Day 11 of the 2015 Progressive Poem and an Introduction to a New Poet

Thank you to Irene Latham for inviting me to participate in the Progressive poem this year.  I stand in awe of all of you and I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous to add my line.  I have watched the poem changing every morning and tried to anticipate what my contribution might be.  At first was thinking I might possibly add something about the water, or maybe seabirds but then MaryLee added “ibises roosting in the trees.”  So next I began wondering what the woman in the poem was thinking and how if we knew, it might help us understand her actions.  Yesterday morning I opened the poem to find her grandmother would be speaking to her.  Ahhh, perfect I thought.  Now we’ll know a little bit more about her but, Oh, my!  That means me!

I love water, the sounds, the colors, the feel of it.  I love floating, boating, and body surfing but what I especially love is escaping to the world beneath the water by snorkeling or diving.  I feel like the woman in this poem needs an escape and that possibly her grandmother knows this.  The bracelet allows her the gift of escape.  Here is the poem so far and the words I have chosen to add from her grandmother:


She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica. 

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag, 

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp–
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

  Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.  


Next up is Margaret at Reflections on the Teche .

2015 Kidlitosphere

Progressive Poem

1 Jone at Check it Out

2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy

3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog

6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson

8 Irene at Live Your Poem

9 MaryLee at Poetrepository

10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

11 Kim at Flukeprints

12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine at DoriReads

14 Renee at No Water River

15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

19 Linda at Teacher Dance

20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots

21 Tara at A Teaching Life

22 Pat at Writer on a Horse

23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference

26 Brian at Walk the Walk

27 Jan at Bookseedstudio

28 Amy at The Poem Farm

29 Donna at Mainely Write

30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Today I met with Linda Nemec Foster who was our first Grand Rapids Poet Laureate,  The meeting was arranged by our Education Art Museum coordinator Christopher Bruce, who knew I was interested in writing poetry with children.  We had talked earlier in the school year about the possibility of bringing my Poetry Club to the museum to write.   I was anticipating  the upcoming exhibits and watching for one which would lend itself well to writing.  Christopher contacted me a few weeks ago suggesting a meeting with poet Linda Nemec Foster, explaining that he thought we should meet.  Lucky me!

Linda arrived with a bulging bag of her work- books, chapbooks, music CDs inspired by her poetry and one jointly produced collection of poems and photographs by a local artist. Her poetry work is  written with an adult audience in mind but her poetry spirit spans all ages.  I am anxious to share many of her poems with my students.  She has worked as a poet in residence in many schools and for many years.  Again, lucky me to have the opportunity to meet her.

Christopher told us about an upcoming exhibit called, “In the Air” which will be coming to the Grand Rapids Art Museum from the Whitney Museum.  He described it as a massive circular view, interactive piece.  Visuals of New York City told with vignettes are played while the viewer slips under the screen and watches from within the circle.  We are planning a visit  for the students to learn about the artist’s purpose for the piece and to write poetry from a circle of their own world– their backyard.  It’s a plan to dream about and work through, and by May we will be ready to have some fun with poetry and art.  I am grateful to those creative souls in the art world who believe in connecting other creative souls.

Here is a Haiku poem by Linda Nemec Foster from her book titled ” Listen to the Landscape,”  Images by Dianne Carroll Burdick.

  The Dream of Trees

                              To walk like the scarves

                              Of clouds, to abandon land

                              And never return



About kdoele

I am a teacher who continues to learn from students kindergarten through seventh grade. Currently teaching seventh grade English and Reading/Writing Workshop, I am exploring what it is like to "begin" again... my one little word for 2017.
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13 Responses to Day 11 of the 2015 Progressive Poem and an Introduction to a New Poet

  1. Tabatha says:

    What a beautiful line AND beautiful haiku!

  2. cvarsalona says:

    The words of wisdom you dropped from the grandmother are poetic and worth pondering. Thank you for the introduction to the new poet and her amazing haiku. The line I am connecting with is:
    To walk like the scarves Of clouds. This line has such a magical quality to it. I look forward to hearing more about your students’ journey with poetry.

  3. Irene Latham says:

    How wonderfully wise our grandmother is! Thank you, Kim!! And yay for meeting a new poetry person in Grand Rapids! How lucky are your students??! xo

  4. “Expect the pearl…” Such wise advice! Thanks for sharing Linda Nemec Foster’s lovely haiku and the link to her website. Looking forward to reading more of her poetry.

  5. Oh man, I wish I had a grandmother who told me that. Magical times ahead… for the progressive poem and for your students! The haiku you shared is glorious!

  6. Linda Baie says:

    Wonderful to hear these words from her grandmother, now to see how she interprets them. And I love your plans to write from the exhibit’s inspiration. I just took my class to see an exhibit at our Contemporary Art Museum, to respond visually to what they saw. It was an exciting day, & has continued to be a highlight that we talk about. Happy Writing!

  7. Ramona says:

    Love your addition to our poem! My daughter read it to me this morning over breakfast. We’ve been busy all day, but I finally stopped by to leave my thoughts. I can’t wait to read Margaret’s addition tomorrow.
    Your plans to connect your students with art and poetry sound so fun! I hope you’ll share some of the poems your students write from their circles, their backyards.

  8. Heidi Mordhorst says:

    Niiiiiice! Wisdom in brief, and I like the tension between what is born that we can’t predict and what we expect which is beauty.

  9. Kim, what a great line! I’ve tried before to make up wise sayings for characters I’m writing, and I always fail miserably at it. This one is brilliant. I also love Linda’s “scarves / Of clouds…”

  10. Gosh, what a fun meeting you must have had. Food for the spirit. Thank you for sharing Linda’s lovely haiku. And this grandmother is completely cool. Such a curious and true and interesting line that fortells…something. I am so glad you joined in on the Progressive Poem this year. It’s like a dinner, isn’t it? xo

  11. Mmmm… a gem of a line about a pearl. I agree, a stroke of brilliance! It causes us to stop and breathe a minute. Thanks for sharing your “above water” poetry adventures as well; lucky students! Enjoyed the introduction to Linda and her intriguing, airy haiku.

  12. Linda’s haiku is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.! What a perfect line! I’m off to see where the poem goes next.

    I’m playing catchup 🙂

  13. As someone who visits the epicenter of oystering (Apalachicola, FL) quite a bunch, I love your line. It reads almost like a chant – brava!

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