Thursday, June 6, 2024

Inkling Challenge and Summer Hiatus

Hello Friends,

Thank you Tracey at Tangles and Tales for hosting our round-up this weekend.

Molly gave us a wonderful challenge for June.

I stopped by the Poetry Foundation for some inspiration and mentor text and found this lovely poem, You Learn by Living, by J. Patrick Lewis about one of my favorite historical figures.

Isn't that a great poem? I would so love to see students creating these for their heroes. Alas, school ends for them this week! I hope all my students enjoy a wonderful summer break and grow fat brains from reading. We can write a fresh crop of biography poems next year. 

I have plans to travel more than stay home this summer. So, for the first time in a few years, I'm taking a summer hiatus from Poetry Friday. I reserve the right to pop in and enjoy the poems of others. But, I want to preserve my writing creativity and energy for some projects that I'm working on. And, summer for a school librarian sometimes feels too short for that to me!

So, my friends, remember to hydrate, re-apply your sunscreen, take time to live and write and don't be a stranger. I can always be reached by the gmail account connected to this blog.

To read more Inkling responses to Molly's challenge find them at:

Mary Lee @Another Year of Reading
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly @Nix the Comfort Zone
Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

Here's one more WORLD poem for the road!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Three Hearts: An Anthology of Cephalopod Poetry

Oh, my goodness--we are so close to June. Can you feel it? I've busted out my capris and sandals and am looking forward to finishing up the school year with students. 

Thank you, Janice Scully, at Salt City Verse for hosting our round-up this weekend. She is highlighting the delightful anthology Picture Perfect Poetry: An Anthology of Ekphrastic Nature Poetry for Students. This collection is anthologized by Carol J. Labuzzetta one of our Poetry Friday poets.

I've just received my copy of Picture Perfect Poetry and it is beautiful! I have a plane ride coming up and this book is coming with me. I love that I recognize so many names in the pages.

I also have a celebration--a couple of poems published in Three Hearts, An Anthology of Cephalopod Poetry, Edited by Sierra Nelson (World Enough Writers. 2024). When I perused the book I was delighted to see that my contributions rub shoulders with poets I admire. 

Here are two poems of mine in Three Hearts.

haiku Found in A Handbook to the
National Museum

octopus limbs
grasp, enfold and draw in prey
of squid proportions

are valuable in the 
cold fiords

Linda Mitchell (120)

Middle School Octopus

from Octopus focus on key features for camouflage

The first day of seventh-grade is about   camouflage.
Don't do anything to be seen or heard. It   is
the deadliest whirlpool of your life. If you   used
brilliance to survive elementary school, drop it. Better   to
blend in with cephalopods, move along with suckers--be a   fool
swimming, eating, inking, like the others.   A
fish in the center of a school isn't tempting prey.   Wider
expectations for success must be met out of   range
of waking hormones and lab partners, projects, square-dancing...  of
growing undetected, passed over by bigger teen   predators.

Linda Mitchell (121)

There's a new WORLD poem on the padlet. I wish I could be more cheerful. Truth is, WORLD is struggling these days. I cannot help but to lament.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Poetry from Michelle's Clunker

Hello to May Twenty-Fourth! 

Let's go out and play with poets in the springtime.

Michelle Kogan gave me a clunker to worth with. I've been playing with her words, "reason to hope, and time to consider." There are wonderful and complex ideas in this line.

First, a haiku

sing con vibrato
each green bud and leaf of spring
keeping time with hope

Next, a triolet

Stories of hope,
time to remember
ways we cope
stories of hope,
courage-word lifeboats
or a fire's ember
stories of hope
time to remember.

Thank you Michelle for the clunker line and for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up this week. I look forward to seeing what you're up to this busy-bee spring.

There is a new WORLD poem on the padlet. 

Inspired by Treasure Books, I've been making some paper dolls lately to unwind. So fun. This lady is a bit stiff...she was my first attempt.

