Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Verse Novel Workshop in Albuquerque and Upcoming IRA Conference in Chicago

On Saturday, April 14, Caroline Starr Rose and I held a verse novel workshop at Alamosa Books. It was the culmination of a city-wide poetry contest. Students from elementary through high school submitted poems from all over the city and there was a poster contest for the 2Pac poster with the "Dead Rapper Rap" poem from FORGET ME NOT (Simon Pulse, October 2012). Kids had to find the 2Pac song titles hidden within the poem.

Several students showed up to read their original poems. The elementary and secondary schools with the most poetry submissions won free author visits.  Kennedy Middle School was the winner of the Secondary School Author Visit. I'll be going there on Friday, April 27th. to meet with students. Some of them are planning a performance of the "Dead Rapper Rap."

Meanwhile, I've finished the novels I planned to read for poetry month, May B. by Caroline Starr Rose and The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder. I even had time to go back and read an old favorite - Girl Coming in for a Landing by April Halprin Wayland. Last weekend I got a pad of sticky notes, made a cup of coffee, and went through these books page by page, looking for literary devices to use as examples for our upcoming poetry panel in Chicago. The four of us will be presenting a panel entitled: Social Issues in Contemporary Fiction and Verse Novels: Recognizing Literary Devices and the Implications for Struggling Readers.

What inspired me as I read through these verse novels was the sheer number of literary and poetic devices the authors used. There were numerous examples of metaphor, simile, allusion, personification, alliteration, and assonance. Even though almost all of the poems were written in free verse, they were still filled with beautiful imagery, figurative language, and word play. For our panel, I'm creating a "Treasure Hunt" based on examples from these books and my own verse novel, FORGET ME NOT (Simon Pulse, October 2012). I'll share it in my Teacher Resources section soon.

Our panel is part of an all day  pre-conference institute entitled  Rekindling the Reading Fire - Author Panel - Using the Story Strategies of Professional Authors to Inspire a Love of Reading and Writing. There is a separate fee for the institute, but participants don't have to be attending IRA to come to the institute. We already have people signed up from over ten different states and five different countries. So... if you know anyone who is going to be in Chicago on April 29th, tell them to check out our institute. There will be a total of 9 authors participating. Some of our other panels include:

Brave New Worlds in Fantasy and Magic Realism: Inspiring Literacy by Sparking the Imagination Kimberley Griffiths Little, Kersten Hamilton, Lisa Schroeder

Social and Cultural Influences: Approaching Plot Through the Intersection of Character, Setting, and Time - Uma Krishnaswami, April Halprin Wayland, Esther Hershenhorn

Content Area Literacy: Making History Come Alive - Carolyn Meyer, Caroline Starr Rose, Kimberley Griffiths Little

I will also be presenting an overview of The Secret Language of Stories, my twelve step story plotting system.





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