Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving, Poets!

Poetry Friday Round-up

By: Linda Mitchell
Yield: Infinite
Prep time: 20 min. – 2 days
Total time: One Friday to a lifetime 


    Poem reading | to taste (research can be used as a substitute) 
    Whatever inspiration you have on hand. Mentor texts work well 
    Writing | to one’s liking 
    1 pinch editing 
    Handful of Photographs, video or illustrations 
    Smattering of links 
    1 Blog (a blog of a friend will do) 
    1 Poetry Friday badge 


    Spend some time reading poems until inspired to jot down thoughts. Use the notes to draft an original poem or, find a poem of similar theme from any source. The Poetry Foundation, Poem Hunter, American Academy of Poetry and No Water River are great stores of poetry. However, you are not limited to them. You can go rogue.
     At some point, gather all thoughts, original or found poetry and arrange in a post on your blog. Fold in photographs or illustrations one at a time. Sprinkle with links—especially a link to the round-up host. Don’t forget to edit. Reading your work aloud helps. If you do miss this step, it’s acceptable to revise a post…even after publishing. 
     Once published, find the Poetry Friday host online blog. Read the post thoughtfully and add a link to your post as directed. Take a moment to thank the host for the time they spend sharing your post and poetry worldwide.  Thank you, Ruth for hosting the round-up this week at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town.
     Visiting all the Poetry Friday blogs is not required. However, if the spirit moves you, visit to several Poetry Friday blogs. It is helpful to reader and writer. Write comments that highlight the good and well written poems. When possible, mark your post with the Poetry Friday badge. 

Special Information 

    Poetry Friday is open to anyone who wishes to participate. There are no additional requirements, fees or calories! Some blogs specialize in poems for teachers or children. Others serve as great anthologies…while others offer original work.
    Mary Lee Hahn sends out a call for hosts twice a year (December/July) and arranges a calendar of hosts. Several participants offer special events such as poetry swaps, monthly challenges and postcard exchanges. These are not required but can be frosting on one’s cake! 


What stars did the Pilgrims see? There's a new haiku on Star's padlet. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Tonight's Poem

Hello Poets.

Happy end of this week. I'm looking forward to the weekend to prepare for the coming holidays. 

The poem below was inspired by this painting/illustration by Graham Franciose found on Twitter.

Thank you, Jama for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up!

A new little haiku on Star's padlet today

Thursday, November 10, 2022

After Buffy Silverman's Gold Blooming Days

Hello Poetry Lovers,

I'm on the road again this weekend. Thank goodness for audiobooks. I'll be driving far but to family and that's the best. I might not respond to posts until my return. In the meantime, say thanks to our Veterans and enjoy beautiful autumn. 

Thank you Buffy Silverman for hosting our round-up this week. This poem is for you--Mwah!

The Poetry Sisters are calling for recipe poems this month. I'm practicing with a Recipe for Stargazing...on the padlet  

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Inklings Folk Tale Week Challenge

Happy November,

It's my turn to challenge inklings with a writing prompt. 

Even though #folktaleweek was started by illustrators, creatives of any kind can join in. I use the words as prompts for poems. 

It's funny. My poem at first doesn't strike me as very folktale-y. But, it could be...we've been living through a scary tale for a while in many parts of the world. Once Upon a Time, Victory was inspired by Barbara Crooker's poem, And Now October, shared by Karen Eastland on Poetry Friday last week. It harkens back to a gentler time before so much societal stress. 

Once Upon a Time...

by Linda Mitchell. 11/4/22

Thanks to photos sent to me by a friend who saw star shapes in autumn leaves, there is also a #folktaleweek poem on Star's padlet. 

See how Inklings responded to the prompt:

I am at the Virginia Association of School Librarians' conference today--my PF responses could be a bit later this week.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


Trick-or-Treat! It's sooooooo close to Halloween and I've already eaten my candy quota!

Are you ready? Do you have a spunky or spooky poem? This one was sparked by artwork featured on Jama's "Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday," post from October 4th. 

Janet Hill's Halloween Party: Nine Cool Things on a Tuesday

Linda Mitchell 10/28/22

Here's a Halloween treat for you on Star's padlet.

Thank you, Jone for hosting today's Poetry Friday round-up with publication news!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Afghan Poetry

Oh, do I love it when poetry surprises me in life.

I was watching the news several nights ago and there was a spot about four living poets from Afghanistan. I learned a bit more about how important poetry is in Afghan culture and history. I see more students from Afghan families in school this year. I can't help but want to know more about things that connect us -- especially if it's poetry.

I went looking for poems in English by the poets from the news spot...even with google's help that wasn't a simple thing to do.

