Friday, July 26, 2019


Last week, Jared Polis named Bobby Lefebre Colorado's Poet Laureate. According to his website, "Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural worker from Denver, Colorado. He is a two-time Grand Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and a two-time TEDx speaker.  LeFebre has performed at hundreds of cultural events, social actions, detention centers, conferences, and colleges and universities across the United States and abroad." He's also a playwright, whose newest play, Northside, just completed a 25 day run at Su Teatro in Denver. And the coolest thing for me-- last week I ran into G, who works in the cafeteria at my school. She's Bobby's mother!

Upon his appointment, Lefebre said, "The poet, and more importantly to me, the poet laureate, should not only strive to raise the consciousness and appreciation and the promotion and consumption and reading and writing of poetry, but they should also strive to raise the consciousness of our collective psyche, and heal where there is hurt, celebrate where there is joy, share where there is peace, disrupt where there is stagnation, build where there is opportunity, fight where there is conflict, and challenge where there is complacency," LeFebre said.

I didn't have an easy time finding his work on line. The one poem I did find is "Social Worker," a spoken word poem that LeFebre performed as a TED talk. 

"Social Worker"

When I tell people what I do for a living
they often respond by saying things like
"bless your soul" "that must be difficult" and my all time favorite, "it's so nice seeing someone not work for the money"
I'm a social worker
I tend to the wounds of people crucified by circumstance
carry hope and band-aids in my briefcase
share my own scars for street cred
I work with kids who see their probation officers
more than their fathers

Check out Bobby's website here. 

Enjoy other poems at Margaret's Reflections on the Teche

Friday, July 19, 2019


Last week, Rooney did a presentation at the Denver Country Club.
I didn't go, he went with the trainers, but I heard he was quite a hit!
Thanks so much for all of your kind words about my sweet guy. It really is super fun to be his mom for two years, and yes, it will be hard to give him up, but when I see the joy he brings to his partner, it will be worth it. He's snoring beside me as I wrap up Poetry Friday (actually early Saturday morning) on a crazy full day. 

Poetry Friday was full of all kinds of celebrations!

Celebrating the Moon Landing...
It seems only right to begin by honoring  Elaine Magliaro, who is celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. Elaine has also managed to find time to write five moon poems (and one rocket poem). 

Catherine also has an original moon landing poem, based on a prompt from Colby Sharp's CREATIVITY PROJECT.  Word Press is not letting me comment on Catherine's post today, but if it had, this is what I wanted to say, "Trying to incorporate all five of those things into one poem does not seem like an easy assignment Catherine, but you have nailed it beautifully. Your details are so real that you make me wonder, “Did she really have a cat named Luna?” Well done!"

At "My Juicy Little Universe," Heidi Mordhorst shares an original poem, "Moonwalk vs. Heatwaves." Heidi's poem is accompanied by an article and several songs.

Celebrating History…
At "A Word Edgewise," Linda Mitchell shares Pat Valdata's NO MAN CAN TOUCH, a book of 56 bio poems about women pilots. Linda has gone to the trouble of hunting down photographs of the women. Super cool!

In another history-related post, Tabatha Yeatts is sending Donna "Missive from a Motorcyclist, 1917." Her original (rhyming!) poem is accompanied by some old photographs. Fascinating!

Sylvia Vardell is continuing her EXTRA! EXTRA series, where she asks authors of novels in verse to submit poems that did not make it into their novels. Today's poem comes from WHITE ROSE by Kip Wilson. After reading one poem, I'm feeling like I have to get hold of the novel!

Celebrating Creative Families...
Robyn Hood Black seems to have inherited a few poetic genes from her mom. She broke her ankle this week and has two poems about that event- one by her, and then a limerick by her mom, with maybe a little help from her stepdad.

Matt Forest Esenwine is also a member of a very creative family. Today his poem and photographs highlight his five-year-old daughter's considerable artistic abilities. Matt, I'm sorry, for whatever reason Word Press just isn't letting me comment on posts today

Celebrating Songs
This month's poetry challenge at Today's Little Ditty is "found haiku," which is more than a little intriguing for me, as someone who quite often can't even find her car keys, let alone a haiku! Today, Michelle has found haiku in Joni Mitchell's song lyrics.

