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.

15 Words or Less

Laura Purdie Salas challenges us to draft a poem in fifteen words or less based on a  photo prompt.

This was tough. There's so much more to say!

Hear Ella Fitzgerald Sing, I Love Paris (#11)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Slice of Life 3/21/17

Image: Still Life with French Novels and Glass with a Rose - Vincent Van Gogh - The Athenaeum."Still Life with French Novels and Glass with a Rose - Vincent Van Gogh - The Athenaeum. The Athenaeum., 24 May 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2017

I wish you a good book today.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poetry Friday March Madness

I wish I was more of a sports fan. During an event, I can be found reading or awkwardly chatting to someone absently "uh-huh-ing" while trying to watch the plays. I really DO enjoy the charge others get from cheering for their teams. March brings us Pi Day, Einstein's Birthday, Women's History Month and Basketball! 

Photo: Getty Images/Andy Lyons. Read the rest here:

This week, I am enjoying sharing some Basketball poetry with friends. If they can cheer at TV screens.....I can find rhythm in bouncing words. That's my kind of ball. 

Nesbitt, Kenn. "Search Results Basketball - Kenn Nesbitt's" Poetry4kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. .

Bounce on over to Robyn Hood Black's blog, Life on the Deckle Edge for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Alexander, Kwame. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014. Print.


A nice list of Basketball Poetry can be found at The Poetry Foundation

Charles R. Smith has several basketball poetry books.  Click on the image below to hear audio of some poems. Kings Candlewick 2004 Hoop Queens Candlewick 2007

15 Words or Less

Laura Purdie Salas challenges poets to draft a poem and share in 15 words or less. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Well, thank you, Storm Stella! 

I hunkered down and read Wheels of Change by Darlene Jacobson. What a beautiful middle-grade historical fiction spun out of family lore. 

Perfect for those 1900-1919 years when there were so many, many new inventions and contraptions up against age-old conventions. I hope this author keeps writing. 

Jacobson, Darlene Beck, and Marissa Moss. Darlene Beck Jacobson Presents Wheels of Change. Berkeley, CA: Creston , LLC, 2014. Print.

One of my favorite lines from the book, "There's no wrong time to help a friend". (62)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Slice of Life 3/14/17

On Saturday, three teen book lovers and I took a tiny road trip to the Northern Virginia Teen Book Festival. It was wonderful. We saw wonderful new and well-established authors, got the inside scoop on some of the stories and tips for writing.

A bonus for me was seeing and getting to catch up with my friend, Rachelle. Rachelle and I have only met one other time in person. We keep up mainly on social media. But, she was headed to a break-out session and asked if I were going. Of course, I said and followed her to the room not having any idea what the session was about.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the session was "speed dating" for teachers and librarians and YA authors. It was SO MUCH FUN!

We teachers and, librarians sat at tables and every five minutes an author would sit down and talk a little bit about their book(s). I got to ask questions about school visits, how to get my reluctant readers into their books and other books and where their story ideas came from.

Following my friend to that break-out session was the best little surprise Slice-of-Life I could have asked for.

I can heartily recommend these authors not only for fabulous books...but as terrific people that I hope to be able to introduce my students to.

Christina June ...It's Started With Goodbye
Jodi Meadows...My Lady Jane
Martina Boone...Compulsion series
Lisa Maxwell...Unhooked

I wish you an unexpected pleasant surprise today.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Poetry Friday 3/10/17

Happy Poetry Friday!

The bell is ringing, doors burst open and everyone rushing out to their favorite poetry sites. Thank goodness, Michelle H. Barns is hosting a roundup at:
 Today's Little Ditty.

I discovered Today's Little Ditty a couple of years ago. I was drawn to Michelle's tremendous love for poetry but more her support and enthusiasm for fellow poets. She conducts thoughtful interviews of poets and invites readers to take up a challenge suggested by the person she has interviewed. She is super encouraging to those just starting to feel brave enough to connect with the poetry world beyond their computer screens. I highly recommend a visit to her blog.

This month, Michelle interviewed one of my favorite poets, Helen Frost who has not one but TWO shiny new books coming out. Her challenge for Michelle's readers was to write an "Ode Poem". 