However, I did find this 2020 article from Time Magazine: 

This article is from before the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan. I wonder how poets are faring there these days. So many people there are suffering.

One of the poets in the news spot is Shafiqa Khpalwak who now lives in the US and is a published poet and student of Peace Studies at Wellesly University. Some of her poems appear in Adi Magazine. I copied a snippet of Khpalwak's poem, I Shall Write a Poem, and turned it into a postcard. It's displayed on my desk at school. If one of my students spots it, reads it, and is interested I will give it to them and make another. Poetry will connect us.


Thank you, Bridget Magee, for hosting this week's Poetry round-up.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Triolet Play

Hello Poets,

Until recently, I didn't know that ATC stands for artist trading card. These trading cards are popular among artists and crafters as collector's items...similar to any other trading card. The criteria for making an ATC is simple. It needs to be art of the maker's choice but fit into a standard trading 2.5 x 3.5 pocket.

Another thing that I'm learning from the art world is the term, happy mail, which is old-fashioned letterbox mail. It can be a note, ATC, or supplies for making art. Recently, I received some happy mail from Jone in the form of a mixed media ATC. Isn't it sweet? It called for a poem.

étoile du soir is the star of Star's padlet: today:

Speaking of stars, head on over to Matt's blog Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme for all the fun of this week's Poetry.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Wordy 30

Oooooooh, Poets

I had a day off school yesterday and went to lunch with a couple of library friends and then on to the biggest discount bookstore I've ever seen. I didn't spend too much money. But, I had fun browsing for a couple of hours--agog at how many books were collected, displayed, and on sale for deep discounts. 

When I got home, two books I asked my local public library to purchase were on hold for me. Thank you, Jama, for recommending Susan Branch's Distilled Genius (Spring Stree Publications. 2022)...and whoever recommended No Voice Too Small. Fourteen Young Americans Making History (Charlesbridge. 2020). I'm just loving both of these. The first is an artist's date...the second as a mentor text.

Mary Lee's challenge to the Inklings this month is to write a Wordy-30.

See how the other Inklings tackled the Wordy 30:

Mary Lee

Star's padlet is sporting a new poem along a nautical theme.

Thank you, Sarah Grace Tuttle, for hosting our round-up today. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Nebulous Definito

Hello, Last Friday of September,

Except for the odd monster hurricane, what a beautiful month! I really hate to see September go...except that October is arriving. And, I do love pumpkins, pumpkin spice and fall leaves.

The Poetry Pals challenged us to write a definito, this form was invented by our own Heidi Mordhorst--and is super fun to write.

Things that lift a star's spirits...that's what's new on Star's padlet today.

Please visit The Opposite of Indifference for the full round-up of Poetry Friday posts. Thanks for hosting, Tabatha!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Since Last Constitution Day

Hello Friday!

September 17th was Constitution Day in the US. This year, I celebrated that the Constitution of my nation still holds. It has been attacked and challenged. Yet, so far, our Constitution and federal form of government in the US continue to work by and for the people. I am grateful and acutely aware of how fragile the ideas of this old battleship of a document are. My drafty poem is a bit dark.

I had fun with poetry prompts from Ethical ELA's Open Write this week. A super fun prompt involving my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire song f and this photo generated a poem for Star's padlet:

Be sure to visit Rose at Imagine the Possibilities. She's hosting our round-up this week and I'm still in awe of her riff on St. Milay last week. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

September 16

Hello Poets,

Last weekend, I visited the Mexican Genuises: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience. It was wonderful -- truly an artist date. 

I've always appreciated that Kahlo and Rivera were artists. But neither of their styles has been my aesthetic. To be honest, I just thought Kahlo's art was edgy and weird.  I enjoyed how the immersive experience took me into the world of these two in a different way. 

The exhibit was held in a warehouse turned movie studio. Each exhibit space included reproductions of art as well as objects from the time period and culture. I loved the leather chairs in the first space to sit and watch a huge mural by Rivera animated from a black and white sketch to full painting. 

Another room was set up like a kitchen with dishes and cooking utensils--all of this with painted reproductions, menus, and sound recordings of kitchen preparations.

The grand finale of this visit was a massive hall that played a 360-degree presentation of sight and sound. I was grateful for a swivel stool I could turn around and around as the scenery changed on the ceiling, floor, and every inch of the walls. 

As guests exited, we were invited to color in a community Rivera-styled wall mural and play with hands-on objects and dioramas of the Mexican geniuses. Fun!

In the mural coloring and fun objects room

There won't be a Kahlo or Rivera painting on my dining room wall anytime soon. But, I appreciate how these two lived their art and both produced large collections of work to enjoy. I'm so glad for the experience with their work.


