Thursday, February 24, 2022

A Sense of Smell

Hello Poets,

Happy Friday! Thanks, Tricia at The Miss Rhumphius Effect for hosting our gathering today. As February slogs on, I have found myself ruminating on our tense (and now at war) world. When that happens, poetry to the rescue!

collage by Linda M. '22

Today I read the most recent post from Children's Poetry Summit. I so enjoy this U.K.-based blog. This post was about the sense of smell and how our language, doesn't give many words or works of poetry to it. 

Author Natalia Kucirkova writes poetry for children that play with a sense of smell and includes literal scents in her books for kids.

This made me wonder. When is the last time I wrote a poem for children or otherwise that included this sense in a significant way?  

Well, that question felt like a challenge...and it got me scribbling. This poem isn't exactly a happy children's poem. But, there's a bit of hope in it...and I may keep tinkering with it.

February 25

How about you? When's the last time you wrote about the sense of smell? Give it a try...maybe you can find more smell words!

This week's poem on the padlet is a bit of a stretch. I went searching for "February Star" and that led me to this adorable photo and a triolet. Find both on the padlet 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

When a Poet "Hears" a Rabbit Hole ...

Hello Poetry Peeps,

The Rabbit Hole. College of Natural Health & Homeopathy, 4 June 2020,

I have a story for you. It's nonfiction. But, you might hear hints of Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. 

When a poet walks the track,

    she'll listen to her favorite podcasts

        when she listens to her podcasts, Shortwave is at the top of the list

            Listening to a Shortwave interview of Abra Lee, gives her a chance to hear new science
            stories from Lee's forthcoming book, Conquer the Soil (Workman. Jan 23), about Black                             horticulturists. 

                When she hears eco-poet in the interview she knows she'll learn more about the poet 
                Effie Lee Newsome, a Harlem Renassaince Poet, that primarily wrote for Black children
                from nature as a place of equity and justice

                    Our poet will google Effie Lee Newsome and find poems at
                        The American Academy of Poets

                           When she finds poems at the American Academy of Poets, she clicks all the links!

                                   Because she clicks all the links, she finds a digitized copy of Gladiola Garden 
                                   by Newsome published in 1940. Thank you, NYPL!

                                            When she opens the digital Gladiola Garden, she joyfully reads page after                                                 page after delightfully illustrated page

                                                    She also finds stars (on the padlet)

                                                          Because she finds stars, she'll share them all with Poetry Friday                                                                    friends, like you!

                                                                Then the poet will pull on her shoes to walk the track...

By Effie Lee Newsome 1940

Thank you, Laura Purdie Salas for hosting Poetry Friday this week. I've signed up to attend your March 2nd virtual launch of We Belong. I can't wait to hear the inside scoop on this. Thank you for writing it!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Loved Lines Make Lovely Centos

Happy Friday,

Thank you, Teacher Dance, for hosting this week's round-up. It's that time of year when we see pink and red and chocolate kisses. I'm loving the beautiful New Year Post Cards so many poet friends have sent. I signed up to send just five...but can't help it I'm sending more cards out as I have received more. They aren't all the same. But, that's OK! I love it.

I took lines from the postcards I've received, typed, printed, and cut them apart. Then, I played! I limited my centos to three lines each. And, there are some cool centos below as a result. Of course, I still have a bone-pile of lines tucked away for a rainy day. Keep an eye for them.

Thank you, poets. I love writing and reading alongside you all. Enjoy some centos made up of your words. Happy Valentine's Day. 

lines from New Year poems: Tabatha, Linda B. Carol L.

lines from New Year poems: Jone, Margaret. Michelle.

lines from New Year poems: Gail, Linda B. Mary Lee.

lines from New Year poems: Robyn, Sarah Grace. Jone.

lines from New Year poems: Linda B., Mary Lee. Michelle

A sixth star poem is shining on the padlet. It's a playful one...but beware, it plants an earworm!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Poetry Friday: A Mathematical Poem

Hello Poets!

Brrrrrr. It's been cold here. I'm hoping February will give us more of a break in the super cold temperatures of late. Thank you, Elizabeth at Unexpected Intersections for hosting the Poetry Friday hearth this week for warming our fingers.

The inklings are responding to a new challenge from Catherine. 

Find Catherine's blog at: Reading to the Core

I enjoyed clicking through the links she provided of inspiration and examples to think consider. I settled on a form I had never heard of before, N +7. This form originated with French mathematician, Francois Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau who wanted to bring poetry and mathematics together, according to their philosophy of OULIPO. 

