Thursday, November 26, 2015


Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup in cold and snowy Denver! I'm writing this about 4:00 on Thanksgiving afternoon. Most years, we head sixty miles south to spend the day with my family, but my son started a new job about a month ago, and he had to work from 11-7, so we are having a quiet day at home. We'll have dinner about 7:30.

I'm a CYBILS first round poetry judge, so I've been reading a lot of poetry for the past few weeks. I found my poem for today in National Geographic's Book of Nature Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis.  The book features "more than 200 poems with photographs that float, zoom, and bloom!" and includes many, many poets you will recognize from Poetry Friday. The poems are grouped roughly by subjects- topics like Sky, Sea, Land, Seasons, Distress and Splendor.It would be a perfect seasonal gift for any child or adult who loves nature, poetry, or photography.


The bottoms of autumn
wear diamonds of frost;
the tops of the trees rue
the sweaters they've lost.

Red squirrels, busy packing
oak cupboards for weeks,
still rattle their branches
with seeds in their cheeks.

Grey clouds go on promising
winter's first storm
while we stay inside by
the fire to keep warm.

Home biscuits are baking,
the gravy is stirred,
two pumpkin pies cool
by the thank-you bird.

- Muriel Bede

It's a good thing this was a pretty slow Poetry Friday, because it ended up being a crazy day on the home front. I hate shopping, but my sons were convinced we could get great deals on technology stuff if we ventured out to Black Friday, so we did. First I went with Son #1. Then I went with Son #2, who forgot something critical, so we had to go twice. And then Son #1's purchase didn't work and had to be returned. Yikes!

And then this afternoon, I returned home to hear about yet another shooting in Colorado. This one hit especially close to home because it was at a shopping center where my mom and I had shopped less than 48 hours ago. Thank heaven for poetry…

·      For a different take on November, check out Elizabeth Coatworth’s poem at Miss Rumphius’ Effect. Tricia gives us all a huge present with ideas for six different websites that deliver daily poems to your inbox! Poetry every day! Woo Hoo!

·      Great minds must think alike! At Gathering Books, Iphigene has an original poem, “What Does Nature Know?” Listen to my favorite lines, “Broken, a branch scarred, heals/And upon it a new leaf emerges…”

·      Donna Smith’s “Coyote Moon” captures the music of the night, in a reverso no less! And her notes on her writing process made me laugh! I can’t tell you how many perfect poems I have “written” while walking the dog, but have never actually gotten down on paper.  We’re looking forward to your turkey poem, Donna!

·      Laura Purdie Salas celebrates nature with a Thanksgiving villanelle. I especially love this line, “Thanksgiving drains the darkness out of me.”

·      Margaret Gibson Simon is a first round CYBILS judge with me, but somehow, she is finding time to write poetry. Her original poem, “Cat Whispers a Poem,” was inspired by Rebecca Lehmann’s, “Natural History.”

·      Joy is preparing for a big move to Kaui, but today she is enjoying the dove-y, coo-y call of the birds on her front wall. She invites readers to write about a time they have missed something. Hmmmm…

·      CB Hanek celebrates the beauty of fall found out her back door, in a poem she has submitted to Carol Varsalona’s Autumn collection.

·      Then there’s that last leaf, that just refuses to fall. Brenda Harsham honors the persistence of that leaf in her original poem,  “Last Leaf.”

·      Speakers at NCTE inspired Julieanne Harmatz to push out of her comfort zone and try her hand at poetry.  In “A Brief Visit” she celebrates the delight of an early morning rain.

  • Carol Varsalona was fortunate enough to hear one of my all time favorite poets, Marilyn Singer, at NCTE. This inspired two moon poems. 

·      Violet Nesdoly lives in Saskatchewan, where they celebrated Thanksgiving about six weeks ago. Her original poem, “Thanksgiving Lunch at the Mennonite Church,” makes my mouth water. I want pie!

·      The very talented Robyn Hood Black not only found a poem in an 1880’s business forms book, she created art from it! And it’s about writing!

