Friday, April 10, 2015


Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for the latest line in our Progressive Poem... and Laura at Writing the World for Kids for a poetry tip & Roundup!

First, I've got a new poetry book to share with all of you, THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS And Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell, illus. by Joan Rankin. It's full of fun, imaginative poems -- all about things we eat in different seasons: strawberries in spring, peaches in summer, apples in fall, cocoa in winter.

Here's my favorite poem (full disclosure: I was born in Georgia, which makes me a Georgia peach... and I happen to LOVE peaches to eat!) :

Speaking of Peaches...
by Deborah Ruddell

There is so much to say about peaches,
but it's hard to know where to begin.
Do you start with the flowery fragrance,
or the summery sweetness within?

or the juice, as it stickily trickles
from your lips to the tip of your chin?
Or the sunset of beautiful colors
on the flannelpajamaty skin?

How 'bout that "flannelpajamaty"? Pretty awesome, right? Check out the book... it's lots of fun!

Next, I offer you poem #9 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say?

Today's piece is "Cutout of Animals" by an unknown 19th Century American artist.

I wanted to write on something "different" today, so I selected this piece which reminds me instantly of Noah's ark! Everything is in double here, as if the artist folded the paper in half and allowed the paint to bleed through. My next thought was, "The Zoo Inside You." I love that title! But this isn't really a zoo, is it?And there are people, too. Hmmm... I started writing, thinking about how one spirit animal just isn't enough to represent a human... we have many characteristics of many animals. So I listened, and it seemed to me that this piece was talking directly to the reader:

Okay, so that was tough! And I'm not completely happy with it, though I do like parts of it. (The camel with its canteens... yes!) The ending is a cliche... I was thinking maybe the raven could offset the predictability, but maybe not enough ?? I really wanted to include the people we are -- the child within, and our future selves -- maybe I need to develop that some more. And I am no longer sure about the title.... maybe "The Zoo Inside You" makes it more clear to a child-reader? Things to think about when I revise! Thank you for reading. xo


  1. What a feast of wonderfulness for this rainy-in-Holland Poetry Friday morning, Irene. Peaches and does not get much better. I am excited about Deborah's new book - those last two lines of this peach peom simply slay me. Dead on. And your project is just taking my mind and reading mouth to new places every day. I adore it. "The child you were/rides on the back of a giant dog." Yes! It does! Thank you for reminding me. Great fun today. xo, a.

    1. Amy, I can see you riding on the back of a giant dog... right now! :) You'll love Deborah's book.Thanks for reading. xo

  2. Flannelpajamaty - wahoo to that, I say! Love Deborah's imagination.

    Irene, your poem project this month is fabulous. I love seeing how you interpret each day's artwork, and the images you come up with - yowza! Thank you!

    1. Thank YOU, Renee! And why am I not surprised you like "flannelpajamaty" ?? Such a great word and perfect in this poem! Btw, I thought of you so hard last month when I was in Austria, just four miles from Italy!! Hubby and I have Italy and Greece on the radar for next trip. MUST see you while we are there. xo

  3. Flannelpajamaty - wahoo to that, I say! Love Deborah's imagination.

    Irene, your poem project this month is fabulous. I love seeing how you interpret each day's artwork, and the images you come up with - yowza! Thank you!

  4. I LOVE your idea that we have lots of animals. People are complicated, and can't be summed up easily. Beautiful!

    1. Ruth! I want to know what spirit animals live inside YOU! Thank you for reading. xo

  5. I like "The Zoo Inside You" -- that does seem clearer for a child-reader (and merry, too). I like the contrast of the feasting bear and the delicate butterfly!
    Two of my kids are Georgia peaches, Irene :-) "Stickily trickles" is fun to say.

    1. You have Georgia peaches!! That's awesome. :) Thanks for your thoughts about the title. It helps! xo

  6. Wonderful readings of both poems. Love those camel canteens too -- lovely details and observations about the animals. I like pondering the zoo inside each of us. :)

    1. And what does the zoo inside you look like, Jama?? :) thank you for reading... and for listening! Love that we blogged about the same book today! xo

  7. I doubt I will ever be able to look at a peach again without thinking "flannelpajamaty!" "flannelpajamaty!" "flannelpajamaty!"

    I like "The Zoo Inside You" too-- I was first introduced to the concept of spirit animals when I was 17 or 18, but, within the zoo context, I think kids will relate to it as well. I like the camel and the giant dog lines, and I also like "A lion lurks behind your ear."

  8. A friend just brought me this new poetry book & I read the peaches poem to my granddaughter this afternoon! I too love that "flannelpajamaty", Irene. I enjoyed your Totem poem, & like always like hearing your thoughts. I just wonder whether there are "more" animals to include?

  9. The Popcorn Astronauts sounds like a must-have. Totem seems brimming with possibility to me. I love this line, "While the grownup you'll become/hides behind a tree." Thanks for sharing, Irene!

  10. I am totally in love (like everyone else) with "flannelpajamaty."

    I had to look (and read) closely, because I thought the painting could be a tapestry or embroidery. So much to see when looking up close, but when I don't focus on the details, I can see a god/spirit face in the picture! Perfect for your totem poem!

  11. Oh, the flannelpajamaty skin! And the way you shift from animals to your own child self in "Totem." These are both kind of magical.

    Menageries congregate:
    Butterflies fluttering
    At roosters, asking them
    For a dance of romance.
    Dogs licking faces
    Of slouching llamas,
    Birds tweeting gossip
    As purrs of kittens
    snugglecuddle against zebras
    Diversified skin.
    Bears sniffing antlers
    Of deer, hoping to pick up
    Frequencies from their
    Velvety antennas.

    (c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.


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