Song Demo: Friends We Can Believe

I wrote this song for some friends and then realized that while some of the lines are specific to my group of close friends, the message of friendship is wider. I include friends in my networking spaces, like CLMOOC in this idea of finding people you can trust. I put the “demo” label on a lot of songs recorded quickly like this …

Peace (to all of you),
Kevin

 

Random Access Poetry: Day Twenty One

(Note: The image I found and used as inspiration is not a Creative Commons licensed image, so I have left a note for the photographer, in hopes they will make a change that allows me to embed their lovely image — you can view the image directly with this link. UPDATE: The photographer wrote back, giving me permission to embed their photo. I am grateful for the response.– Kevin)

Kent - Bedgebury National Pinetum

Random Access Poetry: Day Twenty One

All small paths
locate you into
larger spaces,
each narrowing
divide of wood or
stone or dreams
bridge the gap
between what is
possible in this
moment and what
is not

Peace (across each bridge),
Kevin

PS — I found the photo that inspired this poem via Alan Levine’s Don’t Look At My Photos tool that surfaces Flickr photos that may have escaped notice.

Random Access Poetry: Day Twenty

Photo by: enneafive : under a Creative Commons (BY) license https://flic.kr/p/WbA5g9
Photo by Joey Z1 : under a Creative Commons (BY) license https://flic.kr/p/2fnk84w

Random Access Poetry: Day Twenty

Such strange silhouettes shadow
our days — a soft golden gaze
composed of memories walking
among the fields, where the past
grazes, sleeping, with the present –
today, into tomorrow, into yesterday

Peace (in poems),
Kevin

PS — image found at the Flickr Blendr site

Novel-in-Verse Review: Voices from the March on Washington

Let me begin with one of the first poems in this intriguing collection of free verse narratives of fictional characters who are making their way to Washington DC in August 1963 to protest for Civil Rights.

For All, 1963

If you contend the noblest end
of all is human rights, amend
the laws; The beauty of the sun
is that it shines on everyone

In Voices from the March on Washington, by J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon, the poetry sings the stories of the people who gathered to be part of the 250,000 protesters.

The poets here invent some fictional characters — a white teenager from the midwest, a young black girl from the south, a lawyer from the north, a Japanese internment survivor from the West — and brings their voices into a mix that will remind you of how far our country has come, and how far it has yet to go.

I started this book, thinking it would be a non-fiction collection, and so was pleasantly surprised to find myself immersed in poetry of all stripes. The poems dig deep, from those who are not sure why they are on the bus, to those on the bus being attacked with objects against glass windows, to those doubting whether MLK’s famous words are enough, to those making connections between races in ways that would have been impossible in the communities from which they departed. All are changed by the experience.

So is the reader, and this book is appropriate for any upper elementary to middle school classroom.

I’ll leave you with this last poem from the book:

Last Impressions
black without white
is
a moonless
night
empty
as
a life
of
endlessly
falling
snow
is
white without black
p. 97

Peace (as poems heal),
Kevin

 

Random Access Poetry: Day Nineteen


Image from page 248 of “Child religion in song and story” (1909) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons)

Random Access Poetry: Day Nineteen

You follow me close, from under,
a bass echoing in
flow

All these notes, we are becoming:
a harmony, singing,
low

yet with each measured breath
we can’t escape the
key

another voice, singing strong,
frames us forward:
Belief

Peace (singing it),
Kevin

PS — this random photo came from the Internet Archive Book Image project. A bot sent this particular image out in Mastodon, and it caught my eye.

Carry That Poem Around in Your Pocket

Today is Poem In Your Pocket Day — so either write your own poem to bring around with you or find a favorite or maybe discover something new. There are lots of resources at the Poets.Org site.

Before our April break, I handed out a poem to every one of my students. We read them and I had them fold them up, put them in their pockets, and carry some words around with them. A few students were a bit befuddled but others were appreciative and curious.

Me?

I wrote this poem as a riff of my CLMOOC poet friend, Raymond, the other day, and so, while I made it digital, I also hand-wrote it out, and this is the poem I will carry with me today. I lifted the first line from Ray’s poem — a Lunch Break Sonnet.

A Poem for Ray

The middle is a spring
thunderstorm –
all wind and fury
and unpredictable worry:

You keep me covered
while I hold you tight
Love is what gets us
through the night

Peace (make it linger),
Kevin

At the Eric Carle Museum: A Lens on Graphic Novels

Graphic Novel Exhibit at Eric Carle MuseumWe’re lucky in that we live in a vibrant literary community in my small Western Massachusetts city. There are writers and illustrators (and filmmakers and artists) everywhere you turn. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not far away (just a town over the river and Eric Carle himself is local) and I took some time yesterday to head to the museum to see their special exhibit on graphic novels.

I really appreciated an entire museum room, dedicated entirely to the art of the graphic novel, and the Out of the Box exhibit was well-done, with visual timelines and examples of graphic stories across history along with a pretty diverse representation of featured writers and artists from the field. In addition, there was a rich library of graphic novels, and a few kids were scattered in corners, reading stories. (I wrote down a few titles I want to read myself).

I also really appreciated a display that invited museum participations to create and add a page to an ongoing community graphic novel on display. Tutorials were included on elements of comics. You could make your own frames and add to the story (which, to be honest, was a little odd and strange and non-linear), and I spent as much time enjoying the work of kids and adults in that collaborative graphic novel/comic strip writing piece as I did the formal displays.

In a few weeks, we’re having graphic novelist Jarrett Krosoczka come to our school to present to our students about the art of graphic novels (you have to read his Hey, Kiddo, if you haven’t done so already), and how art and writing come together to tell stories. Our plan is to have all of our sixth graders create their own comic/graphic novels celebrating a “support staff” member at our school, based on Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady series. It will be fun way to honor and recognize the work of those who are critical to a school community.

So, I grabbed a few pics from his display (he’s local, too) to share with students before his visit.

Jarrett Krosoczka Display at the Eric Carle Museum

I still fondly remember the Words & Pictures Museum that was in our city’s downtown. It was created and supported by the guys behind the Teenage Ninja Turtles, after their indie comic hit the big time. Both men began their careers here in our city. The museum was in this circular building structure, so you wandered your way from top to bottom, with walls covered in comic art. Too bad it had to close.

Peace (in and out of frames),
Kevin

 

 

Random Access Poetry: Day Seventeen


October Morning Light flickr photo by Pavel P. (P. (this is old account that I no longer shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Random Access Poetry: Day Seventeen

When they talk of those
walking on water, of
the miracle of wonder

perhaps this is what they mean

From here, anything seems
possible, even the way
we might slip across the
surface tension

and dance with the trees

I wait, while you pull
on your boots, our socks
still wet from yesterday’s

excursion into photography

Peace (through a lens, brightly),
Kevin

PS — this image was discovered through the Flickr Stampr Creative Commons search engine — I used the word “periphery” to find an image because it came up in another poem the other day and I like the idea of edges.