Poetry Friday: Writing a Blues Poem

Thanks to Cheriee a
Library Matte for hosting
Poetry Friday this week.

I’ll be heading to San Antonio, TX for the Association of Writers and Poets Conference 2020(AWP2020) the beginning of March. I’m still pinching myself that I was asked to be on a panel with Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong, Susan Blackaby, and Xelena Gonzalez.

We’ll be discussing Making Connections through Poetry: Writers-Readers-Teachers.
This week in preparation for my part, I led a poetry workshop using Xelena Gonalez’s poem, “Testing Blues” as a mentor text. You can find this poem in GREAT MORNING Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud selected by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

Testing Blues by Xelena Gonzalez

Bounce those blues
away, away
like that ball you
dribbled & lost
shot & missed
over & over
catching air
before you heard
the sweet swoosh
of success.
But if those testing blues
come back,
stand up!
Remember . . .
You will shine
You will score
You will soar!
(You’ve done it all before.)

After I read this poem and another one that Gonzalez sent me, I talked with fourth graders about what is a poem and what makes a good poem. We also noticed that “Testing Blues” was like an advice poem.

I wrote with them about the “writing blues” as I had been writing for a class and it was giving me the blues.

Writing Blues

Ricochet those writing blues
away
Like the time
when you hit the blank page of silence
Like the time
when you stayed up all night
with words in your dreams
But if those writing blues
return
lace up your boots
walk in the forest
forage for words
under moon glow
Ricochet those writing blues
away

©jone rush macculloch

If you happen to be at the AWP2020 conference, come find us. We present on Friday, March.

Student Poetry Postcards Return in 2020!
Next week, I will have a sign up form
for a limited run of student poetry postcards.

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9 Responses to Poetry Friday: Writing a Blues Poem

  1. Michelle Kogan says:

    Very inspiring post Jone, especially the poems feeding off of each other! I liked the ideas and notes you and your students came up with for writing poems. Congrats on your presenting!

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I’m having an attack of FOMO because San Antonio is driving distance. About 6.5 hours, though. Love the blues poem lesson. Gotta try it! Love your ricochet writing blues with walking in the forest advice.

  3. kareneastlund4898 says:

    Best of luck with this week’s conference… looks like you are totally prepared. Love the blues poems. Right now I have the “can’t keep my eyes open” blues… haha.

  4. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Enjoy your panel presentation! It looks like you will be in good company. And I love your writing blues poem. Yes, yes, yes, to “forage for words under moon glow.” There’s nothing like lacing up the boots to get words flowing.

  5. cweichel says:

    First off, congratulations on being on the panel!
    I’m sure glad that while there is some testing done here in Canada, it is nothing compared to the high stakes stuff done there.
    Your poem impressed, but I especially love these lines,
    lace up your boots
    walk in the forest
    forage for words
    under moon glow

  6. Oh, this is lovely! Especially “forage for words
    under moon glow” — swoon. Have fun at AWP!

  7. mbhmaine says:

    Congratulations, Jone! What an exciting opportunity for you and for your audience. I love both poems. Your post is a great example of how to take a mentor poem and run with it. Well done!

  8. lindabaie says:

    Congratulations, Jone, wish it was closer. Love the poems, and your “Ricochet those writing blues”. I think I will print it to hang up by my desk!

  9. haitiruth says:

    What a wonderful “writing blues” poem! Yes, let’s ricochet them away!
    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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