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Now, The Video and Article for My WORDWALK Readers

 

A Second Video for My WORDWALK Readers

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

While many blogs focus well and successfully on only one topic, I choose to write on a variety of topics on my WORDWALK blog although posts about my guide dogs, Italian-American family, rural hometown in Indiana, and poetry are among my most frequent subjects.  Throughout the five-year-and-four-month life of this blog and its now 280 posts, I have shared with you only one link to a video.  (Please refer to the archived WORDWALK blog of February 7, 2018, to read about the first video link which I included in a post about the heart-warming book PEANUT OF BLIND FAITH FARM, by Wisconsin writer Jim Thompson.)

 

This week, I am happy to share with you something new and delightfully different from previous posts on my blog.  Only for the second time, I am sharing with you a video link which I very highly recommend.  Whether you are one of my Italian-American friends or relatives, a lover of Italy, an aficionado of art, or an otherwise curious WORDWALK reader–I do think you will find the sixteen-minute video worthwhile, educational, creative, artistic, and memorable.

 

The video is part of the website for the impressive book LIVIO ORAZIO VALENTINI:  AN ARTIST’S SPIRITUAL ODYSSEY, copyright 2018, by Dr. Robert E. Alexander and Dr. John A. Elliott (professor emeritus of the University of South Carolina–Aiken).  With professional narration, a stirring musical score, sound effects, and interesting historical perspectives–the video, which focuses on the artist of Orvieto, Italy, will brighten your day.  Formerly of Indiana, John Elliott, whom I have known since we met in graduate school at Indiana State University, directed the remarkable video and wrote the captivating script to introduce you to the life and art of Livio Orazio Valentini.

 

After clicking on the following link, click on the black rectangle to begin the video.  For WORDWALK readers who use computers with speech access, this video link is especially easily accessible:  after clicking on the link below, simply press the space bar on the verbalized “play button.”

 

http://Valentini.usca.edu

 

 

Enjoy a creative and springy week!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

May 16, 2018, Wednesday

 

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A Mailbag of Mother’s Day Memories

 

A Mailbag of Mother’s Day Memories

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

In 1955, when I was five years old, I had to wait one more year to begin my education at Jacksonville Grade School because our rural Indiana school had no kindergarten.  In that same year, my mother was quite happy to begin a twenty-eight-year career as postmaster of our Blanford Post Office.  Since my dad worked various shifts at the Newport Army Ammunitions Plant, he, at times, was, much to my delight, at home to care for me while Mother was working full-time at the third-class post office of our small town.  Of course, when both of my parents were working, I had to stay with my Aunt Zita at her Italian Restaurant or with my maternal grandmother and my Uncle Pete at their grocery store.  At other times, my paternal grandmother came from the farm in the nearby rural area of Klondyke to “babysit” me.  Despite this, what we would call today, “Support system,” I do recall a number of times when I went to work with Mother at the post office.

 

In the earlier years of my mother’s “reign” as postmaster, a mail carrier delivered mail and picked up out-going mail twice a day.  So, besides all the people who were in and out of the building’s lobby each day, only my mother, her two part-time clerks, and the mail carrier were allowed  in the actual office area  of the post office.  Although I had plenty of ways to entertain myself in the ample lobby, I sometimes wanted to be in the forbidden area of the post office.  Also, perhaps, at times, my mother let me go in the back of the post office because that area was warmer in late autumn and throughout the winter.

 

Mother kept a number of large, heavy-duty empty mailbags on a pallet in the far southwest corner of the building.  Whenever I was in the limited-access area of the post office, Mother always insisted that I had to be very quiet.  When the mail carrier was to arrive, Mother hid me with the extra, empty mailbags and firmly instructed me to say nothing and be still.  I obeyed.  Being incognito at the post office was much more fun for a five-year-old than being babysat by a grandmother at home.  I am certain that my career-minded mother was quite pleased and relieved that I could keep absolutely quiet while hiding in the mailbags.  Fortunately, the number of minutes when I had to be so quiet and still were rather few because the mail carrier was always in a hurry to go to the next stop on his route.  How many people have such a Mother’s Day memory?  Not too many–and perhaps, I am the only one.

