29 October 2010

Teaching poetry and folktales

An interesting opportunity has come my way recently. Although I've never, ever, ever wanted to be a teacher (seems like one of the hardest jobs in the world to me), I have accepted the invitation to be a guest teacher (of sorts) for the Extended Day program with Millington Elementary School. I was asked to talk about two of my great loves--poetry and folk/fairy tales--for an hour two Monday afternoons in a row. How could I say no? I'm actually pretty excited about it. I had a hard time, at first, trying to develop a lesson plan. But once I decided on the poem I would talk to them about, it all sort of fell into place. "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf" by Roald Dahl is such a fun and surprising retelling of the traditional tale and I'm sure the 8-10 year olds that I'll be working with will not be too shocked and appalled by the pistol in Little Red's knickers. Maybe they will understand how much fun both poetry and folktales can be--that, of course, is my aim. So here's my basic lesson plan:

1. What do you think poetry is? What makes a poem a poem?
  • Terms: line, stanza, rhyme, meter.
  • Description: metaphors, similes.
2. Poetry is just another form of storytelling.
  • Similar to folktales because both were meant to be read aloud.
  • In poetry, the sounds of the words are just as important as the story itself (the music of words).
3. Pass out copies of "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf" by Roald Dahl.
  • Read it aloud to class once.
  • Then, read it aloud again with the class. Go around the room, each student reading 2 lines at a time.
Creative Writing Assignment
Pick a folktale that you know really well (you can pick "Little Red Riding Hood" if you want) and tell it again as a poem. Feel free to change the traditional story as you retell it. The poem does not have to rhyme, but it certainly can if you want.

23 October 2010

Open for business!

I don't know if anyone's noticed a new widget down the right margin of this blog... I finally set up my shop on Etsy! I've been thinking about it for about two years now and I finally did it. I'm going under the name of Thread Lock Press, the press name for my book collaborations with Emily Kalwaitis. But I've also included a couple older broadsides I made in college that I think fit in well. The name also allows for a little creativity elsewhere too. I'm hoping to list some of my sewing projects (preferably those with a printing, writing, or book-type theme) there as well. I'm calling these "collaborations in printing and sewing," a term that lends itself easily to loose definitions. It could mean anything from a handmade book to a hand-sewn typewriter cover (a current project in the making). So check it out! Maybe you'll even find something you'll like enough to buy?

And I'm such a dork, I even made myself business cards:

19 October 2010

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Oh, LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. You made my day when you selected me to win a free copy of a new Edward Gorey book--and one illustrating fairy tales, to boot. Here's what I thought of it:

"Very well done indeed! James Donnelly's witty retellings of these three traditional fairy tales were well able to keep up with Edward Gorey's incomparable illustrations. Both Donnelly's and Gorey's storytelling capture the playful element of the macabre in these classic tales, a grim sort of whimsy, despite the inevitable happy endings. Putting the grim back in Grimm."

Love,
Lindsay

15 October 2010

Epigraphs and illuminated chapbooks

I am finally out from under the Chestertown Book Festival and am attempting to focus again on my new illuminated chapbook project with Emily Kalwaitis. I don't believe I've talked about my illuminated chapbook concept here before. It's not really anything extremely new and innovative, just a new way of looking at an art form, I guess. My illuminated chapbook is really just a short collection of illustrated poetry. Sleight would have been one. I am designing Pastoral in full consciousness of this idea. It may seem rather simple and insignificant--a short book of illustrated poetry--but I like to think of it as similar to the ancient art of illuminated manuscripts. I feel that the poetry and paintings have a way of working together when placed side by side, that makes them more than what they can be alone. Words and art together are a powerful combination, I think. Illuminating.

And while reading the new book by Fairy Tale Review founder and editor Kate Bernheimer, Horse, Flower, Bird, I happened upon a sentence of hers that would make a beautiful epitaph for Pastoral, in her story "A Cageling Tale:"

"Lying in bed, watching the pale bird toss itself through the pastel scene, the girl felt in the best way--pastoral, nearly."

I think Kate knows what we're talking about. Emily's working on the art for Pastoral now. I can't wait to see what she sees.

01 October 2010

Words I want to use in a poem

hatpin
iron
stray
bellwether
stitch
confinement (the 19th-century noun referring to a woman's seclusion during her pregnancy)