as a poster, blogger, or commenter.  I appreciate all of your enthusiasm.  See everyone again in 2015.

Without further ado, I bring the National Poetry Month Blog tour to a close with a guest post from Tabatha Yeatts, and a collaborative poem.  Please give her a warm welcome.

Poet and author Irene Latham introduced the idea for the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem in 2012 and it has become an annual National Poetry Month event.

Each day in April, a different kidlitosphere blogger provides the next line in the poem. No plans for themes or rhyme schemes are worked out ahead of time — everyone is just working on the fly. If you’ve never tried to write collaboratively, you might want to give a project like this a go. It’s a very interesting process, both to participate in and to watch unfold.

Here’s this year’s poem:

Three Blue Eggs

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;

Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?

Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?

Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey,
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.

But, hold it! Let’s get practical! What’s needed before I go?
Time to be tactical—I’ll ask my friends what I should stow.

And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low—dreams—
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene’s!

“Each voyage starts with tattered maps; your dreams dance on this page.
Determine these dreams—then breathe them! Engage your inner sage.”

The merry hen said, “Take my sapphire eggs to charm your host.”
I tuck them close—still warm—then take my first step toward the coast.

This journey will not make me rich, and yet I long to be
Like luminescent jellyfish, awash in mystery.

I turn and whisper, “Won’t you come?” to all the beasts and birds
And listen while they scamper, their answers winging words:

“Take these steps alone to start; each journey is an art.
You are your own best company. Now it’s time to depart!”

I blow a kiss. I hike for days, blue eggs pressed to my chest.
One evening’s rest, campfire low, shifting shadows brought a guest.

A boy, with hair in wild waves and eyes blue as the sea,
Says, “You’ve traveled far. What did you find—your best discovery?”

“I found a bird, I found a song, I found a word,” I say.
The hidden eggs, I make them known. “I’ve brought these on the way.”

We share an omelet and some talk; is my quest at an end?

Check out the last line, here.

1 Charles at Poetry Time

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Donna at Mainely Write

4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!

5 Carrie at Story Patch

6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

7 Pat at Writer on a Horse

8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

9 Diane at Random Noodling

10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

11 Linda at Write Time

12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

13 Janet at Live Your Poem

14 Deborah at Show–Not Tell

15 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Julie at The Drift Record

20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman

21 Renee at No Water River

22 Laura at Author Amok

23 Amy at The Poem Farm

24 Linda at TeacherDance

25 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books

27 Kate at Live Your Poem

28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose

29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Also, here’s the link to my collection of poems about imaginary places. It also mentions the Summer Poem Swap I’ll be holding. People are welcome to email me with questions about it or with requests to join.

Thanks, Tabatha!

Guest Post: An Introduction to Poetry Friday by Tabatha Yeatts

National Poetry Month is a big month for the Poetry Friday crowd. What is Poetry Friday? I turned to Poetry Friday regulars to help me explain.

WHAT IS POETRY FRIDAY?

In an article for the Poetry Foundation, Susan Thomsen explains Poetry Friday this way: “Readers, writers, teachers, parents, librarians, homeschoolers, illustrators, and editors share favorite poems for children and adults, link to cool poetry sites, describe readings they’ve been to, and recommend great books about poetry.”

If you think you might be interested but need a little enticement, let me tell you about the variety of things Poetry Friday has to offer:

FOR WRITERS:

It’s where we meet to learn, to teach, to hold each other up on this challenging, not-always-graceful journey to a poem. –April Halprin Wayland

Thanks to this group, I have written all sorts of poems I never could have imagined before. Lots of inspiration! –Irene Latham

I didn’t write poetry for over twenty years, and PF helped me find my voice again. –Renée LaTulippe

There are “friends” out there that I’ve never met, friends who share my enthusiasm for a good poem or who ask interesting questions about writing, art, life, whatever. I don’t care if their friendship comes to me online – that’s fine. Writing can be isolating – and I’m comfortable with my friends arriving via different modes of delivery. I like the connective tissue that gets formed no matter how we meet. –Julie Larios

FOR TEACHERS:

One of the greatest gifts I have received is a community that honors each other. We are full of kindness and acceptance and there isn’t enough of that in the world. Some of us are teachers facing the daily challenges of Common Core and state testing and closed minds. I feel safe in this place we call Poetry Friday. I also feel celebrated. When I post about my students’ work, you always praise me and compliment their work. I can’t tell you what that does to fuel me. I have finally found a group of people as nuts about poetry as I am. –Margaret Simon

It’s where I met ‘my people’ to exchange original poems, poems from mentors and share student poetry. –Jone Rush MacCulloch

One thing I can add since I feel I’m one of the newest Poetry Friday people is how welcoming the community has been to me. I love poetry, and…I was thrilled to find company who were both passionate and knowledgeable. –Linda Baie

I love PF because it allows me share poems I love, find new poems to express my thoughts and feelings, and discover new poets through our PF community. And, I love that the format allows me to write and incorporate visual elements and music. –Tara Smith

FOR READERS/ PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN BEING PART OF A POETIC COMMUNITY:

If you are human with a pulse and a heart, there is a poem for you. Poetry Friday might help you find that poem or inspire you to write your own. 🙂 –Jama Rattigan

I’d also say that the fun of Poetry Friday for me is really in that sense of community – there are others who want to celebrate poetry, and thanks to the web, we can find each other and connect. The weekly tradition – the ritual, almost – helps me think of poetry even when I don’t blog on a Friday, and that’s nice, too. –Greg Pincus