 

Like many of you, I can only remember my mother on Mother’s Day.  Since her passing in July of 2001, I can only order fresh-cut, pink and white flowers for her grave in Indiana–so far from where I have lived for almost twenty-eight years.  However, where I feel closest to my mother nowadays is when Willow, my fourth Leader Dog, and I enter our nearby post office.  “Find the deposit,” I say to Willow; and she takes me directly to the deposit.  So often when I place an envelope through the opening of the deposit, I remember  how I used to make an envelope “fly” past the receptacle of the Blanford Post Office’s deposit and onto the floor where my mother had to pick up the envelope.  Most often, she ignored my flight behavior and said nothing.  After all, I rarely had more than one piece of mail to deposit.

 

Sometimes, while I am depositing mail inside our post office today, I hear customers opening  and closing the little mailboxes:  indeed, this sound brings me back to my mother’s post office which meant so much to her and to our town of about four hundred residents.  Oh, how my mother did love being postmaster of Blanford!  Greeting all of her postal patrons with a bright and welcoming smile, my mother was eager to help whomever entered the Blanford Post Office.

 

Yes, if my local post office were open on Sunday, that is where I would go to honor and remember my mother on Mother’s Day.

 

With blessings for all of the mothers whom we fondly remember

and with best wishes for all who will celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

May 9, 2018, Wednesday

 

Spring Cleaning of a Poem about the Statue of Liberty

 

NOTE:  What kind of spring cleaning do you prefer?  I am partial to spring cleaning of my archived writings.  This week was a good time to dust off and polish a poem which I wrote on July 9, 2014.  My dusting and polishing included adding two stanzas, as well as one line to an existing stanza.  Also, I swept away one word  and replaced it with another in one line while in another line, I polished a verb.  The result of my spring cleaning of a poem shines, I hope, below for my visitors–my WORDWALK house guests.

 

 

To Where Is She Walking?

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Who is the statuesque woman

walking over the Appalachian Mountains?

Spotters said she is 111 feet tall.

Trackers found footprints–shoe size 879.

Reporters confirmed that she paused

at Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain.

Did she see seven states,

did she see the Land of Liberty?

 

Where is she going?

What is her destination?

I heard no new Bartholdi could be found

to clone a second Colossus;

so, Lady Liberty is walking,

walking to the Rio Grande.

 

Will her hand of 16 feet, five inches

wave cool air toward the weary travelers,

will she wave “Hello,”

will she raise her torch to light the way,

or will she raise her bold hand to signal “stay”?

 

She left her pedestal in New York Harbor.

At the Rio Grande, will she close the door;

or will the Great Lady open her 42-foot arms

to welcome more?

I hear whispers of

“Come, little children–

ninitos de Guatemala,

Honduras, y El Salvador.”

 

Is her left hand carrying the bronze plaque

on which are inscribed the tender words

of Emma Lazarus?

Is the Colossal Lady saying,

“Come to us”?

 

What will La Dama de la Libertad say?

Has someone prepared for her

a pedestal near the Rio Grande,

or will she become a sentinel upon the wall?

 

Now, reporters say Lady Liberty

arrived at the Rio Grande.

She planted her torch in the hot, dry sand;

then, she brought together her two huge hands

and knelt  down

in awesome prayer.

Her lamentations made us weep:

“Some promises–I cannot keep;

but I care, I care.

My God, I do care.”

 

Lady Liberty, with your colossal spirit,

for whom is your prayer,

for whom do you care?

