Into the Catacombs of Time: A MultiMedia Poem

This is part of poetry inspired by the Wonders of the World. Today, Mary Lee has us thinking about the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa in Egypt. I wrote a poem, and then decided to use Popcorn Maker to add the visual and audio elements to the poetry.

I descend into the past
down stone steps
past ancient corners
through the rough artistry
of slaves bent on freedom
one floor
two floor
three floors deep
running my fingernails across the wall
as I walk slowly into history flanked by falcons
and the power of the sun into the hearts of men
until I reach the three coffins of rock
in this mound of shards,
wondering all the while whose bones
sleep amid all of this silent chaos.

Peace (in the deep),

Colosseum: A Fibonacci Poem

As part of Mary Lee Hahn’s poetry prompts around Wonders of the World, I dove into a poem about the Colosseum in Rome, and decided to try out a poem format that was unfamiliar to me: the Fibonacci poem. Using the math elements of the Fibonacci number sequence, the poem unfolds in syllables of 1-1-3-5-8 (sort of like a mathified Haiku).

Nature tries its best
but these old walls refuse to fall.

Speaking of Haiku, I used Haiku Deck to bring a visual element to the poem.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Peace (in the sequence),

Daily Create: Writing It All Wrong

Does spelling count? For today’s Daily Create at DS106, the prompt is to write a story riddled with spelling errors.  (That’s harder than it seems, particular for a teacher).

Here’s what I came up with:

Peace (in the storie),

Silent, the Lost Word: a Found Poem

Found Word Visual Poem
I used an app that generates lists of random words which, sort of like magnetic poetry, you pull together. There’s a certain disconnected nature to this kind of poetic construction that gives it an interesting disjointed flow around the connections between words and ideas. The app does not have clip art, so you have to pull in your own. I used this image from my collection of screen saver files.

Peace (in the poem),


Poems for April: Wonder

My friend, Mary Lee Hahn, over at A Year of Reading, is hoping to inspire us to write poems this month by focusing our attention on the Wonders of the World, and I am curious. I know it is cliche to write poems in April, but what the heck … writing poems at any time is always worth it.

I know her first prompt this morning is about the Pyramid of Giza, but I was writing about the idea of wonder, and realized that if you turned this poem on its side, it was a building.


the world unfolding;

overlapping architects

weave ideas from strands of silk,

composed of words, image, sound

while designers of this flowing media fabric

add unexpected edges and rich unknown colors

which we work to wrap around ourselves

sheltered in the experience of the past;

overlapping dreamers in

the world unfolding;


wonders poem
Peace (in the poems),

Slice of Life: A Reader’s Book of Days


(This is part of the Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments on Tuesdays. You come, too. Write with us.)

Since January, I’ve been reading the same book, page by page, with the aim of finishing it up at the end of January. That’s right. One page a day, for the entire year. It’s so unlike me — the one who cranks through reading and writing — but The Reader’s Book of Days by Tom Nissley is designed this way, as each page is a calendar day filled with news and information about the literary world that has taken place on that single day.

I love how each page is like a message in a bottle, and I can’t help but imagine the painstaking research that went into this book by Nissley. There’s very little in terms of boring events, and his own writing style in crafting the vignettes on the page (typically, about five or six small stories) is engaging, light-hearted and enlightening on a variety of levels.

How A Reader’s Book of Days Was Made from WW Norton on Vimeo.

I’m sharing this book out because reading it is like a cousin to Slice of Life, where small portraits of writers and books and characters and intrigue from the literary world inhabit each day. It’s a wonderful book, and one that I use as a sort of nightly appetizer before digging into a novel or non-fiction book that is the main read. A Reader’s Book of Days settles me in, bringing me into the spirit of the book.

What more can you ask for?

Peace (in the book of books),

Book Review: Wildwood Imperium

alt tag goes here

You know that feeling you get when a beloved series ends and you can’t quite believe the story is over? That the literary hang-over I am feeling this morning after finishing a read-aloud of Wildwood Imperium (the third book in the Wildwood Chronicles) with my son yesterday. Sure, author Colin Meloy left a few hints that another book might be possible (as any good author would do) but for the most part, the loose ends of this engaging story about the Impassable Wilderness on the outskirts of Portland, where all sorts of strange magic happens and the most unlikely of children becomes the bravest heroes of all.

Oh, Wildwood, we will miss you.

Wildwood Imperium is the third book in the series and is not for the feint of heart. It has multiple storylines, and a rich vocabulary, and a style all of its own, with engaging characters and a treacherous villain (whose actions will surprise you), and the threads that come together to tie up the story are heartfelt and resonate with a respect for the environmental world and the unseen stories in our lives.

If the Wildwood Chronicles does not become a movie some day, it would be a shame. Unless the movie sucked, then it would be a shame. But my son and I both agree that the series, if done right, could be a powerful storytelling experience. Meanwhile, I have two students who eagerly read the first two books this fall and who are waiting, hoping, that I will lend them this third one. Of course, I will. Of course.

Peace (in the woods),

Slice of Life: A Slice of Data of the Slices of Life


(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

And so, it ends.

Today is the last day of daily Slice of Life writing as part of the March Challenge (but anyone can continue to write about the small moments on a regular Tuesday basis via Two Writing Teachers throughout the year).  Each year, on this final day, I often reflect on the power of writing communities, and the connections made throughout the challenge. I notice the way that writing about moments in our lives opens up larger observations of the world in general. I pay attention to how writing remains the heart and soul of reflection.

All that still remains true, and I’ll add that the growth of the Slice of Life community is breathtaking to watch unfold, as each year, dozens more teachers spend their days writing, reflecting, sharing, connecting, and it is a joy to see happening.

Yesterday, though, I thought I might take a closer look at some of the writing and sharing that was going on during typical days of Slice of Life, gathering together some data.

First of all, a disclaimer: this is so not-scientific. But I will explain how I went about it so you can take my numbers for what they are — a slice of observation only.

  • For the average number of posts per day, I randomly chose five different days throughout the month and counted the Slicers who posted, and then averaged it out.
  • For the gender gap, I chose three different days and did the best I could to determine gender, and then tallied and averaged those numbers out.
  • For the number of comments, I took one single day and went to 10 different blogs, and tallied and averaged the number of comments at each blog.
  • And for the topics, I created a chart and used one single day to put topics in different categories, mostly based on titles of the posts, which is far from perfect.

And now, the Slice of Data, which I put into Haiku Deck to share out (and can’t figure out who some of the bottom section of letters are cut off … sorry).

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

For me, the most striking slide is the Gender Gap slide, which is something we have noticed in the past with Slice of Life but this year, it became very evident as the numbers increased, the number of male writers did not trend with the women writers. This is not a bad thing, per se, just an observation as one of the few male writers.

Peace (in the data),