·      It’s the final week for Matt Forest Esenwine’s Poetry Cubed Contest and today he’s featuring entries by Julie Larios, Karen Eastlund, and Jessica Bigi. If you haven’t entered yet, you need to get busy because the contest ends on Monday.

·      Molly Hogan participated in Matt’s Poetry Cubed challenge. You can read her original poem, “A Seasonal Game” on her blog, NIX THE COMFORT ZONE (I love your blog title, Molly!)

·      And speaking of challenges (actually not sure they should be called challenges, maybe invitations is a better word), Michelle, at Today’s Little Ditty, invites us to submit a poem about kindness. There are already almost twenty original poems and another 15 or more published poems. This one also closes on November 30th.

·      Linda Baie’s poem about the kindness she experienced during her husband’s illness is published on Michelle’s page, but you can also read it on Linda’s blog, Teacher Dance.  Having experienced many of these same kindnesses during my mom’s recent illnesses, I think it’s a perfect for this Thanksgiving weekend.

·      Mary Lee’s been away for a couple of weeks. Today she is back with an original haiku about the carousel in her hometown of Burlington, Colorado.

·      Dianne Mayr is creating a sketchbook project that focuses on angels. Today’s poem, “The Better Angels of Our Nature” was actually written in 2009, for the inauguration.  

·      After reading Ramona’s review, I can’t wait to get hold of ONE TODAY, the poem Richard Blanco delivered on the National Mall for Barack Obama's inauguration for second term as president of the United States. I was surprised to learn that the book was illustrated by Dav Pilkey, of CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS fame.

·      I can always count on Tabatha Yeatts to offer something interesting. Today it’s  Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love,” performed by Tom Hiddleston. Don’t miss this feast for the soul!

·      Along similar lines, Little Willow shares Sara Bareilles’ song, “Beautiful Girl.” Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to listen to the song.

·      Tara celebrates querencia, that place where the heart is most at home, with Jane Kenyon’s poem, “Here.”

·      From down under, Aussie Contributor Sally Murphy shares a favorite poem, My Country by Dorothea Mackellar. She tells us this poem is often parodied in Australia, and shares one of her favorites.  

·      Heidi Mordhorst talks turkey about her experience last week at NCTE. She shares a number of links that I definitely want to check out!


Robyn Hood Black said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Carol! Thanks for hosting this holiday weekend. I've finally recently gotten this anthology and look forward to delving in more fully. Thanks for sharing this timely selection. I've got a found poem (found adage?) for writers from an 1880 instructional book of social and business forms.

Gathering Books said...

Thanks for hosting today's poetry friday. I find it interesting that you featured a nature poem as that's what i'm sharing today.
The november poem is wonderful, it created pictures in my mind that are warm and cozy against a cold backdrop, something I have never experienced living in a tropical country.

Here's our poem for today.

Donna Smith said...

You are going to have fun I'll bet, as you "have to" read all that poetry! What a chore...LOL!
I have an original "reverso" poem today, called "Reflections of a Coyote Moon". It will be live at midnight tonight:

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Thanks for hosting today, Carol - and for sharing such a beautiful book. (It's one of the reasons why I was unable to be a CYBILS poetry judge this year...but I'm not complaining!) Today I share more poems that have been submitted for the "Poetry...Cubed!" contest I'm holding:

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Carol! Thank you for hosting and for picking the perfect poem to share today.

At Today's Little Ditty, we're wrapping up this month's DMC challenge– poems about kindness. I hope you'll join me for the wrap-up celebration and giveaway!

Linda B said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Carol, and thank you for hosting. I'm glad you did get to stay home on this frosty, icy day we had. I only had to go cross town and am glad. I am sharing my poem written for Michelle Barnes' challenge this month. It's there too, but I'd like to share on my blog, too.

Sally Murphy said...

Happy Thanksgiving Carol, and thanks for sharing this poem with its clever imagery.
Today I'm sharing a classic Australian poem - and a parody of it

laurasalas said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol--I'm in with a poem about giving thanks for wild things:

Joy said...

