Thursday, January 15, 2015

Welcome to the MLK edition of Poetry Friday Roundup!

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Roundup is HERE!! I'm thrilled YOU are here to share it.

In honor of MLK Day, and because I've still got the movie SELMA on my mind, I'm sharing today from Cybils Finalist VOICES FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON, Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

One of my favorite voices in the book is a fictional character penned by J. Patrick Lewis:

Raymond Jarvis, 25
B.A. Degree in Business Administration
Out-of-Work Store Clerk
Amarillo, Texas

THE WATCH

I watch my business administration degree
     secure a place for me in the unemployment line.

I watch my mother worry that her
     math-star son struggles to earn a living.

I watch the register fill
     till my boss's magic trick makes all
     the "petty cash" disappear.

I watch my paycheck shrink
     ten dollars a week till they fire me
     "for offending a lady in hardware, boy."

I watch my blister
      of a bungalow get splat-tattooed
     with a red, white, and blue swastika.

I watch the window
     and the rock sailing through the window
     with a promise.

I watch the moon
     as if the moon had any answers,
     her face hidden in a disgrace of clouds.

I watch my no-account savings account
     buy a cup of coffee and a heap of humiliation,
     and you ask me why I'm going to the March?

- J. Patrick Lewis
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...and I also love this imagined voice from George Ella Lyon, whom, thrill of thrills, I got to meet this past November at NCTE!:

HALLEY LIZA CLEMONS
30, Hotel Maid
Nashville, Tennessee

A pause between speakers
and a man white as a pillowslip

asks where I came from,
how I go there. I say

Nashville, Tennessee. I took
a bus. That satisfies him.

He's from Kentucky. He drove.

But it would be truer to say
somebody sang me here.

If it wasn't for some old
woman, one of my greats,

humming, working
dark to dark, never giving

up, I wouldn't even be. She
kept the song of our blood

going. She carried me here.

- George Ella Lyon
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and finally, a poem I found in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech delivered August 28, 1963, Washington, DC. I wrote it in the form of a letter, since he liked letters. All the words appear in order, kind of like blackout poetry. Fun!

Dear Martin,

Today injustice
still lives
in the corners
of our republic.
Yes, freedom
promises
brotherhood.
Equality
is awakening
whirlwinds
of thirst.
Fresh storms
rise up
on the red hills,
heat exalted,
hope jangling
into faith –
we join hands,
sing,

          at last.

- Irene Latham

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And NOW, the reason you're here: Please leave your link and visit the awesomeness that is Poetry Friday Roundup!

72 comments:

  1. I can't believe I'm first in line! Wowie! I get to be the first one to say thank you for starting the festivities with such inspiring poems from three eloquent writers -- such vivid images in all three pieces. xoxo

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    1. Yay for being first! :) Thanks for your kind words, Keri. Hoping for sunshine instead of sleet coming your way! xo

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  2. Irene, What a great poetic tribute for MLK. I got chills over: “Somebody sang me here.” So glad you got to meet George Ella Lyon – she is amazing!

    I wrote about an excellent new verse novel, Blue Birds, by Carolyn Starr Rose. Thanks for such warm hosting!

    https://jeannineatkinsonwritingandstuff.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/what-im-reading-blue-birds-by-caroline-starr-rose/

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    1. I KNOW. That line slays me. Wonderful. And yes, George Ella IS amazing. As is Caroline's new book! I have been waiting and waiting for its release so I can finally talk about it. :)

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  3. Love the poems you shared today, Irene -- your letter to MLK is wonderful! I haven't yet seen VOICES, so appreciate the peek. :)

    This week I'm sharing "Produce Aisle" by new-to-me poet Rebecca McClanahan (link goes live at 6 a.m.EST).

    Thanks for hosting and have a good holiday weekend!

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    1. Ooh, Jama, I look forward to 6 am! :) Thanks for visiting, and yes, VOICES is a wonderful addition to the Civil Rights canon. Love and poetry to you, my friend!

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  4. These are wonderful, Irene– thank you for sharing. Pat's moon stanza blew me away and I love what you did with your found poem! Thank you also for hosting today– Happy Poetry Friday!

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    1. Michelle, I love Pat's moon, too! Nice to get a little nature in there. The last line is so powerful. Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  5. Yes, thank you for the peeks into this wonderful book! I'm particularly struck by the images/connections in George Ella Lyon's succinct words.
    And you know I'm crazy for found poetry: hope jangling/into faith –/we join hands,"... love that!

