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 However, it might not be published.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