Thursday, February 20, 2020

New Year Cento

Happy Poetry Friday,

When reading Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters (Carolrhoda Books February 4, 2020) I learned that a cento poem is a poem comprised of lines from other poems by other poets. 

I thought, ooooh! I want to try that. Since I so recently received a bunch of New Year's postcards from our Postcard Exchange, thanks to Jone McCullough, I started there.

lines of poets re-typed and cut for arrangement....a cento in progress

New Year Cento

Bold Dreams bursting from the sky
the glitter
in unexpected places

Just enough

for snow to fall

Windows of life
open for our thoughts to inspire
a snow day

Stacks of books, rivers
words on waves

Imagine that
in the poetry
through the new year

Lines of poetry by poets in order of appearance

1. Kimberly Hutmacher
2. Diane Mayr
3. Molly Hogan

4. Christie Wyman
5. Robert Erdman
6. Kay McGriff

7. Carol Varsalona
8. Margaret Simon
9. Christie Wyman

10. Kay McGriff
11. Jone McCullough
12. Christie Wyman

13. Robyn Hood Black
14. Molly Hogan

15. Kay McGriff

Hop over to Library Matters for the rest of this week's poetry goodness. And, pick up a copy of Dictionary for a Better World. It's an amazing book. I have so much more to write about it....soon.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Re-cycled Book Page Valentines

Happy Valentines Day

If ever there was a day for poery, this is it! 

Our dear Linda Baie is hosting today's round-up. She's requested some sugary love. Skip the calories and read to your sweet-tooth's content at Teacher Dance .

I'm crazy for collaging. I can pinpoint the moment I knew I wanted to start. It was after reading Euka Holm's book about Fannie Lou Hamer and then seeing Ms. Holmes present at a Virginia Association of School Librarian's Conference. My fingers just wanted to get into some paper and glue.

I've been collaging for a couple of years and I've learned lots. One of the things I've learned is that my creations aren't quite the way I want them to look...YET. So, I keep trying techniques, poking around pinterest and youtube and having fun.

How to Make a Valentine

Find some paper
and some glue
grab some magic markers too.
Fold the paper
Cut points and curves
Don't let the scissor
wreck your nerves.
Paste little hearts
atop bigger ones.
Write a name
You're nearly done
Spell L-O-V-E
deliver clandestinely.
Aren't you fine?
You've just made
a valentine.

(c) Linda Mitchell -- thanks to Laura Shovan's 8th annual February Poetry Project 

Valentine notes made from weeded library books by Linda

A cherita to go along with recycled book love notes.

Once upon a time

With strong spines, fresh leaves
stories flowered, petals bloomed

Open, close, open, close
sun, moon, wind, laughter
weed pile, shears, new life...Valentine

(c) Linda Mitchell

Thursday, February 6, 2020

First Friday Terza Rima Challenge

Hello Friday, Hello Poetry!

Writing the World for Kids hosts our round-up today. Do pop in and see all the fun offerings Laura has collected.

We SWAGGERS responded to a challenge to write a Terza Rima.
Oh, my.

                                                                                                     I started out...


Ugh! iambic pentameter?
A desperate plea for help...

I'm no good at this.

Dear Linda,
Go rogue!
Your friend, Molly

                                                                                    ps: Heidi tutors
                                                                                    pps: Margaret made hers work with MagNOliAS
                                                                                    ppps: I think Catherine might go rogue, too!

Go Rogue, Linda!

I want to write the perfect  terza rima
It’s tough corralling words that move around
I can’t heard them into just one stanza

I  need a dog to chase the good lines down
to bark my drafts within a shearing pen
So I can gather wool to knit some nouns

Knit red, purl blue rhymes every now and then
Needles one and two click upon my lap
A purple poem grows, and I shout AMEN!

Then quickly run back to my dear free verse--
lest this dire terza rima get worse
But then I overhear, duh-DUH-duh-DUH

(c) Linda Mitchell -- who really wishes she had a pen name today

More responses to the terza rima challenge by SWAGGERS

Spiritual Thursday: Seasonal Bliss

"At ease, Linda. At ease," 2020 encourages.

