Thursday, August 3, 2017

8 Words for August

August. It's not a particularly inspiring or noteworthy month -- unless you are noting humidity levels here in the south! Which makes it a perfect writing challenge for students: write a poem about August.

When I do writing workshops, one of the things I have students do is come up with 10 words to describe whatever topic we're writing about. This might generate a list like the following (for "August"):

hot
humid
long
boring
dry
popsicle
dog
swimming
sleepy
sun

...  which is a perfectly fine list! But guess what, students? SCRATCH THROUGH ALL THOSE WORDS. Let's move on to the next ten, and the next! Digging deeper, past the cliches, past the expected, is where all the best poems are buried.

Eventually we might come to these 8 words -- and write a poem:

lake
hazy
eclipse  (for August 2017, at least!)
hope
bridge
weeds
beginning
russet


August

russet weeds
frame sturdy bridge –

our hazy hopes
eclipse the lake
as we row

into a new beginning

- Irene Latham

Indeed, kids start school in these parts next week. Our youngest son is entering his senior year! Which means we will be spending more and more time without kids at our (new-to-us!) lake house. (For more on this, be sure to visit my post today over at Live Your Poem!) If we're lucky, we might even glimpse the eclipse. Either way, August to me is a "bridge month," during which we cross over from summer to fall... from lethargy to productivity... from hazy to crisp. I'm excited!
-----------------

 Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming poetry, fiction and picture books for children and adults, including Leaving Gee's Bend, 2011 ALLA Children's Book of the Year. Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, she also serves as poetry editor for Birmingham Arts Journal. www.irenelatham.com

7 comments:

  1. Perfect inspiration for lazy days...digging deeper is a wonderful metaphor for getting to the meat of everything we strive for a writers. May all your "digs" bring forth treasure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOVE everything about this post :) Thanks for sharing, Darlene!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We start school tomorrow. Tucking this prompt away for next week.

    ReplyDelete
  4. School is approaching far faster than I had hoped, need to dust off that lethargy and think productive thoughts. Wonderful poem.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Digging deeper." Words to live by. Thank you, Irene.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is lovely--revising our expectations!

    ReplyDelete