Thursday, July 2, 2020

Poetry Friday is Here!

Hello and Happy July!

It's summer Poetry Swap season and I am a lucky poet to receive this hand-made and personalized gift from Margaret Simon. Thank you, Margaret. You made my week. If you've never joined one of the Poetry Swaps graciously hosted by Tabatha from The Opposite of Indifference, consider it. It's fun and gives your creativity a boost.

A lovely and much-appreciated gift of poetry from Margaret Simon

Click on Poetry Friday to find out what it is. I've always enjoyed Poetry Friday Eve...which is now. 

I've been tinkering with a form introduced by April Halprin Wayland, In One Word

Tomorrow is July 4th -- Independence Day here in the USA. I decided on a patriotic and current events theme. My selected word:



When in the course of our era
we, the people, stand guilty of crimes
against our neighbors caught on camera--
chokeholds, weaponized mace,
ramming our dearly beloved with cars
murdering E Pluribus Unum; We are
recalled to our duty, our aim
as preservers, protectors, and defend
of our United States Constitution to scream
Help! Rescue Liberty from the mire
where her cries fall on deaf
We peaceably assemble as we
by right as children, as women and
to redress grievances against fellow 

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

Photo: L. Mitchell. Jepson Center Art Museum

Have you tried In One Word yet? I'd love to see your version.

Please include your blog link in a comment below for Poetry Friday. I will categorize links for easy reading here (I'm still traveling so it will be every few hours or so). 

There are some blogs that I consistently have a difficult time commenting on. If I do not comment on your blog this week, please contact me at hubeimom (at) yahoo (dot) com. I will at least connect with you by old-fashioned e-mail.  If I regularly comment on your blog, you do not need to contact me separately. 

Original Poems

Janice Scully shares a poem of imagination and water at

Laura Purdie Salas shares a spectacular firework haiku from her book Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons (Millbrook 2019)

Michelle Kogan shares a thoughtful and original in conversation poem about freedom for all

Bridget Magee shares a poem and lots of wonderful advice and resources about language learning.

Irene Latham shares a new RED poem

Tim shares refreshing haiku

Mary Lee shares an IF poem she did not submit to Irene and Charles' new anthology.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater shares a pantoum with vital science facts

Margaret shares a poem from her weekly poetry prompt, This Photo Wants to be a Poem

Carol shares a poem about a day in the life of a loon.

Molly shares two poems from recent prompts. It's hard to decide which I like more

Matt Forrest Esenwine revisits a poem from the past that was selected for publication. See page 12.

Mandy shares a poem about birds building a nest.

Susan shares a poem preserved in a journal about fairies that is wonderfully inviting.

MSheehan shares a reflective poem about today's holiday.

Sharing Poems of Others

Little Willow shares  lyrics from When the Smoke Clears by Imaginary Future and Kina Grannis

Karen Edmisten shares a poem by Langston Hughes that is always timely...but more so today.

Myra at Gathering Books is celebrating 10 years of blogging with 10 of her favorite Mary Oliver Poems. Congratulations, Myra!

Christie shares a Fourth of July poem by Marilyn Singer and a Poetry Swap goody 

Ruth shares When People Say We Have Made it Through Worse Before, by Clint Smith

Poetry Swap Fun

Tabatha Yeatts Lonske shares a Poetry Swap goody.

Carol shares poetry swap goodies and responds with a golden shovel poem.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Sharing Prompts from This Week

June 26th Already? How can this be?

Time flies in a pandemic despite the rise in cases across my nation.  This week, I'm traveling to south to visit family. I'd love your healthy thoughts along with the protection of my face mask, hand sanitizer and soap.

This past week, I enjoyed writing at Sarah Donovan's Ethical ELA. Margaret Simon and I teamed up to provide four prompts during the week to educators with experience levels from pre-service through retired PhDs. The response to the prompts was amazing. Teachers make great writers! And, I'm super inspired by their words. On Friday, we were treated to a prompt by author Melanie Crowder...outstanding!

Below is one prompt I shared--on Monday inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's Keeping A  Notebook video #50 Lift a Word.  Here's how the prompt appeared on Ethical ELA's blog:

"Lists, I know you have them...they may be three words or pages long, a series of to-do items, groceries? clothing sizes? What about lists you hear and love these days?

