OnPoEvMo: The Creator — a Poem for Three Voices, April 2007

This is an experiment for me — creating a poem for multiple voices and yet, it is only me speaking. Very tricky. I did it by layering my voice in Audacity and I am not sure I quite pulled off how I envisioned it. Once again, this is part of my OnPoEvMo Project.

The Creator: A poem for three voices and one person
(April 2007)

Listen to the poem

I am a I am a I am a
I crawl within I crawl within I crawl within
the notes
the sounds
the words
And look for the possibilities
of creative expression of creative expression of creative expression
I wonder at the
I wonder at the colors I hear
words I find I wonder at the
rhythms of the world and sink into my thoughts
melody and memory and music
I bring my thoughts to life on the bars and staff and measures and move your feet to dance
And make you think of all the chances
that come with the roll of the dice
and invention of something new —
the character the seam between the words — the space
where silence exists
The composition is
rich with nuance rich with nuance rich with nuance
so that every single word
has meaning has meaning has meaning
I indent
I avoid punctuation
I establish my theme and play with your
expectations, and remind you of why you
are here, inside these words are here, inside these notes are here, inside these sounds
Start inside me and move outwards
Start inside me and move inward
Start inside me and move upward
Explore yourself through the eyes of others
Drift into the air, molecules excited,
music is made here as invisibility
I am I am I am
a poet
a composer
a writer
Come, follow me on this adventure Come, follow me on this adventure Come, follow me on this adventure
of notes
of sounds
of words
Magic! Magical! Magnificent!
I am found inside the I am found inside the I am found inside the
We are one! The creator! We are one! The creator! We are one! The creator!

Peace (in many voices),

A Trip to the Moon

A few days ago, I posted a recommendation to buy and read The Invention of Hugo Cabret with any young people you know (or heck, just yourself). Then, through some blogging threads (thanks Bud! via A Not So Different Place), I found the actual 1902 movie referenced in the book called A Trip to the Moon by Georges Melies.

Gosh, the internet is a fantastic resource. Now I can show my sixth graders (and my children) the movie after reading the book (actually, I just ordered the Audio CD because it comes with a DVD documentary showing the author writing the book — cool!)

Here it is:


Peace (with old movies),

Understanding Comics

I just completed a very intriguing book called Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. In this fascinating graphic novel, McCloud (who, it turns out, lives near me or at least used to, according to the mailing address at the back of the book) ruminates on the way that we should view the development of comics as an important chapter in the development of art, and how little attention is given to it.

McCloud really engages the reader on many levels through his use of comics to tell his story. One area of interest for me, anyway, was his understanding that media would become more interactive (this book was first published in the early 1990s) and he wondered whether comics would integrate this turn of events (I don’t think it has yet).

This is what he writes (in comic form but I am using it as prose here):

For now, these questions (of whether stories need to be linear) are the territory of games and strange little experiments. But viewer participation is on the verge of becoming an enormous issue in other media. How comics addresses this issue — or fails to — could play a crucial part in defining the role of comics in the New Century. Time will tell.” — from Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.

That remark holds true for so many areas of publishing and writing and reading these days that I thought it was worth sharing.

Peace (in frames),

Wired — The Machine

In the recent edition of Wired Magazine, there is a feature on some pioneers in the world of technology and Michael Welch is honored there as “The Explainer” for the video he produced about the information circuitry of the Web 2.0 World called The Machine is Us/ing Us (which now has more than 2 million views on YouTube). The article explains that as Michael “struggled to define concepts like hypertext, tagging, mashups and wikis, he had an epiphany … He needed to use the tools of Web 2.0 to explain Web 2.0.”

When the video was first posted, a colleague in the National Writing Project transcribed the words of the video, and then I wrote and podcast a “found poem” of Michael’s work (with his permission).

Here is that podcast and poem.

Peace (with investigation),

Classroom 2.0

I have been writing and participating in a social networking site called Classroom 2.0 that has teachers from around the world exploring the issues of the new wave of technology and its intersection with technology. It has been very interesting and many good conversations are emerging from the site (which has a few hundred members right now).

Head on over and check out Classroom 2.0 and join the conversation while learning just what a social networking site is all about.

Here is a blurb:

  Welcome to www.Classsroom20.com, the social networking site devoted to those interested in the practical application of Web 2.0 in the classroom and in their own professional development. Especially we hope that those who feel they are “beginners” will find this a comfortable place to start being a part of the community dialog and to learn more.