 

copyright 2018, ajm

 

Best wishes for an amazing month of May,

from the granddaughter of four immigrants,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

May 2, 2018, Wednesday

 

 

Two Tammy’s, One First Lady, and a Leader Dog

 

NOTE:  In this final post of National Poetry Month, 2018, I challenge you to take an event or more than one event from today’s news or the week’s news; then, use the happening(s) or person(s) to create a poem.  I have chosen to take three events or news stories from the past week and add a couple of personal touches for the poem which I share with you in this WORDWALK post.  Whether in prose or poetry, I do like to bring together a few happenings for which I find a common bond to meld the story or poem together.

 

If not this type of poem, try another type because only five days remain of National Poetry Month.  Remember the words on the poetry marquee:

 

Read a poem!  Write a poem!  Share a poem!

 

* * *

 

Two Tammy’s, One First Lady, and a Leader Dog:

One Week in April

 

a poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Six decades ago,

we, at age seven,

were singing “Tammy,”

along with the talented star Debbie Reynolds,

from the 1957 movie Tammy and the Bachelor.

How life has changed in these 61 years!

 

The Tammy of April 17, 2018–

Tammy Jo Schultz,

a former Navy pilot

and current hero and captain

of Flight 1380–

descended to a safe landing

on the day that First Lady Barbara Bush

was ascending into Heaven.

 

Two days later,

another Tammy of April 19, 2018–

Senator Tammy Duckworth–

was the first lady

to bring her infant

on the floor of the U. S. Senate.

While ten-day-old baby Maile Pearl slept,

Senator Duckworth of Illinois

cast her vote

on the Senate floor

and then returned to maternity leave.

Already a Black Hawk helicopter pilot,

an Iraq War veteran with a Purple Heart,

a hero before being elected

a United States Senator–

this Tammy and her daughter

leave us with

a smiling historic moment.

 

From a baby named Pearl

to the First Lady known

for wearing pearls,

I do wonder,

“Wouldn’t First Lady Barbara Bush

have been proud of these two Tammy’s?”

I think the First Lady would have embraced them

and given Maile Pearl a book or two.

 

Two days after the Senator and her daughter

made history in the Capitol Building,

1500 guests and a nation of viewers

memorialized the 92-year life

of First Lady Barbara Bush.

The news coverage and funeral

reminded us of her

indomitable strength and spirit,

humor and wit,

dedication to literacy,

service to good causes and country,

devotion to a loving family,

books and speeches that were as treasured

as was she.

 

Two days later,

to end a noteworthy week,

I remembered my own personal hero–

my third Leader Dog, Zoe–

who would have been eleven

on this April 23, 2018,

if she had not left us too early,

if she were not already running in Heaven.

Oh, how she left us so early!

Dear “spirit dog” of my heart and soul,

so long, again, so long.

The memories of Zoe

make my strand of pearls.

 

Throughout this historic week,

the air was filled with heroes

to whom I would gladly give

blue ribbons of admiration

with pearls of thanks and a standing ovation.

 

 

May this month of April close with happiness and good health for you and yours!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

April 25, 2018, Wednesday

 

Heathered Memories: Remembrances of My Second Leader Dog

 

NOTE:  During this third week of National Poetry Month, I, on April 15 (Sunday), marked two decades since I received my second Leader Dog, Heather.  To honor her, I chose to write a long poem in free verse.  The following stanzas give vignettes of our years together–April 15, 1998 through July 1, 2010.  Born on September 22, 1996, Heather  was raised by Jeffry and Nancy Sever–long-time puppy-raisers for Leader Dogs for the Blind (Rochester, Michigan).  Once again, I give abundant thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Sever, as well as all at Leader Dog School.

 

Perhaps, during these final two weeks of National Poetry Month, you may also consider free verse to relate a memory or series of memories.  Poetry offers the writer a creative opportunity to capture and save glimpses of the past when one may not wish to devote the time to a lengthy prose piece or a full-length book manuscript.  Some poems may be more aptly compared to snapshots, rather than to an entire full-length film feature.  I hope that your reading my “snapshots” of Heather will inspire you to capture some moments from your own life or the life of an ancestor in free verse or another poetic form.  (This entire document is 1284 words.)

