Thursday, March 3, 2022

What She Said

Hello Poetry Friday People,

Goodness, what a year this past week was. I'm very glad that Friday is in just a few hours and I can have some weekend time to re-charge. Thanks so much to Kat Apel for hosting this week's Poetry Friday. It's been so fun to watch her publish and publish and publish more! 

This month's Inkling challenge comes from Margaret: 

Today’s Poem 

Is no midsummer 
fairy tale buttercups and daisies 
waving in the sun. 

Today, our princess is simply a girl 
in sweats and a knit hat 
slogging to class 
studying hard 
reading long
sticky-noting a library of books 
until closing 
burning all the ends 
of all her candles  
Our damsel doesn’t have time  
for any woodsman 
Isn’t inclined to seek a knight 
or spend seconds spinning  
magic wheels for gold. 

She pushes up her sleeves  
ponytails her hair 
writes a thesis on Rumpelstiltskin  
weaving female cleverness  
into a degree  
affording a life  
free from want  
clear of need 
for father, rescue hero 
or prince on bended knee.

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft 2/3/22

As you see, Ukraine is heavy on my mind. The latest entry on the padlet is an ekphrastic poem based on a painting by Ukrainian artist Tatyana Vezeleva.

And last, but not least...I had fun playing with words and poetry in eighth grade this week. We wrote N+7 poems. A few observations:
  • In the past two years, very few students have had opportunities to pick up, let alone use, a print dictionary.
  • Using an old-fashioned print dictionary can help anyone better understand what information a digital dictionary provides users
  • Word-nerds can't hide! Give them a dictionary and they start having more fun than before they know it
We used 'There was an Old Lady That Swallowed a Fly' as our base poem


  1. Your poems have such heart and eloquence, Linda. You have found your voice and your words sing from the page and wrap the reader in the emotions with you.

    I wasn't at first sure how your N+7 poem worked - but I think I've figured it out... and how brilliant! Such a fun way to get kids digging around in dictionaries. (Up there with thesauruses, for must-have writing resources.)

  2. I love that your princess is simply a girl, hard at work, doing what she needs to do. I'm thinking about Ukraine, too, and feel the emotion that inspired the poem on your padlet. Thanks, Linda.

  3. Poignant poem on your padlet (thanks for the introduction to Vezeleva). Your poem is an inspiring paean to self sufficiency and actualization. Also makes me think about all the women and children fleeing Ukraine, and how they've had to find new courage in ways they'd never imagined.

  4. I love playing in the dictionary. I'm sure your students enjoyed that activity. I love your poem that riffs on the independent fairy tale princess.

  5. Oh how I love the girl in your poem!
    "weaving female cleverness
    into a degree "
    And be still my heart that you put print dictionaries in 8th graders hands and the word nerds floated to the top like heavy cream!

  6. all the ends of all the candles--yes! Love the determination and wit in this poem :>)

  7. I love that new fairy tale ending for your princess, Linda. The poem is rich and fun. I love all the things she doesn't have time for like "spend(ing) seconds spinning /
    magic wheels for gold"

    Your star poem gave me chills, and the N+7 poem idea--what fun! (I have two ideas from you now.) Thanks, Linda.

  8. Love your poem! I love how the quote from Shonda inspired your poem, but could also be read on its own.

  9. Such a great poem prompt and what would I have given to watch students wrassle with a real, live DICTIONARY!! Your post made me think about how much we take for granted due to tech (simply the alphabetizing of ALL the words is incredible when you stop to really think about it). So the N+7 is on my list to try. But, thank you for your poem. I will share with my nieces who have been raised in the Shonda Rimes-era and will recognize this "bicep flex".

  10. Linda, I finally am caught up with your padlet poems-such a rich array if thoughts and formats. Introducing an Ukraine artist brings life to reality. In looking back on graduate school, I sensed an upheaval in society. I felt the beat of independence and would have loved to meet female thought leaders.
    Great lines: he pushes up her sleeves/ponytails her hair/affording a life/ free from want/clear of need. Thanks for all of this and the revival of dictionary use.

  11. Thanks for this chock-full of richness post Linda! I love the ending stanza in your poem,
    "affording a life
    free from want
    clear of need"
    Individuals and especially we women need to know from the get go that we need to stand on our own to feet and be physically and financially self reliant–wish someone had told me this, I have passed this on to my daughter and son. Beautiful mix of whimsy and saddened reality in your Book of Life poem–love the painting too. And what fun that N + 7 poem looks, I may have to try one…

  12. Linda, I love "weaver of female cleverness!" Your princess reminds me of The Paper Bag Princess, another strong female with the courage to reject the fairy tale and take care of business herself!

  13. Linda, you really are a master at poems with fairytale overtones. I love how your heroine pushes up her sleeves and taps into her own grit to get the job done. That N+7 idea was new to me (or I'd forgotten about it!)--so thanks for sharing! I'm not sure how you managed to find time to weave gold from the year-long week, but you surely did!

  14. Your poem is all kinds of "You Go Girl!", Linda. Brava! :)

  15. I love "burning all the ends of all her candles," which so handily captures BOTH that girls (and women) have a lot more than two ends and also that it's hard work to be that person. N+7--I had forgotten! Let me pull out my dictionary!

  16. I love the fact that she doesn't have time ofr a woodsman or knight - she's her own person. When my daughter was 3, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she replied, "I want to be a beautiful princess!" and then quickly added, "So I can kill all the bad guys with my great big sword!" I remember smiling and thinking this kid was going places. ;)

  17. I love your heroine and her talent and determination, Linda. The poem on your padlet is beautful, too. The last lines are haunting. I'd never seen Vezeleva's work -- thank you.


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