26. Poetry For Mental Health


New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.

Poetry For Mental Health…A monster was created a few columns ago when my overview of poetry and mental health was discussed. Every concept that is developed in creative writing is contained in poetry. Word usage, phonics, vocabulary, life’s problems, inner thoughts, problem solving, and critical thinking all shine in a poem. Writing this poem, then, has to fire up all sections of your brain. Moreover, it is cathartic. Just because poetry wasn’t included in yesterday’s column doesn’t mean it is now less important in my mind. A reader suggested ten columns ago that I should make every Monday a poetry day. Multiple vignettes every day meet a greater audience perspective. That is the goal of the Let’s Talk column. I will continue to include a wealth of poetry from my two graduate courses in poetry in future columns. Take a look, please, at the Poetry Wiki that I designed for Salute to Poetry Month (April). The address is (catapultintopoetry.wikispaces.com). The site contains a step-by-step master PowerPoint with directions for teaching 20 different poetry forms. Word-for-word thoughts and presentation hints are below each slide. The site has lessons, PowerPoints, writing suggestions, web-links, and Internet connections. Pick a different format to experiment with each day.

Poetry I…What sells in the poetry market? Poetry books about the seasons and holidays are an “often buy” by readers young and old. Anything for young children around learning the alphabet and beginning reading skills will sell. Here are two examples of little poetry books that meet the needs of the early reader.


If There Were Dreams To Sell by Barbara Lalicki lets you brainstorm poetry book topics. You, too, can find an exciting theme for an alphabet book by previewing Barbara’s work. Her writing concept of using a mini-poems for each letter of the alphabet is a good one. She incorporates animals and creatures that everyone loves to enhance her writing.


The troll went to the marketplace,
And peeked among the stalls.
The sheep went wild when they saw his face,
And the geese flew over the walls.

This book is beautifully illustrated and a great gift for the new poet or the growing writer in all children.


Poetry II…Alpha Bears by Kathleen Hague is a pleasant departure from Michael and Kathleen Hague’s attempts to re-invent and restore classic tales to the classroom teacher’s repertoire (Beauty and The Beast…The Reluctant Dragon). What parent or grandparent wouldn’t want the alphabet taught to their loved ones by a book full of cute and richly illustrated teddy bears. This book makes a great present along with a teddy bear. Students should be encouraged to design similar alphabet books with new themes of their own.

Sign-ups… Sign up for Elance (www.elance.com) the free job finding site for writers. You put down your skills and fifty writing jobs are sent to you each day. Elance becomes your agent and takes a fee above what you want for your writing. Jobs run the gamut from writing a resume to writing a health blog to writing a mini-book.

Movies…Sylvester Stallone needs Philadelphia’s support (and beyond) for his new movie A Bullet To The Head. Each year, Stallone has brought in tens of thousands of visitors who ‘have to’ run up the Philadelphia Art Museum’s steps. Every day driving home from work, there is someone from everywhere perched atop these steps standing with their hands held high in Rocky’s pose. These visitors bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to our city each year. They stay in our hotels, buy gas, shop, see a movie or theater presentation, and stop at the local drugstore for everything they forgot to bring. Philadelphia through the Rocky movie franchise has made even more watchers feel good. Join my “Ten Dollars For Rocky” campaign and spend it on his new movie. It was a typical shoot them up that is always mentioned in this column. Walter Hill, who always directs and frames great action, brings the action home in this one, too. You saw Playbook (another Philadelphia framed story) on my recommendation long before it became popular nationwide. Cut Rocky a break!


Children’s Literature… Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Jane Purdy, Age Fifteen by Beverly Cleary both assure you that whatever your problem is someone else has gone through the very same predicament. Cleary’s themes of family, friends, weddings, pets, and strange but lovable friends will have you reading book after book with your students. Her book, Dear Mr. Henshaw (an all-time favorite) is a must if you are teaching letter writing. It is a nice model if are writing to an author your students enjoy and want to invite into your classroom. Ralph S. Mouse was made into an adorable movie that is half cartoon and half human interaction with the cartoon character. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is presented in a similar format.


Children’s Literature II…Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume is the haunting story of a young girl, her younger brother, and her mother as they try to cope with their dad’s death in an Atlantic City 7-11 store’s hold-up. Unable to handle the time after the death in Atlantic City, the family travels to New Mexico trying to escape the horrible images back home. In this new environment Davey, the lead character, meets an Indian boy and his dying grandfather…and through the grandfather’s acceptance of death is able to sort things out and see things a little more clearly than before. Judy Blume’s topics for children are both controversial and illuminating. This book will help readers, like those reading Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, bridge the subjects of death and dying.

Shout Outs…

To Karen At The 422 Outlets…I will remind everyone to sign up for the outlet’s mailing list and weekly coupon newsletter. Batches of their weekly coupons in the outlet’s email circular are put out by big and small name stores. The complex as a whole gives you even further savings on your visit. The outlet is 10 minutes northwest of the King of Prussia Shopping Mall and 45 minutes from Philadelphia.

To Ann In Florida…Julianna Moore is a favorite of mine, also. I liked her in Forgotten. In the movie she is trying to get her son back from darker powers. No one believes she even has a son. She is a great supporting actress, but in this movie, she is the movie. Her stint on 30 Rock added greatly to the show. She was given her start on television in As The World Turns. She played Frannie Hughes starting in 1985. Her list of credits in all acting mediums is impressive.

To Mike In New Mexico…I know New Mexico is a writers and artist haven. I continue to subscribe to your art’s newsletter. I will not be moving to your great state, though. My inclusion in your artist’s community is more of a negative than a positive. Philadelphia is my muse.

To The Snow Gods…Thank you “storm of the century” for missing Philadelphia? Hope I haven’t spoken too soon.

To Rihanna and Chris Brown…This section will just be left blank so the mini-audience that follows this site has a chance to chime in on their own accord about this dynamic couples rehitch.

To CBS In New York…I am looking forward to the Grammy telecast to see which artist’s outfits you are going to censor.

To Chris Visiting Philadelphia From London…Nelly Furtado being the rage in European soccer circles is news to me. That her songs were the anthems of the world cup is another revelation. Thanks for the share and heads up. I would think she would be the rage in all of England. She is a singer of the world. She does performances everywhere. Her Spirit Indestructible tour visited Canada, Spain, Germany, South America, and Portugal to name a few. She is one of the few singers to appear on Saturday Night Live twice.

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.

New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends, social media connections, and other lovers of discussion.


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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