    I'm soliciting poetic relief from mounds of tax paperwork this week. Won't you toss me a line?
    http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm?post=981784

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    1. Yes, I thought of you as I was finding this poem, Robyn... wouldn't it be fun to all pick the same source material and see how different the poems we each come up with are? Love to you! xo

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    2. Ooohhh - I am liking that idea. Hmmmm..... :0)

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  6. Thanks for hosting, Irene! I will be back to read your poems and the rest of the poetry parade!

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    1. A circus-y parade, perhaps? :) I need to talk to you about an art/poetry project I am working on. Will email. xo

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    2. Would be happy to talk art/poetry and/or Einstein quotes !

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  7. What a beautiful selection of poems, Irene, but I especially like your "hope jangling into faith." Lovely! Thank you for hosting!

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    1. Hi Renee - "jangling" is such a great word. One of many MANY in MLK's Dream speech. Thank you for the Valerie Worth post! I will return to it. She's a favorite of mine. xo

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  8. Great choices from VOICES FROM THE MARCH, Irene. It's a timely book, with so many civil rights protests going on right now. I enjoyed reading it.

    Before I head into a week of intense revisions, I'm sharing "I Don't Want to Write a Sonnet," my parody of a song from the movie Frozen. http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/01/poetry-friday-frozen-parody-for-poets.html

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    1. Yes, Laura, MLK day seems to mean MORE this year, what with all the unrest in our world these days. Here's to freedom & equality & loving our fellow man! xo

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  9. Perfect selections to honor MLK, Irene. Inspired by his powerful words, I have an original poem entitled, Martin's Words. Thank you for hosting! =)

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    1. Thank you, Bridget -- I think we could write hundreds of poems based on Martin's words!

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  10. Voices from the March... was delivered to the library this week, and as soon as it is covered, it is mine! What a fine introduction you've given it. Nice epistolary poem, Irene! Don't you love that 50 cent word? Found poems can be so unexpected.

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    1. Diane, I'm not sure which I love more: the 50 cent word or you calling it a 50 cent word. :) Thank you!

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  11. I didn't read every poem yet in Voices, but the ones I did read have a power to them. Your black out poem is masterful in the way those words he said can come together in a poem set in this day. Why are we still here?

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    1. Yes, Margaret, some wonderful voices! One thing about blackout poetry: it helps to choose source material that is rich. MLK gave us lots of that! xo

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  12. Thanks for sharing these, Irene - powerful poems, and I'm glad my copy of "...March" just arrived 2 days ago!

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    1. Lucky you! May you enjoy your poetic journey to the March, Matt!

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  13. I celebrated today, too, Irene. Beautiful poems from the book, and yours is poignant for today, "Fresh storms/rise up/on the red hills"-ah, still trouble, but perhaps "hope jangling/into faith". Thank you, & for hosting.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I loved your post so much. xo

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  14. Wow! The power and intensity of all these poems is incredible. I haven't seen Voices yet, but I'll be sure to tell our librarian about it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing, and for hosting today!

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    1. Power and intensity. Yes. EXACTLY. Thanks for visiting!

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  15. Such powerful poems, Irene. I'm Australian, and didn't know it was MLK day, but by chance by post fits with the theme because I've posted about Brown Girl Dreaming: http://sallymurphy.com.au/2015/01/poetry-friday-brown-girl-dreaming/

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    1. Hi Sally - yes, a great fit! Thank you for spreading the word about Brown Girl Dreaming... and for participating in Roundup. So glad to have you!

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  16. Good morning, Irene, and yes, Selma on my mind--all day every day since I saw it last Saturday. I like how your "blackout" poem brings new light. I've been (WHY?) resisting "Voices from the March," but I'll get it now...

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    1. Heidi, so glad you saw SELMA! I've thought a lot about it as well. Hope you enjoy the book! xo

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  17. Thanks for posting this trio of poems, Irene. The line that I find most powerful is "his face white as a pillowslip" - so ominou, a real KKK moment. I was sorry not to see Selma's director nominated for an Oscar today -she deserved a nomination. It's an outstanding film.

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    1. Oh, Julie, I agree! She deserved to be nominated. I'm disappointed the film didn't get the nods I was hoping for. And yes, that "pillowslip" gets me, too. Thanks for stopping by.

