Photo-Replay: A Poem for Two Voices

Poetry Friday Tag

Bridget Magee is hosting the round-up:

One of the hits of our elementary school’s last two Poem in Your Pocket Days was the dramatic mother-daughter recitation (with props!) of “Honeybees,” one of the poems for two voices written by Paul Fleischman.  Along with other dual-voice insect poems, this poem is found in the author’s Newbery Medal collection  Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.

The first mother-daughter “Honeybees” recitation took place during an author luncheon when student-volunteers shared their favorite found or original poems. The second recitation by the same pair took place during a school-wide assembly in which a number of students recited poems in their native languages.

Both mother-daughter recitations were very gratifying; the pair were exceedingly proud of each other, and had spent time practicing–time that the student glowed about spending with her mom. Interestingly, the pair switched roles for the second recitation, with the student taking the part of the Queen Bee, while her mother was the “Worker Bee.” ..Unfortunately, the student moved up to middle school this year. Hopefully, another parent-student team will inspired to take their place!

How I wished that more grown-ups (faculty, staff, parents/guardians) would have chosen to participate, particularly sharing poems in their native languages. Although I hadn’t known it previously, last year I learned that the cafeteria manager wrote song lyrics and poems; she promised to share her gifts in the future festivities.

When I was having a hard time figuring out which end was up in the autumn photo featured below, I thought of Paul Fleischman’s form; ergo….though not Newbery material… in celebration of autumn….my first poem for two voices.

au up down pix revised homily (2)

9 responses to “Photo-Replay: A Poem for Two Voices

  1. I love this, love that in the two voices you managed a wonderful rhythm of two talking to each other. That picture is amazing! I’ve done two voice poems with students before, love the process, & enjoyed hearing about yours.

    • Thank you so much for taking time to read and to share your experiences…Guess this proves that sometimes, as a poet–as well as in “real life,” it really does pay to talk to yourself!…God bless you!

  2. Wonderful hearing about the mother-daughter recitations. What special lifelong memories they created as a result!

    Love your poem for two voices — what an incredible photo — I can see why you were inspired to write about it. One saying barrier, the other, bridge — those two words say so much about the speakers, different points of view, and the importance of considering different perspectives for all things.

    • Yes! You are absolutely correct! I could tell how much the experience meant (and, as you pointed out, will continue to mean–for life!) to both mother and child, especially when the voice roles reversed. The student always was very shy; reluctant to “perform.” She really came into her own as the Queen Bee. Her mother deserves a great deal of credit, especially since she was the only parent/guardian who participated in an active way…..Thank you so very much for taking time to read the post, and especially for giving such specific feedback. It is very instructive! …As a neophyte, I really appreciate your taking time to do that kind of reader response. What I’d really love, but I know it would be too laborious, would be for pro poets like yourself to show me how you might improve what I have done. Everything I do seems so amateurish to me compared with what I have the privilege of reading on your site and the sites of the other poets. Wish there were a poetry “playground” where I could get see more professional variations of what I have written. …Regardless of my unrealistic wish, I am very grateful in reality for the generous amount of time and thought with which you have graced this poem. God bless you! Thanks so, so very much!

  3. Yes, nice photo – and fabulous poem! I always love reading poems in two voices because much is revealed about the speakers just by their choice of words (as Jama eloquently shared) and about the relationship between the speakers. Being the mother of two daughters I can attest to the fact that there is a lot to be said in and about these relationships.

    • Amen! …Sorry to say, until I read your comment, I really had never thought of having students write poems in two voices. Being the media specialist, lesson time with students is limited, but still! that would have been a great idea…Thank you so much for taking time to read the post; as this week’s hostess, I know you have a lot of feedback to give. I appreciate your providing so much personal feedback to me. God bless you! Thank you so much!

  4. What a beautiful story. I loved hearing about the two-voice recitations. Having adults involved would offer so much for their partner in rhyme (or not 😉 ) and also for the audience. A great idea & initiative.

    I’m learning so much from this PoetryFriday crew – because I didn’t know about poems for two voices. Something else to play around with!

    Gorgeous photo. I like the ‘down/ground/around’ assonance.

    • Thank you so very much for your generous feedback. I appreciate your taking time to share so many specifics. Funny–I hesitate sometimes writing the things I do–like about poems for two voice–thinking that I’m insulting those who know so much more than I do. Thank you for sharing that “poems for two voices” is a new form for you! …As I continue to be concerned that my poetic-attempts are an insult, too, to the PoetryFriday crew, I appreciate so much what aspects of something I try seem to “measure up” adequately to the PF standard…Thank you! …As I was writing this reply, my husband called with a message for me to turn on the news. On the one hand, all this talk on my part about poetry seems almost Narcissistic-ly, trivially, obscene in terms of what is happening in Paris. And, yet, I have to believe with all my heart that if all the world were poets in mind, and spirit, and heart, the news would be different. Sensitive, reflective human beings couldn’t do what just was done. So, I continue to comment–and to pray–with each stroke of the keyboard that the insanity and inhumanity come to an end. God bless us and protect us all.

  5. I loved hearing about the mother-daughter poem presentation — such a worthwhile project! Good job with your very first poem for two voices 🙂 So much can be done with poems for two!

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