What to Eat If You Want to Be a Reader: National Poetry Writing Month


It’s National Poetry Month, and many of my favorite bloggers are shifting from Slicing to Poeming. I have decided to join them.

Process Note: Today’s poem was inspired, first, by Carol’s wonderful post about how she chose her theme for April: A Reading Life. Then, I read Amy Ludwig VanDerWater’s first poem of the month, which is a list poem. She shares some information about list poems from her terrific book, Poems Are Teachers, including the titles of two student poems. I was quite taken by Clara’s title, “What to eat if you want to be a runner,” and combined Carol’s theme with Clara’s title.

A reader’s food is not the kind
That builds bodies, moves muscles
(Although she won’t say no
To a cup of coffee, a slice of cake)
She doesn’t need calories
To fuel her workout
Only         quiet
a comfortable chair
a stretch of time
and a stack of books
Although just one is enough.



15 responses to “What to Eat If You Want to Be a Reader: National Poetry Writing Month”

  1. Oh, Elisabeth! Best of luck as you endure this next writing journey! And what a way to start! Love your poem … it reminds of that quote: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” And, yes, one will do!

    • “Endure” is the perfect word choice! I am looking forward to exploring brevity this month. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. It felt weird to publish a poem on my blog (though I do dabble sometimes in March) and comforting to see some familiar faces here this morning leaving kind feedback.

  2. I’m so happy you decided to join us. I love this happy readers list poem. I write this comment as I contemplate which book to read before bed tonight.

    • Always a lovely dilemma–what to read before bed. I am really enjoying Heidi Heilig’s The Girl from Everywhere as my current before bed read. Thank you for the encouragement, Margaret. This is something very new for me as a writer and has the potential to teach me more about being a writing teacher than I think slicing can teach me.

    • Yes, I thought about that too. Thank you for reading. I realized yesterday that Slicing is very much in my comfort zone and I pretty much never feel like it takes much courage to publish something I write, but poetry is a very different matter.

  3. So glad you are going to write poems this month. This is fun! Yes, yes, yes to a little coffee and cake! I wish you were in Denver and we could get together and read and write poems and eat coffee and cake! Absolutely perfect. Should I confess that I am sitting here this morning, the first day after spring break, with no poem, and an impossibly long “to do” list for work and home- AARGH!

    • That makes me feel better, Carol. I may be a morning Slicer, but I don’t know what time of day works best to post a poem, because I’m guessing that some days, I’ll be working on it in my head all day. I wish I was in Denver too. Maybe I need to schedule a visit! I have so many questions about poetry that should be fun though also daunting to explore this month.

  4. Ooh – I’m impressed that you’ve committed. I’m trying *not* to commit – but this poem is so fun (and true) and the spacing in line 7 works so well… I love reading about how you came to writing it – but no, no – Fridays will be enough for now – no matter how much you inspire me.

    • I got very frustrated at WordPress last night because I had some other spacing needs for a couple of lines and couldn’t get it to space right. So… off to research some better options today. I even thought about handwriting the poem and taking a photo and I just might switch that around today because I want my spaces! I will look forward to poems on Friday from you! Do you know about Monday book reviews? It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at unleashingreaders.com. It’s a wonderful group (and some will be familiar to you from Slicing). I’m sure I can find something for you every day of the week!! 🙂

      • You are a terrible enabler. Mmm…but I could do a book review today. Also, I had trouble with spacing and ended up embedding a document – not a perfect solution. I like the handwriting idea, too.

    • I actually remembered how you embedded your document to show the spacing along with your poem after I published mine. Brilliant! Will definitely try that. You’ll like the Monday group. They tend to be generous commenters too. And I find out about so many books I absolutely must have right now. It’s bad for the credit card.

  5. I like the spaces that led up to “quiet”… it made me slow down and breathe in serenity… “a stretch of time, a stack of books” offered great cadence, like when you hit a reading groove… now I want to read!

  6. I am totally in awe that you decided to participate in the the poetry month! This list poem is gorgeous. I love it SO much!

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