Paper Princess collage, May 24, Linda M.

This lady let me know with her expression that she doesn't like any shade of orange...maybe another color on her will coax a smile.

Paper Princess collage. May 24. Linda M.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Poetry from Patricia's Clunker Line

Hello Poets,

Except for a little sogginess, I'm still reveling in May, glorious May! Just look at these dogwood blossoms.

My friendly neighborhood dogwood blossoms...mmmmmm.

Last week I received a bumper crop of clunker lines from all of you wonderful poets! Thank you. Since Patricia is hosting our round-up this weekend at Reverie, I thought I'd play with her clunker line. It was a toughie. But, after a few mornings playing I came up with trinet (Thank you, Alan W. for introducing me to that form.

Original line: "hidden progress runs deep" Patricia Franz.

My re-working:

Trinet (Seven lines long. Lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 are two words long. Lines 3 & 4 both have 6 words) 

All arms

digging, slinging

beneath the surface of what’s seen

your hidden progress runs sea-deep

rocky cave

Welcome home

octopus asleep

Linda Mitchell 5/17/24

Oh, and a Skinny just for funsies.

Sometimes progress hides -- runs deep










dark bridge -- progress running deep

Linda Mitchell 5/17/24

Thank you, Patricia! 

There is a tiny new WORLD poem for this week. 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Poetry Friday is HERE! Clunker Exchange

Hello Poets,

A few years ago I started what has now become an annual activity. I call it a Clunker Exchange. None of the of poetry lines below were quite right for the poem I wrote them into. Sometimes, the line held a grammar gaff, or a spelling mistake. Maybe a metaphor didn't quite work, or any number of things that caused the line to clunk instead of sing.

Here's How a Clunker Exchange Works:
I'm giving you any of the lines below in exchange for a clunker of your own. Find a line from a poem you've revised or meant to but never got around to revising. 

I will gladly take your clunker and turn it into something new if you take one of mine and do the same. Please and thank you.

Photo Source: Jerry Lofaro


  •  again the notion that with
  • How to write a peace poem
  • into another world
  • only sure of light pushing her brush
  • She is gone and she is there
  • You listening,/my face deep in shadowed spaces
  • In the sunroom, our old lady faces
  • weave our own cloth. I go
  • pattern belong to each other
  • under an electric wire salad slaw
  • paints like it’s an epiphany
  • My only flaw and freedom
  • Just a little puff of spray for interaction
  • It’s an engineer’s puzzle niche
  • What is Autumn to the bee?
  • you’ve lost your way up ahead lies harm
  • wrapped up in a gift box, bag or stocking stash
  •  Joy as a prairie poppy
  • more a drawer of worlds
  • are my eyes in the mirror like his?
  • thinned and whisper wept–
  • with large or small emptiness–air space
  • I could see that the group wasn’t really helping me
  • The window radiator / sure made a bumpy seat
  • the lightning truck keys
  • You are sad and relieved at the same time
  • pinning another year into memory
  • A band that relegates bright
  • What are the odds/That you would be/The less than six degrees
  • Sunshine and short shorts
  • joy is a choice / Still I struggle
  • a dandelion dotted day
  • weedy dirt patch of writing /should never see the light of day. 

Don't forget to respond with a line of poetry from your stash that I can play with and write into something new. Remember, blogger marks some comments as anonymous. Make sure your name shows up so I can give credit to our masterpiece later. Ha!

I'm hosting the round-up this week. Please leave your links below. If you aren't familiar with Poetry Friday, check out this description here. Jump in!

Mr. Linky's Widget

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Writing from the poem of another poet

Hello May Poets,

Isn't it wonderful to be alive in May?

This month, it's my turn to challenge the Inklings to stretch with  poetry. The challenge below came from listening to Commonplace. Conversations with Poets (and other people). 

