Thursday, May 12, 2022

Artist Date with Margaret Ong

You know that feeling you get ... that you got ... when you were a little kid and were so surprised at something so cool all you could do was say, Oh! ? That's me when I saw a link to a review of an art exhibit by visual poet Margaret Ong.

Visual Poet...I didn't even know such an art existed...and, yet I did because I have been growing as a visual poet for some time, not understanding that there is a name for my urge to play with words on a page with paint and glue and rubber stamps and even a sewing machine.

I'm a happy beginner. Margaret Ong is a master. Come on-- let's go see some of her work!

Start by clicking on this article by John Yau in Hypoallergenic 
Yau, John. “A Poet-Artist Looks to the Stars.” Hyperallergic, 6 Aug. 2021,

As you can imagine, I started taking in Ong's work...and haven't stopped--likely never will. I have so much to learn. Ong's current exhibit in Chicago is also star-based. Isn't that the best? Now, I have to figure out a way to see her art in person. 

The image below is a visual poem draft of words found John Yau's article (

to arrange as a found poem.

visual poem draft -- Linda Mitchell May '22

I was a bit behind on the star padlet...but am caught up. Hooray! Nothing fancy...just two haiku that make me happy. 

Thank you, Rose at Imagine the Possibilities for hosting this week's Poetry Friday round-up. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Homage to Pick a Proverb

Thank you, Jama, for hosting our round-up today.

Our Inklings are paying homage to someone else's April Poetry Month Project (see a round-up of them at Jama's Alphabet Soup). I really enjoyed Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's Pick a Proverb project. She is a productive poet that's for sure. 

I had ideas and drafts and pfffttttthhhfffft. They fizzled flat. I had that, uh oh...what if I have nothing to show for Friday? feeling. But, I pitched this idea. So, I can't just not show up!

Keep it simple
Don't overthink
You've got this

These are all things I was telling myself Thursday morning during my creative time. 

I started with something familiar, stars.
'hitch your wagon to a star.' 

Where did that phrase come from? Is it a proverb or an idiom?

According to ongoing RHR (Rabbit Hole Research), the phrase is an idiom referring to hitching one's fortune to another who can raise one's status.


Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, originator of this phrase in American Civilization 1862, likely meant more than glomming onto someone's coattails. He meant...

Whoa. This is a horse of a different color. This is something more like wisdom...more proverb.  

"...we are strong borrowing the might of the elements..."

Linda Mitchell 5/22

Let's go see how the other Inklings responded to May's challenge:

Mary Lee

Thursday, April 28, 2022

And then in the fourth week, a poetic line

My grandmother ended a letter at the end of January 1949 with these words, "Victor sure has a dandy girl. She is worse than the weather if you ask me."  I can practically hear the humph in the antique ink.

Finally, after line after line of daily household details, something juicy. Now, what to do with those two sentences? I have a few attempts scribbled in my notebooks but this triolet makes me giggle.

But is it Love?

Victor sure has a dandy girl 
She’s worse than the weather if you ask me 
Sunny one minute then next a churl 
Victor sure has a dandy girl 
He’s a head-over-heels tilt-a-whirl 
wrapped ‘round her little finger don’t you see? 
Victor sure has a dandy girl 
She’s worse than weather if you ask me

(c) Linda Mitchell 4/29/22

I found stars at school again. These delighted me as they were in response to a read-aloud of, What do you do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada (Compendium 2014). This kid has no idea how delightful it was for me to grade their paper! it's on the padlet 

How can it be that April is over? I was just adjusting to the writing schedule? We Inklings are paying homage to someone else's National Poetry Project with our poems next week, the first week of May. If you want to look over some of the projects they are at Jama's 

Don't forget to stop by Jone's wonderful blog for the Poetry Friday round-up. She amazes me regularly with her interviews and interesting poetry posts.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

When You Need a Break

Hello Poets!

How can it possibly be time for Poetry Friday again? I'm still catching up from last week. I guess this is what happens when I travel for Spring Break and arrive home late on Sunday, diving back into work bright and early on Monday. It's a bit of a blur.

I've been stopping by Ethical ELA for Verse Love this month when I can. The prompts support my April Poetry Month project of using old family letters as inspiration for new poems.  A recent prompt, 'When You Need a Break, Go to a Place of Comfort,' by Leilya Pitre was a lovely jumping-off place for a poem.

The prompt directs writers to go for a mind walk to a favorite place for writing inspiration. Several poems were offered as mentor poems. I used Robert Frost's 'A Late Walk.' as a frame for details of a letter written by my Grandma in 1949.

