Friday, July 29, 2016

Poetry & Our Library of Congress

Playing with maps @ Library of Congress 

This past week I had the privilege of attending a Library of Congress Summer Teaching Institute.

This free Summer Teacher Institute is offered annually. Applications are open to all teachers. I attended session #5 with an educator from Canada, teachers and  librarians from public schools, private schools and a large public library system. 

To say that I spent a week fangirling would be a hyperbole of understatement. I have colleague Kristy Beall to thank for putting the bug in my ear to consider applying for this summer's institute.

Twenty-seven participants in session five were led by the current LOC Teacher in Residence Tom Broder and the Education Outreach Department. They put themselves, their expertise as well as all the resources of the Library of Congress at their disposal.

I was struck by many ideas this past week….but the first day I came across Found Poetry from Primary Sources. SO COOL! 

Letter written by Susan B. Anthony & me 7/26/16
Even though the project I am working on is not poetry (I'll share more about that later), I kept coming back and back to these web pages….getting more and more ideas for my own writing.

I did my best to keep up with Teachers Write during this busy week. It was tough but not impossible.
Tuesday's quick-write prompt from kidlit author Madelyn Rosenberg was to capture a setting in ten words or short phrases. 
Main Reading Room -- bucket-list-wish fulfilled!

My Day at the Library of Congress
an Imperfect Reverso

Fragment of history
Lost map
Covered knowledge
Reverent learning
Learning reverently
Knowledge revealed
Maps charted
Past of stories
Each piece

(c) all rights reserved Linda Mitchell

 Many thanks to Margaret Simon, Educator and Poet extraordinaire for hosting this week's Friday Poetry Round-Up at Reflections on the Teche. You won't be sorry for stopping by and fueling your soul with some poetry. 

Meso-American Chocolate Vessel 650 BCE

Friday, July 22, 2016

Poetry Friday
July 22,2016

Many thanks to BOOKS4LEARNING for hosting today's Poetry Round-Up.

It's July but I'm thinking about October....October 6th to be more precise. Because, October 6th is National Poetry Day in ENGLAND.

Liz Brownlee, a National Poetry Day Ambassador, is asking for message poems.
These poems will be shared on her website and entered into a contest. She shared this information just this morning on her blog.

If you are British, I hope you look into participating with an entry. If you are not British, such as myself, let's support a day of poetry by taking up the challenge and sharing in our own ways.

There are lesson plans and all sorts of download, activities, and goodies at the Arts Council England

For more details look here:

I do enjoy a poetry challenge -- I think I will join in on this one in thinking and writing at least if not entering from across the pond.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Poetry Friday
July 15, 2016

I have a writing project set in the 1930s. One of the characters is a teenager named Irene.
When Jo Knowles challenged Teachers Write Campers Monday, July 11th :

Take a moment to reflect on what's been happening in the world and what we can do, however small, to put more love in it. To connect. Today's prompt: Write a poem or other reflection starting with the phrase, "I am only one person, but I can...."

This is my response...from teen Irene and a fictional teen of today named Amani. I call this a side-by-side poem. I don't know if there is an official title for the form or not. Doesn't matter. I like the two voices side-by-side.

Thank you to Franki & Mary Lee over on A Year of Reading for hosting today's Poetry Friday.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Friday, July 8, 2016

Poetry Friday -- taking the "in the style of" challenge

or, Riffing on Ryan (hat tip to Sarah Lewis Holmes)

I could not get last Poetry Friday (thank you Tabatha Yeatts) out of my head....or the news of this week. Part of being on summer vacation is catching up with news of my world. And, I am heartsick at all there is to see and pray for these days.

Poets from last Friday's Poetry Friday challenged each other to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, poet and US Poet Laureate 2008 -2010. Ryan's compressed style is appealing and much harder to mimic than one (ok, I) first thought.

The mimicry exercise is one of learning to hone, to weed, to sculpt....pilates poetry.

This is a rough attempt at a riff on Ryan's poem Insult which I found here:
"Persimmon Tree." Persimmon Tree. ArtsMart, n.d. Web. 08 July 2016.

As you can see, I am completely absorbed with the tragedies of shootings these past days. I hope my attempt to put into words my thoughts is seen as a grief reaction and respectfully creative. It's very soon to write poems.

Many thanks to Katie Mc Enaney for hosting today's Friday Poetry. Discover poetry with her at: 


-They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal,
warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. -Justice Sonya Sotomayor*

Shooting, the noun,
rips choice away from choosing
to take it personally,
appallingly. When humanity
aims, squeezes, fires
not just at any coal mine canary
suffocated in the dark
but dads selling CDs
boyfriends driving home
with beating--then stopped hearts. Then
officers protecting a peaceful march.
This word, this utterance reminds us that
some nouns are too dangerous, broken, lethal--
that we must say, You must stop this.

(c) Linda Mitchell

*Ford, Matt. "Justice Sotomayor's Ringing Dissent." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 20 June 2016. Web. 08 July 2016.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

In reaction to a Va. state senator wishing to ban books such as Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell from a school's summer recommended reading list.


Too scared to allow
young minds to grow, leaves stunted
trophy kids for show.

by, Linda Mitchell 

(c) all rights reserved

Friday, July 1, 2016

Poetry Friday

Teachers Write has started and I am enjoying the creativity, the author advice and the community of support.

Teachers Write
In the fresh hours
of morning
bodies still
on school time
sipping caffeine
     --words as mug warmers
        and to-go cups
for bitters and sweet
of what led up
to this year’s last day.
They type,
doodle, print
and search for clues
to the one true
of their mystery:
Who learns more--
Student or

(c) all rights reserved

Many thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up on her blog, The Opposite of IndifferenceHead on over to see lots more poetry.  

PS: There's a novel-in-verse guest author over on Teachers Write today.....Caroline Starr Rose. I'm delighted when major sectors of my world and life meet like this. Take a peek: