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From Kids to Corporate Executives—Everyone Benefits from Poetry!


An evening of poetry

I spent a lovely evening in October at The Newport Cultural Center in Newport, Maine reading from My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection by Bette A. Stevens), chatting with the audience about Maine and about poetry before signing books. Whether writing a paragraph, a poem or a book, preparing marketing materials, deciding how to format a page or publication, selecting images or designing book covers—even when preparing a presentation for a group, organization or classroom—writers/authors are researchers at heart. Welcome to a brief recap of “Celebrate Maine through Poetry” night.

A wonderful evening chatting about “MAINE” & “POETRY” with old friends and new friends. We talked about the benefits of reading and writing poetry for people in all age groups and professions, discovered some tricks for picking the perfect word whether writing poetry or prose. The audience was amazing at it! 

The Pine Tree State

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine will officially celebrate its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

A Peek Inside the Collection

The Pine Tree State

Maine pines and people
Survivors, resilient souls
Standing tall and proud

Pragmatic figures
Independence their calling
Rugged yet limber

Growing where they choose
While rising ever higher
Strong arms branching out

Tempering spirits
Amidst the boundless medley
Solid, steady, proud

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit 

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

I’ll be elaborating on all four of these benefits in future posts. Plus you’ll get to meet some of my old and new friends who are benefiting from the power of reading and  writing  poetry. 

Why Pick Poetry?

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poem snapshots into the unique place I know and love.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.” –Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization or simply to find out more about it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy Reading & Writing Poetry!” 

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Have Fun Writing Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Write a Halloween Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

Black Cat HALLOWEEN Haiku BAS 2019

Midnight—our fabulous, furry feline—inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a Halloween haiku (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) and design a poster to go with the poem. Kids love illustrating their poetry. This Halloween post is shared in loving memory of our amazing Miss Midnight. 

What’s inspiring you this Halloween?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some Writer’s Tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

BLACK CAT

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their webs.
Spiders are her treats!

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Three Writer’s Tricks (Literary devices) used in writing poetry and prose

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.

Consonance
Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance—repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase. This repetition often takes place in quick succession.

Alliteration
You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

Finding “just the right words”
Abundant writing resources are available in print as well as online. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies on hand, and in my opinion they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        Happy Writing and Reading Haiku

                                    & Happy Halloween!

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

 

  • Find out more about how to write haiku and other poetry at Reference.Com

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Write a Summer Limerick & Get the Kids Writing Too!


HAVE FUN WRITING LIMERICKS

Monarch Butterfly LIMERICK 2 bas 2017

Summertime is fun time! And with ‘back to school’ just around the corner, it’s a great time to write limericks and get the kids writing too…

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give “Limericks” a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Some of my favorite things about summer are butterflies, long lazy summer days, gardens and sunshine. I love to sit on the porch with my camera at the ready just in case I spot an amazing monarch or any of our sensational butterfly friends dropping by to enjoy the view. So far this year I’ve spotted twelve monarchs and dozens of other butterflies too—and managed to capture several of these exquisite creatures with my Canon “PowerShot.”

Butterflies are very sensitive to the environment and with their natural habitat areas being increasingly eroded and with significantly greater use of chemicals, our butterfly population is in decline. Planting and cultivating milkweed (Monarch caterpillars need milkweed) and other blooms that our pollinators need for survival is one way that I can help.

Limerick (poetic definition)

[lim-er-ik]
noun
1. a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet.

 

My limerick is about one of the monarch butterflies (captured by my camera) that fluttered through my garden so far this summer. I had fun writing two verses to tell my monarch’s story. Check out the link at the end of the post to find out more about poetic limericks.

A Monarch Butterfly Limerick

by Bette A. Stevens

There once was a monarch so fair

She fluttered and flit through the air

’Twas milkweed she needed

And so she proceeded

To search through the garden with care

 

Monarch  knew she had nothing to fear

Her flutters would soon disappear

When milkweed she spotted

Her heart was besotted

Depositing monarch eggs there

 

WRITING POETRY WITH CHILDREN

Tips & Tools

When teaching (grades 4-8), I found that writing poems and sharing them was an exciting way get children of all ages hooked on writing. I must admit it—limericks are so much fun to write and to share! In the classroom we learn about using some of the tools in our writer’s tool box—literary devices like assonance (repeating vowel sounds) and consonance (repeating consonant sounds) to create a musical message. And of course, we had Scholastic rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses close at hand. It’s always exciting to discover alternative words (synonyms) that have just the right sounds and syllables to perfect our poems.

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Click the link to find out all about it How to Write a Limerick http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-limerick/

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Release Day for MY MAINE by Bette A. Stevens (A Poetry & Photography Collection)


Maine Poetry & Photography Collection 

Get ready to vacation 365 days a year!

 

My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens

Available in paperback ($16.00) today!

Pre-order eBook ($4.99)—delivered on July 1, 2019.

