Thursday, May 25, 2017

Poetry Friday 5/26


It's the end of the school year....which feels like a hyped up version of the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. Between all the duties to attend to at the school where I work and all the events to attend for my own children, my writing time has come to a standstill. This always makes me grouchy.....which accounts for the haiku venting below.

For a much more positive and enlightened Poetry Friday....stop by Margaret Simon's Reflections on the Teche.  She inspires me with her words on a daily basis. And, is a good cure for grouchy!

(c) Linda Mitchell

(c) Linda Mitchell

15 Words or Less

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Poetry Friday Anniversary

First, thanks to Keisha for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up this week. Her weekly writing invitations have become a part of my writing life. A visit to Whispers from The Ridge is a treat and very worth the trip. 

A year ago, I embarked on a journey to a Highlights Workshop for verse novel writers in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. My time in that workshop was incredible. I allowed myself time to write in the company of other writers.

My question one year ago was, am I good enough? Can I do this thing of writing a novel in verse? My answers are what I shared last week. But, I'd like to allow a year's perspective of writing to elaborate.

Yes:  I can write a novel in verse. If I am anything, I am a goals setter--and achiever. So, if I work toward my goal of a novel in verse I will do it.

No: I am a writer. I may write a novel in verse or two or more. However, it might not be published. The market for all writing is highly competitive. I'm not sure I can write a marketable novel in verse at the same time it's in demand in light of the competition. That's simply the truth of it for many writers.

Maybe So: Silly things keep me from writing. Sometimes, I don't write unless inspired....or here's a good one...I don't write if I haven't researched enough. I don't know "enough" about my topic to write. So, I'd better spend some time looking up facts.....three hours later I look up from social media and my time for writing has gone. Maybe working on the discipline of writing really is important.

It Depends: Right now, my work as wife and mom to my family and as a full-time public school librarian keeps my plate full. Any writing I do is on the fringes of what time any of the hundreds of people in those circles need with each other.

But still....I write. I'm forever grateful to Jan Godown Annino at Bookseedstudio for holding my hand through figuring out the nuts and bolts of PF. Now that I've achieved a year Poetry Friday posts, I may take a Friday or two off. I may just read what others contribute.

Today's Little Ditty's writing challenge comes out of Michelle Barns' interview with Melissa Manlove: Write a poem that explores how writing (or a book) is like something else. Contributors share their work on Michelle's (@MichelleHBarns) May 2017 padlet. Here's my response to the challenge.....this is me....still writing. Happily.


When a poem pauses,
she places a hand
over her heart
sensing the matter
and meter of the universe
which is itself,
Free verse or rhyme,
sonnet or haiku
form matters less
than the half-life of each word,
                each syllable
moving through time, space
and consciousness
settling where it will.
A poem knows those gazers
with telescopes
and butterfly nets
jumping and grasping at
notions to anchor to a page
as finite as a constellation.

Gravity is such a nuisance.
Poem understands
creative arcs are brief
and glancing, fueled by bravado
and as much heartache.

She gathers the inks--
and pens of scribblers--
and sighs.
She knows.

© Linda Mitchell

15 Words or Less Thursday

Thursday, May 11, 2017

5/12/17 Poetry Friday

Almost a year ago, I attended a wonderful writer's retreat at Highlights in Honesdale, Pennsylvania for verse-novel writers. 

This retreat was transformative for me. Truly, my question going into the retreat was (and often remains) am I good enough to do this thing? Can I really write a novel in verse?

First, thank you to Keisha for hosting this week's Poetry Friday round-up. I enjoy Keisha's weekly reflections, poems and writing invitations. I highly recommend a visit to her Whisper from the Ridge. 

As with so many writers, I learned that my answer is....

Maybe so
It depends.....

The attendees of the retreat were as welcoming and as encouraging as I could have hoped for. Kathy Erskine and Alma Fullerton are exceptionally knowledgeable and skilled teachers. I learned so much!

One thing that I learned is that I have more to discover about story crafting. I want to do this work. Happily, work involves reading lots of novels in verse. Kathy Erskine has a fantastic list of Verse Novel a Day for Poetry Month. It's well worth checking out.

When I looked over her list, I was mentally checking off what novels in verse I had already read and, novels in verse on the shelf at my middle school library where I am a Teacher Librarian. I thought that other verse-writers might be interested to see what's typically on a library shelf nowadays. Perhaps my catalog can enrich your knowledge. The photos below are screen shots from the library catalog at my school.

