Friday, December 28, 2018


Photo from Wikimedia Commons (1916)
The young teachers at school hold me up as a model. "I want to be like Carol," they sniffle through a wad of kleenex, "She never gets sick." That's pretty much true. After thirty some years of teaching, I have a killer immune system. And I hardly ever get sick. 

I think I must have bragged too much, though. The week before break, the sixth graders were sneezing and coughing and blowing their noses, and last Saturday, the first day of vacation, I woke up with a scratchy throat. Which just kind of hung around for a couple of days, then turned into a full blown cold on Christmas Eve. 

And all of a sudden, all of my plans for cleaning, and seeing friends, and catching up on my reading, and blogging have just kind of gone right out the window...

by Barbara Vance
Don't breathe next to me!
You might get me sick.
Your nose is so red
That it looks like a brick.

Your eyes are all puffy;
You're sneezing a lot.
I'm leaving the room;
I don't want what you've got. 

Don't cough when I'm here--
you might pass it on.
For goodness sakes,
Cover your mouth when you yawn. 

Read the rest of the poem here.

Donna Smith, who has very recently moved to Pennsylvania, is hosting Poetry Friday at Mainely Write.

Saturday, December 1, 2018


This has definitely been an interesting weekend. I fell asleep working on the roundup on Friday, so got up and finished it Saturday morning. All day Friday, I was working in a google doc, then pasting it into blogger,  so I didn't have to keep taking the post down, then putting it back up, and that system was working fine. On Saturday morning, when I went to paste the whole google doc into my poetry roundup post, the formatting totally went crazy, to where it wasn't even readable. After trying everything I could think of, I finally ended up retyping the whole thing, and reinserting the links. And then the furnace, yes the new, $3800 later furnace, started blowing cold air. And then my son mentioned that not only was the furnace blowing cold air, but we didn't have any hot water either. The furnace guy returned, and so as of ten o'clock last night, I have heat and hot water. And So here, better late than never, is the roundup of some very lovely poetry. 

Creating and Celebrating…
  • Aussie Alan Wright kicked off Poetry Friday with recollections of his history as a poet. My favorite lines from his post, "Poetry remains my oxygen." I suspect that is true for a lot of us. 
  • Linda Mitchell also talks about the creative process. Her thoughts on "creative cross-training" make me want to start an art project. 
  • Amy Ludwig Vanderwater isn't doing art, but she is writing about art. I love the last two lines of her poem, "Dear Cow."
  • My Denver neighbor, Linda Baie, is also trying her hand at ekphrastic poetry. She used Edward Hopper's painting, "Gas," as the basis for writing a gorgeous snapshot poem. I'm not sure whether it's truly biographical, or just terrific historical fiction. 
  • I'm always fascinated by authors' writing processes. I loved reading April Halprin Wayland's post about the backstory of "Belle Benchley," a poem that was recently published in THE POETRY OF US. 
  • Donna Smith is, in my estimation, a very lucky grandmother. She spent time this week writing and creating with her granddaughter, which also led to two original poems for her. 
  • Another Mainer, Mollie Hogan, is in with a nature-inspired triolet. I want to try this structure!
  • Brenda, at Friendly Fairy Tales is "in love with art, nature, possibility, and words" today.  She wants you to head over and tell her what you love. 
  • At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret Simon is also celebrating nature with a gorgeous video of a murmuration (don't you love that word?) of Dunlin sandpipers and two original poems. 
  • Diane Mayr is heavy-hearted about the upcoming winter at Random Noodling, but then celebrates Shirley Chisolm's birthday, with a found poem at Kurious Kitty.  I especially love this stanza from the Chisolm poem- If they don't give you/a seat at the table/bring a folding chair.
  • At The Apples in My Orchard, my name twin, Carol, honors nature in a different way. She has an original list poem about the destruction of our oceans. 
  • At There is No Godforsaken Town, Ruth celebrates another kind of creation, the creation of a life together. Her post, including an original poem, put a lump in my throat. 