Peace (with community),

Another Artist on a Mission

Since November, I have been working on writing and publishing One Poem Every Month for a Year (my OnPoEvMo project). I had been inspired by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks,  who had been working on writing a play every day for a year (and now she is touring around the country, producing those plays).

Well, yesterday, on the National Public Radio site, there was a feature on a musician who decided to write and record one song every day for a year, and he just completed his 365 song opus. His stage name is Paleo, and he is kind of folky, I guess. It was quite an undertaking and one that seems daunting from the outside.

But I admire artists who push themselves further than they think they can go.

Peace (with publishing),

Making Connections: Student Poems and Responses

One aspect of a large blogging project underway called Making Connections (funded through the National Writing Project) involves middle school students writing and posting some “I am …” poems and then offering comments, suggestions and critique to others. (Meanwhile, a second wing of the project is working on science-related writing and experiment and sharing — that is what my class is part of). Some of the poems being posted (in a protected site) are powerful, so I thought I — as the project director — would share a few with you.


I am bite size but believe I’m bigger than the world!
I wonder whats going to happen in the future.
I hear the beautiful waves sound of Japan that I miss so much.
I see the beautiful lights at Dragon Palace.
I want a juicy KING SIZE Milkyway.
I am bite size but believe I’m bigger than the world!

I pretend not to be sad, although I’m crying a river inside.
I feel like crying because I’m always worrying about losing someone.
I touch my doggy as I lay myself down to sleep.
I worry that the things I hope for the most will end up not happening.
I cry when I think of the past, because I know that it will never come back.
I am bite size but believe I’m bigger than the world!

I understand that you live and you learn.
I say that you should live life to the fullest, because you never know when God’s going to need another angel.
I dream of what the future is holding for me.
I try not to worry about bad things happening to me or the people I love.
I hope I will get into a good college and make myself and everyone who believes in me proud.
I am bite size but believe I am bigger than the world!

And here are some comments:

Wow…i love this poem!! It’s my favorite so far…I love the imagery, and everything else is great too. suggsetions…well, i think it’s lovely the way it is!! — Natasha


I think you need to add more metaphors. It would make it really good. Also, I like how you used the color and sizes to attract attention to the part. Your poem was great especially how you said you were bite sized its funny B-) bye,


Hi Jasmine.

You had such an awesome poem. I loved the way you wrote it. You have a really cool way of saying things. I really liked this line:

I say that you should live life to the fullest, because you never know when God’s going to need another angel.
When i read that I copied it right away just to tell you its awesome. GREAT POEM! — Allison

Hi Jasmine,

I liked your poem. It was really good. I think you could add a few similes though. Other then that I think you did a really good job.

Andrea C.

Hi Jasmine,

I thought your poem was awesome!! It was so original. I liked the line:

I say that you should live life to the fullest, because you never know when God’s going to need another angel.

I think you should’ve added a simile. But that’s only what our teacher said to tell someone if they didn’t have one. I like your poem just the way it is.


Shannon 🙂

I Am Andrea
I am a girl who loves adventure and sports

I wonder what the world will be like in the year 2015

I hear fans cheering me on to win the game

I see the roses people giving me as I finish the routine

I want the opportunity to be whoever I want

I am a girl who loves adventure and sports

I pretent I am as glamorous as a movie star

I feel the pressure to be like everyone else

I touch the sky with my curiosity

I worry what the world will be like when I am older

I cry for those who are disabled

I am a girl who loves adventure and sports

I understand that dreams are as wonderful as vacation

I say everyone is their own unique person

I dream of going to many different places

I try to forgive people when they make a mistake

I hope I do not become cold-hearted

I am a girl who loves adventure and sports

Your poem is really good! i like it a lot its set up very orderly and has connections with every line! one thing you could change is be more careful with your spelling. but over all it was a great “I” poem! — Samantha

I liked your “I” Poem. It was very very good, also i liked how creative you are. I think of you by what i read in the poem that you are a friendly person and your always surrounded by other people.The only thing you had to do was check for your spelling mistakes. Other than that your poem was great!!!! — Chris

Hi Andrea,

I thought your poem was awesome, but you have to watch your spelling.I love the whole first paragraph I thought that was the best part of the best.

Well bye

Maya C.