This Prompt was inspired by Episode 122: Reading Nicole Sealey’s The Ferguson Report: An Erasure

1. Label a copy of one of your poems ‘May Inkling Challenge’

2. Share a copy of your May Inkling Challenge with other members (CHANGED TO ONE OTHER MEMBER) of the group. You can snail mail or share via Google Docs.

3. Spend some time reading the poem

4. Fiddle with, play with, tinker, tear apart, be inspired or stumped by the poem shared with you

5. Write at least one poem for sharing on PF that stems from your reading/writing time on the first Friday of May

6. OR, (Going rogue is fine too)Write a poem in response to another’s reading/writing from your original shared poem.

After our group swapped names and poems, I received a poem from Catherine. It's a poem she has already published at Reading to the Core. I spent some time reading the poem silently and aloud and thinking about it.

These days, I'm enjoying how poetic form constraints can lead to surprises in writing. I turned to constraints for this challenge and limited myself to the word garden of Catherine's original work to make new poems. Except for a Golden Shovel poem. I used only the words of her original to create:

  • haiku series
  • blended with a nursery rhyme
  • elfchen
  • pensee
  • trinet
  • nonet
  • golden shovel (a striking line from the original)

Catherine's original:

In the before times,

when the world still fed on dreams,

forests filled with

hazel, hawthorn,

oak and ash

spread across the land,

sharing their gifts with all.

But dark clouds of greed

Descended on the forest.

The timeless rhythms of 

hazel, hawthorn,

oak and ash

were drowned out the the

thwack, thwack, thwack,

Of the axe.

The forest thinned

and wept.

And the world forgot

How to dream.

The forest remembers

Those dreams.

They whisper to us

On the wind

Of hazel, hawthorn,

Oak and ash.

Be still.


They’re waiting for you.

Catherine Flynn, © 2022

Isn't the repetition of of /hazel, hawthorrn oak, and ash just dreamy?

I took that line from the second stanza as my striking line for this golden shovel.


… rhythms of hazel, hawthorn, oak and ash spread across the land

Once, rhythms


wisdom circled magically in a hazel

tree who passed it to a hawthorn

who shared it with the wise old oak 

who recorded what she could with her many rings. And 

now in our manicured cities of flowering pear and ash

we forget the healing, the magic. Spread

a blanket under an old tree. Gaze up and across

its mesmerizing canopy. Feel once more the

enchantment, the rhythm that makes us one with the land

Linda Mitchell 5/1

For more inkling responses to this prompt, visit

Catherine at Reading to the Core
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone

Last but not least, there's another WORLD poem up on the padlet. Hooray!

Thank you Buffy Silverman for hosting our round-up this week. I'm looking forward to reading lots of new and interesting poems.

Next week, I host the Poetry Friday round-up. I'll be hosting my now annual clunker exchange. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 25, 2024

She Was a Dancer Though

Hello Poetry Friends,

April is just wonderful! Lots of poetry and lots of celebrating school library--our students, our books, and our lessons. I've been exchanging fun book-ish gifts with a secret school librarian pal.

Here's a quick poem sparked by a recent visit to the Denver Art Museum and Irene's sharing of the Abracadabra (aka Magic 9)form on her blog last week. I love a new form. This one is fun to play with. 

There's a new poem on WORLD's padlet...the poems are piling up!

Thank you, Ruth, for hosting our round-up today!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

This poetry book came home with me

 Hello Poets,

How was Poem in-Your-Pocket Day?  I admit I was so busy with library review-game stations for a couple of different grade levels these past few weeks that I grabbed a free poem-in-your-pocket for kids activity here. And, it was just fine.

A benefit of working in a school library with an amazing co-librarian and assistant is that I'm always seeing books displayed that I didn't know existed. Or, seeing books that I've heard about but haven't had a chance to check out yet.

This book was displayed this week and it was literally love at first site. I just couldn't keep from snatching it up and taking it home.

