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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!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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“Autumn Leaves” from My Maine (Poetry & Photography Collection) by Bette A. Stevens


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, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens takes readers on a poetic journey through the state’s four distinct seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.  The collection opens with Maine Pines and People. The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of Spring Awakenings and Summer Songs; then on to more of Maine’s extraordinary places and people in Autumn Leaves and Winter Tales. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

Lovely poetic snapshots of Maine
“This collection of haiku takes about an hour to read, but I recommend a slower savoring of this literary treat. Arranged by season, each poem is an exquisite snapshot of life in Maine — its landscapes, wildlife, people, pastimes, heritage, and communities. They stand alone, but the book’s real beauty is how, when strung together, they create a poetic photo album that captures the heart of the state. A lovely read that I highly recommend.” ~D.W. Peach

Autumn Leaves

Selected excerpts from MY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection) by Bette A. Stevens

Washed across woodlands
Blazing brush transforms the world
Into a canvas

Church steeples flashing
Like beacons on the mural
From the Master’s hand

Climb to the summit
Ascending steep timbered trails
Foliage at peak

Crispy, crunchy leaves
Frolic about in the wind
Carnival classics

Skycastle pennants—
Clever couriers announce
The coming tempest

Harvesting, mulching
Gardener’s work never done
But oh, the rewards

Cinnamon, nutmeg
Pumpkin confections abound
Connoisseur’s delight 

Window panes clatter
Leaves scatter in the whirlwind
Green fields turned umber

Drifting off to sleep
Reposing in tawny beds
Autumn leaves at rest

Thanks so much for stopping by to read these selected verses from MY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasons. Wishing everyone a blessed and beautiful autumn. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrate the Great Monarch Butterfly Migration & Help Protect this Threatened Species!!


 

The Great Monarch Migration

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch. By the time I put fresh batteries in the camera and returned, this chrysalis had already been spun. On August 31, a beautiful monarch butterfly had emerged and was resting on her chrysalis (yes, it was a girl, our 2019 Matilda) about noontime. We sat and watched for hours as she dried her wings. I moved her to a nearby phlox plant where she could rest and sip nectar as she prepared for her long journey  south. One of her friends (most likely a monarch sibling) stopped by to check on her several times. By 4:45 p.m., she was flitting and fluttering through the garden before she began soaring and landed on the birch wood pile before soaring away on her long journey south.

Note: The top left monarch was one of our earlier arrivals that stopped to lay eggs on our milkweed. The others are all of our amazing Matilda who is on her way to Mexico!

Leaders from U.S., Mexico & Canada have agreed to help protect this threatened species through the NAFTA trade agreement. Groups and individual citizens continue to band together to support and protect monarch butterflies. Together we can make a difference!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Plant native milkweed
  • Provide nectar plants
  • Avoid pesticides
  • Report your monarch sighting observations to JourneyNorth.org

Bette A. Stevens is the author/illustrator of award-winning picture book Amazing Mailda, A Monarch’s Tale.

Here’s what two readers have to say:

“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.” ~Karen Ingalls

“I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!” ~ D.L. Finn

Amazing Matilda (2019) is on her way to Mexico! 

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Brilliant Poetry: A Review


My sincere thanks to talented author and poet Balroop Singh for sharing her reflections on my latest poetry and photography collection, MY MAINE. I invite you to visit her website (link below) to read the entire review. While you’re there, be sure to check out Balroop’s inspirational books–you’ll be glad you did. ~Bette A. Stevens 

MY MAINE Wandering through woods COLLECTION

“There was a time when I didn’t understand Haiku. I thought anybody could write those three lines, which hardly evoke any emotion till I tried to write this form and stumbled; till I came across brilliant haiku! My prejudice fell apart, as I started exploring more about this form of poetry.

“The inspiration came from my blogger friend Bette A. Stevens who evoked my interest with her brilliant haiku that she keeps sharing at her blog. My Experiments with Haiku seem to fade into insignificance when I read My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by Bette Stevens. There are some books that leave a profound impact on you, that stay with you long after you have read the last page. Bette’s new release is one such book and I would like to share my reflections about this book..”

Click below to read the entire review on Balroop’s blog

via Brilliant Poetry: A Review

 

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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”

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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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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