Borne by pain 
you lived corseted 
unable to contain all you would express. 
 Painting was the way--  

Artists and communists 
even democratic thinkers
of your day wanted to know
and keep up with you.  


Stars over Coyoacán drank your colors 
red and ochre birth blood 
post-surgical black and green.
Again and again. 

In the future,
we think we can know you console you.


I have receipts for trinkets
and copies of your work.
Still, stars remember the flavor of your colors
as I wander a dark world looking at
and wondering about your art.

--Linda Mitchell--draft

This painting by Alan Syliboy sparkled on my twitter feed this week...just look at all those stars! See the poem inspired by them on Star's padlet 

Be sure to stop by Kat Apel's blog for the latest and greatest on her work and a round-u[ of our Poetry Friday friends.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

International Literacy Day

Happy Friday!

We made it--but it wasn't that hard. Monday was a holiday for many of us. It's nice that the world feels back to work right along with me now. 

Thursday of this week is International Literacy Day with a theme of Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces; Exploring Possibilities and Opportunities. It's fitting that our Poetry Friday friend, Carol, is hosting our round-up this weekend at Beyond Literacy. She's a pro!

I was mulling over the word literacy for today's post. I looked up the definition at UNESCO's site and at Merriam-Webster. As a middle school librarian, I am always looking for opportunities to grow a student's literacy. It's tough these days. I've had to select my literacy go-tos carefully.  This is difficult with some adults today seeking to control what feels like an uncontrollable world by banning books for young people.

ILD graphic created for my school from UNESCO pics

One of my go-tos is author, poet, and Youth Ambassador for Poetry and Literature, Jason Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds is exceptional at the descriptors in his title. He has additional charisma for connecting his passion for literacy to others.

This is what Reynolds discusses in the article below--so elegantly expressed as you see-- that I found a poem in his words.

Jason Reynolds

I don't want you
to lead a reluctant life
    Engage with language!

Make the work
that work needs to live somewhere.

Understand that with just
a few words--
everything you are looking 
for--the secret to not boring
a conduit to wholeness
permission to be uncertain.

Bearing witness 
to your insecurities--sometimes
empathy has to do with
empathy of self.

Feel less alone
more emotionally strong
diligence and persistence--
could impart conscious.

Be excellent at it.

words found by Linda Mitchell 9/9/22

I hope that by reading posts of Poetry Friday blogger friends you'll appreciate your opportunities to grow even more literate.

Let's figure out how to grow literacy for others at home and around the world. It's a job for poets!

There's a new poem on Star's padlet inspired by this interview of Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

This photo...

Happy September, Friends 

Thank you,Teacher Dance, for hosting our Poetry Friday roundup today. This month, my youngest child enters the last of his teens. Where has the time gone? School is in full swing north to south, east to west in the USA and, the Inklings share a challenge from Margaret:

...Choose a photo from the month of This Photo Wants to be a Poem and share your poem and your process...

I chose this beautiful photo by Kim Douillard posted to Reflections on the Teche on July 6th. I've heard, read...somehow learned...that the word "dance" is used a LOT in poems. I try to find a synonym for the word whenever I can...but this time it just fits.

It's a season of September stars! I love this song...I promise to hum it every day this month. Some of the lyrics are on Star's padlet:

by Earth, Wind and Fire
Do you rememberThe 21st night of September?Love was changin' the minds of pretendersWhile chasin' the clouds away
Our hearts were ringin'In the key that our souls were singin'As we danced in the night, rememberHow the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah


Hello Sojourners,

I so appreciated Maureen's invitation to write about community for Spiritual Journey Thursday. One of the special aspects of the community where I work is that we get an annual summer reset. Students, teachers, administrators, and staff members all get two months of time that our school is not in session. Students get an eight-week reset, professionals get varying amounts of time to get away and recover from the work, and the building itself has several weeks of silence.

When we re-open, it's with excitement for moving up a grade or, starting a fresh year of teaching, a new classroom, locker, or office. It's a celebration.

I've been taking an online course, Digital Detectives, with Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgins. It's fantastic and I highly recommend that teachers take one of their free courses (just need to buy the book). We were discussing all the ways that technology in the hands of students is good and bad and I found myself commenting to the group, 

                "We have to play the game we're in, not the game we would love to play."

I find myself coming back to that phrase today as I consider the journey to be a trustworthy member of my community.

Yesterday, I asked a student their name. This led to manipulation and defiance on the part of the student. I could get upset with their refusal to give me their name. Or, I could understand that a gaping hole of mistrust lies between us and attempt to bridge it.

If that student and I can work together to repair that pothole in our path, we become stronger for our community. We help others be safe and strong too.

After a chat with the school's head principal, I walked the student back to class. I was stumped as to how to begin a relationship. I began abruptly,  I have a cat. His name is Ira.

