Thursday, November 24, 2016


Welcome! Poetry Friday is here!

I'm a CYBILS Poetry Judge, so each night this week, I've curled up with a novel in verse. Last night I read UNBOUND by Ann E. Burg.

UNBOUND is the story of Grace, a slave girl who has spent her entire life with her mother, her step dad who she calls Uncle Jim, and two toddler brothers. When she turns nine, Grace is sent up the hill to the Big House, to work in the kitchen, with Aunt Tempie. Before she goes, she and her mama have a conversation,
Promise you'll keep
your eyes down.
        I promise.
Promise you'll keep
your mouth closed.
         I promise.
Promise you
won't talk back.
          I promise. 

Grace soon discovers, however, that these promises are difficult to keep, especially given that Missus Allen, the plantation mistress, is incredibly cruel and hard to please. And then she hears some very difficult news....

A terrific historical fiction novel in verse, about a part of history I didn't know at all. According to the author's notes in the back of the book, there really was group of slaves who survived by escaping into the Great Dismal Swamp, an area on the Virginia and North Carolina border.

I can't wait to share this with kids on Monday!

Leave your poems in the comments below (I'm still trying to figure out Mr. Linky) and I'll round them up throughout the day on Friday.

It's not quite noon on Friday, but the comments seem to have slowed. I'll post the roundup so far, then will come back and revisit it later this afternoon.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has compiled all of the Today's Little Ditty Poems into a book, which catapulted into Amazon's #1 New Release in Poetry Anthologies! Michelle reminds us that we still have five more days to contribute a poem about refuge and solace to the Today's Little Ditty padlet.

Alan, who is more than a little modest,  has just published a new book of poetry, I BET THERE'S NO BROCCOLI ON THE MOON. Today, Alan has a post explaining how he uses alliteration in his poetry. Our fourth grades are studying poets' tools right now and I think they will enjoy learning from a master!

At Crackles of Speech, Cape Cod poet Steven Withrow remembers the advide given by his grandmother  as they walked by a cranberry bog.

It's interesting to me how many of us are drawing on the poems and hymns of childhood today. Julie Larios wanted to keep it simple today. I remember saying her poem/prayer when I was a little girl. Heidi Mordhorst offers a hymn she sang to her children when they were little.

Carmela wraps up three weeks of Thanks-Giving at Teaching Authors with a tribute to Katherine Patterson. I'm a long time fan of Paterson's novels, but didn't know she has also published GIVING THANKS: POEMS, PRAYERS AND PRAISE SONGS OF THANKSGIVING. I want to buy this book!

Anyone thinking about leftover pie? Be sure to check out Matt Forrest Esenwine's original poem, "Pumpkin," from the book DEAR TOMATO.

And while we are talking about pumpkins, check out  Dori's post, featuring John Greenleaf Whittier's, "The Pumpkin."

Kathryn Apel is hard at work on copyedits for a new book, but somehow still made time to write a quick poem. She made me laugh!

Violet Nesdoly shares, "To Skin," a never published celebration of our fabulous epidermis! One of those practically perfect poems that make me wish I could write this well!

Catherine Flynn says, "the mystery of the moon has offered me a welcome distraction from the turmoil of our world." Her series of original haiku remind me how important it is to look up and trust that all will be well.

Brenda Harsham also reminds us to celebrate nature, with a dragonfly haiku and gorgeous photograph. Wow!

Molly Hogan captures a scene outside her window with her original poem, "Autumn Pendulum."

Margaret Simon drew on a prompt from POETS AND WRITERS, "Make a list of words and phrases that describe the surface textures, odors, and colors that surround you as this year draws to an end… Write a trio of poems, each focusing on one type of sensory input. Select an element–setting, narrator’s voice, repeated words, or a specific object–that stays constant through all three, tying them together" to write her original poem, "Mowing in November."

If you have ever tried to explain to kids why, "And it was all a dream" endings just don't work, or if you have ever struggled with writing a good ending yourself, you have to read Ruth's original poem, "Endings." So true!

Holly's original poem is accompanied an explanation of how Japan feeds its children who are living at poverty level. 

Jan Godown Annino is in with two #iamthankful poems. The second one is also an entry in Today's Little Ditty place of refuge. I felt like I was at the beach while I was reading it!