Watson, Renee. “Maya’s Song.” RenĂ©e Watson, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Admittedly, I've been a bit obsessed with biographies in verse lately. I have a project in mind. But, it feels like an overwhelming task at the moment. But, this book...makes it seem possible. How does Watson do this?

Maya's Song was written by one of my favorite authors, Renee Watson, illlustrated by the great Bryan Collier, and published by Harper Collins in 2022. It is a stunning biography and tribute to our national treasure, Maya Angelou.

27 free-verse poems detail the beautiful and sometimes painful arc of Ms. Angelou's life from her beginnings until she was a Free Bird. 

We learn about how Maya got her name, important family members, friends, and distinguished acquaintances who reached out for her words and her voice.

Watson, Renée, and Bryan Collier. Maya’s Song. Harper Collins, 2022.

Even though Harper Collins recommends this book for grades 2-5 I think that students to adults will also love it. The teacher resource provided for this book is OK. I would have added many more opportunities to write and draw for readers to demonstrate understanding of and connection to the book and its subject.

I had another topic in mind for Poetry Friday this week. But, when this book smiled at me I was smitten. I simply cannot stop paging through it to admire the artwork and re-read the poems. Ms. Watson simply nailed-it as a biographer for young readers with this book. 

Do yourself a favor. Go to your nearest library and let your eyes sweep across the displays for poetry month. Enjoy how the book covers call your attention, flirt with you even. Even if you already have a giant stack of books for Poetry Month...what's one more? Maya's Song would make an outstanding addition to your reading this month.

Thank you, Heidi, for hosting our round-up this week at My Juicy Little Universe.

There is a new poem, How to Save the World from Drowning, on the padlet. It originated with #verselove from Ethical ELA, a writing resource and space for educators. I've enjoyed the prompts this month. I'm grateful for the community of writers there.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Progressive Poem Rest Stop -- Exit 12

Hello Poets,

Aren't you just loving Poetry Month? I'm enjoying everyone's poetry projects. Rose C. at Imagine the Possibilities inspired me with her call-and-response idea. My weekly WORLD poem plays along.

Today is my turn to share a couplet in our community's progressive poem. This poem started out with two lines by Patricia Franz at Reverie and continues each day of April with couplets from other poets until here. 

I imagine this poem as a journey with visits to various blogs and websites. It's been a lovely journey so far. I'll try to make your visit pleasant before you continue on the interwebs to Denise at Dare to Care for day 13.

cradled in stars, our planet sleeps
clinging to tender dreams of peace
sister moon watches from afar
singing lunar lullabies of hope.

almost dawn, I walk with others,
keeping close, my little brother.
hand in hand, we carry courage
escaping closer to the border.

My feet are lightning;
My heart is thunder.
Our pace draws us closer
to a new land of wonder.

I bristle against rough brush —
poppies ahead brighten the browns.
Morning light won’t stay away —
Hearts jump at every sound.

I hum my own little song
like ripples in a stream
Humming Mami’s lullaby
reminds me I have her letter

My fingers linger on well-worn creases,
shielding an address, a name, a promise–
Sister Moon will find always us 
surrounding us with beams of kindness

Take it away, Denise!

Read the list below to learn where our poem has been and where it’s headed. 

April 1 Patricia Franz at Reverie
April 2 Jone MacCulloch
April 3 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
April 4 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
April 5 Irene at Live Your Poem
April 6 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
April 7 Marcie Atkins
April 8 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town
April 9 Karen Eastlund
April 10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
April 11 Buffy Silverman
April 12 Linda Mitchell
April 13 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
April 14 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
April 15 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
April 16 Sarah Grace Tuttle
April 17 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
April 18 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
April 19 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
April 20 Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
April 21 Janet, hosted here at Reflections on the Teche
April 22 Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading
April 23 Tanita Davis at (fiction, instead of lies)
April 24 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
April 25 Joanne Emery at Word Dancer
April 26 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
April 27
April 28 Dave at Leap of Dave
April 29 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
April 30 Michelle Kogan at More Art for All