Please note....not every single title on this list is strictly a verse novel. For example, Engle's Enchanted Air and Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming are memoirs. Grimes' One Last Word is a collection. However, when I'm talking verse novels with teachers and students I include these because of the element of the story to discover. If anyone is a's a verse novelist!

I have more to say about Highlights...and my learnings next week when I celebrate a year of writing since attending in May 2016. But, if there are any teachers in the house.....Highlights is offering a $200 discount on a writer's retreat for Teacher Appreciation Week. Woot! 

For now, I'm Poetry Friday partying with A Teaching Life. Join us! Thank you, Tara, for hosting. 

15 Words or Less on May 11th

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Poetry Friday May 5, 2017

One of the nicest delights of #NPM17 & #wonderbreak is that despite trepidation over going public as a poet on social media....some really wonderful people shared poetry back with me. This came at just the right time. How did my friend, Gladys, know that I needed it the very moment after she sent it to me?

Join Jama Rattigan for some homecooked Poetry Friday goodness on the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Thank you, Jama!

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

15 Words or Less

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Celebrating #wonderbreak Week 4

I can see the finish line! Just two more days of new poems and I will have met my goal. Woooo Hooo! 

Head on over to Teaching Authors for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Ten Self-Doubts During National Poetry Month:
1. I can't do this
2. This poem is stupid
3. My public posts look needy...silly and/or self-conceited
4. OMG! I don't have a poem for tomorrow!
5. I should really stick to my day job. I'm terrible at this
6. So what if I miss a day? Nobody's gonna care
7. What if Rhymezone can't save this one?
8. I love my thesaurus so much I could marry it!
9. I'm tired.....can't be creative when I'm tired
10. Why am I doing this again?

But guess what Self-Doubt? You didn't win! I have beat you.

Sunday, April 30th....the big ta-DA! If you can find it (tee hee). A Poem of Address after Irene Latham's invitation on Michelle H. Barn's Today's Little Ditty interview in 2014.

Saturday, April 29

Friday, April 28 Laura Purdie Salas' 15 Words or Less weekly challenge

Thursday, April 27 Michelle Barns & Kwame Alexander challenged us to a Clerihew at Today's Little Ditty back in 2015.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This golden shovel poem was inspired by the photo paired with it. The child in the photo is Randi and she attends school with the generous sponsorship of folks who have never met her but care about a little girl in Uganda going to school. If you'd like to see more photos of Randi you can at this link:

I almost got through National Poetry Month without a limerick? Yikes!

A Letter Poem. Another inspiration from Michelle Barns' poetry blog, Today's Little Ditty.
Photo credit: Ibrahim Najjar." Ibrahim Najjar - Sand River - Mara Kenya July 2015. N.p., July 2015. Web

Another Reverso after the form invented by Marilyn Singer that she calls, Reverso.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#wonderbreak week 3

Wow! I made it through week three of National Poetry Month. I'm starting to feel like that little engine. I notice that because I am sharing poems on social media with people I know and don't know that I tend to censor myself a bit. This week I attempted to be a bit more real at least a couple of times.

Thank you commenters. I've read every comment and they grow my confidence. The Poetry Friday community has been so very kind. 

Head on over to the exceptionally multi-talented Tabatha Yeatts', The Opposite of Indifference, for this week's Poetry Friday round-up.

Friday, April 21 2017. Inspired by Laura Purdie Salas' 15 Words or Less Challenge

Thursday, April 20, 2017A tanka inspired by Margarita Engle's visit to Today's Little Ditty with Michelle Barns.
Account, UNESCOVerified. "UNESCO (@UNESCO)." Twitter. Twitter, 13 Apr. 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Cequina, Japoi. "Faces of the World." National Geographic. My Shot, 18 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

A Deeper Wisdom poem inspired by Joyce Sidman's visit to Today's Little Ditty with Michelle Barns.
The Sower." Van Gogh Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017. 

April 17, 2017. A Xeno inspired by J. Patrick Lewis' visit to Today's Little Ditty with Michelle Barns.

April 16, 2017
(c)Linda Mitchell

April 15, 2017 Inspired by Jone McCullough's  NaPoWriMo Poetry Friday offering of 4/14

April 14, 2017 The translation of Ontario is literally beautiful water.
(c) Linda Mitchell

Saturday, April 8, 2017

#Wonderbreak Week2

Wow! I made it through WEEK TWO of National Poetry Month with #wonderbreak inspiration from Laura Purdie Salas. I'm doing a little snoopy dance over this because I'm on spring break with three teenagers mixing visits with friends and family and fun things for them to do. We fill our days!