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow is also featuring song lyrics. Hers, "Balcony Dreams," by Mauwe, is beautiful and haunting. 

At "There Is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Country," Ruth celebrates friendships with "Here's To You," a beautiful song by Brooke Fraser, who is new to me. 

Celebrating Nature...
Every time I hear mention of Robert MacFarlane's LOST WORDS, I think, "I HAVE to own that book." Molly Hogan has used one of Macfarlane's words as the basis for her own poem. An added bonus is a beautiful song based on one of the poems in the book. 

Margaret Simon received a gorgeous nature poem from Michelle Kogan this week. Michelle wrote a poem about the anhinga bird (which I had never heard of), and then painted a beautiful watercolor. There are definitely some talented folks in this crowd!

Kay McGriff has also written an original poem, "Nature's Ninjas" about phages, in honor of her daughter's 21st birthday. I love the tradition of writing a special birthday poem and I definitely know a lot more about bacteriophages than I did before!

Carol Varsalona celebrates nature with one of her beautiful word and watercolor creations (I really do want to learn how she does this!). And then there's a double bonus because she share's Ruth's poetry swap gift, another gorgeous original poem. 

In another original poem, Cheriee Weichel takes us all on a glorious adventure in the Pine Valley region of British Columbia. It makes me long for a simpler life.  

Jone Rush McCulloch shares her gift from the Poetry Swap, a gorgeous triolet from Mary Lee Hahn. It seems that Jone took a picture of the Grand Canyon, and then Mary Lee wrote her triolet, and then, wait, there's more, Jone found a haiku, which she added to Michelle Heidenrich Barne's challenge for this month. Phew!

Celebrating New Poetry Collections
Speaking of books I HAVE to own, Irene Latham is featuring Michelle Shaub with her new poetry book, Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections, that is coming out in September. I love, love, love hearing the backstory behind books, and this interview will be really fun to share with kids.  

At Pleasures from the Page, Ramona and her grandson, Jack, are enjoying CLACKETY TRACK, a fun new collection of train poems by Skila Brown. 

Mandy Robek is in with a nonfiction dinosaur collection, IN THE PAST by David Ellis. Mandy describes the book as just the right blend of poetry and nonfiction. 

And then some others...
As if writing triolets was not enough, the ever creative Mary Lee Hahn, continues her "Playing With Poetry" theme from April. At Nerd Camp in Michigan, she found two fun new books, INSTANT POETRY and SCRIBBLE OUT POETRY. I think I might need them!

Linda Baie is celebrating her 1900th post and hoping the poem she wrote for Iphigine has arrived. The picture that goes with her poem looks like my front porch the weeks before school starts!

Kat Apel's had a busy week at the 14th annual CYA Conference in Brisbane. Interesting to read her groups discussion of several writerly questions! 

If I could have commented on Word Press blogs today (what am I doing wrong?) I would have said this to Michelle Kogan about her poem, "Perseverance." I love this! Those last four lines! Perfect! It reminds me “From Mother to Son” which is one of my all time favorites!

Thursday, July 18, 2019


Rooney- May 27- 8 weeks old

I have to confess, I haven't written, or even read, a lot of poetry this summer. My summer has pretty much been consumed by Rooney, the yellow lab puppy I picked up at the airport on May 26th. Rooney actually belongs to Canine Partners of the Rockies. The organization raises dogs for people with mobility challenges- multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, quadriplegia, etc. I've been volunteering for the organization for about two years, and my principal finally gave the go ahead for me to raise a puppy. I needed my principal's approval because one of the requirements of raising a service puppy is that he goes everywhere, including work, with me. 

Since May, we pretty much have gone everywhere together- end of year field trips, professional development, swimming, out to eat, and even to a Rockies game. Every day, though, there is a tiny bit of bittersweet, because every day, I remind myself that Rooney isn't mine, and in two years, this sweet, sweet guy, who has totally stolen my heart, will leave my life to become a huge part of someone else's life. I treasure each and every minute, but I also know that this is a temporary situation

For my poem today, I decided to revise a poem I wrote in April. 

