Thursday, July 12, 2018

Poetry Friday -- Punctuation

poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
illustrated by Serge Bloch
Wordsong, August 7, 2018

I've been home exactly one day this week. Last Sunday-Tuesday I was at NerdCampMI, then Thursday-Sunday I am at WLU Literacies for All Summer Institute in Baltimore. 

That left Wednesday to catch up with friends at Fox in the Snow, repack my suitcase, and take care of the teetering pile at the mail table.

So. Truth in advertising. All I've had time to do is SQUEAL when I opened the envelope with the ARC of A Bunch of Punctuation. I haven't read it. I've seen the list of contributors. I'm taking it on the plane with me. I'll look for your extensive and thoughtful reviews and link them here. In the meantime, here's one that's NOT in A Bunch of Punctuation:

On Punctuation
by Elizabeth Austen
via The Writers Almanac archives

not for me the dogma of the period
preaching order and a sure conclusion
and no not for me the prissy
formality or tight-lipped fence
of the colon and as for the semi-
colon call it what it is
a period slumming
with the commas
a poser at the bar
feigning liberation with one hand
tightening the leash with the other
oh give me the headlong run-on
fragment dangling its feet
over the edge give me the sly
comma with its come-hither
wave teasing all the characters
on either side give me ellipses
not just a gang of periods
a trail of possibilities
or give me the sweet interrupting dash
the running leaping joining dash all the voices
gleeing out over one another
oh if I must
give me the YIPPEE
of the exclamation point
give me give me the curling
cupping curve mounting the period
with voluptuous uncertainty

Sylvia has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at Poetry For Children, and she has news about another AMAZING anthology you'll want to give to the person who does the morning announcements at your school!


  1. What a fun and funny poem! I'm jealous of your life. Take me! Take me!

  2. Love this flip-flopping, and exhilarating punctuation poem!
    I'd like to uncurl a page or two of "A Bunch of Punctuation … I couldn't wait and sneaked-a-peek at Amazon–it's Delightful, can't wait to read all of it! Have fun on your next jaunt Mary Lee!

  3. Ooooh! She wrote my thoughts! Though my fascination is very much with the ellipsis and dash. (I've curbed by absorption with the exclamation mark... I think!) #andwhatabouttheinterrobang

  4. Whoa! You have been busy! Austen's poem, highlighting her deep emotional and personal relationship with punctuation, is delightful! I love the idea of the ellipsis as "a trail of possibilities"--perhaps that explains why students enjoy using it so much :)

  5. Wow, you are busy, and having fun, too, I suspect! I love the exclamation point, though know one is not supposed to use it often. This is terrific--"give me the YIPPEE
    of the exclamation point" And I'm sure the book will be a delight.

  6. Look at you, busy growing and learning... I can relate to the poem, bucking the confines of punctuation yet also loving the YIPPEE. (I totally overuse exclamation points, but they make me happy, so there!!!) xo

  7. Gotta love a poem with "YIPPEE" in it! And how wonderful to be traveling so much-- exhausting and exhilarating!

  8. Oh as a lover of good punctuation, I adore this poem (even though it is kind of anti-punctuation) and love the yippee of the exclamation mark. I recently spent three hours writing an explanation of the use of the apostrophe for my student-teachers, so I may now just share this post with them, as I'm sure some of them will love it. And I am off to order the book - poems about punctuation? Yes please!!!

  9. What a busy week! I am knee-deep in incorporating Jeff Anderson's Patterns of Power into our writing units, so the timing of your post couldn't be better. Needless to say, I can't wait to get a copy of A Bunch of Punctuation so I can weave in these poems, too. In the meantime, add me to the list of those loving Austen's joyful YIPPEE!

  10. I love this poem! And I definitely want to get a copy of this book!

  11. Oh, I LOVE this poem. And the anthology looks wonderful too. Does Lee Bennett Hopkins never sleep?

  12. Remember Victor Borge's punctuation skit?

  13. Color me another punctuation lover...the book looks marvelous! You are certainly making the most of your summer. (Had to laugh that Kat brought up the interrobang!)

  14. Whoa, your travels sound so fun! I love anything Lee Bennett Hopkins does, thank you for sharing this new title even as a teaser.

  15. OK, trying again, as the comment box just closed in the middle of my comment. Love this poem, which I've read before. It's so clever and fun to read. Happy travels to you--I can't wait to read Lee's new book!

  16. Who knew punctuation could make me laugh! Such a fun poem. Thanks for introducing it to me.

  17. Love the poem you shared - from the
    "...the headlong run-on
    fragment dangling its feet
    over the edge..." to the YIPPEE of the exclamation point."
    Requesting Lee's new book from the library.

  18. I'm eager to read this one, too. And "On Punctuation" made me laugh--thanks for sharing it!

  19. Oh how I love punctuation! I also love your itinerary for this past week and the fact that you got around to do any commenting! How did you get your hands on an ARC?!


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