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Filtering by Category: writing by Sarah and Jeff

NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt 9: You Are What You Carry On Your Person

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

Difficulty Level 1/5

Your task today is to pick your own pocket and turn it into a poem. Empty out your: pockets, wallet, purse, backpack, glove compartment, trunk, or whatever you use to contain all your stuff as you're on the go. This is what Sarah has in her substitute-teacher-on-the-go bag:

the contents of my messenger bag

the contents of my messenger bag

This is the poem Sarah wrote based on all that stuff:

Making myself at home in other people's spaces

I hope to never open a stranger's
desk drawer even if it's just to find a pencil/ a pen/ an eraser
for a student/ a hall pass/ I hope to not
spill my coffee on a desk blotter/ to clean it up
if I do/ whether there are paper towels in the classroom
or not/ I hope I am warm/ why are these classrooms
so cold/ one classroom was so cold I had back
spasms for weeks from shivering inside my
jacket for hours/ I hope I look like a
professional/a grownup whose lipstick isn't
bleeding/ whose fingernails aren't raggedy/
framed by dry cuticles/ angry hangnails/ I hope
I get my some reading in/ I hope I read
poems/ poems/ poems/ poetic prose/ maybe
an interview with a poet/ I write/ make lists/ check off
to-do tasks/ plan a new project/ teach
the kids/ collect the papers/ take the attendance/ leave
some notes/ hope there's a job where the desk is
mine/the students are mine/ the lessons are
mine/ the room is home

So, how do you make your stuff into a poem? Consider the following questions: What do all these things say about you? Why are they so important that you have to carry them with you? What is your favorite thing you carry and why? What is the most random thing you carry and why is it in your pocket/wallet/purse/backpack/trunk? Write your poem, and if you're feeling ambitious, take a picture of your stuff, too. Check out the What's In Your Bag Tumblr for photographic inspiration. 

Bonus Level Up, Difficulty Level 3/5: Write a poem about the stuff you carry in your wallet/purse/backpack/glove compartment/trunk/etc. and include some conspicuous rhymes and/or alliteration

Send us your poems, and photos if you've got them, for possible publication on this here blog. As ever, we're at

Have you registered for the Poem-A-Thon yet? Sign up to write poems and raise money for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council today! 

NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt 5: All the Colors of the Rainbow

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

Difficulty Level 1/5

Today we're writing the rainbow. Or at least a sliver of it. Pick a color out of the standard ROY G BIV array and write it down. Now brainstorm as many ideas about that color as you can. We thought about animals, plants & landscapes, people, foods, and moods & ideas. Jeff came up with this:

Then he wrote this poem:

The autumn leaves are finally turning,
after a season of warm
sunsets blazing their reflections
off the water of the lake.
The children who live next door
bounce their basketball
incessantly and keep an eye out for visiting
orioles and curious
foxes nosing around their pumpkins,
hollow and jack o' lantern'd,
complete with candles lit and flames dancing.
It's Thanksgiving, decked out with sweet
potatoes (and pie!),
pumpkins (and pie!),
and marmalade for fresh bread,
gerbera daisies and tiger lilies part
of the centerpiece for the table.
Despite the chill,
a fire roars in its place,
we are splayed on couches,
ready to watch Finding Nemo for the 100,000th time.

If you want a fresh, clean copy of our brainstorming sheet, click here for a PDF copy. Fill it out and then turn it into a poem. Send it to us, if you feel so inclined, and you may see it right here on this blog:

Are you local to Pittsburgh? Have you registered for the Poem-A-Thon yet? Sign up to write poems and raise money for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council today!