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
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!
Carol, thanks for hosting and what a great post! I hear the word "woke" sometimes by those on the far right? It's as if it's been appropriated. Such strong voices in these two poems. I am feeling some hope because of the election. Anxious for the transition to be over. Have a peaceful holiday!
Thanks for sharing this poignant and rich poetry anthology Carol, I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks also for hosting the roundup this week. Wishing you continued health and happiness throughout the holidays!
It is so good to have you back on PF, Carol. Thanks for hosting. I am working on my blog post but wanted to wish you Happy Thanksgiving and reply to your post.
Love these lines from the first poem: "When we stand together/We can speak up against mistreatment." We all need to have our voices rise and "understand" "to be woke".
Welcome back, thank you for hosting and for doing your part to wake us up.
Thanks so much for hosting and for your review of "Woke". I'm sending all sorts of positive thoughts to you as you finish up quarantine. Take care!
Welcome back, Carol. Wow. What a year. No wonder you've been absent from here (and missed). Sending hugs and health as you deal with all of this. Thank you for working so hard to support kids in these hard times!
Happy Thanksgiving, Carol, to you & yours! Thank you for sharing this timely anthology of important voices. Those lines about making a ‘secret club/out of our pain....” wow. Wishing you good health! Such a year for all of us, on level after level.
Thank you for hosting Carol and your return is brimming with worthy detail. I like poetry as activism inherent in the call for social change and justice. Young voices raised in such a positive call. I appreciate you alerting us to this book. I shall be adding it to my collection. Poetry deserves a broad spectrum of applications and in these challenging times this books appears timely.
Thank you for hosting today, Carol. So glad you're back, and fingers crossed you stay well. I've also found it challenging to write and blog during these topsy-turvy days. WOKE! is an incredible collection and deserves to be heralded far and wide. Olivia Gatwood's poem pretty much sums up what we're all longing for: a time "when we can sit in a circle/and laugh and share, sing over and over/you are not alone."
Thank you for hosting during a challenging time, and for the reminder we are not alone. Even as the rest of my writing life feels more disconnected than ever, Poetry Friday keeps me grounded. This is a place for all of us!
Hi Carol, welcome back. I'm glad you are here and hosting today. I come and go too. That's what seems to work for me these days. Thank you so much for sharing this book and these poems. I will be sure to find it and read all of them. I hope the rest of your quarantine goes well and you stay healthy.
Carol, it's good to have you with us today. I'm certain that there's been a higher degree of "intermittency" for all of us as we've struggled to find new rhythms, and maintain equilibrium. I'm glad you're enjoying this book--my NCTE committee selected it for the Notables List (but maybe you saw that!). May we all work hard to get--and stay--woke!
Hi Carol, Nice to visit your blog today!!
Thanks for featuring this new book and sharing the two sample poems. So timely; seems like a must-have for all classrooms and school libraries.
Hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks so much for hosting this week!!
Hi Carol, Thank you for hosting and for the book recommendation. Unlike Janice Scully's comment, I have only heard the use of the word woke from the far left. All should be aware of the word and its meaning, in my opinion. I used it this week in the more traditional sense, but it gave me an occasion to actually look it up to more clearly define the newest use of the word. I like your simple definition of being more aware. Thank you, again!
Thanks for hosting today, and for your review of WOKE, a book on my tbr list!
Hi Carol, Thanks for hosting and for sharing about what looks to be an awesome book. I really enjoyed the 2 poems you shared from it. The first one is a powerful call to action, but the second one really resonated with me--the power of not being alone in our pain, "I've been there."
I hope you stay well and it's great to see you again here on Poetry Friday!
Belated thanks for hosting (and for the spotlight on WOKE), and continued thanks for your friendship!
The link to my poem was an old link. I am not sure how this happened. The graphic is correct, but it links back to a poem I wrote about in 2019. Here is the correct link for yesterday. https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2020/11/27/poetry-friday-tom-turkey/
Appreciations for hosting.
And for returning to Poetry Friday with these important poems & thoughts.
Best week ahead to you & entire upcoming December.
I'm too late to link up to the gathering, but I did write a poem this morning (I've been trying to write a poem a month). Nothing like getting in under the wire (last day of the month).
I reluctantly returned Woke to the library recently. It's a powerful book! Thanks for the poems you shared.
Hoping that your quarantine is finished and all's well. It's no wonder you haven't been writing on your blog with the demands of remote teaching. Hugs, Carol. Good to hear from you.
I had planned to attend NCTE in Denver, but I didn't participate virtually. Would love to hear more about it.
Thank you for hosting, Carol!
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