 

 

Heathered Memories:

 

Remembrances of My Second Leader Dog

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

Through these decades

of guide-dog-dreams-come-true,

On this April 15, twenty years later,

I think of how and when you came to me:

you were my strong bridge-builder,

the guide dog who took me

from one phase of life

to another.

Only with patience did I discover

that you were the right guide dog

for overwhelming times.

 

* * *

 

After two of the greatest losses of my life–

my dad and my first guide dog–

after I had to switch from one jet

that had just made an emergency landing

to another to meet

my second Leader Dog–

I welcomed into my drastically changed life

a creamy-colored, Yellow Lab,

who, weighing in at 63 pounds,

ran into my life

with the grand energy

that lifted her soul and mine

for over a decade.

Unlike my first meeting

with my three other Leader Dogs,

Heather checked me out quickly

and then turned her nose

to examine her new surroundings.

Muscular, sturdy, and strong–

Heather, received on Tax Day,

was somewhat taxing for me,

the not-as-strong handler,

for the first 18 months

of our long journey together.

 

How did I survive those early months  with Heather?

Dogged determination and an ability

to walk faster and even run

that I could do then,

but certainly could not do now.

Working diligently

to learn to handle Heather,

I ran toward a new stage in my life,

as I tried to leave some grieving behind.

Heather was the guide dog

to help me move onward with life.

 

Despite her hurried state,

Heather always lay and stayed

perfectly in place

in my classrooms.

At the end of the school day,

she was ready to demonstrate

her strength as we alternately

race-walked and ran home

in all types of Wisconsin weather.

 

Eventually, the biggest and strongest

of my four Leader Dogs

let me know

she would take guide work

very seriously and a little more slowly.

The first day I really believed

Heather did have a work ethic

was when, on a winter day,

she led me off the edge of the sidewalk

and around something.

A moment later,

a huge icicle fell on the spot

my guide avoided.

For me,

this moment was

frozen in time:

I trusted her,

as I had my Keller

and would later easily and more quickly

trust Zoe and Willow.

 

Three years later,

my large and long Lab

was still full of energy;

but when we flew to Colorado

to visit my frail Mother,

Heather hurried to Mother’s bedside

and then ever so gently and calmly

lay her head on the bed

beside my mother.

I was amazed and grateful

to witness such intuitive warmth.

 

On April 7, 2000,

during a spring blizzard,

heading home after school,

exiting a bus at Kilbourn and Water

to walk the rest of the way home,

we headed up the hill,

alongside City Hall;

a slab of ice-incrusted snow

fell splat in front of us.

Heather, for once in her life,

bolted away from me.

With the loud snowplow scraping down Kilbourn,

I could not hear Heather.

Eternal moments later,

I called her to me;

suddenly, I felt that she was

already at my knee,

in perfect position–

blessedly at my side.

With “Heather, forward” and lots of praise,

she guided me masterfully and quickly

up the hill

and then several blocks more–

safely and gratefully home.

 

On Labor Day Weekend of 2000,

Heather, with no leash nor harness,

with no command for her to do so,

walked at my heel

and stayed stoically beside me

as I moved from the computer

in the dining room to the entry

when a homeless,

mentally ill man

entered my townhouse.

Heather, who had loved everyone

who had ever come through our door,

never barked nor growled,

but did not display her friendly Lab demeanor.

After my stern command to leave,

the intruder apologized profusely

and then left without incident,

left me with my constant companion–

ever faithfully at my side.

 

In July of 2001,

Heather was beside me

at my mother’s graveside.

As with my three other guides,

Heather was there

as part of the family.

 

Three nights after 9-11,

Heather was at my side

when a frightening accident

occurred outside my townhouse.

