Thursday, May 17, 2018


Happy Poetry Friday! May is flying by...thankfully with the flowers brought by those chilly April showers.

Today's Poetry Round-Up is hosted by talented Rebecca at Sloth Reads. Enjoy some time with her and a great book, I'm Just No Good at Rhyming(Little, Brown 2017).

I've been spending some time in the Great, I'm not depressed. I mean THE Great Depression, the Dirty Thirties. One of my favorite places for inspiration is the cache of online photos at our U.S. Library of Congress. 

This month, Michelle Barns interviewed Julie Fogliano who challenged us to write a poem about what we see outside our window. I had a tough time finding an original "in" to the challenge. 

It occurred to me that all the searching into the 1930s is a window to the past. I chose a random photo from the Depression era that intrigued me and a favorite form, pantoum, and started playing with words and ideas. I like the draft below. I'm fairly certain this is not a final poem. I'll fiddle with it some more...but its the poetry I've been working on this week.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Poetry Friday 5/11/18

Today's Poetry Feast--er, Friday is hosted by foodie and literature dynamo, Jama of Jama's Alphabet Soup. It's worth the trip to her blog--especially for Tuesday's review & giveaway of the Little Library Cookbook (Sterling Epicure, 2018). You'll be glad you did.

This past week I traveled by train to and from meetings into Washington DC (about 30 miles from home). It was very different from my daily fifteen minute drive to school and work with teenagers. On the second day, standing on the train platform in the warm spring sun, I looked up and found a Corinthian column that gave me a pang of homesickness for Greece. I lived there a long time ago. The sweet memory sent me looking for poetic comfort. 

 Blue is Greece
By Aliki Barnstone

Blue is Greece

where fishermen tame their boats

and islands stand

like white monastery birds
on the Greek flag
of spinning blue,
where the sky has few airplanes
floating like gods,
and if one comes
an angel drops a far banner.

* The Greek spelling for Ellada or Greece

A Response in the form of a Skinny from  memories of mornings catching a ferry out of Rafina...

Wish Ελληνικά*
peach juice

Ελληνικά wish.

 * Greek (Elliniki) --slightly different from Greece in the graphic above. Can't decide which I like better, yet.
**Bougatsa: breakfast pastry

©Linda Mitchell

I think Jama would agree that  a bite of bougatsa with this poem in in, here's a little video of an easy bougatsa recipe.  ελα...come on!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

WOWs of NPM '18

Happy Poetry Friday

This week's round-up is hosted by the lovely and talented Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. Please stop by and soak up some beauty, especially her Artspeak series. Your soul will thank you.

I wish I could have slowed April down. National Poetry Month is so rich it's hard to take it all in. My growing digital journal of snippets, words, prompts, drafts and images is at 50 slides and my old-fashioned paper journal is fuller too.

I have great material and ideas to go back to later. I'd thought I'd share wows that helped me learn and grow.

National Poetry Month Wows

I gather craft ideas, advice and encouragement from these blogs. The Poem Farm and No Water River are spectacular. I have many drafts of first lines and ideas that started there. Today's Little Ditty has excellent interviews --don't miss B.J. Lee. It's like a writing class for rondel in a blog post. 

I have fallen in love with The Skinny. Drafts above are not true skinnies. However, the number of lines and the built in repetition was a great template for drafting. Fun!

These two books are wows! Sketch Book Dares (Abrams 2017) was given to me by a sweet friend. I am having a creative blast sketching--which has provided many oasis moments. Outside of her book, author/illustrator Laura Lee Gulledge's blogs/websites are inspiring as well.  I'm still celebrating being included on Team Imperfect. I received my author's copy this week. What a beautiful anthology. Tabatha Yeatts has really out done herself.

I'm impressed with every poem that comes from Irene Latham. She has a perfect combination of laser-like focus for the poetic and a gentleness that makes you feel like she's holding your hand. The 2018 Progressive Poem in Kidlitosphere is her creation--now in it's 6th year--and I joined in with a line on day 13. 

Of all the poetry subscriptions out there....these are my steadfast and dependable buddies. I get variety of genre, audience, style and inspiration daily.