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  18. Love the wonderful images in all of these poems. Thank you for sharing parts of this book. I HAVE to buy it now. Thanks for hosting this week. I'm sharing a poem I wrote because my poetic wheels stopped spinning midway through MOP. http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/2015/01/poetry-friday_16.html

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  19. My favorite of the poems was your "found" poem, Dear Martin. Beautiful

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    1. Thank you, Donna! I'd love to see what other poems other poets would create using the same source material. Happy Poetry Friday!

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  20. I love all three of your selections, but your blackout poem has me thinking about an activity I might do in class today!

    I accidentally have a poem that will resonate with the MLK theme -- mine is a spoken poem about languages and assumptions.

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    1. Ooh, hope you had fun with the kids today! I find blackout poetry fun and surprisingly meaningful. Thanks for visiting!

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  21. Thanks so much for hosting and sharing this amazing collection of poems, Irene!

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  22. Thanks for sharing these poems. I am hoping to see Selma over the weekend. Did you hear the interview with Ava DuVernay on Fresh Air? She was incredibly impressive.

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    1. I did! She's pretty amazing. I hate that she wasn't nominated for best director. No women nominated this year. Grr. Thanks for stopping by!

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  23. These poems are beautiful, Irene. I especially love the poem you "found" in King's speech--it is wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Becky! So happy to have you as part of the Roundup today!

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  24. Great trio of poems for this weekend. Thanks for hosting the links! I've never seen InLinkz in use. Will try it over on my blog too!

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    1. Anna, I've used InLinkz for several years, and it's better than ever! The thumbnail feature costs $1.99 per month. (I just buy 1 month whenever I'm hosting PF Roundup.) So worth it!

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  25. What a perfect Poetry Friday post. You said in November that every poem you write is a love poem...and today's is no exception. Thank you.

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    1. Yay for love poems! Thank you, Amy. xo

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  26. Thank you for the glimpse of VOICES FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON! Your found poem is timely, moving, and hopeful. My post today is a response to Joyce Sidman's challenge on Today's Little Ditty last week.

    http://www.joannmacken.com/blog.htm?post=981790

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    1. Thanks for stopping by JoAnn! In spite of everything, I AM hopeful. So very hopeful. xo

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  27. When J.Patrick Lewis writes:
    "blister
    of a bungalow get splat-tattooed" I shiver.
    When George Ellen Lyon writes: "somebody sang me here" I shiver.
    And your found letter/poem is brilliant - especially :
    "Equality
    is awakening
    whirlwinds
    of thirst."
    I hope it finds a way to a collection.
    I didn't know him of course, but I think he would like it, Irene.

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    1. Jan, thank you for your kind words! I wonder sometimes what he would say about our world today. So much progress. Not perfect, but wow, we're much closer to the Dream than ever before. Btw, I wasn't able to comment on your blog, and I so wanted to! Is there a button I'm missing??

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  28. Oh my gosh, Irene, you know how to host a party! LOVE your post and all the fun components. And this linking thing is awesome! New to me and fabulous. Happy Poetry Friday to you!

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    1. Happy Poetry Friday to you, too, Sylvia! Love your list. And InLinkz is pretty awesome. The thumbnail feature is available for a 1 month subscription which costs $1.99. I just purchase for 1 month whenever I am hosting PF Roundup. Love it!

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  29. Irene, what a rich and beautiful post! Thank you, and thanks for hosting. I'm in this week with three haiku by my 12 yr. old, written for the writing group we host at our house. The link is here.

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    1. So fun to think about 12 year olds writing haiku. Thank you for sharing!

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  30. Wow all three are brilliant but your found poem is amazing!

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! Appreciate you stopping by.

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  31. That book is so rich, and I love your found poem! Fabulous! Thanks for hosting, Irene:>)

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  33. Thanks for hosting and for the wonderful found poem! I was having trouble uploading my link, but I tried more, and finally succeeded. :-)

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    1. Sorry for your trouble, Ruth! So glad you are here. xo

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  34. Irene, l love your found poem from MLK's "I Have a Dream Speech." Worked four days this week, now I know why I never joined Poetry Friday when I was teaching. Joining the Roundup late, but here with a favorite poetry book.

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    1. Forgot to include my link -
      http://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/2015/01/poetry-friday_16.html

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  35. We talked about found poetry today in seventh grade, and I shared yours from MLK's speech. Thanks -- it fit perfectly!

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  36. That was beautiful, Irene. Thanks for sharing.

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