Poetry Friday: Skunks and Alleys

It’s Poetry Friday! Thank you, Heidi, @ My Juicy Little Universe for hosting.


The second week of school has come to an end, and for the past two Thursdays, poetry has had the spotlight.

The first week of this work was shaky. Students didn’t see as much as I had hoped. Perhaps I wasn’t doing it right. Then, later during the next week, I heard murmurs of “that’s figurative language” during read aloud. The sound of beautiful words echoed in picture books.

This week, I wanted the perfect poem. One that had many entry points.

Thursday morning students held their copies of  Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem Valentine for Ernest Mann. As I read it aloud, the connection between this poem and our read aloud hit me. I finished and asked, “What do you notice?”

This part is funny the part about ordering tacos.

That’s kinda figurative tacos and poems!

I love the words shiny and spirit.

There’s a story inside this poem. It says, “once”.

It’s about poems and beauty.

The man is serious so he means this. Weird.

He has a different point of view, it’s his perspective.

This line is the one I like: “Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so.”
I had to share my thinking. “Guys, you know this poem reminds me of The Last Stop on Market Street.”
They looked blank at first but then someone said it.”The skunk is the alley!”
Then, ohhh yeahhh echoed around the room.
Ohhh, yeah!




Poetry Friday: Naming It

Yesterday I sat in Cowin Auditorium at Teachers College and listened to Naomi Shihab Nye.

Love flowed from her to us and back again. We are her tribe. She spoke, and we held on. The power of writing lifts us up and fills us with what we know to be true.

Nye offered four pieces of sound writerly advice:

1. Be a fan of writers, artists, musicians, the weird gardner down the street. This  gives you fuel, it gives you energy to go on.

2. Believe in the tiny increments of time, they stack up and allow you to build.

3. Share your work

4. Have rituals, they promote confidence

In the spirit of this, hello Poetry Friday. No apologies necessary. The ritual begins.


allows identity.


allows memory.

It gives us a place

to be heard

and know we matter.

With that power

we think

and become more.

We find the form,

the shape

and name it.

We exist.

©Julieanne Harmatz

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Thank you, Carol, at Carol’s Corner for hosting this week.