Thursday, March 23, 2023

Etheree Practice

Thank you, Rose, at Imagine the Possibilities for gathering poetry for our Friday round-up this week.

I walked into this week with no planned poem. I thought I'd take a crack at an etheree. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. This one is OK. I'll practice some more before we reach March 31.

There's a new little haiku on the padlet:

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Send Word to the Leprechauns

Hello Lucky Friday!

I bought a Shamrock scarf to wear to school four years ago--and haven't had a chance to wear it. But, today I wear the green!  Thank you, Laura Purdie Salas for hosting this week's poetry round-up.

There's another WORD poem over at the word padlet 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Welcome to Monsterville. A Review

 Hello Friday Friends,

What a week! March feels long after that hug-and-kiss of February. Thank you, Heidi, at My Juicy Little Universe for hosting this week's round-up. I appreciate all the ways your poetry works in my life...helping me think, learn and get up and out to do!

This past week, I spent time with an ARC of Welcome to Monsterville by Laura Shovan, illustrated by Michael Rothenberg. This magnificent and silly book of illustrated poems took me back to childhood -- the emotional ending of that time, if not chronological. 

2023 Apprentice House Press

My mother had just passed away after weeks in hospice (This happened years ago). A friend comforted me by describing that period as sacred. I agreed.

Haven't we all been on sacred ground recently?

As I read the poems of Welcome to Monsterville, I smiled and giggled and was also a little sad. The journey of these poems is exactly how humanity should be; time spent with each other to lift each other up.  

Welcome to Monsterville belongs in child and adult spaces...schools, homes, coffee shops, libraries, and houses of worship. The monsters inside the book connect us to our humanity. 

An introduction to Welcome to Monsterville by therapist Dr. Mercedes Ballbe ter Maat, steeped in art therapy experience, helped me see how monsters help all of us: 

"But wait... am I saying that humans are monsters too? Yes, we are a different type of monster, but monsters nonetheless. Why?!? Because like us, monsters laugh and talk, play and cry, sing and dance, think and feel."

I'm a fan of letting poems speak for themselves. I don't enjoy too much explanation or analysis. I've selected a line from each poem of Welcome to Monsterville to create the cento below. I hope you'll take a trip to Monsterville soon. This book arrives on April 25th and is available for pre-order at your favorite bookseller. Let our friend Laura Shovan's poems and Michael Rothenberg's art bring you a hug. 

Golden Lines from Welcome to Monsterville!
A cento gathered by Linda Mitchell

Our tour is creature filled.
A monster bought the house next door.
Monster houses wobble, wiggle
guarding strawberry ice cream cones.

Flooey Bagookie!
well-fed monster
They laughed and hugged each friend
"Let's go monsters! We are free!"

A monster needs quiet.
I go to the green cave and listen for the monster's song
during long, lonely hours.
There is a monster in me called sadness.

It flies through the air
with leathery wings
O monster child.

Today's word is monster! Check out the padlet's a doubt monster.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Words to Fall Back On

Hello Friends,

I'm sharing this post for Spiritual Journey Thursday and Poetry Friday. 

Thank you to Karen Eastland for the SJT prompt, 'Words to fall back on.' And, Tanita Davis at 'Fiction Instead of Lies' for hosting this week's poetry round-up.

Additionally, on the first Friday of the month, my critique group, Inklings, shares a challenge set by a member of our group. This month's poem challenge is from Margaret who asked us to:

My response...words to fall back on

Life Work

Trust the process and trust again.

Trust is learning, even if only a little.

Trust the process, even if it hurts.

I can be an athlete training, stretching more

each day. I can be a bull, obstinate and angry

seeing red. I can tear at the cape, ready

to gore the wind that fills it.

But either way, I move. I move to understand,

I move to see, seeking truth, a truth that proves I am. I am a process too.

Linda Mitchell
March 1, 2023

To see more Spiritual Journey posts, visit this month's host, Karen, at Karen's got a Blog.

For other Inkling takes on exploring anaphora:

Mary Lee

The word on the padlet this week is in...I have no idea who created that print I took a photo of in the Jepsom Center at the Savannah Art Museum several years ago. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Another Story

Goodbye February.

Thanks for the memories...let's work on solving angst-ridden world problems that keep us up at night, eh? 

Thank goodness for poetry that covers all.  Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference hosts our poetry round-up this week. 

