Free Verse 25/30 #npm30 #sol23

Only a few days left of April’s National Poetry Writing Month, and while I have really enjoyed writing a poem a day, I will also be very grateful for the arrival of May 1! I had no ideas in my head at all today plus limited time, and I toyed with the idea of calling it on day 25. Would that really be so bad? But somehow poems can always be found.

Here’s how today’s poem came about. I don’t know who originated the current popular meme on Twitter to “pick any bookshelf, second shelf down, sixth book from the right,” but it’s all over my feed right now. In search of inspiration, I decided to play along–and by chance, the sixth book from the right, second shelf down, happened to be Ralph Fletcher’s Poetry Matters, a guide to writing poetry written for young readers. Such serendipity! Surely I could find a poetry idea in an actual book about writing poetry. I browsed through it and landed on imitation. What poem could I imitate?

That brought Richard Brautigan’s Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain to mind. I sometimes ask students to write from this poem, and the results are always interesting. But I couldn’t remember the title and when I searched for Richard Brautigan, I found a different title: “Please plant this book.” I knew I could write a poem from that line. I didn’t click on the link before writing my poem so I wouldn’t be overly influenced. It turns out that this is the title of a poetry project where Brautigan printed small poems on seed packets–a story that tells me I should really read more Brautigan.

Please plant this book
Outside, in the dirt, where it may flower.
Dig a hole twice as deep, three times as wide.
Amend the soil; mulch with pine straw.
Water liberally during dry periods.
What will bloom?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on


For my National Poetry Project, I’m playing along with the poetry calendar created by Margaret and Molly.






6 responses to “Free Verse 25/30 #npm30 #sol23”

  1. arjeha Avatar

    We plant seeds and wait to see what blooms. Why not plant a book and see what sprouts. Minds are fertile ground. I love this idea of planting and nurturing and waiting for a result.

  2. Denise Krebs Avatar
    Denise Krebs

    Elisabeth, I’m glad you went for another day of poeming! I’ve been spending some time this morning with Richard Brautigan’s poems. The seed packet collection is beautiful. Your poem goes along with his eight poems, which I was able to read on

    I like the image of “Dig a hole twice as deep, three times as wide.” It seems that is necessary to hold the importance and bigness of a book. Lovely.

  3. Glenda Funk Avatar
    Glenda Funk

    This line says everything: “But somehow poems can always be found.” I love the story of how you found inspiration, the Twitter challenge, the direction the book gave you, and most of all the poem you wrote.

  4. Leigh Anne Eck Avatar
    Leigh Anne Eck

    What a path to take to get to a great poem! And I love the other Brautigan poem you shared. I think my 6th graders could imitate that one. Now I want to go find other poems by him.

  5. Amanda Potts Avatar

    Oh, what a great line to start with! And I love using “Gee, You’re So Beautiful…” – and I haven’t used it in a while. Maybe tomorrow? After all, as you said, “poems can always be found.”

  6. franmcveigh Avatar

    What a treasure!
    “Please plant this book!”
    Great imitation!

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