Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Poems Are Teachers by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

This past weekend in between fishing and eating and sorting through some old letters, I read from cover to cover Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's newest book for teachers: POEMS ARE TEACHERS: How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres (Heinemann, 2017).

As an occasional teacher -- and as a visiting author who talks with teachers who are eager for help teaching poetry -- I am always looking for new ideas and resources. This book is IT. Not only are these pages bursting with Amy's trademark warmth and wisdom (who doesn't love Amy?!), the book also includes some great poems by students and by poets who write for children. I'm honored to have one of my ArtSpeak! Plant, Grow, Eat (2016) poems included in the chapter about writing poems after art: "A Dream of Wheat."

One of the features of the book I really enjoy is the behind-the-poem blurbs from each adult poet. Also, Amy shares specific verbiage to use with young students -- I can't wait to try some of her suggestions! And the book itself is proof that poems are teachers, because Amy's words and advice and observations simply sparkle! An added bonus is Katherine Bomer's Foreword. Joy! AND I felt like the chapter "Stand in Awe" was written just for me. It reminds me of why I write, and fills me with all the things I've yet to write about. Thank you, Amy!


  1. Thank you, my friend, for these lovely words....and for your poem! I am always inspired by your poems and by your way of approaching the world. xx

  2. I just can't wait to get my hands on this book. I'm also going to request it for my public library as well. I love that A Dream of Wheat is prompted by Van Gogh. His paintings are my favorite prompts, I think.

  3. Irene, I loved coming across your poem as I began my journey through Amy's book. (I'm gushing about it for PF as well today, as you know!) Your poem is good enough to eat, and nourishing to the soul. XO


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