Thank you for hosting us this week. I have a poem and prompt up at
I'm busy packing for a big move to Kauai.

Unknown said...

Thank you for including as part of your Thanksgiving festivities hosting PF for us! God bless you. I saw the most amazing moon this morning--it was encircled in a rainbow light. Your recommended book title inspires me to research names for different kinds of moons, starting with the one in the title of the book...Your review is enticing...Thank you! ...For PF, I'm sharing the final photo-poem created for Carol V.'s "Autumn Palette"... Hope you and everyone who is part of the PF family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Am thankful to all of you who have welcomed and accepted my participation starting in Sept. It's a very special blessing--so opposite the "unwelcome" the heroine in your reviewed book experienced. Thanks, and God bless you.

Violet N. said...

Hi Carol, thanks for hosting on your holiday recovery day--and Black Friday!

That looks like such a gorgeous book and I'm Christmas shopping for some littles...

My post today is a tip of the hat to U.S. Thanksgiving and a childhood memory connected to my Canadian Thanksgiving (which we celebrate in October--it was about six weeks ago). "Thanksgiving Lunch at the Mennonite Church" is here:

Margaret Simon said...

I am judging with you in the first round of Cybils. Such fun reading so much poetry.

I was inspired by a poem-a-day from my inbox to write a nature poem.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Thanks for hosting on this holiday Friday, anything but black! I'm so looking forward to my Cybils task...thanks for doing the really heavy lift!

My post today is Recap Part 1 of my NCTE Convention experience last much goodness to relive and to share with those who didn't attend. The link is

Mary Lee said...

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

I'm in with a poem that celebrates this pause after a busy busy fall.

Ramona said...

Hi, Carol. I love the book you're reviewing today. I think I should pick up a copy to keep on hand for my gift shelf. And I loved the November poem you shared
I mentioned my latest find in the world of poetry in my Celebrate post last Saturday, but I wanted it to reach a larger audience by sharing it on Poetry Friday. It's Richard Blanco's poem, "One Today" gorgeously illustrated by Dav Pilkey. I discovered it on a recent trip to DC visiting my son and his wife, in a wonderful indie bookstore in Alexandria, Hooray for Books. I say Hooray for poets and illustrators, especially the two who created this book.

mbhmaine said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Carol! Thanks so much for hosting and for sharing the delightful poem "November." I especially love the first stanza. I've had the National Geographic poetry book in my cart at Amazon for quite some time now, and your inclusion of this poem has cinched my decision to purchase it.

I was intrigued by Matt Forest Esenwine's Poetry...Cubed competition and have included my efforts here.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

Yum, your poem is all the best of Thanksgiving. I have included my Autumn effort here: Thanks for hosting!!

Tabatha said...

Thank you for hosting, Carol! Hope you are staying cozy warm. I have Tom Hiddleston reading a Derek Walcott poem:

Little Willow said...

Thanks for hosting! Happy Friday, everyone!
I posted Beautiful Girl by Sara Bareilles at my blog, Bildungsroman:

Tara said...

I love that last, warm stanza. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, too. I'm sharing a poem today by Jane Kenyon - "Here":

Tricia said...

I'd love some cold and snowy right now! Thank you for hosting us on this post-holiday day and for sharing that November poem.

I'm in today with a different November poem and a round-up of some places to sign up for poetry delivered to your e-mail every day.


Julieanne said...

Thank you, Carol!
Post Thanksgiving writing with a teeny bit of rain. Trying my hand at what I ask my students to do.

Diane Mayr said...

Sorry to be posting this so late in the day, I've been on the road most of the day. At Random Noodling today I have an original poem that I'm considering adding to my angels poem project.

Unknown said...

this poem is beautiful I love the diamond line

Carol Varsalona said...

Carol, I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful with your family. I enjoyed reading the adventures of a holiday shopper. I am up early today to do the same. Because we are out of town visiting family, I composed my Poetry Friday offering at the very close of Friday and realized that I never posted it. Full Moon Rising