The student looked sideways at me through slitted eyelids.

I continued, when my cat sits on my lap he purrs so hard it tickles. I love it.


Do you have a pet? 

The students said in a voice so quiet I could bearly hear it...I have a guinea pig.

Oh! Do you like to snuggle your guinea pig?

Yeah. smile...


Building community is very much a "pantser" experience for me. I just have to do what I can at the moment to repair and build with few resources at hand. Today, I will make sure to say hello to this student by name. I will ask about the guinea pig. I will find something new to say.

I thank God that my path to teaching has been something possible for me. These moments reinforce my spiritual journey and remind me that I'm doing good work, work I should be doing even if it's baffling at times. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Positively Peristreronic

Hello, Hello!

I've been rushing around remembering my get-ready-for-school routine these days. And, it's been really nice to be back in a school full of kids. We are all settling nicely and finding our grooves. 

This past week, I spent some time as a writing student with writing prompts from professor-poet, Dr. Sarah Donovan's Open Write at Ethical ELA. Saturday's guest writer, Gayle Sands, provided a prompt that encouraged poets to find an uncommon word from Merriam-Webster and use it as a prompt. Fun! 

Gayle also provided a great word tool that I'm new to...but I love and hope to use with students next week: 

The result of my learning was enthusiasm for new words and ideas for teaching and learning with students I'm now meeting. This is a win-win!

The word...

Definition: of or relating to pigeons

Pigeons get short-shrift in our stable of avian metaphors. We speak of someone with fine eyesight as eagle-eyed, and hawk lends itself to a variety of words (hawk-like, hawkish, etc.), but rarely do we compare anyone to the humble, intelligent pigeon. Truth be told, it is unlikely that you have a distinct need to use this word anytime soon, but if it happens we want you to be prepared.Besides the poor, who, to misquote a scriptural phrase, are always in evidence, and the scarlet fever epidemic, which, thank goodness, is abating, London at this writing has a congress of the National Society of French Professors, an exhibition of the National Peristeronic Society and a fog—a fog with a big F.

The Boston Herald, 29 Jan. 1888

The definito verse that came from it:

Positively Peristeronic

a nodding amble
quizzical sideways gambol
breadcrumb to breadcrumb
to any edible gift
positively peristeronic

(c) Linda Mitchell

Last week's wordplay at Ethical ELA also produced a poem for Star's padlet:

Thank you, Tanita Davis, for hosting Poetry Friday today! I can't wait to see what everyone's been up to.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

In the Style of

 Hello Poets,

Summertime is flying! Don't miss this week's round-up at Leap of Dave. Thank you, Dave, for hosting.

I'm between poetry projects and coming off a summer mostly away from my writing routine. 

I'm returning to writing by writing in the style of other poets--to help me find my way back into my own groove. By now, I have a system worked out:  

  • In my digital notebook, I paste copies of poems found online during my browsing. These poems are found on facebook, twitter, instagram, and inbox subscriptions. 

  • I keep my notebook in a powerpoint slide show. I start a new slide deck each month. The first slide is a blank calendar. I mark it up with Poetry Friday hosts, monthly prompts, and challenges

  • I scroll through collected items and write in a text box alongside a saved poem. 

  • By right-clicking on a slide in the preview pane, I can duplicate it so that I have an original and then an extra slide to mark up or play with or edit in some way

  • Additionally, the "notes" tab at the bottom of each slide is a great place to paste a URL or notes about the source of what I've pasted. 

  • I have a folder labeled for this year's writing on my desktop.  Each month's powerpoint is stored in the folder.

A draft I'm sharing from this week is not quite like Mary Oliver's sense of wonder--more the opposite but still in her style.

The most interesting stars keep finding me. This picture below was recently on twitter. Isn't it an amazing paper sculpture? It begged for a poem that's now on the padlet. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

A Blue Star from Scotland

Happy Friday!

I love a poetry swap.  This year, I knew I'd be summer traveling. So, I signed up for only ONE swap. And, what a swap it has been.

Jone Rush McCulloch and I are poets, children's librarians, and new-ish to the art of mixed-media collage. We have fun writing and making art independently and together. I was thrilled to summer swap with her.

Poetry on on poetry from Jone Rush McCulloch

Blue Star from Jone's travels to Scotland

A blue star from Scotland 
My friend traveled that way 
Star of tartan moors and thistle grand 
arrived by mail for me today 
Friendlight to see by -- now and always

(c)Linda M.

Thank you, Jone, Tabatha, and, Poetry Friday peeps! Head over to birthday girl, Margaret Simon's Reflections on the Teche for our round-up.

Jone's collage in my library already