The Flight-for-Life helicopter’s

making numerous attempts

to land in the high wind

awakened us

and awakened me,

as we walked down the stairs,

to realizing once again

that Heather was and would be

so much more than a guide.

 

Lying stately at my feet,

Heather enjoyed,

along with me,

a performance by Maya Angelou,

theatrical musicals,

meetings, classes, and conferences,

symphony concerts, and church services.

Daily walks over the Milwaukee drawbridges,

trips to Colorado and Minnesota,

travels to Indiana,

a ride around the Indy 500 track with me,

visits at museums–

oh, all the places we went.

One of the most remarkable recollections

was at Lincoln’s home in Springfield,

where I held Heather’s harness in one hand

and felt the railing

that President Lincoln once touched

with my other hand

as Leader Dog Heather

aptly guided me

up the stairs.

What freedom

comes with a good guide dog!

 

Arthritis, old age

gradually slowed

the pace of my once powerful and proud Lab.

Instead of always taking the stairs,

we took the elevators

more and more at the college;

rather than running part way home,

we walked more slowly

and eventually took cabs more and more often.

 

After exactly ten years

of working beside me at MATC,

I proclaimed that Heather was

sadly, but officially semi-retired.

Somehow, she endured through another year

to welcome Leader Dog Zoe

into our home

in June of 2009.

 

For thirteen months,

I had all that a guide dog handler

could ever want:

a retired guide dog

happily accepting and befriending

a gentle, loving,

understanding, and respectful

young Leader Dog–

Heather’s heir apparent–

Zoe.

What a joy

and blessing to have the two together!

 

On July 1, 2010,

when Heather passed

from this guiding world,

Zoe was here

to share my grief

and lovingly respect

the path that Heather had made

for her successor.

 

With tears,

I remember so much–

but never enough–

of all they did for me,

gave to me

with their gifted guiding

and forever love.

 

 

With thanks to you for reading my long, poetic tribute to Heather,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

April 18, 2018, Wednesday

 

What Is the Name for a Group of Poets?

 

What Is the Name for a Group of Poets?

 

a poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

A colony of beavers

must know something

about colons and semicolons.

A sleuth of bears

hibernates to envision

the highs and lows of detective stories.

A kaleidoscope of butterflies

flutters around fictional fantasies.

But, what do we call

a group of poets?

 

A murder of crows

sounds appropriate for

a group of mystery writers.

A flight of doves

must develop

many creative ideas.

A convocation of eagles

must ease into

historical fiction.

A cast of falcons

must focus on

TV scripts and stage dramas.

A stand of pink flamingos

perches upright and ready

to present

behind any podium.

Perhaps, you can think of what to call

a group of poets.

 

A cackle of hyenas

have to turn to comedy.

A troop of kangaroos

can write military history.

A leap of leopards

jumps into a variety

of genres of literature.

A charm of magpies

channels their talents

into romance writing.

A watch of nightingales

knows when to write

bedtime stories for children.

Before the end of this night,

please tell me the name

for a group of poets.

 

A parliament of owls,

a pod of dolphins,

a pride of lions,

a company of parrots,

a kit of pigeons,

a litter of puppies–

all meet to ponder

the predicament of naming

a group of poets.

 

Near the Poetic License Branch,

a  chattering of squirrels

may reveal the choice.

A game of swans may select

the winning name.

A descent of woodpeckers

may tell us their pick.

A dazzle of zebras

strongly endorses:

“a passion of poets.”

 

However, I vote with

an exaltation of larks

and their proclamation of

“an exclamation of poets.”

 

We will write,

discuss, recite, and critique

poetry:

welcome, and come join my

Exclamation of Poets.

 

copyright 2018, ajm

 

* * *

 

When teachers gather together, what do they discuss?  Teaching techniques, ideas for lesson plans, and students.  When golfing buddies meet at a course, they play a round of golf.  When musicians congregate, a jam session may ensue.  When poets–an exclamation of poets–decide on a setting, they share and critique poetry.

 

Last evening, four writer friends and I met for our monthly critique session, at which time, my poem of this blog post was one of the five pieces critiqued.  Although we offered our compliments and suggestions on four poems and one piece of “flash fiction” on April 10, we are free to choose the genre of our own choice for posting via e-mail one week in advance of our meeting.  Nevertheless, all five of us do write and appreciate poetry:  we are poets, as well as writers who write poetry and other genres.

 

Since our July meeting will mark two years that our small-group critique session has met with the same five individuals (three women and two men), I know each person’s writing style and writer’s voice so well that even if names were not included in the compilation of pieces, I could easily identify the writer of each piece of prose or poetry.  However, I continue to be impressed with the versatility and creativity of my four fellow writers.  Our discussions of poetry and writing, in general, as well as our encouraging words have become a highlight of each month for me.  No, we do not agree on everything; but we do find moments to laugh and tease each other, as well as learn from each other, be inspired, and prompt each other to polish our poetry and prose.  Perhaps, amazingly, for the great majority of the time, we stay on topic:  we are a focused group that knows and respects our purpose for approximately 90 minutes each month.

 

I find that having one’s own critique group is very creatively satisfying, further disciplines my writing schedule, and helps me in reaching my writing goals.  When we began as one of the branches of Behind Our Eyes, a national organization of writers with disabilities, I really did not think about the same five writers still gathering together twenty-two months later for a monthly critique session.  Aren’t we an “exclamation” of poets?

 

One member of my critique group suggested that his favorite term for a group of poets is a “plurality” of poets.  What suggestion do you have for the name of a group of poets?  Please note your idea for the name of a group of poets in the comment section of this WORDWALK post.  Thanks!

 

During this past week of National Poetry Month, did you write a short poem, read at least one poem, or share a poem with someone?  I hope so, and I hope you will participate again during the upcoming week of National Poetry Month.

 

If you are someone who appreciates poetry or is trying to appreciate poetry, I hope you will find a group of like-minded people at your local library, senior-citizen center, or other real or virtual location to explore and enjoy the reading, writing, and sharing of poetry.

 

If you have read all of this WORDWALK post, you are an honorary member of my “Exclamation of Poets.”  Congratulations, and go forth celebrating National Poetry Month!

 

Enjoy a poetic week!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

 

April 11, 2018, Wednesday

 

 

Where Do You ‘Stanza’ on Poetry?

 

Where Do You ‘Stanza’ on Poetry?

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Ka-choo!  Are you allergic to poetry, do you tolerate it well, or do you relish poetry?  Where do you “stanza” (stand) on poetry?  What is your poetry quotient?  On a scale from one to twenty–with one being “I would never even think of reading nor writing a poem” and twenty representing “I love and believe in poetry”–where do you “stanza”?

 

Have any of the poems which I have posted on my blog during the past five years made you think differently or more kindly about poetry?  One of the greatest compliments which I have read or heard a few times concerning my WORDWALK blog is:  “Although I usually do not like to read poetry, I do like your poems.”  This comment does make me smile because I hope that my poetic efforts do reach out to a variety of readers and writers.  Even if one first writes a poem for oneself, the poet must next consider his or her audience/readership.  During this first week of National Poetry Month, as usual, I am advocating for the celebration of poetry.  However, I am also thinking of encouraging others to read more poetry, write a poem, recite a poem, memorize a short poem, and/or discuss poetry with others.  Recently, I read the following quotation which President John Adams said to his son John Quincy Adams:  “You will never be lonely with a poet in your pocket.”  This sentiment not only well reflects National Poetry Month, but also reminds me of one of my professors in the Department of English at Indiana State University.  One day in the midst of a graduate English class, the stout and very tall professor shared with his forty students that throughout his service in World War II, he kept a small book of poetry in his pocket.  I imagine that by the end of his military deployment in Europe, he had memorized that book of poems, which, he explained, helped him to survive the war.  For a moment, a measure, a minute, or a month or more–poetry can transport the reader to another place–a kinder and gentler place, a more humorous place, a more adventuresome place, a more creative place, a harder place, or a whimsical place.  A poem can mirror, wipe away, change, heighten, or soothe our emotions.  So few words can do so much–if you give poetry a chance.

