Thursday, March 4, 2021

Following Amanda Gorman's Lead

 Happy Friday, Poets

It's March, and our friend Kat Apel is hosting Poetry Friday with a shiny new picture book in her cap. Congratulations, Kat! I sincerely hope we get a chance to see A Bird in the Herd (UQP 2020) in US markets. Does anyone know someone that knows someone that can let us ... know?

The SWAGGERs have been trying to keep up with life these days. Teaching and writing sometimes require more minutes than we have to spare. I was thankful Margaret suggested following Amanda Gorman's #agoodtimetowrite by finding words in an existing text to inspire a new poem. See the process explained by Ms. Gorman here--it's simple and fun. Join us!

I listened to Kent State (Scholastic 2020) recently. When I finished the book I made a list of words and chose some from that to create nonets that bookend the cover of Wiles work below. The book is quite an experience to listen to. It touched me deeply and leads me to the final question of my poems. I recommend reading or listening to it.

nonets (c) Linda Mitchell. Book Cover: Wiles, Deborah. “Kent State by Deborah Wiles.” Deborah Wiles, 6 Aug. 2020,


Hey– your papers, you dropped peace, rocks, ring. 
They flutter-fell out of your book 
onto the sidewalk, just here. 
Simple, powerful words— 
too weighty to lose. 
These little gems. 
mean so much 
to me. 

Thank you 
I’m writing-- 
History class-- 
The Kent State shootings. 
My head’s still in the book- 
those eyewitness accounts of 
all those kids protesting a war. 
Just like us – but shot on campus 
Does the past really repeat itself?

My SWAGGER pals are taking up the challenge as well!

Heads up -- there's a new poem on Hamish's padlet. 


  1. Linda, your poems are so powerful! I love the effect your questions at the end bring the reader to contemplate. It is so sad how the past does repeat itself.

  2. Oh, you made 'em FANCY: nonets, bookending a big experience. The voices sound real, alive.
    I didn't get to this one and I can't explain why I'm avoiding it. Maybe the bullet holes? Maybe only so many wars at one time? I did not choose the word "warring" from one of my pages....

  3. The visual presentation of your poems and their meaning flanking the book cover is extremely powerful, Linda. This is an interesting prompt I want to try. You've provided an excellent mentor poem :)

  4. I have a ten-year old's memory of this horrific event. It was a fraught and confusing time, but somehow I never doubted that grown-ups were in charge and everything would be okay. I'm not so sure anymore.

  5. The nonets are spectacular, flowing perfectly from line to line, and I never cease to be amazed by your inspiration, Linda!


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!