I Am Andy


I am a decent swimmer and like to read
I wonder why the Yankees always win
I hear the sounds of the frontline
I see an amazing amusement park
I want to be an amazing swimmer
I am a decent swimmer and like to read

I pretend to do my work
I feel like doing something stupid
I touch anything I want
I worry that college will be hard
I cry when my favorite TV show is cancelled
I am a decent swimmer and like to read

I understand moments in time
I say lets go skating
I dream of succeeding in life
I try to do my best
I hope to live forever
I am a decent swimmer and like to read


I like the line “I hear the sound of the frontlines.” It shows great emotion and great visual effect it gave me in my thought. I also wonder why the Yankees win. I love the Boston Red Sox and hate the New York Yankees. One suggestion I must give is that in the line where you say, ” I understand moments in time…” What times do you mean? It hits the heart, but better if you elaberated more. Great Job! Really meant something to me!


Jim T.

I like your poem it was cool it tells a lot about you — Ryan

I Am

I am a hateful person who likes to read.
I wonder what will happen in my future
I hear little voices in my head sometimes
I see angels in my head
I want to not be so mad all the time and to have more patiance
I am a hateful person how likes to read

I pretend to be nice when i dont want to be
I feel love and hate all the time
I touch love in my boyfriends heart
I worry about my future
I cry when i get mad or sad I am a hateful peroson who like to read

I understand that life sucks
I say I hate the world
I dream about death and my own death
I try to make people understand i hate the world and them
I hope death will come unpainfully
I am a hateful person who like to read

hey gabriella i love your poem. its very good. but try to be more positive my love. okay okay. love you =]


hi Gabriella,

you had a really good peom. You probably shouldn’t have put that your a hateful person. Or that life sucks. Other than that its a really good poem.



Hi Gabriella,

I thought your poem was really good. I think you should change the you poem a little.In stead of putting things that are negative put some things that are positive in your life.why do you hate life so much,because that was what I was getting from your poem.Well anyway your poem was really good.

Bye from Maya

Hi gabreilla I think that maybe in your poetry you should try to be little more optimistic you know. Try to look at the bright side of things. I like how you said I think that it is good that you see angels in your head.

jenisa F.

Your poem is OKay

but you could have put an exclamation point after life sucks



Peace (I am),

PS — I actually checked in with the teacher of the student for that last poem, as it made me worry about her. The teacher reported back that everything was fine and that the student turns to writing for expression.

Pickin’ Up the Pieces (of my sax)

My band — The Sofa Kings — has a gig this weekend and we have been learning a few new songs, including one that has been on our lead guitarist’s list for many years: The Average White Band’s Pick Up the Pieces. It’s a great funk song but incredibly tricky for me, as the sax leads the piece right out front and I have been flubbing the darn thing left and right in practice (is that an eight count? or 12? or 4? Where the hell are we again?)

But, hey, nothing like the stage to get you concentrating … Send me out some good thoughts for Saturday night.

Here is the real version:


(I won’t be wearing my kilt, just so ya know)

Peace (with practice),

OnPoEvMo: Ornette’s Dance April 2007

I was pleased to learn that free-style saxophonist Ornette Colema won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. I haven’t always following what he was doing but I have always admired his fearlessness to follow his own muse.

So I wrote a poem inspired by him for my OnePoemEveryMonth Project:

Ornette’s Dance
April 2007
Listen to the Poem
I’m tired of stealing words
where words just don’t exist —
this kiss that lives between the dream
and composition of the soul —
man, I wish I could stand, fixed,
within the realm of Ornette Coleman —
and just move around the lines of notes
and blurry borders of sound —
the saxophone, a shadow clown, that dances on the stage;
the horn contains the anguish, the sadness, the rage,
but plays and plays and plays —
fading into black, go ahead, kick back,
relax, sink down into the track,
let the moment be of peace for there,
amid the wreckage of the agitated mind,
is the start of something, moving, shifting, growing,
the beginnings of a line.

Peace (in a freestyle frame of mind),

The WMWP Concept Map

As I was in Chicago working on our Monograph Book Project that centers on how our Western Massachusetts Writing Project responded to change, I began to get more interested in our use of creating concept maps to chart out who our program leaders were and what they were doing, and how things were overlapping with each other. I have not made these maps — that has been the work of others — but they are interesting to think about, and have shaped our inquiry at our site over the years.

So, in true digital storytelling fashion, I created this little video:


Peace (as a concept map translated into reality)<