 

When you do not have time to read a chapter, short story, blog post, newspaper story, nor magazine article–you may have time for a few lines or several verses of poetry.  I believe poetry can be the microwave, yoga, or amethyst of the literary world.  From a book or from the internet, you can easily read one poem a day during this special month of April.

 

As so many types of prose surround us, many types of poetry encircle us also.  What is frequently inside a birthday card which you give or receive?  A poem.  What about your favorite type of music?  Those lyrics are poetry.  Have you thought of the first books that were read to you as a child?  Many of those classic and contemporary books for children contain rhyme.  Among the poetry from this current era back to the poetry of prior literary periods, other decades or centuries–you do have a world of poetry to explore and choose what you do like and enjoy.

 

Perhaps, I so conveyed my love of poetry to my students that none of them complained about writing poetry; and none were dismissive of poetry.  I was always delighted how my students joined the poetic experience–a highlight of the semester for my classes during my final fourteen years of teaching at the technical college.  When I introduced the poetry unit,  I was surprised when, each semester, one or two students told me that they had never before written a poem.  A number of students shared that they had not written a poem since elementary school.  Nevertheless, no one ever grumbled about having to write poems for the poetry unit.  Of course, the topics and assignments of each unit were detailed on the syllabus which students received on the first day of the semester.  Thus, the semester’s ending with “Poetry at the Podium” was not a surprise–but a special and memorable time of sharing.

 

If a student or some students asked how to begin a poem, how to find an idea for a poem, I did offer a few suggestions.

 

Frequently, my first suggestion was to select a word or phrase for initiating an acrostic poem.  The acrostic poetic form helps by giving you the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem.  Does this sound like a word game?  I often think that writing poetry is so similar to playing a word game.  In an acrostic, you will prompt yourself with a letter to begin each subsequent line.  Also, you will devise for yourself a stopping point–an end line.  While no specific rhyme scheme nor number of syllables per line is required, you will want the acrostic to sound and look like a poem.  For example, I have chosen the word “tulips.”  Before, during, or after writing the acrostic, write a creative title–not just a label for your poetic effort.  You may wish to place the initial letter of each line in bold type or a larger font size.  In the short example below, you will notice that the first line begins with the letter “t,” the second line begins with “u,” the third line begins with “l,” the fourth line with “i,” the fifth line with “p,” and the final line with “s.”  For the initial word of each poetic line, try to avoid articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, so, yet, for), and prepositions; thus, choose a stronger or more descriptive word (noun, verb, adjective, or adverb) for the first word of each line.

 

You did say that you would write an acrostic or another type of poem by next Wednesday–right?  Think of me as your Poetry Cheerleader!  Instead of waving pom-poms, I am waving poem-poems!

 

* * *

 

Autumn’s Gift to a Spring Garden

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Tender, agile bulbs, planted in Autumn,

 

underneath the chilly, changing earth,

 

languish no longer:

 

impatiently, I await

 

petals, graceful and pink blooms,

 

stretching tall to synchronize Spring.

 

* * *

 

Here is our motto for each week of National Poetry Month of 2018:

 

Read a poem, write a poem, share a poem!

 

Please return to WORDWALK next Wednesday for more suggestions and another sample of poetry.

 

Wishing you a creative and happy National Poetry Month of 2018,

Alice and the poetic pup Willow (my fourth Leader Dog since June 7, 2016)

 

April 4, 2018, Wednesday