Celebrating Other Poets and Authors
  • Pretty much every time I visit Little Willow at Bildungsroman, I "meet" a new poet. Today I met Chelsea Woodward.
  • LOUIS UNDERCOVER sounds like a novel many of us will want to own. Thanks to Fats Suela at Gathering Books for sharing this one. 
  • Laura Shovan is over the moon with two new moon books. COUNTDOWN: 2879 DAYS TO THE MOON and RUBY IN THE SKY are books I will be putting on reserve at the library. 
  • Tabatha Yeatts has two "Maggie" poems this week. Don't miss "Glacier Climbing" by Maggie Blake Bailey. 
  • Irene Latham stopped by with a new-to-me title TRIBE OF MENTORS by Timothy Ferriss. According to Irene,  Ferriss lost several people who were important to him. Realizing, he could never get their answers to questions that mattered to him, he started asking other people, leaders in entertainment, science, business, etc. the answers to the questions, and it changed Ferriss' life. I want this book!
  • Over at Life on the Deckle Edge, Robyn Hood Black recalls a recent trip to Ireland and Scotland, gives "a wee wave to the elves and fairies" with a William Allingham poem. 
  • Elaine Magliaro is a CYBILS judge and is also a judge on Margaret Wise Brown Prize for Children's Literature this year (an award she actually WON last year). Despite her busy life, she found time to post Edna St. Vincent Millay's, "When the Year Grows Old," which is absolutely perfect for this time of year. 

  • Michelle Kogan has an original haiku in her heartbreaking, but oh-so-important post about the situation at our southern border. And she shares one tiny way we can help. I am wondering how much tissue paper it would take for all of my sixth graders to participate. 
  • Whenever I see Jama Rattigan's name pop up, I expect pictures of delicious foods and recipes that leave my stomach growling. Today, though, Jama has brings us the work of poet Jose Argueta, who immigrated from El Salvador thirty years ago, but is working hard to give children in that country access to libraries. 

Other Original Poems
  • Mary Lee is in with a silly, but true,  sports haiku. And she's putting together the next six months of Poetry Friday. Stop by to sign up. 
  • Ed Decaria has written a "Choose Your Own Adventure" poem. I had a hard time commenting, Ed, but for the record, I'm definitely a "shoo-er."
  • Matt Forest Esenwine has taken on what seems to me to be a very ambitious project, writing in iambic pentameter. And I love his mantra, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading
  • I think it's admirable that Erin Mauger, who moved last weekend, managed to write a poem. I think we can all relate to her feelings of "misplaced, displaced" and "jam jars next to socks."

Poetry Ripples
  • It's amazing to me how Poetry Friday has "ripples" across the world. On the west coast,  Jone McCulloch invites readers to start the new year with a poetry postcard. Sounds like fun! And then on her other blog, Check It Out, she is giving away an ARC of Margarita Engle's SOARING EARTH, which she describes as a companion volume to ENCHANTED AIR, that came out two years ago. 
  • Buffy Silverman, who lives, I think, in Michigan, is enjoying the first snowfall of the year. She's also enjoying a really special poetry-related gift from Irene Latham, who lives in Alabama. 
  • Irene influenced another poster, Catherine Flynn, to try a new source, Google Arts and Culture, for writing ideas. The result was a delightful poem about first love. 
  • At Poetry for Children, superhero Sylvia Vardell generously shares parts of what looks like a wonderful presentation from NCTE. Presenters included K.A. Holt (featured here today), her poetry superhero partner, Janet Wong, and Tom Marshall, an award winning principal/poet/poetry pusher from New Jersey. 
  • In her post, Sylvia has a slide that says that 80% of poetry loving adults first encountered poetry when they were children. Carol Varsalona's post, which features beautiful autumn poems and images from children, assures me that we have a whole new generation of poets and poetry lovers growing up in our schools. 
  • And coincidentally, the very last poster of the weekend, Heidi Mordhorst, had one of last year's second graders contact her with a poem he had written. She shares that poem on her blog. 
In Closing…
  • In what seems like a perfect final post, Susan Bruck offers an original lullaby.