Thursday, October 29, 2020

One Last Word: Halloween Haiga

 Happy Halloween Eve,

Our friend Linda is hosting our weekly round-up at Teacher Dance. Please peek in on all the poetry doings there.

I have an oops to correct from last week. I posted some found Penta poems from an article about Ketty Nivyabandi. In my post, I referred to the new form by student Chloe as pento poems and then didn't even follow the form rules. Yikes! How embarrassing. 

I've taken the post down until I can make corrections. Oops! With apologies to Chloe and Margaret. And, thanks to those that saw my oops and let me know with good humor and gentleness. I love my poetry peeps.

Are you in the Halloween spirit? I'm not very much. But, I'm trying. The three haiga below are In One Word, a form invented by April Halprin Wayland. The word? Why, Halloween, of course!

I've listed a few words that can be made from the letters that spell HALLOWEEN. Each haiga line ends with one of the words culled from HALLOWEEN. 


(c) Linda Mitchell 10/30/20

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Two Rhyming Books by Karen Rostoker-Gruber

Hello Poets,

What a glorious week in my corner of our earth. It's not quite sweater weather but the trees are flashing color. Lovely! 

I hope you stop by Salt City Verse for a top-off of wonderful poetry from our Poetry Friday friends. Thank you, Janice, for graciously hosting this week.

Recently, author Karen Rostoker-Gruber asked if I would read and give an honest review of two new books she has coming out this fall. In exchange, I received pdf versions of her books.

Both Ms. Rostoker-Gruber's books are darling. I'm delighted to have had a chance to read both, share them with my students and you!

A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale (Albert Whitman & Co. October 1, 2020) is my favorite of the two books. I couldn't help falling in love with hapless Farmer Earl. His house was so crowded he went to the village wise woman for help. This might have something to do with the fact that I've been hunkered down with my spouse, four older teen and adult children, and pets for weeks (months, years, decades?) during this pandemic.

The wise woman's advice starts out silly and quickly moves to Ludacris but ends up working for Farmer Earl when the reader understands that everything depends on one's point of view. 

Best of all this story is delivered in lively verse and soft, whimsical illustrations by Kristina Swarner. A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale is sure to become a bedtime favorite of toddlers to early readers.

I've not reviewed a board book before and am a little nervous to do so. However, 
Happy Birthday, Trees! (Karben November 2020) is a sweet board book I'm happy to discuss.

In ten rhyming tercets, Happy Birthday Trees! introduced me to the Jewish tradition of planting trees for Tu B'Shevat, Jewish Arbor Day. Holly Sterling's illustrations are lively and full of light surrounded by a generous space to rest little eyes.

A sweet and diverse group of children all take part in planting a tree (getting muddy and all) and watching it grow over the next year. This board book is a perfect gift for a toddler whose family, friends, or neighbors are celebrating Tu B'Shevat Sedar this coming January 27th - 28th. 

I also think this book makes a sweet holiday addition to a shelf in need of Jewish literature for young children (as the pdf version has done for my virtual library).

 Happy reading through October!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Poet Promotion

 Hello Friday,

Yesterday or last week or last decade (who can tell?) I was driving and listening to the most interesting news on NPR. A poet, Kevin Young, was tapped as the new Chair of the African American Museum in DC. 

Wow! What a neat cross-pollination of expertise and talent, I thought. At home, I hunted down an article that could help me learn more...which of course, led to a found nonet. Friday is October 9th. Let's celebrate nine a bit.

Make sure you visit Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones for this week's round-up.

McGlone, Peggy. “Smithsonian Taps N.Y. Cultural Director to Lead African American Museum.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 30 Sept. 2020,

Poet Promotion

Telling an American story
we chronicle this moment of
division -- a manuscript
of a lost neighborhood
speak savvy as strength
a poetry
can change

Words found by Linda Mitchell in from Washington Post cited above 10/9/20

Kevin Young is an incredible poet. I found his work at The Poetry Foundation and additional commentary at The Academy of American Poets

Ode to the Hotel Near the Children’s Hospital

Praise the restless beds
Praise the beds that do not adjust
     that won't lift the head to feed
     or lower for shots
     or blood
     or raise to watch the tinny TV
Praise the hotel TV that won't quit
      its murmur & holler
Praise the room service
      that doesn't exist
      just the slow delivery to the front desk
      of cooling pizzas
      & brown bags leaky
      greasy & clear
Praise the...(read the rest here)
Kevin Young,

Thursday, October 1, 2020


 Happy October!

Yesterday, I walked the dog and everything was so perfect; the wind in the grasses, the sleepy crickets, the baseball practice in a nearby field, the temperature on my skin. Oh, I do love Indian Summer. And, I love Tabatha's blog, The Opposite of Indifference where this week's round-up can be found. Join me there!

My SWAGGER friends are challenged to write a duplex this month. 

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine at Reading to the Core
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

I found it pretty challenging. The rhythm of the lines and end words knocked me off-kilter. But, that's all part of the fun!

What's a duplex poem you ask? 

A duplex by Jericho Brown

My attempt at writing a duplex...

Untitled Duplex

This poem brought all the wrong tools for the job

I’ve rolled up my sleeves to dig by hand


2020 is a year to lend a hand

gloved hands, smiles behind masks


Love thy neighbor is spelled w-e-a-r  a  m-a-s-k

After derecho, hurricane, flood, and fires


Hurricane before flood, derecho before fires
too many birds with nowhere to rest


Neither harvest-moon nor harvest time offer rest

There’s a vote to bring in, cell to phones ring


Approved counting is by tree trunk ring

Closed eyes clasped hands circle the wreck 


Poets throw lines to clear the wreck

This poem brought all the wrong tools for the job


(c) Linda Mitchell-draft