"I Will Love You Well"

I will wipe up puppy puddles,
wake when you whimper,
walk you several times a day.

I will love you well.

I will teach you sit and down and stay,
buy toys and treats, play tug of war,
save your baby teeth in a special box.

I will love you well.

I will know your tickle spots,
let you give me slobbery kisses.
pull your lanky body into my lap when there's thunder.

I will love you well.

And then someday, I will hand your leash
to another, and turn my back,
and walk away.

I will love you well,
but you won't be mine.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2019
Colorado Rockies Game- 10 weeks
Scholastic Reading Summit- June 27- 12 weeks
Leave your poems in the comments below and I will round them up throughout the day.

Friday, July 5, 2019


Summer is when I catch up on all the reading I meant to do during the school year. It's not that I don't read during the school year, I just don't get through novels nearly as fast, and by summer, I have a huge TBR stack. BREAKOUT has been in my stack for awhile, and when uber reader Tamara Jaimes gave it five stars, I moved it to the top of the pile. I totally agree with her evaluation, I loved this book! And I'm reviewing it on Poetry Friday because it's a novel with a main character that writes a whole lot of poetry.

Nora Tucker and Lizzie Bruno have lived in Wolf Creek, New York, their entire lives. Wolf Creek is a small town, only 3,261 people. Two thirds of the population are inmates at the prison. Many of the Wolf Creek's inhabitants work at the prison, Nora's dad is the warden there, and Lizzie's grandmother is the cook. Most of the townspeople are Anglo, with the exception being 53% of the prison population, who is African American.

At the beginning of the book, Elidee Jones and her mother, LaTanya, move to Wolf Creek, to be closer to Elidee's brother, who is an inmate at the prison. Shortly after the Jones family moves to the town, there is a prison break, and two inmates, both convicted murderers, escape and are on the run for about two weeks. The book uses a variety of mediums- journal entries, text messages, pie charts, signs, etc, to tell the story of those two weeks. I think my sixth graders, huge fans of graphic novels, will love this format.

And, as you have probably guessed, one of those mediums is poetry. Elidee's English teacher guides her to the work of William Carlos Williams; Elidee goes the library and seeks out poets like Nikki Giovanni, Nikki Grimes and Jacqueline Woodson. Elidee uses these poets' work as mentors for her own poems. Here are a couple I loved:

August 24, 2004
by Elidee Jones

(Inspired by February 12, 1963 in BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson)

I am born on a Tuesday at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital
New York,

While the rest of the country was still gushing over
Michael Phelps, and all his gold medals,
Mama was in labor,
watching the TV over her round belly and
cheering the Kenyans in the steeplechase
(They swept all three medals, oh yeah).
Then I showed up
And there was even more to celebrate,
six pounds, 15 ounces,

Daughter of LaTanya and Joe,
They're leaning into one another in a blurry photo
With me all wrinkle-faced and hungry in the middle,
Troy squeezed into the corner by the nightstand,
Daddy's arm around him.

Daddy's cancer is there, too--
Growing quietly in his belly
Couldn't see it in the picture
But it was already bigger than all of us.
Took him eleven months later
Right after I learned to walk.

I was too little to understand,
Too new to have a hole left in my heart.
I didn't remember the hospice bed in our apartment
Or the weeks of saying goodbye,
But Troy did.
Mama always said that messed him up.
When you've lived seven years with a
Big strong hand on your shoulder,
You sure must miss it when it's gone.

Another Story
by Elidee Jones
(inspired by "Through the Eyes of Artists" in ONE LAST WORD by Nikki Grimes. Her poem was already a golden shovel poem, based on a line from, "To a Dark Girl" by Gwendolyn Bennett. So I guess mine is a double golden shovel poem.)

Striking line: Your life's story is a tale worth telling."

Mama used to tell Troy and me, "Follow your 
Dreams and you can be anything. Anything at all." But life's
Not fair sometimes. Sometimes your story
changes. Your plot twists and whirls and the wind
Blowing you in five different directions. That dream gets lost and its a
wonder you're even still here to tell the tale.
But you are. So you find a new dream worth 
Following.  Another hope. Another story worth telling. 

Tricia has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Miss Rumphius Effect.