The form is explained here. It's pretty easy--a simple constraint. Replace nouns in an existing poem with the seventh noun following it in a dictionary. The fun comes from a poet's choice of dictionaries. 

Here is a golden shovel Catherine wrote in December taking a striking line from Antonio Damasio's book, Feeling and Knowing: Making Minds Conscious 

When I use the Scholastic Children's Dictionary (Scholastic Inc. 2002) as a constraint, the resulting poem is: 

N+7 poem by Linda after Catherine Flynn's golden shovel

The completed poem is not as fun, perhaps as the process, which was an aha moment for me. This would be a terrific activity to use in a classroom with selected short poems. What a great:
1. Consideration of vibrant language 
2. Close reading
3. Digging into a dictionary with a purpose
4. Talk about what a mathematical formula is
5. Discussion about credit and citing sources

I've already let the Math Coach in my school know I have this activity in my back pocket for a class that might need enrichment or a "different" kind of activity one day. If a class takes me up on it, I'll report back. Thank you, Catherine!

Speaking of reporting back, I have read Marilyn Nelson's book, Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculpture's Life (Little, Brown and Company 22). It is as wonderful as I expected it to be. Nelson had very little primary source material to work with. Yet, the poetry rings true from Savage's art and recorded experience. I highly recommend giving it a read. My knowledge of art history has been broadened. That would make Ms. Savage happy.

Oh, stargazers. This image was one of the very first I saw that called out to me as a one-little-word, star

Down-Adown-Derry by Walter de la Mare. Illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop. 1922

Isn't it beautiful? As it turns out, Dorothy P. Lathrop did not get paid for this 1922 illustration! But, it and others for the book did launch her career. 

See the poem inspired by it over on the Star padlet.

Oh, oh, oh! If you get The Slowdown podcast, take a listen to today's poem--The Extravagant Stars by Nicole Callahan. Oh, my stars!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Heart

Hello Travelers,

I love the word, heart. It is such a loaded word, isn't it? There is the physical aspect of the heart. So many of us exercise, eat well and take nutritional supplements or medicine to keep our hearts pumping. And, there is the idea of the heart as a vessel of human emotion.

This month, millions around the world will celebrate Valentine's Day. We will see paper heart decorations and cards and chocolate and jewelry. A day to put romance on the front burner of consciousness.

Where is your heart in your journey these days? We live in such a data-driven world. We measure, observe, plot, show progress or regression or unfinished learning, spikes of illness, decline, and death. But how do we take stock of the journey of our hearts?

This is the question I pose today. Instead of presenting a finished thought, I'm asking the question...where is your heart on this spiritual journey we are all on?

Here are some ideas to get you thinking. 

Idioms for H-E-A-R-T

If you share your answers, that's fine. I am keeping my answers in my journals except for this...

My physical heart is beating well and appreciates a swim or a walk around the track. It wants to live and I'm tending it for life.

My vessel of emotions, however, is more fragile these past two years. It's been tipped over and filled to overflowing and then emptied again quite a bit in the pandemic and political unrest. Many relationships I have with loved ones have been strained in some way. 

For sure, I have experienced joy and happiness. I am not depressed. And, yet the difficulty and need of others weigh on me.

I long for contentment, a place to set my heart down without worry alongside others who are also healthy, safe, and strong. My faith promises this kind of contentment with belief, trust, and prayer. I know that perseverance will lead me there. If not now, someday. It is my prayer for us all today.

Others on the journey have thoughts too. Please check them out. 

Karen Eastland has a spunky view of heart that sounds a lot like the life of her sister, Virginia. 

Fran has an incredible story of recovery and heart at Little Bits and Pieces.

Reflections on the Teche is full of Margaret's wonderful generosity, art, and a student's wow of a concrete poem.

Ruth at There is No Such Place as a Godforsaken Town is holding much in her heart...books and sharpies can be so emotional.

At Horizon 51, Chris gets to the 'heart of the matter' with some inspirational music and images of what fills her heart. 

Ramona at Pleasures from the Page reminds me...and all of us of the importance of recording those family stories. 

Maureen is in with reflections and a beautiful poem at Writing Beside Me.

Ruth Ayers Writes of the sacredness of story -- how it can be used for good or for ill. She makes me consider story in a new way.

Carol has been busy, busy, busy with little ones and lots more...but still takes time to ponder at Beyond Literacy