Sunday, November 27, 2016

# Digilit Sunday -- What have I to Say?

Oh, the news....the news. I cannot listen to the news or read the news without having a reaction from my core, my deepest beliefs and dreams for what I wish my world to be.

This week I have been listening to a wonderful biography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanch Wiesen Cook. I have learned so much about ER, as Cook refers to her, throughout her three volume work.

What's interesting to me is that my impressions of ER before I watched the amazing PBS documentary, The Roosevelt's: An Intimate History, which then led me to Cook's: Eleanor Roosevelt Volumes 2 & 3 , were formed not by what I had learned on my own but the impressions of older generations of adults in my life--over several decades.

Seeing, reading, thinking for myself has allowed me to have a different and fresh view of ER.
There is so much more to ER than I ever thought. I am inspired to find out more!

I cannot help but think of the recent election and parallels to history as I learn about ER. The recent proposal of President-elect DJT of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education is something I am very much opposed to. I was very grateful to the National Education Association for putting into words concerns with their considerable experience and information. It led me to make and share this infographic to share on my facebook and twitter accounts.

I thought I didn't have much to share for #Digilit Sunday.....turns out I do!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Poetry Friday

Many of my compatriots are expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving Weekend. I am included. My college kid came home and is doing great. My high-school children are happy for a break and my middle schooler just read through a series on kindle. I'm grateful that my children are healthy and well and have much to look forward to.

I'm also keenly aware that our world is suffering. There are more refugees and displaced people now than during World War II. I perceive isolationist attitudes and policies similar to what I've only studied about in the 1930s. I do not want to live in fear....I'm a bit of  a dogged optimist. However, I am concerned by the need that surrounds me while I live so well.

I first heard The New Colossus as a child. That line, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free drove me to many a historical novel and love for history, culture and then travel that remains in me.

More than ever I am grateful to have been born in America because my immigrant ancestors were able to come here. They came as Catholics, Presbyterians who planted churches, young men seeking to live free lives. I am the fortunate inheritor of their miracles and efforts that I can pass on to my own children.

My hope is that America continues to be a beacon of hope to those who need a new chance. That my compatriots and I live more in gratitude for what we gain from immigrants than fear for differences.

Carol is hosting Poetry Friday over at Carol's Corner today. Thank you to her....please stop by and say hello.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Poetry Friday

Inspired by the delightful and creative Brenda Davis Harsham's Tetractys, I've spent the week playing around with syllables and rhyme. It's good to get back to some writing....even if it's not as much  as I would like. Life is full right now. And, that is good.

Brenda is hosting Poetry Friday Roundup today and I am grateful. Hop on over to Friendly Fairy Tales for a bit of food for your soul.

Mack, Warren Byran. "Queen Anne's Lace." Art Object Page. National Gallery of Art, 1985. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. 

Monday, November 14, 2016


Tetractys --- fun with words

Thanks for the super word sudoku, Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales. I could get lost for hours puzzling over these. I wonder how many I'll have by Friday?!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

Poetry Friday --hosted today by the outstanding Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

So thankful for our veteran's. I will take some time on Friday thinking about our country and those that serve and sacrifice in my nation's military. The poem below is at the wonderful Poetry Outloud website. I love how Poetry Outloud gives life to poetry through young people's voices.

At the Vietnam Memorial

by George Bilgere

The last time I saw Paul Castle 
it was printed in gold on the wall 
above the showers in the boys’ 
locker room, next to the school 
record for the mile. I don’t recall 
his time, but the year was 1968 
and I can look across the infield 
of memory to see him on the track, 
legs flashing, body bending slightly 
beyond the pack of runners at his back. 

He couldn’t spare a word for me, 
two years younger, junior varsity, 
and hardly worth the waste of breath. 
He owned the hallways, a cool blonde 
at his side, and aimed his interests 
further down the line than we could guess. 

Now, reading the name again, 

read the rest of the poem here

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DaVinci's Tiger by Laura Elliott

Poetry Friday

I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger

Fact:                      The sassy line above is the only remaining line of poetry penned by Ginevra de’ Benci’ a member of fifteenth century high Florence society. We know that this society of the Medici’s didn’t hold with the notion of women learning to read or write, let alone craft verse.

Fiction:             Events portrayed in DaVinci’s Tiger a historical fiction by Laura Elliott (Katherine Tegen Books, 2015) based on the real life of Ginevra de’ Benci’.

Fact:                The only reason we know that Ginevra de’ Benci was a poet in 1470s is from a letter addressed to Ginevra requesting the full poem written by her to demonstrate the wit and sophistication of Florentine women.

Fact:                The portrait below is the first commissioned solo painting of Renaissance artist, Leonardo DaVinci’…..and involved a fair amount of scandal.
"Ginevra De' Benci [obverse]." Art Object Page. National Gallery of Art, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. .

These details pulled me headlong into author Laura Elliott’s presentation at the Virginia Association of School Librarians last month. Admittedly, I’m already a fan of Elliot’s work – especially her WWII Trilogy Under a WarTorn Sky ( Disney-Hyperion, 2001). I am familiar with her immense curiosity, passion for detail and meticulousness reporter’s thoroughness when writing her incredible YA novels.

I am now enjoying DaVinci’s Tiger immensely.

It does make me wonder…..if only one line of poetry that I have written in my lifetime were to survive to be read six hundred years from now…which line would it be? Which line could it be? 

I thought I’d write a found poem from one or a few of the incredible pages of research notes and summaries that Elliot gives as background for DaVinci’s Tiger. But, this story is too fresh and close. I am caught up in the Medici brothers and Leonardo Da’Vinci, Ginevra’s BFF Simonetta and her Platonic Patron, the dashing Ambassador Bembo of Venice. These characters, based on true Renaissance personalities, are real in my mind now. This story will need to sit with me a while.


DaVinci’s portrait of Ginevra is the only work of the maestro on permanent display in the Americas at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I will visit Ginevra in person before attempting to capture anything from her. She is special but also available to grant us an audience.

For now, I am intrigued by Ginevra’s single line of verse, DaVinci’s portrait and the incredible world this woman graced. Fortunately for all of us, author Laura Elliot writes:

“My next novel, in fact, will be about Simonetta, tentatively titled ONE GRACE DANCING”. 

I am already eager for the next part of the story.

Head on over to Laura Salas' blog Writing the World for Children for more Poetry Friday!