Fortunately, there was a great mentor poem to follow. And, my friend Merriam-Webster never fails to help me understand when I don't.

Because I love TLD's so much I went off in search of something to "ODE". It's not as easy as it sounds. It's like someone asking you to say somethin'  in another language you can speak. Which word, idea, which thing to choose?

I started with sorting through some old photo albums and came across some beauties. But, this photo of my cousin's swim bag wanted more attention than the others. So, it is to my cousin Julie's swim bag that my ode is written.

Photo by me 

Summer Stuff

Swim bag knows our kids are
up to their knees in shivery water-- 
Fingernails full of grit from
combing moats into sand.
Opening the cabin brings
Aunties with bowls of potato salad
walking paths across new grass.
 Uncles fire up a grill one-handed
 tipping beer bottles with the other,
coughing at the smell of too much
lighter fluid. Again.
When will you join in?
 Later….around the fire
 When sun-kissed shoulders need shield
 from scary stories
 spun over sparks,
 and roasting marshmallows.
Remember me
in Winter’s fast.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Where the kids splash

15 Words or Less

Thursday writing fun from Laura Salas 15 Words or Less challenge.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Slice of Life 3/7/17

One of my happy places is poetry. I enjoy reading, writing and learning about poetry. For me, poetry is a kind of sudoku.

On Sunday I went to a wonderful Poetry & Research workshop led by Jeanne Marie Beaumont at the Bethesda Writing Center. It was only two hours but the group of us read poetry and talked about the research behind the poems. We asked important questions....

When does one know they have researched enough and can begin writing?
What about form?
What about citing sources? 

We did this through reading incredible poems from poets

Suzanne Cleary, author of Beauty Mark, BKMK Press 2013
Nicole Cooley, The Afflicted Girls, LSU Press, 2004
Kathleen Flenniken, The Plume, WU Press, 2012
Janice N. Harrington, Primitive, BOA Editions, 2016
Teresa Carson, The Congress of Oddities, Deerbrook Editions 2015

And with the workshop facilitator herself.....Jeanne Marie. Her new book Letters from Limbo explore immigration, deep dark family secrets and the hidden world of early twentieth-century asylum life......absolutely heartbreaking and intriguing. 

These poets are new to me....but not new to my happy place. This Slice of Life will carry me in my happy place for much longer than the hours of the workshop.

I wish you poetry today.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Billy Collins

Woot! Poetry Friday is here.

A little bird over at My Juicy Little Universe reminded me and several in our community that Billy Collins has a birthday coming up. In honor of one of our favorite poet and bard's  silver celebration, we are posting our favorite poem of his or a poem inspired by him.

I would love to share my poem, The Poems of Others, a riff on Billy Collins' poem below. Alas, it's subbed out to a contest and I cannot share until results of the contest are made public. For now, enjoy my inspiration and love for The Poems of Others by the great, Billy Collins.

The Poems of Others
Is there no end to it
the way they keep popping up in magazines
then congregate in the drafty orphanage of a book?
You would think the elm would speak up,
but like the dawn it only inspires–then more of them
Not even the government can put a stop to it.
Just this morning, one approached me like a possum,
snout twitching, impossible to ignore.
Another looked out of the water at me like an otter.
How can anyone dismiss them
when they dangle from the eaves of houses
and throw themselves in our paths?
Perhaps I am being harsh, even ridiculous.
It could have been the day at the zoo
that put me this way–all the children by the cages–
as if only my poems had the right to exist
and people would come down from the hills
in the evening to view them in rooms of white marble.
So I will take the advice of the mentors
and put this in a drawer for a week
maybe even a year or two and then have a calmer
look at it–
but for now I am going to take a walk
through this nearly silent neighborhood
that is my winter resting place, my hibernaculum,
and get my mind off the poems of others
even as they peer down from the trees
or bark at my passing in the guise of local dogs.
Collins, Billy. Ballistics. New York: Random House, 2008. Print.

15 Words or Less Bumble

Good Morning,

I love the poetry warm-up on Thursday mornings over at Laura Purdie Salas' blog. So fun! Today's inspiration was Bumble Ball. Hmmmmmm. My original thought was, nope. can't do that. But, I didn't give up.

photo from: "How to Pick the Right Clown Shoes." EBay. N.p., 07 Dec. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.