Photo by Linda

Spiritual Thursday is hosted today by Beyond Literacy 

Thank you, Carol, for your inspiration of Seasonal Bliss.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Call of Words from Stacey Joy's Prompt

Good Friday Poets,

We've arrived at the last Friday of the first are those resolutions holding up? My relationship with "at ease" is growing. This week, DeoWriter hosts the Poetry-Friday Round Up. Thank you, Jone!

I enjoyed a week of writing prompts from Ethical ELA with guest, Stacey Joy (@Joyteamstars). The week of writing from these exercises is intense. It's a little hard for me to keep up. In fact, on Day 5 I fell asleep drafting my poem and woke up dazed in the early hours in a downstairs chair. Ha! 

Nevertheless, I'm amazed at the poems teacher-writers are able to produce quickly. Stacey Joy's prompts helped me connect with memories and write in new ways. 

Day 5 Challenge was 'Call of Words

My Response:

Word List gathered from, Telling My Father, by James Crews, a poem featured on The Slowdown  on the day of the challenge.



storm door
orange juice

Linda's Poem (still untitled)

I found a poem
early this morning

drinking coffee
at the kitchen table.
It was stirring in sugar

watching through the window
at crows perched on power lines
squabbling over night news
from opposite sides of the street.
The written page was eyeliner streaked
after a long night.
Quietly, I grabbed orange juice
from the fridge. Stepped through
the storm door
onto the porch
leaving poem
to write us
some sunlight.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Patch of sunlight taken by Linda

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Hello Poets,

I live several hours drive from where I grew up -- a very beautiful place in western New York State. I don't get there as often as I like. So, I follow some outstanding photographers on twitter from that area. It's a joy to see beautiful photos of familiar spaces. 

One photographer is Jerome Davis (@jdavis2731). His photos make my fingers itch to write alongside his artistry...which occurred one early day in January -- the title for this poem.

Davis, Jerome. “Thursday Morning Glow! It Was Crazy to See It Snowing and the Sun Shinning so Bright. @john_kucko @WHEC_SPensgen @StormHour @News_8 @news10nbc @13WHAM” Twitter, Twitter, 10 Jan. 2020,


There’s no word
for sun meeting snow--
no multi-color rainbow
over pointing fingers
or squeals of delight
no insta-click
from below.
Just glow upon
falling upon this resting field
quilt on my bed

(c) Linda Mitchell

Thanks to Kat Apel for hosting our Poetry Friday Round-Up 
this week. She's got an update on Aussie Kidlit fundraising for 
fire relief and recovery and a new animal poem to share!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Science Kick Poems

Poet Friends,

Hooray for time to read poems, hear poems and maybe even do some scribbling of poems. Thank you, Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting today's round-up.

I've been on a science kick this school year. A teacher I work with said about a particular topic coming up in 6th grade, "It's such a good opportunity to talk with kids about life." I like that...I think I'm adopting that as my reason.

At any rate, I've been eyeing the National Geographic Education certification course and poking around their blog. I came across this photo and recognized a word that young learners I know struggle to grasp the full meaning of:

Pryzborski, Paul. “The Chesapeake Watershed.” NASA, NASA, 2015,

This article from National Geographic Education came across my twitter feed in the past week--ah ha! Something to write about. 


I read the article and found lines that fit the 5-7-5 model that was used to teach children haiku centuries ago. Here's a page of my notebook where I listed them:

my notebook, Linda Mitchell
Words found and arranged by Linda 

Looking for syllable counts and arranging lines was a good way for careful reading...but the poetry isn't quite "pretty" enough for me yet. That word precipitation, even though I spaced it out by syllable is too utilitarian for me. Hmmmm.

Then, I thought a definito poem form, invented by Heidi Mordhorst, could really help kids understand what a watershed is. Here's the definito too.


Like snake shed skin
left behind for us to find on the ground
land sheds water
from high to low
vapor to cloud
to rain to falling and--
collecting in serpent shaped streams
joining rivers seeking
the ocean again.
This water covered land
we all must protect is a watershed.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Have a great Poetry Friday and weekend. I will take time to reflect on Dr. King and the journey we are on to his dreams. I feel that there are miles to go. I'm thankful for his leadership.