Early Review

“Bette Stevens has used the bounty and beauty of the seasons in her home state of Maine as inspiration for lyrical and charming haikus that touch the soul and enliven the senses. From the windowsill seedlings and crowned crocus choirs of spring to the lady slippers and salamander spots of summer… from crispy, crunchy leaves and pumpkin confections of autumn to the white weighted branches and icicles weeping of winter… Bette Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. This is a collection to be slowly savored, made even more delicious with her original drawings and photographs. I can’t remember enjoying a book of poetry more.”—N.A. Granger, Professor Emerita, University of North Carolina

Blurb

Inspired by The Pine Tree State­—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs take readers on a memorable journey. The collection travels through Maine’s four seasons and includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

CLICK links below to order your copy today!

MY MAINE

Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens

“The Way Life Should Be”

 

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MY MAINE Coming Soon…Poetry for All Seasons!


My Maine is coming soon…

My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (A poetry and photography collection) by Bette A. Stevens is scheduled for release June 2019.

MY MAINE Wandering through woods 2 COMING SOON

Happy Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter!

Fields and forest greens have awakened and fruit trees are finally in bloom at the Farmstead in central Maine. This photograph was taken at Moose Point park in Searsport, Maine. The haiku in the photo is from “Spring Awakenings”—MY MAINE—my poetry and photography collection scheduled for release June 2019. The collection includes 49 of my photographs along with 150 haiku poems that take readers on a seasonal journey through the Maine I know and love. The book includes a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People,” plus interesting facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State.

Wherever you are, whatever the season, I invite you to get outdoors and get inspired. Join the fun and write a seasonal haiku about what’s inspiring you. It’s as easy as 1-2-3… You’ll find the definition and descriptive details of writing haiku below. If the kids are around, make it a family affair—they’ll love it!

Pine Cone _ Tassels CROP for Digital Books BAS MAY 2019

My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

(Excerpt from “Spring Awakenings”)

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

Beguiling blossoms
Address the invitations
Springtime Reception

Wandering through woods
Soft leaf carpet, rippling brook
No schedule to keep

© 2019 Bette A. Stevens (from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons)

HAIKU

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

Discover more about how to write poetry and prose:

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AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch Butterfly Tale by Bette A. Stevens (Children’s Picture Book)



“If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here!” ~Jacqui Murray

 

AMAZING MATILDA—Read the Reviews

  • Bette Stevens’s Amazing Matilda: The Tale of a Monarch Butterfly is the story of tiny Matilda, a round white creature born from an egg in Nature’s garden with a burning desire to fly.  Without wings, though, she knows that can’t happen. Matilda has no idea that in her life, she will morph from the crawly leaf-bound creature to a gorgeous monarch butterfly. She tells her animal friends about her passion to fly and they offer their stories of growing up as well as sage advice any parent would be envious of. For example, her friend Sparrow suggests:“Just have patience and follow your instincts, my dear…”Another friend suggests:”I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.”She is frustrated by this good-natured advice because she has no idea how to do what they suggest:“Sparrow said that I must have patience and that I must follow my instincts. Now, you say I must have wings. Where can I find all of those things?”As Matilda grows, she changes from a larva to pupa to a gorgeous winged adult. Each stage in Matilda’s amazing journey is accompanied with wonderful drawings that show her progress, who she meets, and how she changes.As a result, readers are not just entertained by the story but happily learn about the development of a butterfly. There are lots of cute lines, such as:”Matilda crunched and munched and lunched, leaf after leaf, day after day.”If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here!This is a short book. In fact. This review is almost longer than the story!
  • The story is really exciting, appealing, adventurous, lovable, and yet, sufficiently wise and deep for both kids and adults.In case you do not trust my word, I urge you to find out for yourselves. Otherwise, I might be reviewing this wonderful book for hours. It is my pleasure indeed!
  • A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.

Read all 87 reviews on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AU9ZISA/

 

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Order your copies of AMAZING MATILDA today:

FREE from Bette

AMAZING MATILDA (Review & Author Interview) 

 

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May is National Get Caught Reading Month— “…pick up a book and read to a child!”


SHARE THE LOVE OF READING Bette Reading with Sam 2017May is NATIONAL GET CAUGHT READING MONTH—perfect time to discover and share why reading aloud with kids of all ages is so important. Happy Reading with the kids in your life (family, neighborhood, local schools, library) every day! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

“You’re never too old,

 too wacky, to wild

 to pick up a book

 and read to a child.” 

 ~Dr. Seuss

Benefits of Reading with Kids of All Ages

https://4writersandreaders.com/2018/05/24/inspiring-kids-of-all-ages-one-book-at-a-time-getcaughtreading/

“The Hidden Benefits of Reading Aloud—Even for Older Kids” 

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Michelle Eastman Books

I posted this piece a while back…

With my son’s 4th grade year coming to an end, I find this information more timely than ever.

DSC_9435

 

I love picture books, and I often write about them.  In my post, Top 10 Reasons Picture Books Rock, I touch upon the importance of continuing to read aloud to your child even AFTER he/she is able to read independently. Please note that although children may be ready for early readers and chapter books, I implore parents to continue reading picture books with/to your children. There is no better way to connect at the end of a hectic day than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). A child should not be denied this sacred time with you, just because he has “grown up”. Reading…

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