Thursday, April 4, 2013

Soulful Impressions

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

April is poetry month. Poetry is not a genre that comes natural to my word flow. When someone says write a poem, I feel like a deer caught in headlights. Frozen.

Recently, a writers group discussion about poetry writing changed my response. Through the poetry exercise, I realized writing a poem forces me to tell a story in prose which equates to a tight writing style. Publishers like tight writing. 

It reminded me that when my children were small and we read 30 minutes minimum everyday, they gravitated to rhyming books. To this day my now grown children can recite the rhymes from their childhood read-alouds.

Here are some of our favorites;
"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. In two straight lines they broke their bread and brushed their teeth and went to bed. They smiled at the good and frowned at the bad and sometimes they were very sad. They left the house at half past nine in two straight lines in rain or shine — the smallest one was Madeline."---Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, 
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”---How the GrinchStole Christmas By Dr. Seuss

"When Katy caboose rambled down the train tracks,
The engines were steamers with puffing smoke stacks.
She was a caboose who disliked being last
With an endless black cloud of smoke rolling past
'It's not only smoky,' the caboose would complain,
'There's the jerks and the jolts of this noisy freight train'.
Often Katy would wish that someday she could be
Something quiet and simple like a lovely elm tree."
---The Caboose Who Got Loose By Bill Peet
"From cans to flat tires
to old paper bags, 
to sofas and soupspoons, 
to old clothes and rags."...
"Then what they all saw
made them cheer, dance and sing: 
"An amazing invention!"
"A most beautiful thing!""...
"Protect our dear earth. Don't throw it away. You, too, could make magic from garbage someday." 
---A Pig's Tale By Olivia Newton John and Brian Seth Hurst

"Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon..."
---Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown
As Meg Ryan's character in the movie, You've Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly says, "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does." All I would add is when the text poetically rhymes it will stay with your soul. 

Grab a children's rhyming book and read it aloud, listen for the rhythm, play on words, and immediately write your own poem. 

You may write the next best children's book, one that impacts generations. 

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