Irene Latham, along with Poetry Friday posters Mary Lee Hahn and Heidi Mordhorst, actually drafted a poem in front of an audience at NCTE! She includes "At the Harvest Ball," as well as another poem written by Katherine Bomer. Reading everyone's posts, I'm sad to have missed this fabulous conference again this year.

Jeannine Atkins, whose novel-in verse, FINDING WONDERS: THREE GIRLS WHO CHANGED SCIENCE, is also in my stack of CYBILS nominees, participated in several different poetry panels, including one with Irene Latham, at NCTE. I'm fascinated by the amount of research that goes into so many poetry books and would have loved to hear Jeannine interviewed about her process. 

Mary Lee, describes perfectly how many of us have been feeling for the last few weeks. "My creative spirit… has been sitting out on the porch with her head between her knees for the last couple of weeks." Mary Lee's decided, however, to do something and will be hosting #haikuforhealing during the month of December. Come write haiku with us!

Linda Mitchell reminds me of an old favorite, "New Colossus," by Emma Lazarus. I memorized this poem in junior high, but have forgotten so much. Maybe we should have a day where everyone posts these lines on social media...

    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

Tabatha Yeatts introduced me to a new website, WOMEN'S VOICES FOR CHANGE: REDEFINING LIFE AFTER FORTY.  I'd love to have coffee with Tabatha and the three poets she includes in her post today.

Little Willow has been sharing "thoughtful songs" all month. Today's "Integrity Blues" by Jimmy Eat World is an important one. Be sure to make time to listen to this ballad.

Alice Nine shares one of my all time favorite, favorite poems, "From Mother to Son," made extra special by the reflection by Joe Nathan, a Minnesota school administrator.

Jane, a friend from Vancouver, shares "Poem for the Long-ly Wed." In case you want to read the whole poem (I did, after reading part of it), you can find it at Writers' Almanac.  This poem is from Garrison Keillor's POEMS FOR HARD TIMES.

A lot of us seem to be finding solace, encouragement, bravery, maybe even a little hope in poetry. Linda Baie reminds me to revisit Joyce Sidman's WHAT THE HEART KNOWS: CHANTS, CHARMS, AND BLESSINGS.

Robyn Hood Black found some poems in vintage text, then turned them into Christmas ornaments. These would be great Christmas presents!

Be sure to check out Myra Garces-Bascal's review of NOCTURNE: DREAM RECIPES before you go! Looks like a book that's sure to delight even the most reluctant reader!

Tara Smith is enjoying ECHO ECHO, Marilyn Singer's newest book of reverso poems, which features characters from Greek mythology. I totally agree with Tara, who says, "There are those poets who are able to take this craft and create a new invention of the form, which leaves me all the more envious and dumbfounded: such is the invention of reverso poems by Marilyn Singer."  


Steven Withrow said...

Thank you for hosting, Carol. I have an original poem for Thanksgiving ("Long-Ago Memory") at my Crackles of Speech blog:

Steven Withrow

Alan j Wright said...

Thank you for hosting Carol. Love the fact that you are reading and sharing a verse novel with an historical perspective. I am trying to write one myself at present. Lots of background research required in order to maintain accuracy.I might to read this one you refer to. Thanks for the alert.

Today I am thinking about SOUND in poetry.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for the introduction to this book, Carol, and for hosting! I'm in with some micro found poems on ornaments, from vintage text.

Mary Lee said...

Sounds like another fabulous verse novel to check out. You've featured several great ones recently!

I'm in with the launch my December haiku project (and an invitation to join in) -- #haikuforhealing

Diane Mayr said...

Happy Thanksgiving recovery! I'm still feeling a little overstuffed.

I'm a Cybils round 2 judge, so I look forward to reading what you'll be selecting for us! I have a short post on Brussels sprouts inspired poetry.

Linda B said...

I loved this book too, Carol, and had never heard of The Great Dismal Swamp. Nice to hear your opinion of it. Thanks for hosting! I'm sharing parts of a recent book of poetry by Joyce Sidman that I shared this week with Ingrid. It brings comfort for us all.

KatApel - said...

I thought I was going to miss another week of Poetry Friday, but slipped in through the tiniest crack. I'm in the middle of copy edits for my new verse novel, but I'm doubly-triply glad I made it here, and got to read your review. My post includes a short poem about writing exercise.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for hosting, and for telling us about this book. I hadn't heard of it before.

My Poetry Friday post wraps up our TeachingAuthors Three Weeks of Thanks-Giving with a tribute to Katherine Paterson and includes a poem from her beautiful book Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving.