It was a Poetry Friday post of Tabatha's in January that generated this comment from me:

The very next day, I saw this photograph online in the New York Times. 

New York Times 1/24/23

It calls for poetry, don't you think?

As I write this post, it is one year of an aggressive war on Ukraine by Russia. I've wondered about people like me living in the 1930s...when did they know their entire world was at war? Surely, they weren't calling World War II, "World War Two," until well into it. 

It feels like my world is at war--or at least on the brink. How will humans remember this time eighty years from now?

I need poetry to help me put it into words. 

In the Snow, a golden shovel
by Linda Mitchell 2/24/23

I didn't think I had a poem for the padlet today...and then, I woke up with an idea and have a very drafty draft. That's OK. I'll go back and fiddle with it later. The word is war. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Poets Take a Bow, Your Cento

Hello Poets,

Happy Poetry Friday. Thank you, Molly, at Nix the Comfort Zone, for hosting our weekly round-up. 

One of the things I love best about Jone McCulloch's annual New Year's postcard exchange is all the lovely lines of poems I receive and then play with!

I took lines of poems from ten other postcards exchanging poets and arranged them into a cento. 

I actually made lots of poems...but this one was my favorite and it included all the poets.

collage by Linda M.

Prospering Poetry Friend

In nature
sunrise is
incoming tide
old and new
lifting a mirror
the proof that
a new year rides the wave
we pay attention
one year gone, another blooms
Out of tree crumbs
in snow-dust
where the border ends.

lines arranged by Linda Mitchell Feb. '23

Marcie Atkins
Carol Varsalona
Heidi Mordhorst

There's a new poem, Words of Other Poets, on the padlet this week:

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


 Hello Friday!

I am participating in Laura Shovan's February poem project. Each year, Laura chooses a theme, and participants take turns sharing prompts around that theme as the group writes daily poems. This year's theme is story.

Weeks before the project began, I went to my camera roll and selected photos I thought might fit the theme. It was about the time that I was also writing to prompts from Ethical ELA a monthly free-write for educators. "Write a short poem: haiku, cinquain, or lantern form."

I had fun writing a bunch of little lantern poems and then I saw that one of the lantern poems fit two of my photos...and there was a story poem in very few words.

Linda Mitchell

are the
bright lantern
that makes my

Linda Mitchell. '23

Have you written lantern poems? Warning--they are addictive! Try it out. And, if you want to follow along with Laura's February project, check out her blog for more information.

There is a new word poem on the padlet in memory of poet Linda Pastan, a poet I admired and who recently passed away. 

Thank you, Carol for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Flow is Wolf Spelled Backwards

Can it be February already?

Oh, my! Thank goodness for Laura hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup. 

This first Friday of February, the Inklings are sharing a poem writing challenge from Catherine at Reading to the Core.

My poem and collage:

Poem & collage by Linda Mitchell '23

Flow is Wolf Spelled Backwards

My pen is a wolf

all heat


power and scruff

breaking from the trees

loping along the fence

gathering speed

in the moonlight.

Paws punctuate snow

without breaking ground

leading the pack

to a scent just ahead

just ahead

just ahead

The end of a line

a turn of page



   cannot break this


(c) Linda Mitchell '23

Flow: A cognitive state is where one is completely immersed in an activity.  It involves intense focus, creative engagement, and the loss of awareness of time and self. An artist in the course of flow, persists in their task relentlessly, regardless of hunger or fatigue.

To see how more Inkling friends took on this challenge visit: Reflections on the Teche

There's also a new poem on Word's padlet:

SJT. Colors of My Life

 The Colors of My Life

I am an earth girl. I have always loved dirt, the forest, clay from creek bottoms, a winter landscape, and chocolate. One of my favorite colors is brown.

However, there’s a time for brown and its opposite bright colors.

Several years ago or so, my husband was super tired of the crafty paint technique on the walls of our mid-90s kitchen-family room. I was game to paint the area. We moved furniture, took down the window treatments and switch plates, prepped the walls, and painted the area in my choice of a cafe-au-lait color.

My husband painted in his careful (aka engineering mind) way. Before new window treatments, switch plates, etc. were put back up, the love of my life looked around at his handiwork and announced, “I hate it.” 

Uh oh. 

Today, our kitchen and family room area remain painted cafe-au-lait and unfinished. My husband and I have launched enough of our four kids that we can finally attend to sprucing up the house we raised them in. It is scuffed up! I’ve been watching Netflix decorating shows, browsing Pinterest and learning about color theory. 

