Poeta Mundanus

Boys reading their poetic fortunes at the Red Fern Festival

Boys reading their poetic fortunes at the Red Fern Festival

The academic world of poetry has never interested me as much as the mundane world of poetry. Some people might balk at putting “poetry” and “mundane” in the same sentence, but let’s look at the origin of a word that in the popular imagination means a bunch of negative things: common, ordinary, banal, unimaginative. Continue reading

Red Ferns and Red Hounds

Red fern found in Spring Valley, near Lost City, 2-24-13

Red fern found in Spring Valley, near Lost City, 2-24-13

If you don’t believe a story
Can stay with you in the background
Like a picturesque tree you pose before
For all of your life, witness this:
I loved the baking powder can
That Billy saved his money in to buy
Those two redbone coonhounds.
The Clabber Girl with her shy smile
And plate of biscuits sits in my cabinet
And empty on the shelf beside the sink
Where I put twisty ties and pennies. Continue reading

It’s In Your Pocket!

darlapoemWhen I first started having my high school students participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day, they thought I was nuts. Carry a poem around in my pocket for a day? What? Take it home and read it to people? What? Have them sign the back of the poem? What? Continue reading

Poetry-Finder

"If smoking occurs during your stay"--don't you think that wording deserves a poem?

“If smoking occurs during your stay”–don’t you think that wording deserves a poem?

I am a thing-finder. I am a word-finder. I am a paper-finder. I cannot walk past something handwritten on a scrap of paper that is lying on the sidewalk or in the ditch or on the seat on the bus. I can’t remember not being a thing-finder. In things, I find poetry. Continue reading

Object Transformation

SuperKnobWhen I was teaching high school English, I spent the month of April on poetry. Yes, the state was going berserk doing tests, TESTS, T E S T S but in between all that nonsense, it was the perfect time for poetry. (And it’s National Poetry Month, after all). If you have made a space for poetry in your classroom, meaning that your students know it is okay to experiment with words, to break rules, to have fun with the language, then give them a break with something like this: Continue reading