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.





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

  1. Michelle @litlearningzone Avatar
    Michelle @litlearningzone

    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!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      “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. margaretsmn Avatar

    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.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      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.

  3. Glenda M. Funk Avatar

    I thought about “Eating Poetry” when I saw your post. I love the contrast between what the reader needs and doesn’t need.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      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.

  4. carwilc Avatar

    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!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      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.

  5. persistenceandpedagogy Avatar

    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.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      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!! 🙂

      1. persistenceandpedagogy Avatar

        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.

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      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.

  6. mschiubookawrites Avatar

    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!

  7. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    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!

  8. Ramona Avatar

    Love this list poem! And these lines are totally delicious!
    “a comfortable chair
    a stretch of time
    and a stack of books”

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