Peruse your notebook(s) for a list. Zero in on one word to write long about as suggested by The Poem Farm, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater in Lift a Word #sharingournotebooks #50. Note, Linda's poem remained a list. But, that's OK. It's the idea of looking at the lists that's the true prompt.

See what this prompt does for you. I'd love to see your response.

If you're looking for more fun, see how I shared (with permission) Linda Baie's recent prompt (February Poem Project) Small Fictions to write this poem:

I encourage writing teachers to check out the monthly writing prompts at Ethical ELA. It's fun, low stress and keeps my pen moving. Sarah offers much more for educators at her blog. Check it out.

Many thanks to Karen at Karen's Got a Blog! for hosting today's round-up.

I'm hosting Poetry Friday next week. I love kicking things off Thursday evening about Happy Hour time -- ya, know it's five o'clock somewhere! See you soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Hooray for Juneteenth!

Before I launch into my regular blog post I have business items.

First, Thank you Carol of Beyond Literacy for such a thoughtful Poetry Swap. I squealed with delight as I opened it for a few reasons. The poems are original, personal and some are from Carol's famous galleries. I love the care she put into making a personalized chap book!

Beautiful hand-crafted chap book from Carol Varsalona -- Poem Swap 2020

I am in the process of leaving facebook. I've wanted to leave for a while....and I'd like to stay off until at least after the election if not permanently. I followed the advice of this article: 5 Steps to Leave Facebook the Right Way.

You will notice that I have unfriended every single contact. This is not personal. I'm not ticked off with's just that fb needs my information (including who my contacts are)more than I need it and, I need a break! I'm thinking about ways of staying in touch with folks after facebook. Stay tuned.

And, for the feature of today's post, JUNETEENTH!

Virginia just made Juneteenth an official state holiday. This is a major move for the former Confederate Capital. I am thrilled with this and many other culturally responsive changes in Virginia to #BlackLivesMatter. 

Simply put, Juneteenth is the day in 1865 that the Union Army freed slaves in the western most part of the former confederacy. Until the Army announced that slaves had been freed earlier, by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, slaves were not informed of their freedom.

Juneteenth has been celebrated ever since.

Except, I had never heard of Juneteenth in my kindergarten through post graduate schooling. It was well into adulthood that I heard the word, Juneteenth. 

This week, singer Pharell Williams stood with Governor Ralph Northam to announce the establishment of the holiday. 
I took words from the article below to create a found poem.

This is What Listening Looks Like see those stars moving up there, know that those stars are our African
ancestors dancing...  Pharrell Williams 6/16/20

Reflecting on a conversation
that black lives matter
finally being acknowledged

amid ongoing nationwide
protests over racial injustice

deeply rooted in the fabric of Virginia--

We embrace dancing in solidarity with
African American brothers and sisters
moving forward

to a high standard
a better future.

When we say Juneteenth
it is our chance to declare

a celebration of freedom.

words found by Linda Mitchell

Thank you to today'sPoetry Friday host

The Miss Rumphius Effect

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Celebrating Nikki Grimes

Good June To Ya,

Don't miss Poet-author, Irene Latham's beautiful Live Your Poem for a top-off to your poetry cup today.  This week she's invited us to celebrate poet, Nikki Grimes.

I met Nikki Grimes in the children's section of my local library. When my kids scattered amongst the shelves and puzzle tables, I picked up, Gorilla Goes Walking and simultaneously thought, Wow this is such a cool book and, I want to write like this!

Grimes, Nikki, and Shane Evans. When Gorilla Goes Walking. Orchard Press, 2007

Fast forward to my weekly Kidlitosphere's Poetry Friday blogging. I'm having a blast writing, have met this community of writers and today we celebrate the work of Nikki Grimes too.

Feel free to skip around this post. Nikki has written a lot of books for kids! (seventy-five and counting). But, that's just her published work. There is lots more to celebrate--I may have gotten carried away.

