Poetry Friday: My First Year in the Progressive Poem

This year I signed up to take part in the Kidlit Progressive Poem. It is my first time, although I have read these poems in the past. The Kidlit Progressive Poem was created by Irene Latham in 2012, and since had the organization of the month’s events taken over by Margaret Simon. Both of these poets have influenced me greatly with their generous sharing of both prose and poetry. I am grateful to them, as well as others in the Poetry Friday group.

Last week, in my comments on another blogger’s Poetry Friday and Progressive Poem post, I admitted to being both excited and nervous about participating in this long-standing tradition during National Poetry Month. And, here it is my turn, already!

The poem this year has taken on a form by each poet contributing a phrase or line from a beloved piece of children’s literature. Who am I to deviate from that form?! I thoroughly enjoyed thinking about which children’s books meant something to me and also could provide an apropos line to add to the poem.

I read the 2022 Progressive Poem keeping these thoughts in mind. The books I was inspired to draw from were, The Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Charlotte’s Web by E.B White, The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. I also saw a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that I noted on my phone, in case I was desperate. After I looked into lines that might fit this year’s poem, I ended up with too many choices, instead of not enough. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed giving some deep thought to the children’s literature that has meant something to me as well as the tone my contribution would lend to the 2022 Progressive Poem.

This morning, I decided on the line I’d contribute for April 15th, Poetry Friday, and the day I picked to participate in this year’s Progressive Poem. My line is a quote from The Secret Garden. Tomorrow, the poem will continue with Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe! I am looking forward to seeing where she takes us!

2022 Progressive Poem

Where they were going, there were no maps.

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.”

“Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!”

“We have to go back. I forgot something.”

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful, so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

“Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination”

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget – it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.

The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.

Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

The lines came from the following sources:

  1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
  2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  5. inspired by “[in Just-]” by E. E. Cummings
  6. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
  8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  9. inspired by Disney songs “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
  10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
  11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
  12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
  13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
  14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The schedule of 2022 Progressive Poem participants is:

1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

While the Kidlit Progressive Poem happens only once a year, during the month of April. Poetry Friday occurs each week! Our host this week is Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme. Thank you for hosting Matt!

35 thoughts

  1. Love your line, and the fact it sets up a world of possibilities for whats to come! And very cool that everyone is using a line from a piece of children’s lit. A few years ago when I had the honor of the first line, I encouraged everyone to use words from songs – and it seemed to go over well, so I’m glad to see a new twist on the concept of found poetry!

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  2. I think we are realizing there’s so much adventure in many of our beloved books, Carol. This is a wonderful one that opens up more paths. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and the other books considered, too.

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I am glad you enjoyed my thoughts as well. I wasn’t sure how much of my process I should share but since it was my first year of participation, I thought I’d add some metacognition so that I can remind myself in future how I went about it.

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  3. This is wonderful! I think your line fits perfectly, and I look forward to seeing this poem evolve over the rest of the month.

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  4. I agree Laura! It really made me think about Children’s Literature and what’s been important to me over the years. I’ve never really thought about it that much…now I know what I would love to read to Grandkids when the day arrives!

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  5. Carol, I’m so glad you participated this year. It has been fun, hasn’t it? To see where the poem is going. I like your line that seems to wrap up the setting and get us on to the next adventure or perhaps problem, as Heidi has introduced some sadness today. Well done!

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    1. Hi, Denise! It has been fun! Thank you for your kindess. I was afraid to cast less than an optimistic line in the poem – I had a few quotes picked and went with the most optimistic of them all. It does seem that something darker is on the horizon now. I knew Heidi would be confident in providing us all a twist. I did not have that confidence, although I can admit to thinking about it! 🙂

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  6. Carol, I apologize–of course I was here noodling on your many interesting choices, and delighting in what you chose (and clearly getting your drift toward a hint of conflict)–but I forgot to comment! You did a bang-up job on your first participation, and I appreciated how easy it was for me to pick up the book I happened to be rereading and find an interesting follow-on. Thank you!

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