What does this have to do with my spiritual journey? 

Today’s host, Bob, asks us to think about the colors that describe our life. He uses these biblical quotes to guide our writing:

I Am the Light of the World” (John 8:12)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Browns represent stability and dependability. I hope the bedrock of our home is that…as I add light and interest to my rooms. There are plenty of family photos and mementos with splashes of color to frame and highlight. I will be looking for paint and window treatments to apply too. I’m enjoying looking at this part of my spiritual journey as a gathering and use of color to extend our journey.

Thanks, Bob!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Absurd Words. A Review

Hello Friday, Hello Poets,

Jan G. Annino is hosting our round-up today at Book Seed Studio.  Make sure you visit her thoughtful, soulful, kind blog space for a poetry filler-up. She is a lifeforce of positivity that also writes. 

Last year, I heard some buzz about a new book by Tara Lazar, Absurd Words. A Kid's Fun and Hilarious Vocabulary Builder for Future Word Nerds (2022. Sourcebooks eXplore).

You might recognize Lazar's name from her many other award-winning books, blog Writing for Kids While Raising Them, especially Storystorm--a January brainstorm for picture book writers (although I've used the daily prompts for poem writing).

Like any good school librarian, I asked my public library to order a copy so I could see it in person before purchasing it. 

I love Absurd Words! This book nudged me hard toward choosing WORD as my O-L-W for 2023.

First, like all of Lazar's books, this book is funny! The table of contents offers Word Squads instead of chapters in bright, middle-grade-friendly colors and topics. See the humorous figurative language and turns of phrases? 

See Kirkus' Five Star Review

Absurd Words highlights uncommon words for the 9-13-year-old set as outstanding nonfiction. Readers learn in etymology, usage, grammar, and the context in short, tightly written paragraphs...ALL the things old timers like us used to get out of Grandma's Reader's Digest but in today's kid-friendly way. Here's a page I especially love:

I now have Absurd Words as an eBook in my school library. And, I'm delighted that I can use it for lessons and passive programming at our maker station with simple word/definition matches. Even if you are older than 13, I'll bet you will enjoy browsing through this gem of a book written for future words nerds. 

My WORD poem today comes from this book and is on the padlet.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

I Spy -- Do You Spy?

Poetry Friday!

January is chugging along. Thank goodness. I'm not a fan of cold, dark days. They have their purpose. But, I can't help looking forward to spring.

Our Poetry Friday roundup host this week is Marcie Flinchum Atkins. I met Marcie and next week's host, Jan G. Annino, in 2016 at  Highlights where I was way over my head in the practice of writing. However, Marcie, Jan and other writers were tremendously kind and helped me re-connect with a a daily practice of writing and weekly blogging.  

Marcie's blog includes writing tips, encouragement, and ideas. Her advice on how to organize a writing life is beyond compare. Some of us lucky poets are on her poetry postcard mailing list. Please don't miss all those goodies when stopping by to drop your link this week.

But wait, there's more! Marcie is also a colleague, a fellow school librarian, full of amazing knowledge of books that really appeal to kids. She presented Filling the Library Shelves: What Librarians Look for in Books for their Collections with Jess Stork this week for SCBWI. 

Seriously, if Marcie is not on your regular radar--fix that now. 

My O-L-W for this year is word. I've noticed that in past years, I've anxiously searched out my OLW for blog posts ... and then at some point I don't even recognize, my OLW comes looking for me. It's a wonderful game of hide-and-seek. 

Currently, I'm in the seeking stage. My seeking is very much like the poem below that stems from a photo I took at a market stall in London. This stall was just steps away from where I had fun with printer blocks. It was too delicious not to take a photo of...even if my family was pulling me toward the exit.

Photo by Linda Mitchell December '22

What are you noticing with your OLW?

There's a new poem on WORD's padlet.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Fr1day th3 l3th?!

The last Fr1day th3 l3th I remember well was the day we were sent home from school for an indefinite break due to a national covid-19 emergency.

I'm not terribly superstitious...but why risk it? I don't want to give Fr1day th3 l3th any more power than it might already have--so I don't spell it out unless I have to. Words have power. Make sure you visit all the words at this week's Poetry Friday round-up host, Susan, at Chicken Spaghetti.

It's only ten days until this poetry anthology comes out:

I'm pleased and proud of my poems about libraries that are sitting next to so many of yours.

Also, I'm impressed by Bridget Magee's efforts in creating this book. It's an amazing amount of work to cull through submissions, design a manuscript, and be in touch with every author with requests for changes, biographical information, and, photos. Then, there's an entirely new wave of effort in sharing author copies, celebrating a book's debut, and sales.

I sincerely cannot imagine doing much more than the poem-writing part at this point in my life. 

Hats off to Bridget Magee for her kind and cheerful reminders of deadlines, careful copy edits, decisions on book design, and promotion. She makes our poetry community better and stronger. 

Visit the FIB-O-RAMA

Today's word is for Bridget and it is...Thank you!

There's a new poem for word on Word's padlet

And, I forgot to mention last week that I have now opened up a previously locked pinterest page for STAR. I started to collect images, articles, and inspiration in January 2022. 

You can now see that board  here. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Happy New Year, Poets!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

How did you celebrate the start of 2023? 

I chose one little word for 2023 to see it click here.

This month, Inkling Heidi, challenged us to write about #change.

By our first meeting of the new year, we Inklings were a little short on poems about we leaned into a group effort with an exquisite corpse poem--which incorporates the idea of change beautifully.

All of us contributed a line, one at a time. Mary Lee started us off. I decided to play with nouns by replacing one noun in each line with my OLW for 2023. It's kind of neat. Maybe its not the best poem of all time...but I like it. Perhaps in the future, I'll change it? 

Original lines

Changed Poem
by Linda Mitchell

January 6, 2022

I have started a new padlet for WORD! Oh, my does it look empty and lonely right now. I look forward to seeing how this year helps fill it up.

Thank you, Inkling Catherine, for hosting our first Poetry Friday of 2023 at Reading to the Core. Make sure to stop over at her blog to see how she wrote a changed poem too!

Additionally, find changed poems at:

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

One Little Word for 2023

Hello Friends,

Here we are again.. a start of a year, at the head of a new trail, another rotation around the sun. Isn't it exciting?

Thank you, Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche, for getting the year of posts started with our OLW thoughts.  My participation in SJT wasn't great in 2022. I aim to be better this year.

My one little word for 2023 came to me several months ago. I kicked the tires of it, so to speak, and thought about it as a possibility in a short list of possibilities I'd been keeping in my journal. 

About that time, I learned of Freadom an organization that directs 100% of its net profits to literacy initiatives throughout America. They were selling a shirt with my 2023 OLW possibility on it. It felt like a nudge.

I bought the shirt.

My OLW for 2023 is word.

As 2023 approached I was busy!  After school started there were Fall conferences, holiday traditions, gifts, and foods to prepare. There were visiting college children and covid tests, a flight to London to meet our daughter who studied there, and then a return flight home with her on New Year's Day. 

When we walked around London (leaving no corner or cobblestone un-touristed), I'll admit to a case of cold feet about my OLW idea. It's kinda weird, I thought. There are so many directions the word, word can go. 

Should I focus on the etymology of the word, w-o-r-d?
Could I find 52 pieces of art that contain words?
What about words in other languages? 
'Words of the Day' and, 'Word of the Week' isn't original. right? 
Am I out-arting myself here?

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know!

On my last day in London, our daughter pointed to a street market stall. " See the tables of stamps, Mom? I almost bought you one. But, I didn't know which stamp you might want."

Oh yes...there were stamps. But they were NOT the rubber crafting stamps that I'm used to.

These were vintage printer blocks made for book illustrators. Printers make lots and lots and lots of words!





It was better than being in a candy store, picking up the letters, words, art-deco designs, and numbers, chatting with the seller, who addressed me as madam.  Jordan told me that his Grandfather made these blocks and now that he's retired he helps his grandpa by selling them at market.

Jordan demonstrated pressing a block 

How to choose? I wanted A-L-L of the blocks... they were old and smudgy and bonus -- smelled wonderfully of printer's ink! Since Jordan accepted cash only, my family dug out all the pounds they could find from all their pockets to help me purchase several blocks--a fun and funny memory.

It occurred to me that word was in the piles of printer blocks that had delicious histories of making words or illustrating words. I could almost hear the blocks calling out...pick me! pick me!

So, for better or for worse, W-O-R-D is my OLW this year.

My spirit is delightfully intrigued to see where we will go together in 2023. I hope you'll join us on the way. I have started a padlet for word that I'll add poems to once a week. 

my O-L-W for 2023. Mixed media collage by Linda M.