I spent some time watching videos of Ms. Grimes. This interview is from April 2020. In it, Nikki says, golden shovel is my newest toy, I love that form. And, she suggests word play for students and teachers such as, look up the word quarantine in the dictionary. That bit of the interview inspired this golden shovel.

Look up quarantine in the dictionary*

I’d rather not look
  at schoolwork today. What’s up?
 I ask Jesse when her face appears on the
screen. Nothin’, dude, I’m as bored as every word
in the dictionary except quarantine!
 That word’s busy these days. People in
home isolation to keep safe from the
scarier words: Covid-19, hot spot, infecting that same dictionary

(c) Linda Mitchell--draft

*Sreenivasan, Sree. “@Sree's Daily Covid19 Show.” Videos: Nikki's Jam, 27 Apr. 2020,

Word Play is something you'll see Nikki Grimes recommend to readers and writers of poetry in many interviews including Today's Little Ditty...

The above word play prompt inspired Scissor...


is a sharp word
a cut to the chase
blade against blade word
blood-flavored if I’m not careful
Scissor looks like Mom’s don’t touch fabric
laid out for yards on the dining room table
waiting for her surgical eye and hand
to tissue paper match cloth to pattern
with a quarter
inch seam allowance
that buys new clothes

(c) Linda Mitchell --draft

Ms. Grimes is much more than poet. She's a prose writer, painter, card creator, blue collector, Christmas decorator can I celebrate so much?

How to Celebrate Nikki Grimes

First read.
Understand poetry
 a facet
of her
see cobalt blue
and purple?
see roses in her garden?
a gallery of paintings
handmade cards?
There’s seventy-five books
written for young people
             --and counting

The body of her work
grows and grows

Not that
it’s been easy
her memoir
shows us that
in verse, of course

In hazards
our poet
discovered sparkles
            specks of childhood
            spots of love
to share
a world-wide audience
             with us
I think love is
a secret sauce
she's employed
connector of words
images, color

We celebrate in kind
poem begetting poem
we say thank you Ms. Grimes
thank you

(c) Linda Mitchell--draft

About those roses...who can resist Nikki's extraordinary love of roses? Not me. Not this haiku either...

words by Linda Mitchell. Photo by Capri23auto/pixabay

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Poem of Farewell

Hello Friday,

My goodness, how many heartbreaks can one fit into a week, two weeks, this year? When I write, I hope you are well this week, I mean more than just physically healthy. I hope you are waking to and equipping yourself for the work of healing in front of us with the strength that you have as we move forward. 

I'm answering a SWAGGER challenge to write a poem of farewell. Isn't it funny how sometimes a theme can pop up everywhere you look? Farewell seemed to this week.

I received a post from the Library of Congress Teachers Corner titled: Saying Farewell with Poetry at the End of this Unprecedented School Year by teacher Rebecca Newland. There's some wonderful classroom activities shared there--take a peek.

And, I heard this wonderful interview of Charles Waters on The Children's Book Podcast (#599) with Matthew Winner. In it, Charles reads, Release, from Dictionary for a Better World (Carolrhoda Books 2020). This poem is a farewell too.

Latham, Irene, and Charles Waters. Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z. Carolrhoda Books, 2020.

I've had an image haunting me from when students and teachers parted that last Friday of school. I wish I had time for a proper farewell with the student in this poem and all my students.

Friday, March 13th

Our principal announced
school was closing
for one month
a look of panic
spread over your face
A month? you mouthed
I looked at you, my stunned student
It’s OK
one month to make sure
no one gets sick
Miss, whole month?
Just one month
We walked to front doors together
tears in our eyes
burbling middle schoolers
a river around us
yellow busses idling
doors open
waiting to take you home

Without a true farewell

waiting to take you home
doors open
yellow busses idled
burbling middle schoolers
a river around us
tears in our eyes
We walked to front doors together
Just one month.
Miss a whole month?
No one gets sick
One month to make sure
It’s OK
I looked at
you, my stunned student
a month--you mouthed
Spread over your face
a look of panic
for one month
school was closing
our principal announced

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

For more poems of farewell please visit

Heidi Mordhorst
Catherine Flynn
Molly Hogan
and our host for this week's round-up Margaret at Reflections on the Teche