Poetry was in the news a LOT this month. I perused articles, listed to radio spots and interviews. My pinterest Poetry board grew! I love being able to have these pieces save for future reference.

What are your Poetry Month '18 WOWs? Will you share--Please?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Poetry Friday -- OOOPS! mIsTaKe!

Happy Poetry Friday!

My goodness we are two-thirds through National Poetry Month. How are you holding up? I like Amy Vanderwater's description of this month for's like being at an all you can eat buffet after you just ate. Yes, yes it is like that.

Today I am excited to share some MISTAKES!  Our host for this week's Poetry Round-Up, Tabatha Yeatts Lonske, is introducing her shiny new anthology, IMPERFECT: a poetry anthology for middle schoolers about mistakes. Today is the Imperfect anthology's book birthday--Hooray!

I am a Middle School Teacher Librarian in the trenches with those pre and young teens making, fixing and recovering from mistakes.


Tabatha was kind enough to include a poem of mine in her anthology. (you would NOT believe the number of re-writes it took to get this very simple diamante just write---er, RIGHT!)

One of the coolest things about this anthology is how Tabatha likens it to the Japanese art of Kinsugi, repairing broken objects with gold rendering them unique and even more beautiful than before. If you are a pinterest pinner, you can see more on that here.

For me, the gold repair, is humor. Many mistakes that make me feel like diving deep into the nearest hole to the center of the earth are the source of bust-a-gut-laughing stories later.

My friend Deb likes to tell me....someday, you'll laugh at this. And, honestly I do!

One funny mistakes happened with my neighbor. We used to meet at the bus stop and chat while waiting for our kids to ride off to school. I marveled over her beautiful and smart little girl and she told me about her older son who I had never met.

One day, I was out walking and came across my neighbor walking with a handsome young man. I said,
     Oh, this must be your son!

There was a long, looooooong pause before my neighbor could sputter,

    This is my BOYfriend.

OOOOPS! Unbeknownst to me, my neighbor had started dating after a divorce and, I had never met her son...and he IS young and handsome and....well, let's just say the gold that covers this mistake is a lot ... A LOT of giggles years later.

I love Anne Lamott's words about a serious way of dealing with mistakes--simply letting it go:

Quotes, Anne Lamott. “ ~@ANNELAMOTT” Twitter, Twitter, 15 Apr. 2018 

Isn't that what writers do? We try to turn our mistakes into writing gold? I hope that this anthology makes it into the hands of lots and lots of middle schoolers so that they can see it's not the mistake that matters so much as the response it it.

Below is my poem for Imperfect. Many, many congratulations to Tabatha for bringing this book into the world. I wish it lots of success.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Progressive Poem on Lucky Friday 13th

It's National Poetry Month. Readers and writers everywhere are celebrating! 

Thanks to Robyn Hood Black, Children's Author, Poet and Artist and her blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, we can all enjoy this week's round-up of Poetry Friday contributions. 

One celebration is a Progressive Poem that has been growing line by line each day of April. This annual project was created six years ago by author/poet Irene Latham at her blog, Live Your Poem

I've summoned courage to jump in with a line on lucky April 13. Yikes!

Before authors began this year's poem, Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe interviewed Irene and, Elizabeth Steinglass who kicked off our 2018 with a first line. If you aren't familiar with the Progressive Poem Project it's worth a few minutes with Heidi's interview to see this year's challenge and twist.

I keep notes from things that wow or inspire me on Poetry Friday in a digital journal where I copy and paste snippets of posts, words, quotes, ideas or anything that strikes my fancy. I try to keep the url of where I found the idea too. 

Heidi asked us to record our thoughts about line one to reflect on later. My thoughts about this year's first line are in the bottom right corner of my journal page in blue.

Here is the poem thus far with my line for day 13. Enjoy clicking on each line to find the author's thoughts on their contribution. I am just tickled to share this story poem with other poets who I truly admire and even fan girl over....without further ado....the poem.

 4. the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine

“Birthday Wishes: Best Happy BDay Wishes, SMS and Messages.”, 17 Jan. 2018,
Follow this poem to its end with these poets who are also celebrating the master poet, Lee Bennet Hopkins, birthday today with our hostess, Robyn Hood Black. Happy Birthday Lee.

14. Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
15. Donna at Mainely Write
16. Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
17. Ruth at There Is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town
18. Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19. Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20. Linda at Write Time
21. Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
22. Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
23. Amy at The Poem Farm
24. Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25. Keisha at Whispers on the Ridge
26. Renee at No Water River
27. Buffy at Buffy's Blog
28. Kat at Kat's Whiskers
29. April at Teaching Authors
30. Doraine at Dori Reads

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Poem Found in Smith Interview

Hooray for April! National Poetry Month is upon us--a festival of writing amongst friends. 

Please visit Amy L.Vanderwater at The Poem Farm for a super fun look at her project of a daily poem about the constellation Orion in conjunction with the lessons of her new book, Poems are Teachers (Heinemann 2017)...and..this week's round-up.

To tell the truth, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the plethora of poetry prompts, new poems to read and craft ideas to consider. Oh, and hey! I do have a project that I've been working on.

So, I've decided to focus on just a couple of favorite places for inspiration and craft. So far, I've settled into a nice morning routine of checking out Amy's Poem Farm and Renee LaTulippe's No Water River where she is introducing a poet, their books and a prompt with opportunities to share writing that create a month long community poetry project. It's like auditing a master class. 

Finally, I'm part of the Progressive Poem project hosted by Irene Latham, who is writing daily poems inspired by art of the Harlem Renaissance on her blog, Live Your Poem. My day is lucky Friday the 13th. Be sure to stop back and say hello as this poem grows and grows.

Today, I'm sharing a poem found in Time Magazine's 9 Questions with Tracy K. Smith, US Poet Laureate. I love her spunk that shines through. 

Begley, Sarah. “9 Questions With Tracy K. Smith.” Time, Time, 2 Apr. 2018, 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ode to Jeremy's Shoes

Happy Poetry Friday! Make sure to swing by My Juicy Little Universe where Heidi is hosting this week's round-up.

Last weekend, hundreds of my friends were out marching. I was not. I was at temple with my thirteen year-old friend, Jeremy, celebrating his call to Torah. His family invited me to read something in the service.

I've been watching Jeremy grow up. He's gone from the adorable kid that is open to every question and conversation from me, his neighbor lady, to a composed thirteen year old young man.

The Neighbor Lady & Bar Mitzvah Boy

Because I am a poetry person, I needed a really good poem!

Fortunately, I knew from J's mom that the theme of the reception was going to be shoes....sneakers to be precise because J loooooooves himself some good kicks.

A poem about sneakers.....for a young man. Well, there's only one that fits the bill---er foot.

Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoes
By Gary Soto 

They wait under Pablo’s bed,
Rain-beaten, sun-beaten,
A scuff of green At their tips
From when he fell In the school yard.
He fell leaping for a football
That sailed his way.
But Pablo fell and got up,
Green on his shoes,
With the football Out of reach.
(read the rest here)

Mr. Soto's perfect poem became a frame to hang words of a personalized Jeremy poem.

Ode to Jeremy’s Shoes
By a neighbor who loves watching you grow up

They wait by Jeremy’s front door,
weather beaten, teen-age things
A scuff of dark
at their tips
From where he swerved
at the bus stop.
He faked out a friend
dribbling his basketball
and his kicks
couldn’t keep up
with his speed.
Neither did his friend.

Now it is night
Jeremy is in bed listening
to his parents chatting--
reminding Ethan to feed Speedy.
His shoes, twin pets
that snuggle his toes,
guard their home.
He should have showered,
But he didn’t
(Dirt rolls from his palm,
Blades of grass
Tumble from his hair.)
After touch football
at Boy Scouts.

He wants to be
Like his shoes,
A little dirty
From the street,
A little worn
from racing to Religious School
and martial arts
and the water fountain.
It’s a bit of giving up
of his childhood
to get all these places
where he’s becoming a man,
And his shoes get him
There. He loves his shoes,
Laces like rigging of an explorer’s ship
Rubber like
A lifeboat on rough sea.
Jeremy is tired,
sinking into bed
His eyes close after
learning Hebrew and
He needs a whole night
of sleep
to cool his shoes,
The tongues hanging
out, exhausted.

Mazel Tov, Jeremy