Gorman to Perform at Super Bowl

Poet laureate is everyone's favorite performer this year

Could you imagine, instead of a halftime show full of singers and dancers, and a bunch of high profile commercials, the Super Bowl featured meaningful poetry and art? It's almost a disconnect, especially for those of us who don't like football and find it inherently violent, a waste of money and full of the privilege awarded to celebrities and others in power, but the fact that Amanda Gorman is performing this year makes me want to tune in for the first time.

Ok, I will likely watch the video after. But it's still quite a leap from previous performances, even if football has become more "political" lately. That's what an older woman said in a meeting the other day and I had to disagree: sports have always been political. Still, a poetry reading during a football game is a big change, and I'd argue a welcome one, especially if it's Amanda Gorman. I still don't agree with sports taking place during a pandemic anyway, but if they are, I think her performance will be the highlight.

Will you be tuning in to Gorman's performance?

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The Poems of Angelina Weld Grimke

Celebrate Black voices and history

This year there's a strong call for celebrating Black voices and joy rather than strictly focusing on Black trauma during Black History Month, which I think is so important. The thing is, it's important all year, so implementing it every month is necessary! Last night my teen and I read about Angelina Weld Grimke, an LGBTQ Black writer who created the play "Rachel" in response to the awful pro-Nazi film, "A Brave New World."

At the time, it was considered a bleak play that audiences didn't appreciate because of its obvious goal of serving as a response against the pro-Nazi film. This means that activists may have loved it, but the general population wanted something more palatable. Today the work is being revived with new performances and energy, and the poet's works are being spotlighted as a result.

Take a look at some of Grimke's poems this week. Which ones do you like best? Which ones move you? I love how crisp her imagery is and I think my favorite is "The Want of You" so far. 

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Amanda Gorman Waxes Hope And Inspiration At Inauguration

Young poet laureate speaks of who we all need to be

Many tears were shed throughout this year's inauguration ceremony, and for many reasons. Was there a dry eye in your house during former poet laureate Amanda Gorman's reading in your home? I know there wasn't in mine.

Gorman's words from "The Hill We Climb" resonate with us because she speaks of the America we are as well as the America we need to become. She reminds us how much room we need to grow, not because we are broken but because we are not finished. Our history has more racism in it than it doesn't, and it's still pervasive in every aspect of life, from medicine to law, education to daily interactions, and we're due for some heavy racial justice in our nation.

What did you think of Gorman's performance? Will you be purchasing her book?

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Great Gifts That Feature Poetry

Share what you've found

Over the years, I've seen so many cool poetry-inspired gifts, from blankets covered with poems to rings with inscriptions. My favorite way to display a poem is still to paint it on a wall (and I've done that a few times!), but putting poems on glasses is a new trend that I could get on board with, especially if the chosen poems are meaningful ones.

Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again" are on these glasses and it's just a gorgeous piece of art. It also serves as a nice reminder, as well as a great gift for poetry lovers. 

What cool poetry gifts have you seen lately? Share them in the chat. 

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Coursera's Poetry Offerings

Have you taken any?

Do you enjoy learning about poetry from a teacher rather than on your own? Or maybe you just want to discuss it with fellow learners. Online poetry classes can be found all over the place and Coursera has several great offerings for those interested.

University of PA's Modern and Contemporary American Poetry is a wonderful class. I can't speak for the other classes from experience but there are poetry workshops, classes about songs and poetry and many other offerings that you might be interested in.

Where do you take poetry classes online? Share your links in the chat.

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Poetry Resolutions

Do you have any?

As we launch into another semester of poetry study in my home, I know one of my goals is to make sure we include more diverse voices in our reading. My teen enjoys Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes but I don't really know many modern poets and I'd like to remedy that. I'd also like to include lots of different poetry styles and voices.

Another thing I'd love to do is write more poetry challenges. I love prompt challenges and just don't have a lot of time to spend on them. If you have some, please send them our way!

Do you have any poetry resolutions for 2021? Share them in the chat! 

New Year's Poems

Share yours in the chat

Are you still working on your six-word memoirs for 2020? If you have yours, be sure to share it with us! I've played with mine and come up with a few:

Quarantine and hygge dreams at home

Shining up the house in masks

Isolation, innovation, and making do daily

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of them, either, so I may keep playing!

In the meantime, are there any special New Year's poems that you turn to at this time of year? There are a lot of good ones here, but  there are a lot of poems that could be used for this purpose even if they don't pertain to the New Year. I know Dickinson's "Much Madness is Divinest Sense" came to mind for me for several recent New Year's Eves...

So what poems are you enjoying right now? Any that you're carrying into the New Year? Share them in the chat.

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Six-Word Memoir

What's yours for the year?

The six-word memoir is one of the most fun, easy ways to commemorate your year. There's no pressure to write a daily record or journal; just six quick words to form an overall impression. You can read the examples at the link for some fun examples. It makes for beautiful reading!

If you did want to make one for every day of the year, it would also end up being one neat time capsule that's both poetic and meaningful to you. It's also a fun way to do a quick end of the year wrap up if your usual annual review feels like too much (or too little) this year.

Will you be writing one, or have you written a six-word memoir before? Share it in the chat.

Prompts, Book Ideas And Poetry Tips

Have you tried AllPoetry?

Back before I became a parent, I used to write poetry daily. AllPoetry was one of my favorite places to share it, critique others' poems and, most of all, take part in challenges and contests by other poets. Sometimes I'd eve host my own.

AllPoetry also has a helpful newsletter, so if you don't like the idea of sharing your writing with others, you can always just sign up for that to receive poetry prompts, book suggestions, writing tips and more in your inbox.

What other poetry resources do you know of that are helpful to writers? Share them in the chat!

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Virtual Poetry Games

Share your favorites!

It's our homeschool co-ops planning month as we finish this semester and start planning the next one. I've been wanting to do a poetry class or two to go with the unit we're doing at home (many homeschoolers plan their offerings this way!) and I was thinking of hosting some fun poetry games for the kids.

One of my favorite poetry games is to find 10 nouns in your environment and write quick, three-sentence poems about each one. It's such a great exercise to make you think fast and you often come up with really cool ideas to further explore. It's an exercise that I believe I learned from Anne Lamott.

I'm also toying with the idea of an alphabetical game where we all come up with words for the same letter, or to just have the kids do a round robin style poem.

What poetry games do you like to play? Share them in the chat.

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