Linda Mitchell said...

Carol, Thanks so much for hosting. I love hearing about this new book. I've loved Ann E.Burg's All the Broken Pieces. So, I look forward to this title. I'm a transplant to VA. I enjoy learning about this state. This book sounds like something I'd love.

I'm thankful over at: A Word Edgewise:

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. There is such a wealth of verse novels being published these days! Thanks for your review of another one that's going straight on my "must read" list. On Today's Little Ditty, we're celebrating poems of refuge and solace, and I'm giving away a copy of BEFORE MORNING by Joyce Sidman.

Violet N. said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. And Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm sharing an ode today. "To Skin" is here:

Unknown said...

Hello, Carol! Thank you so much for hosting. Haven't heard of this title yet, so will definitely try to find in our library. Here is my Poetry Friday offering today: a bit of Isol and O'Shaugnessy.

GatheringBooks said...
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Jane @ said...

Thank you so much for hosting this week!

I'm sharing a poem called The Longly-Weds Know, from the poetry anthology Good Poems for Hard Times, which are perhaps more needed now than ever! It's in honour of Thanksgiving, and the person I'm most thankful for. :-)

Julie said...

Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday this week. Over at the Drift Record I wanted to keep things very simple, so I posted the most basic of Thanksgiving poems - the. link is

Catherine Flynn said...

Thank you for hosting today, Carol! I got an ARC of Unbound at ILA last summer and loved it. Like you and Linda, I hadn't heard of The Great Dismal Swamp either. Today I'm sharing a series of haiku inspired by the moon.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for hosting and for this great post. I look forward to reading that book one day. My post is an ode to a tiny thing: in thanks for Thanksgiving.

Have a great weekend!


Heidi Mordhorst said...

I hope you're enjoying your Cybils gig, Carol--I loved being a Round 2 judge last year and enjoying the verse novels that were sent our way. Are they separate from poetry collections this year, or is everything still together?

I have words of gratitude written to go with a traditional hymn tune that I sang to my children when they were younger. They remind me of blessings worth protecting.

Thanks for hosting!

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Sounds like an intriguing book, Carol - I so wish I hadn't missed out on being a CYBILS judge this year, but congrats on all the reading you get to do! (And thanks for hosting today!) In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm sharing a selection from last year's "Dear Tomato" anthology:

mbhmaine said...

Thanks so much for hosting, Carol and for sharing this book in verse. I can't' wait to check it out. My poem this week was inspired by a flash of color and movement outside my kitchen window.

Margaret Simon said...

I am a second round judge and wonder if this one will come my way. Thanks for hosting. I'm here today with a poem I wrote in response to a Poets & Writers prompt.

Irene Latham said...

Carol, thank you for hosting and sharing this novel in verse! I'm glad you are serving again on Cybils... so much fun! And I hope you are enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I've got a post with some poetic highlights from #NCTE16, including a poetry response to our Writing for a Better World session.
Happy reading, Carol -- looking forward to the committee's shortlist! xo

Tabatha said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol! Hope you are well. My post is here:

Have a good weekend!

Doraine said...

Thanks for hosting, Carol. I know you're enjoying all those novels-in-verse.

My post is here.

Ruth said...

Thanks for hosting! I have an original poem this week: Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

Tara said...

Thanks for sharing this title, Carol, and for hosting today. Here's my contribution, I discovered Marilyn Singer and reverso poems!

Little Willow said...

I've shared thoughtful songs every Friday this month. Today, I'm offering Integrity Blues by Jimmy Eat World. "It's all what you do when no one is there."

Jeannine Atkins said...

Carol, I'm another Anne E. Burg fan, and it's wonderful to think of you putting verse novels in your week. Thanks for hosting. I wrote about some of the poetry panels at the NCTE convention at:

Alice Nine said...

Thanks for sharing and hosting this week, Carol. I write about my recent encounter with a book of gathered poems and brief reflections from the contributors on why these poems sustain them... and in particular "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes

Julie said...

I said this further up, but I don't see it in the round-up, so here it is again -
Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday this week. Over at the Drift Record I wanted to keep things very simple, so I posted the most basic of Thanksgiving poems - the. link is

HATBOOKS Author Holly Thompson said...

Thank you for hosting, Carol. This week I share about community meals and programs offering free or reduced rate meals to children in Japan, plus a simple cinquain. Community Meals: