Report from Honesdale PA: Skype with J Patrick Lewis

The Highlights Foundation set up this wonderful Skype Session For David Harrison’s
Workshop: “Poetry For the Delight of It” here in Honesdale, PA.
Patrick agreed to answer questions about Poetry and share some of his poems with us.

Lewis encouraged us to use many forms for our poems, as shown in: “The Shapes of our Singing”.
We left the 30 minute session with a hardbound copy of “If You Were A Chocolate Mustache” by J Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, a gift from Highlights.

Patrick read from a poem he wrote for Oct 1st, The International Day of the Elderly.
“So many things you anticipate, you won’t want to do when you’re old.”
“A rose is a gift to the air”
“Is sadness the reason for rainbows?”
And in a poem for Helen Keller, wrote the refrain: “I’m not alone; Ann Sullivan’s with me”

His most significant advice was to use:
“strong, personified action verbs”
(Delete the adjective-clutter)
As Mark Twain said: “If you catch an adjective, kill it”
Patrick quoted a phrase from a haiku to illustrate a personified verb:
“The bee staggers out of the peony”

We will prompt children to sing, create poetry and rhyme their little hearts off.
Lewis says “he’s a loner” but his poetry and scholarly techniques pluck our strings. We play along like an orchestra in a pod! It’s a setting sun symphony!

Poet Laureate

If you want to read the 10 rules for Poets, please enjoy :

Not a bit;
But a byte
Snappy tight!

Jeanne Poland


I have written two poems called “New”. The first is in free verse and shows my feelings.

The second calls for a set meter and rhyme. You can pick your favorite.


Today at the Apple Store everything is new!
New memory in the sky: Clouds!
New touch screens jumping if you hover!
New Media: i-Books, i-Tunes, i-Videos!
New versions!
New speeds!
New tools!
New optics!

“There is more to life than increasing its speed” said Gandhi.
Pay Attention!
Freeze that frame.
Peel away the oldest layer
The center core-

By Jeanne Poland

The above poem, in free verse, tells how I feel. But after reading J. Patrick Lewis’ Rhupunt (Welsh) pattern, I have revised it.

The Apple Store
Where new is more
It calls to me.

Its memory: clouds;
Its volume loud
Too fast to see.

The touch screen
Jumps if you mean
To scroll or choose.

“Tween i-Tunes, books
Or video
You muse.

So freeze that frame
Arrest the game
And search within.

There’s more to life
Than all that strife:
A brand new spin.


by Jeanne Poland

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