When I first began reading the posts and participating, I had a good base knowledge of children’s poetry and a true interest. But in the last year, I have learned so much more and my interest has grown tremendously! I’ve also “met” so many wonderful, intelligent, talented writers that I am now thrilled to call friends. It is truly a special community! –Becky Shillington

Don’t be afraid to jump right in! It’s such a welcoming, supportive community. I haven’t encountered a warmer or more passionate group of poetry-lovers anywhere on the web or otherwise. It’s the highlight of my blogging week. –Irene Latham

As I’m getting back into posting and visiting at least SOME of the many wonderful posters each week, it feels like coming home… Thank you, all of you, for *being* Poetry Friday! –Laura Purdie Salas

For someone new, I say, “Welcome!” If you like poetry – even a little – join us. If you are afraid of poetry, join us. If you love poetry, join us. –Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH COMMENTING?

When I started posting on Poetry Friday a few years ago, I learned it takes a little while to attract regular commenters, and it’s worth the effort to get to know this generous community. Leaving a heartfelt sentence or two in response to other blog posts is a great way to get and stay involved. –Robyn Hood Black

I comment from the heart – whatever my response may be. I love reading comments to discover other thoughts, interpretations, reactions – these are so much fun, for they make you look at the poem in a completely different way. –Tara Smith

Comment on what strikes you, and if you do not have a blog, consider beginning one for your own poetry findings and explorations. –Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

WHAT ARE POETRY FRIDAY POSTS LIKE?

There’s a huge range of what you can do. You can share a poem, a song, a poetry book. You can put as much or as little effort into it as you can spare. Here’s a small selection so you can see a bit of the variety. Also, feel free to make the rounds of this week’s round-up!

Joy begins a poem and invites commenters to add to it

Laura at Author Amok wraps up a month of color poems

Colette discusses students memorizing Invictus

Charles (Father Goose) shares an illustrated original poem

A tea party with poems at Jama’s

A vacation and poetry from Dori

Heidi shares a poem from a non-poetry-centered magazine

Matt talks about revising poems

An original poem by Steven with background info

Ruth talks about Poetry Fridayers at the International Reading Convention
Favorite poems for fictional characters at my blog

HOW DID IT START?

Poetry Friday began in 2006 as the brainchild of Kelly Herold. Blogs who win the longevity award for being a part of Poetry Friday from the start include Check It Out, GottaBook, MotherReader, Poetry for Children, A Wrung Sponge, and A Year of Reading.

WHO CAN DO ROUND-UPS?

Anyone who is willing to gather the links in some way, shape or form. Read more about it at A Year of Reading.

Guest Post: Tabatha Yeatts Presents William Stanley Braithwaite

Tabatha Yeatts is a young adult author who also has written dozens of articles for magazines and newspapers from Cricket to Logic Puzzles and The Christian Science Monitor.

She grew up in Blacksburg, Va., and went to University of Mary Washington (undergraduate) and University of Iowa (graduate school) and also lived in Georgia.  Her current home is Maryland, where she lives with her husband, three children, and four pets. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  She blogs at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference where she hosts Poetry Friday. She loves the intersection of poetry with other media streams and videos.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
–Albert Einstein

Poetry can be a powerful force for inspiring children’s imaginations, especially if we give them multiple ways to experience it.

Here are ten ways I’ve shared on The Opposite of Indifference:

* Creating poetry hunts
* Holding March Madness Poetry Tournaments
* “Discovering” poems in books such as The Great Gatsby
* Picking favorite poems for fictional characters
* Making Artist Trading Cards (which can have favorite poems on them)
* Crafting poetry pictures with Tagxedo
* Putting together poetry Storybirds
* Playing poetry games
* Reading poems for two voices
* Finding intersections between poetry and other things

Another way to get kids involved on a new level with poetry is to let them make poetry videos. I’m sharing a poetry video today that was primarily made by my 10-year-old daughter. I found the poem and the photos, and she put it all together. The poem is Rhapsody by Harlem Renaissance poet William Stanley Braithwaite (1878–1962). In addition to the video, we have an audio reading of it by Katherine Rekkas.

Video: Rhapsody by William Stanley Braithwaite

Audio Reading: Rhapsody by William Stanley Braithwaite

Thanks, Tabatha, for sharing this poem with us in its many forms.

Poet William Stanley Braithwaite

About the Poet:

Poet William Stanley Braithwaite was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was from the West Indies, his maternal grandmother was a slave in North Carolina, and his mother may have been the daughter of the property owner. When he was young, Braithwaite was educated at home by his father. However, his father died in 1886, and Braithwaite did not finish his schooling. By the time he was 12, he was working to help support his family. He took jobs as an errand boy and then as an apprentice at a publishing company, where he learned typesetting and discovered his love of poetry.

During his lifetime, Braithwaite edited a number of influential poetry anthologies. He founded a publishing company and became a professor of creative writing at Atlanta University, authoring a biography of the Brontë family and several collections of poems. His admiration for the English Romantic poets John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth influenced his own poetic style.

Braithwaite and his wife had seven children. After he retired from Atlanta University, he moved to Harlem in 1945. Braithwaite died in 1962.

Since Tabatha Yeatts is a local writer, this is another stop on The Literary Road Trip.