Thursday, May 19, 2016


 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit marvelous Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for Roundup.

And speaking of marvelous Margaret.... this week I'm thrilled to share with you some student work done by her students, who were inspired by poems from DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST.

Art and poems! What could be better?!

First, here's "Reef for All" by Madison:

Reef for All
by Madison
Sharks feast on my citizens;
my restaurant never closes.

Eels hide in my caves;
my shelter provides homes.

Sea worms play Peek-a-boo in my tubes;
my tubes allow all ages.

Fish hide in my caves;
my cradle caves are cozy for new fins.

No sea animal can resist my charm;
I am a coral reef.
Isn't that "peek-a-boo" wonderful?! So much fun!

And here is my "Tree for All" poem that inspired it:

illustration by Anna Wadham
Tree for All

Giraffes feast on my leafy crown;
my buffet never closes.

Rhinos doze beneath my broad branches;
my umbrella selters and shades.

Baboons scramble up and down my trunk;
my playground delights all ages.

Owls nest in my hidden knothole;
my cradle cozies brand-new wings.

Skinks sleep in my thick, spotted bark;
my camouflage keeps them safe.

Safari ants trail along my roots;
my roadways help build a city.

No grassland beast can resist my charms;
I am a wild bush willow tree.

- Irene Latham

Next we have "What T-Rex Knows" by Jacob:

What T-Rex Knows
by Jacob

T-Rex knows
to walk on two legs
and fight like a pro

T-Rex knows
to hunt like a beast
and eat his foe

T-Rex knows
he's strong as a 
spinning tornado

T-Rex knows
he's friends with
other dinos
66 million years ago

Oh, that spinning tornado! Yes!

And here is my poem "What Rhino Knows" :

What Rhino Knows

Rhino knows
to wait for starshine
and moonglow.

Rhino knows
to snort and paw,
puff and blow.

Rhino knows
to charge like a bull
at the rodeo.

Rhino knows 
he’s strong as
an armored buffalo.

Rhino knows
is the only way to go.

–Irene Latham

Finally, here is "Zeno Poem" by Vannisa, about the hardships of writing poetry:

Zeno Poem
by Vannisa

Finding topics to write is hard.
Something simple
like a 
because writing
just takes
Yes, indeed! Writing takes time. Thank you, Margaret and students! Your work is a gift.

Coming next week: posts featuring some of the fabulous schools I've visited this year... readers and art and words and FOOD! I'm excited to share with all of you. Meanwhile, hope you have a great weekend! Live your poem!!


  1. Margaret's creative teaching & your vibrantly worded DWW title are a terrific team for cultivating the spirit & soaring words of young poets, Irene. Brava! all around.

  2. I am a little teary now. We have said goodbye for summer, and this post makes me miss them so much. I love my job! Thanks for being with us and inspiring our writing.

  3. I love Madison's couplet poem. Am going to have to try it with students.

  4. I shared Dear Wildering Wildebeest with the teacher I worked with this year, too, Irene, as a mentor text for his own lesson in n-f poetry. He said it was such fun to use, made his job easier. I love seeing Margaret's students' poems. They learned good things from your mentor words and Margaret's teaching.

  5. What fun to see your work and the student poems together! It must be so rewarding to see your wonderful words at work--teaching students and also inspiring them to create their own poems. Kudos to all of you!

  6. Great spin-offs from your collection! I could see the Reef one being a "lift the flap" book!

  7. Always a delight to read student poem, and be inspired by their creativity, and gorgeous way with words. How wonderful to know you inspired that!

  8. Strong as a spinning tornado! Irresistible as a coral reef! Thoughtful as a zeno poem! (Sounds like a new superhero :-) ) Thanks for sharing these, Irene xo

  9. What a thrill to see students using you as a mentor. Love it.

  10. Wonderful to see these great spin-off poems!

  11. The best combination for kids- a gifted poet and a gifted teacher. These poems are just wonderful!

  12. Those are delightful homages to your excellent book, Irene. Madison's poem works well with Jama's Octopus post this week.

  13. I just love these! Mentor texts are such a wonderful teaching tool and Dear Wandering Wildebeest is perfect for inspiration! Love!

  14. Dear wandering student poetry, so glad you found a home in Irene's heart! What a thrill and an honor for you, Irene. :) So nice to see a zeno again, too!

  15. How lovely is this! I'm always so impressed with the results Margaret draws from her students. You two speak the same inspirational language!

  16. I loved seeing the kid poems paired with yours -- great examples of mentor texts!

  17. What a delightful collection! The cut paper illustrations complement it all nicely.

  18. Cheers all around! What terrific poems from Margaret's students. Madison's "My cradle caves are cozy for new fins" inspired by your "cradle cozies" is delightful.

  19. Wonderful shares from Margaret's students. Isn't it fun to see your words inspiring others? Looking forward to more student writing next week and hearing about your school visits.


Your thoughts?