Friday, September 18, 2009

Poetry Friday: Do You Have Any Advice?

The beginning of the school year seems a good time to remind you about Poetry 180, the Library of Congress program billed as "A Poem a Day for American High Schools." As former Poet Laureate Billy Collins says on the site, "Poetry 180 is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. "

No reason why we non-high school students can't piggyback on that. (I subscribe in Google Reader and have the poems sent to me each morning.)

Do any of you teach in schools that use Poetry 180? Or have kids in a school that does? I'd love to hear.

Here's the beginning of the poem for day 7, which resonates with me because I feel that I'm always "just starting out"---on a new book, a new page, a new challenge. Plus, I'm a big fan of cheap notebooks.

by Ron Koertge

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.

It's all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.

Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.

Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.

Read the rest here.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Becky's Book Reviews.


  1. What a beautiful piece of advice, and how lovely to receive poetry in one's email box. I didn't realize 180 did that, for some reason. I have now gotten a clue.

  2. "Laugh so loud everybody/
    in the world frowns and says, 'Shhhh.'"

    Oh, yeah. That's good advice for librarians, too.

    You will appreciate, Sara, that I went to Target the other day, spied out their back-to-school clearance section, and purchased a bunch of notebooks for less than a dime a piece. Quite appropriately, my mother was along to keep me from going overboard, saying proudly, "Oh, you always have loved notebooks."

  3. Thank you, Sara! I so needed that poem today.

  4. "And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
    where a child a year or two old is playing as his
    mother browses the ranks of the dead."

    I LOVE this, and I love Poetry 180 but never realized I could have it sent to me. Hallelujah!!

  5. Yes, and I just realized that if you click on the RSS Feeds link at the Poetry 180 site, it takes you to ALL the Library of Congress feeds! Like you need all that to read, right? But, wow, what a wealth of info delivered right to your desk.

  6. I didn't realize you could get an RSS feed for Poetry 180/the Library of Congress! Thanks, Sara!

  7. Sara you picked the perfect poem for me to do. My week has been all about fresh starts and this really spoke to me. More about play and less about structure and perfection.

    Thank you.

  8. Great advice! And notebooks for less than a dime, Adrienne? Some people are so lucky :).

    It's amazing how often I need to be reminded to play. It must be the writer's affliction or something. This poem was perfect today. Thanks. *laughs VERY loudly* SSHHHHH!

  9. I LOVE Ron Koertge -- one of my favorite poets and just a plain good guy.
    Thanks for posting this!

  10. What a great resource. I have the book 180 MORE but never was clued in about the site. Grazie!

  11. Love this poem, and just did a feed for Poetry 180. Yay!

    And like Jama, I sometimes have to be reminded to play, because I'm too focused on my to-do list. Maybe I need to put play on my to-do list!


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