Find the Poetry Friday Round-up with Dori Reads and have some fun. I apologize to poets that I read each week....spring break driving will slow me down. But, I'll visit at some point between now and next Friday.

April 13, 2017 Corning Glass Museum in New York State is worth a trip.
(c) Linda Mitchell

April 12, 2017 -- on the road -- kinda tough to get a poem complete. Haiku will do!

April 11, 2017
(c) Linda Mitchell

April 10, 2017

April 9, 2017
Vagianos, Alanna, and Damon Dahlen. "60 Stunning Photos Of Girls Going To School Around The Globe." The Huffington Post., 11 Mar. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

Saturday, April 8th
(c) Linda Mitchell
Free Photo: Rain, Raindrops, City, Weather - Free Image on
Pixabay - 2179933. Pixabay, 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 06 Apr. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

#wonderbreak April is Poetry Month

Friday, April 7, 2017 

A week and a day of new poems. Wow! I have been worried about keeping up. Week one is done. Now, I'll try for week two. Scroll down to check out any new poems since 3/31. No pressure to read them all. 

Please DO visit lovely and talented Irene Latham who is hosting this Poetry Friday Round-Up at Live Your Poem.
(c) Linda Mitchell

Thursday, April 6th. This kinda feels like cheating....write a haiku for a giveaway....poets can do that in their sleep!


April 5th (These are the jokes, folks)

April 4th
(c) Linda Mitchell 

April 3rd

April 2nd 

April 1st

March 31 NPM Eve
Photo Credit: Cynthia Lord --from a recent facebook post

I'm joining Laura Purdie Salas for Poetry Month fun with

If you want to know the ins and outs of National Poetry Month, check out The American Academy of Poets.


The goal? One poem each day .... inspired by a daily wonder. I've got the start above....but have no idea what it will look like when I'm done.

Take a peek at this week's Poetry Friday Roundup with Amy VanDerwater at The Poem Farm

15 Words or Less

Laura Salas 15 Words or Less Prompt on Thursdays

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slice of Life:Gotcha Day

Gotcha Day is an important celebration in my family. We hold a feast for children brought to us by adoption. Because our children were born in China, we order Chinese food...and swap memories of meeting on the day we gotcha!

This year is the first that our eldest will be at college for Gotcha Day. We celebrated early. It was festive and fun and all the warm fuzzies that we embrace from our tradition.

When it came time for fortune cookies, the paper that fell out of mine, stopped me. 

You have to know, this child came into my arms in the throes of a tantrum. The two of us stormed with and against each other all through the growing up to age eighteen. Now, college life and a little space for understanding, things are better between us.

How did the person writing that fortune that ended up in my cookie on the day we celebrated this child know? 

I wish you extraordinary fortune cookie wisdom today.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poetry Friday 3/24/17

Hugs and High-fives to Catherine at:
Reading to the Core for hosting today's Poetry Friday Round-up.

Sometimes, at the close of a weekend, when I've read as many PF blog posts as I can get to, I think: What on earth will I share next week?  

I have to laugh at myself because....

A. Poetry Friday is voluntary...I enjoy PF no one is forcing me.

B. Poetry Friday can be as simple as thought, or idea

By Monday or Tuesday....I have a flicker of an idea and start thinking about how to share it. Usually, it's a piggy-back idea from another PF friend or something I see in social media.

Yesterday, I encountered this tweet:

I thought I'd give this exercise a try. I searched for poems that I would use with middle school students. 

Choosing two poems, for a poetry lover/writer, is like choosing outfits for a family portrait. Do I go with matchy-matchy? Or, complementary colors, or matching tops of varied colors? Maybe we should all wear white shirts, blue jeans and show bare feet. Decisions, decisions!

I chose these two beloved poems,

Poem 1: Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins
Poem 2: Truth Serum by Naomi Shihab Nye 

I sat myself down and started reading and doodling and thinking. I had to read the poems out loud (which I don't often do ....even though you're suppose-ta'). I counted lines and stanzas and looked for sameness in the differences. I collected some of my doodles in a Venn diagram. I put it away for a day and pulled it out again. The thing about this activity is that you can find something each time you look. It's fun and I learned a thing or two....definitely more than if I had re-read each of these poems alone without the idea of comparing and contrasting them. 

I'll bet you can find more than I captured in an early diagram. What comparisons and contrasts do you see?

What two poems will you choose for comparison? I'd love to know.

Have a poetry filled week.