First, Frost

My draft 

My spring break travels were full of star surprises as I visited with my sisters. These surprises became the inspiration for this quickly dashed off haiku...although it's not sure it qualifies as an actual haiku. See it on the Star Padlet:

Be sure to stop by Margaret Simon's Reflections on the Teche for the latest lines of the Progressive Poem. She's hosting our round-up. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Caption These!

Hello Poets,

I'm traveling this week to have all kinds of spring break fun with my sisters. Before I began my travels, I had fun upcycling some images from weeded books for Easter cards. I'm wondering...what captions or greetings would you include on the backs of these postcards? 

I'll put my captions below. But, I'd love to also know what you'd say!

caption this #1

Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme is hosting Poetry Friday this holiday weekend. Thank you, Matt! 

caption this #2

There is a new star poem up on the padlet that comes from stars popping up wherever I looked at last week. I was out of the library in the wilds of the classroom and it seemed I saw stars everywhere. Isn't it funny how OLW can become such a focus? I felt blessed by those friendly stars. 

caption this #3

My captions:

1. Even though Papa had presented Junior with a specially trained Easter Egg Hunting Hound, this year's hunt proved a disappointment

2. How do you paint your eggs?

3. Franny didn't understand why the bunny ears she recently purchased were so deeply discounted until after she started pedaling. 

I should be back home to respond to posts early next week. Until then, Happy Easter! Good Passover, and Ramadan Mubarak to all those celebrating. 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Poetry Friday -- playing with form and point of view

Are we having fun yet?

I am! Though it's raining like crazy, I'm on the cusp of Spring Break. The promise of seven whole days to sleep in,  see my sisters, craft, write...oh, the possibilities. 

Thank you, Janice, at Salt City Verse for rounding up our Poetry Friday blogs today.

My Poetry Month project has me scratching my head a little bit. These letters I have from my grandmother ... They are newsy I suppose, but also dry. Dentist appointments and weather and the baby sleeping are not great inspirations for poems at first. 

I remember my grandmother. She was sparkly and light. She told stories in all the voices. She taught me things. She bought me a forbidden Barbie doll.

I've been looking for poetic phrases within her letters and a spare form to play with. I've not settled on anything. However, I really like how a cherita serves my purposes. It's short, story-telling in nature, and is a distinct form. It might help me include what's not written on the old yellowed pages.,

First a cherita from a letter:

October 7, 1948 

Paul and the boys have gone to East Hill for more hens
I thought I’d get my letter writing done while it is quiet

The weather here has been swell all week
leaves are starting to come down a little faster
Yesterday was grand for drying

(c) Linda Mitchell

Then in Free Verse:

Letter writing 

A task to accomplish
Better in the quiet
with the boys out of the house.

Just you and your pen
scratching away
on personalized stationery
dutifully accounting for your spent hours 

Autumn leaves fall fast
swirl with wash on the line
Tomorrow is for ironing.

(c) Linda Mitchell

The padlet grows with star shenanigans.

Spiritual Journey Thursday in April

Dear Sojourners,

Our host, Karen, offered a prayer for us to consider before sharing our posts this month:

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

     - from the Northumbria Community

As beautiful as the prayer is, I struggled to see a lesson in it. I didn't see a reflection piece in a prayer in which the speaker has made this commitment. 

I've been quite fretful in these past years. I've worried over Covid, then vaccines, then boosters, divided politics, the behavior of school children, and now another war before the world has cleaned up after the past several. There is no shortage of things for any of us to worry over. I sometimes joke with one of my very anxious kiddos that I'll take their top worry for free! I don't charge. I'll worry over that stinker of a worry like a pro. The only hitch is, that they can't have that worry back. They have to let it go for good.

This is, of course, what God is urging of me.

Years ago, I was in professional development when I began asking quite a few "what if" questions just as my middle school students do. After I sputtered off several questions, the leader simply invited me to "trust the process." That was a moment I'll never forget. The leader was very quiet, and patient and welcomed my questions. The answer to them the process of what I was learning.

Lent has been a productive time for me. My church publishes a devotional each year written by members of our congregation. It is beautiful and funny and painful and wonderful to read. I draw closer to my church family as I read about the ways that they have approached life with God's help. I've used these devotions as writing prompts and the reward has been rich (OK, some giggles and tears too).

When I re-read the prayer above I realize I don't have to find a lesson. All I need to do is trust the process. Trust the beauty of the wonders of nature as true, trust the power of God to hold and lead, watch and hear, hearken and guide and protect. The invitation is there. I simply need to relax into it.

I need to trust the process. And, not take that worry back. Amen.