Thursday, May 28, 2020

What a Year for at ease

Wow, Poetry Friday snuck up on me!

I was trying to remember my OLW this week. It took me a few minutes because in all the commotion of 2020 I lost track of it. It's at-ease. Isn't that funny? If I had a crystal ball in December '19 I might have chosen something else.

As we finish May, I am most grateful to Today's Little Ditty for interviewing Margaret Simon who made poems of presence a theme for this month. The theme has grown into #poemsofpresence on social media. And, I find that at the end of each day, I reflect on what I've done, seen, said to write a small poem of presence.

May's poetry challenge has really helped me find some at-ease time. Here are some of my moments from the month:

poem by Linda Mitchell photography by Molly Hogan. Find this prompt at:

(c) Linda Mitchell

Poem by Linda Mitchell photo by Blood Moon Ireland on Pixabay

Please pop over to A Year of Reading to see what fun Mary Lee has got up to. She's sharing some amazing poems by Marilyn Chin and interesting news. Thanks, Mary Lee!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Wild in the Streets Review

Hello Poetry Friday,

     Today's round-up is hosted by our friend Carol at Beyond Literacy. Don't miss the beautiful poetry and image collection she has created.

      Many mornings as I wait for coffee to brew, I scroll along twitter or facebook until something stops me. More times than not, it's cute or funny animals. Wild boars entering people territory caught my eye recently. As if the pandemic wasn't weird enough. Right?

     This reminded me of a book of poems by Marilyn Singer, Wild in the Streets; 20 Poems of City Animals (Quarto 2019) tucked away in one of my TBR piles after winning it from a Poetry Friday giveaway this past winter. I took Wild out for a read.

     As a middle school librarian, I look for easy/complex books--if that makes sense? I need books that are easy to read but have complex ideas for my 6th-8th graders. 

     Each page spread beautifully illustrated by Gordy Wright features a poem about an animal that once lived in the wild but has adapted to an urban environment as well as a solid scientific description of its adaption. Wild in the Streets animals cover the globe from...USA, England, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Ethiopia, Japan and many more places. Included are excellent text features such as a glossary and a description of the poetry forms Singer uses. The poems describe what the animals want and need as they adapt.  I'm sure that when I get back to school, this will be a super fun book for my students who learn about adaption.

   As a reader and writer of poetry I so enjoyed Wild in the Streets as a meeting of poetry and science. Maybe it's the pandemic...but I'm seeing an urgent need for true understanding of science and civics. 

     Poetry breaks ideas down into word pictures kids of all ages can process. I would love to see more and more poems as introductions to lessons, illustrations of complex ideas in our schools. Plus, I get a huge kick out of writing poetry. The reverso form, created by Singer is one of my favorite word creations. They aren't easy. But, they sure are fun.

     Here's my favorite poem from Wild in the Streets. 
Singer, Marilyn. Wild in the Streets: 20 Poems of City Animals. Quarto Publishing 2019

     As luck should have it, Marilyn Singer shared a delightful interview of her regarding her latest book, Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination (Dial Books 2020) on facebook this week. I have just received Follow the Recipe, and will be diving into it next. Enjoy listening to Marilyn's enthusiasm and good humor. It is positively contagious. 

     Lucky for my school library shelves...they will be heavier with Singer poems in the fall.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thank you and ISO

These days I am literally a kid in a candy store with so many opportunities to write in community.

Last week there were three invitations embedded into Poetry Friday. Come on and bring your notebook and pencils, pens or whatever you write with!

Kat Apel invited us to create a shape poem.

My Cat Paisley

In last week's Today's Little Ditty, Nikki Grimes invited us to write poems in response to Wendell Minor's gorgeous illustrations in Southwest Sunrise (Bloomsbury 2020) with bonus points for tanka or haiku.

Carol Varsalona invites poets to add to her padlet Nature Nurtures

But wait, there's more! #poemsofpresence appears daily on twitter sparked from Margaret Simon's monthly challenge for May at Today's Little Ditty.

If you aren't already, I invite you to write in community too.


I'm looking for craft advice related to revision. Book titles, blog articles, sage advice that's worked for you. If you have some to share, please do. I'm revising...and it's not very fun yet. I hear it can be fun. So, how to get there? Thanks in advance. I have a short list of resources I've already collected. Can you help increase my collection?

Donald Hall's 1993 interview with Martin Lammon
Flying Revision's Flag."

Naomi Shihab Nye on revision

Juan Felippe Herrera on revision

The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio & Dorianne Laux (W.W. Norton Co. 1997)

Please head over to Jama for a delicious helping of Poetry Friday.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Mom and Me

Hello Lovely May,

See one of my favorite pictures from a long time ago? My mom and I were different in lots of ways. I tended to the abstract and dreamy -- she was a lover of precision and the finite. Both of us loved argument.

We certainly had our moments as we reared each other.  She was twenty when I was born. Who on earth knows how to raise a human soul outside one's own at that age?

One thing Mom did know was that reading was good--a gift for us both. Memories of story time with her and my sisters are joy-filled.

Sister, Mom and me with the sweet cheeks...hated them then and still do!


She was a math and science Mom
I was built for pretty words

As we grew together
we fell in love by page turns

Her precision met my poetical
fairy tale by fairy tale
Bible story by Little Golden Book.

Terms of our peace laid out and agreed upon
from Once Upon a Time until The End.

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

Happy Mother's Day to all those that fit the varied descriptions of motherhood...the aunties,
the birthmothers, the adoptive mothers, the friends, neighbors, mentor women.
I've been blessed with all. I am grateful.
recycled book art by Linda 2020
Be sure to stop by Michelle's Today's Little Ditty for so many more Poetry Friday gifts. She has a wonderful interview chat with Nikki Grimes and a peek at her newest work, Southwest Sunrise (Bloomsbury 2020).

Spiritual Thursday May 7

Hello Friends,

This quarantine is tiresome. I'm ready to be done. And, I realize I'm fortunate to be able to say that for me the worst is tiresome. I am well. My family is well. We are doing our best to distance and stay well. Even still, this pandemic is wearing.

Recently, The American Academy of Poets held a virtual Poetry Reading. I registered even though I wasn't sure I would participate. But, I opened my computer and was completely and happily connected to a vast community of poets and people who love poetry reading poems aloud around the world.

The program was beautiful. You can watch it here:

The carefully selected poems were stunning. I found myself grabbing paper to scribble lines --even though the poems are online for all to read and see.

This hour of poetry was really beautiful...and made me appreciate what I have including health and safety. I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy the anthology.

My favorite from the evening:

The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm

read the rest here

Please join Ramona for more Spiritual Thursday posts.