Friday, December 11, 2015

Poetry Friday: The Poetry of Science

My copy of a newly revised The Poetry of Science arrived today - just in time for Poetry Friday. Hooray! 248 poems by 78 poets - a terrific collection edited by the ever-energetic team of Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, founders of Pomelo Books.  With a four-page glossary of scientific terms used in the poems, cute illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang (yes, Bug Wang - envy-inducing name!) and a detailed list of web pages for students to turn to for more information, this anthology is definitely going to find its way into many classrooms, and I'm proud to have five poems in it. Two are about scientists Rachel Carson and Albert Einstein, one is about a despondent moment in the science lab, one about how it rains metal on Venus (yes, metal) and one about magnets. Many Poetry Friday poets are included in the list of contributors -- you'll find familiar names!

My favorite poem in the collection is by author/illustrator Terry Webb Harshman titled "Queen of Night." It begins like this...

I am the moon, Queen of Night, 
riddle wrapped in borrowed light....   

I haven't had time yet to get permission from the poet to print the entire poem, but I hope to have permission soon. Until then, trust me, it's a knock-out.

Since I don't need permission to share one of my own poems, I'll do that today.  Hope you like questions. For me, questions are the beginning point of all scientific exploration. In fact, for me, questions feel like the beginning of just about everything.

Testing My Magnet

Flowers? No. Dirt? No.
Socks? No. Shirt? No.
Hamster? No. Snake? No.
Plastic scoop and rake? No.
Glue? Paint? Paper? Clay?
Sneakers that I wore today? 
No, no, no, no...

Pile of metal paper clips --
Yes! Hooray for paper clips!
Shiny whistle? Metal fan?
Dented metal garbage can?
Hammer head, bag of nails?
Ring of keys? Rusty pails?
Yes, yes, yes and yes!

Results of my experiment?
Magnets are mag--nificent!

The Poetry Friday round-up today is being hosted by Tara over at A Teaching Life. Head over there to see what other people have posted.


  1. I love your magnet poem! Every time I read it, I imagine how neat it would be to collect a pile of all the "no" things and then all the "yes" things and perform it with all those props. Maybe you can do this for the kids & teachers in the audience when we have our assembly next month at Antioch U? I hope so!!!

    1. Great idea, Janet. I'll start gathering things up!

  2. I actually just shared with a neighbor how to tell if something has iron in it. She didn't know. Hoping this new science poetry will teach as well as entertain. Love your magnet poem, Julie. Yes, the questioning is everything!

    1. Linda, I have my fingers crossed, too, that the teachers using this book will be excited to see how poetry can be used across the curriculum. More students loving poetry - a worthy goal!

  3. "questions feel like the beginning of just about everything." - yes. And I love your jaunty poem!

    1. Thanks, Laura. And I was delighted by your poem - "Can You Hear a Conch" - and all its questions! Definitely a favorite!!

  4. "Mag-nificent" poem, Julie! And yes, questions are the beginning of everything!

    1. Thank you, Catherine. And thanks for the heads up about Wonderopolis (posted 12/8 at Reading to the Core.) I'll check it. out.

  5. This remix of the PFA is all kinds of fabulous (as is your poem)!!

  6. Janet's idea about acting your poem out is a great one. I would like to see that poem about a moment of despondency in the lab, if you decide to share another!