Thursday, November 26, 2020


It seems strange to be hosting Poetry Friday after I haven't participated, at all, for almost six months. Haven't even written on my blog for the last six months. And yet here I am. Eight months into the pandemic. Months and months and months of remote teaching. Nine days into quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive at work. The week after a fabulous virtual NCTE. The day after Thanksgiving. 

I decided I would share a new favorite poetry book, WOKE: A YOUNG POET'S CALL TO JUSTICE by Mahogany Brown, with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood. 

From the introduction

 What does it mean to be woke? 

In the simplest sense, it means to be aware. It means to see your surroundings and challenge how we strengthen our relationships with the government, with community, and nature.To be woke is to fight for your civil rights, and the rights of your neighbors...

To be woke is to understand that equality and justice for some is not equality and justice at all. We must stay alert. We must ask hard questions. We must stand for what is right, even when it is difficult and scary. 

The poems in this collection come from three women writers with varied perspectives of justice. 

The opening poem:


by Mahogany Brown

Our voice

is our greatest power

When we stand together

We can speak up against mistreatment

We are saying that we will not be silent about the mistreatment of people

We are saying we will not be silent

We are standing tall and firm because we believe in equity and equality

We are standing tall and firm

We are not yielding or bending because the conversation is uncomfortable

We are not yielding or bending

We understand activism happens online and offline

In the streets picketing 

and in the classrooms teaching

on the blogs writing

and on the internet sharing information

It happens everywhere

It is active

It is energy

It is resisting to be comfortable

Until we all feel safe and free.

I’ve Been There Before

By Olivia Gatwood

when a person is in pain

sometimes the best cure

is to hear I’ve felt that too

from someone else. 

when you cry and your best friend

puts their hand on your shoulder, and

says I’ve been there before

suddenly you know you are not the only one

sometimes, we don’t know the people

we feel for. sometimes, we’ve never been

where they are, but we don’t need

to look like each other or speak like each other

or live like each other to know what it feels

like to be sad, to be hurt, or to be in need of a friend

instead, we can simply say the words

I understand, we can make a secret club

out of our sadness, we can let everyone in

who wants to join, we can sit in a circle

and laugh and share, sing over and over

you are not alone.

Thanks for coming by today. Add your link below.

(I have never done it this way before, so if it doesn't work, feel free to put your link in the comments and I'll do an old-fashioned roundup tomorrow!)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!