National Poetry Month: 14/30: “Speak, Soot & Spit”


Poetry friend, Sara Holbrook pops into Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Poems are Teachers: How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres within the Writers Craft Beginnings and Endings section. Holbrook invites young writers to “End with a Surprise.”


Here is Sara’s poem from the book:




Red means stop.

Look both ways.

I am not afraid.



School bus rides.

I am not afraid.



Wiggle teeth.


Roller coasters

Movie monsters.

Scraped-up knees.

I am not afraid.




Sara sets the reader up here. One, two. Summary. One, two. Summary. Five, Six. Summary. Then, WHAMMO! A sense of shared fear and trepidation.


In Sara’s piece we see:


anaphora with the repetitive phrase: “I am not afraid.”

implied irony for the lack of fear met with the purposefully-capitalized SPIDERS!


Let’s see what we might do with Sara’s model as we continue to present our subject, James Castle:



“Speak, Soot & Spit”


Dust is silent.

It’s all around.

It’s a part of me.


Water whipers.

I am of the water.

It’s a part of me.





This shed.

This room.

It’s a part of me.



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