Linda Kulp Trout

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thinking Ahead

Every Dec. 31 I write personal and professional goals that I plan to accomplish during the new year. Actually, it's more like revising the ones I didn't accomplish the year before. It's embarrassing to admit that I've had the same goals for years and years. I start out determined and inspired, but I never quite get there.
Well, I think I've finally come up with an action plan that will work. It's so simple. I've used this strategy to plan my teaching goals for the last 3 yrs. I don't know why I never made the connection to the goals I set for myself.

At the beginning of every school year, our faculty formulates SMART goals. You've probably already heard of this strategey, but in case you haven't, here it is in a nutshell. SMART is an acronym for:

So, instead of my usual goal of improving my writing skills, my SMART goal is:
  • attend our local spring writing conference
  • enroll in an online poetry class this summer
  • write for two poems each week
  • read at least 3 poems every day
  • read a book on writer's craft once a month

I have other writing goals too, but the "improving my writing" goal must come first.

What about you, what are your writing goals for 2010? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Last week, my students wrote poems and made holiday cards for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was proud of the gratitude and support my students showed toward the soldiers. The activity brought back memories of Vietnam and how our soldiers were treated so poorly.

I was in the military during the Vietnam War. I was never sent to combat, but I had several friends who were. This is a poem I'm working on in rememberance of a friend who was drafted and sent to Vietnam.

What He Lost

and congratulated,
hometown hero
of our high school
football team—

My best friend,
barely eighteen
was drafted
to the big league--

He didn’t want to go,
but his country needed him,
always a team player—
he did what he had to do.

Two years later
he came home
an outcast
disdained by the town
that once loved him.

No thanks
No welcome home
No ticker tape parade
All he had left were
scars so deep
no one could see—
permanent reminders
of what he lost
in Vietnam.

Wishing all of us peace on earth.

Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gifts From the Heart Not the Store

I don't usually blog during the week, but an email arrived today that I just had to share from

I'm always looking for ideas to help my students give the gift of their poetry. We've done chapbooks, posters, cards, poetry cubes, poetry mobiles, pictures using items from nature, etc., but I never thought of a poetry snowglobe or poetry ornaments.

If you're looking for some great ideas for last minute gifts that come from the heart, take a look at the "Do-It-Yourself: Holiday Poetry Activities for Kids."

What other ideas do you have for sharing gifts of poetry?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

POETRY FRIDAY:Poetry Stretch and Word of the Month

This week I participated in the The Miss Rumphius Monday Poetry Stretch. The challenge was to write a poem about time. I've been thinking about time a lot lately. You see, my first grandchild is due in May. I can't believe my son is going to be a dad. Not so long ago, he was a just baby himself. Okay, that was 31 yrs. ago, but it sure doesn't seem that long. He and his brother grew up much too fast. Now they are starting families of their own. What fantastic dads they're going be! This poem is for my son, Tim and his little one.

To My Unborn Grandchild

It wasn’t so long ago
that your daddy
was a baby—

my baby

Even before he was born
I knew I would love him

From the first time
the nurse placed
your daddy in my arms
I wished he would stay little,

I wanted to watch him sleep
and read him stories,
touch his tiny toes,
and listen to his first words

But only love lasts
babies grow up
much too fast
and soon your daddy
became a young man,
a young man
who dreamed of a baby
of his own.

Now he’s waiting
for you to arrive—
so he can watch you sleep
and read you stories,
touch your tiny toes
and listen to your first words.

He already knows
he’ll love you

so will I.

Love, Grandma

You can read more of the "time" poems here.

I also wrote a poem for David L Harrison's Word of the Month challenge. The word this month is bone. There's still time to play. Check it out here.

I never knew my father, but I used to imagine the things we'd do together if he ever came back home. Somehow, even in my dreams, he never stayed.


After dinner
Mom asked if I
wanted to break the
wishbone with her.

When I said, “No.”
She didn’t say anything
but I could tell
she was hurting.

I was hurting too
remembering how
you and I shared the wish-
bone every Thanksgiving.

You’d always laugh,
wrap your fingers tight
around your half
and pretend to snap it
before I was ready.

But then you’d
let me win
so I could make
my own special wish.

Well, I’m older now,
and since you left
have lost their magic.

So what good are they?
Wishes don’t come true,
do they,