Friday, September 22, 2023

Dancing into Fall

 

I finally got my hands on a copy!

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit captivating Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink for Roundup.

Wow, I just checked the calendar, and we have just 14 more Poetry Fridays this year! That means 14 more Light poems. 14 more weeks to figure out what my art theme will be for 2024. 14 more weeks of "Space," my One Little Word.


Speaking of Space, it seems a good time to take stock. I've given myself space so far this year by staying off social media; by keeping my calendar full of white space; by setting and minding boundaries; by relaxing my sense of hyper-responsibility; by letting go of resentments, fears, worries. 

I've felt a little lost at times, a little confused and unsure of my path. Other times I've felt euphoric. 

I'm deliberately making a shift from the goal mindset of "what do I want to DO with my time/space/life?" to "who do I want to BE in this time/space/life?" 

I want to be creative and healthy/fit. I want to be connected to self, nature, and others. I want to be a giver, a learner, an explorer.

It can be hard to shift away from all those external measures that we are so programmed (and encouraged!) to pursue. This other path requires deeper observation, contemplation, and connection— yoga and meditation and dedicated reading time / writing-fun time / crafting time / learning time / nature time / cello time / just-me time / do-nothing time / let's-talk time has been really important.

Mostly what I see happening is that the Space I'm carving for myself offers a warm glow I can sink into—I think it's called "contentment."

Along with launching my MOON book (So many thanks to those who have helped spread the love!), I also did a little fun poetry crafting this week...I'm calling it "Matchbook Poetry." See the video below! 


Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem features a ballerina. I love the beauty of ballet, the grace of the human form. I have written several other poems about dancers:

"The Dance Lesson"

"Backstage"

"To A Dancer"

"Flamingo School of Dance"

"The Last Poem" 

Here's a little memoir piece I did about my own (limited!) experience as a dancer.

Here's my review of Dancers on Dancing by Cynthia Lyle (and how it applies to writing!) along with my poem "Audrey Hepburn at the Dance Studio."

And now I offer you a dancer / dancing / ballerina / ballet haiku! It abandons syllable count and attempts to satisfy the haiku tradition of the middle line as hinge: the first two lines mean one thing, and the second two lines mean something else. Thanks so much for reading. 


ballerina leaps

a beam of light

arcs across our faces


-Irene Latham

Finally, I'm delighted to report that one of my photos of Rosie won an HM in a local photography contest! I'm excited to be working with Friends of the Locust Fork River on some nature-poetry things in the future. Here's Rosie!





Friday, September 15, 2023

Dizzy with Moonness!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure and visit radiant Rose at Imagine the Possibilities for Roundup.


Don't you love that "dizzy with moonness" phrase in the subject line?! It comes from a new picture book DORIS by Sarah Jacoby. I'm kind of in love with Doris, and I can't stop thinking about that spread in the book. Check it out! 

THE MUSEUM ON THE MOON officially opens next Tuesday. Finally!

The Kirkus review is in, and it's a good one: "A provocative tally of treasure and trash." 

Thank you, Kirkus!

I've created a MOON Discussion Guide, now available for free download on my website. Educators, I hope you find it useful!

Y'all have shared so many wonderful Moon poems, and they are all collected as a permanent exhibit on The Museum on the Moon padlet. Thank you!

Today I have some more "moon" offerings for you, all pulled from a beautiful anthology for adults entitled To the Moon: An Anthology of Lunar Poems edited by Carol Ann Duffy. The collection is arranged chronologically, which is super-interesting! I offer you below a few of the selections (that are in the public domain).

But first, a few other moon notes:

You probably heard in the news about India becoming the 4th nation to land on the Moon... and the 1st nation to land on Moon's south pole. View footage here.

As much as we're hearing lately about space travel, there's still a lot of problems that will need to be addressed. Fascinating article here!

Finally, you're going to love this video of things left on the moon. (I addressed many of these in THE MUSEUM ON THE MOON!)


And now, poems!

These lines, from the Chinese Book of Odes, written around 500 B.C. (from the introduction of TO THE MOON, edited by Carol Ann Duffy)

untitled

I climbed the hill just as the new moon showed,

I saw him coming on the southern road.

My heart lays down its load.

---


To the Moon

by Giacomo Leopardi 


Now that the year has come full circle,

I remember climbing this hill, heartbroken,

To gaze up at the graceful sight of you,

And how you hung then above those woods

As you do tonight, bathing them in brightness.

But at that time your face seemed nothing

But a cloudy shimmering through my tears,

So wretched was the life I led: and lead still. . .

Nothing changes, moon of my delight. Yet

I find pleasure in recollection, in calling back

My season of grief: when one is young,

And hope is a long road, memory

A short one, how welcome then

The remembrance of things past— no matter

How sad, and the heart still grieving


---

excerpt from The Moon was But a Chin of Gold 

by Emily Dickinson


The Moon was but a Chin of Gold

A Night or two ago —

And now she turns Her perfect Face

Upon the World below—


----

Wind and Silver

by Amy Lowell 

Greatly shining,

The Autumn moon floats in the thin sky;

And the fish-ponds shake their backs and flash their dragon scales

As she passes over them.


---

Moon's Ending

by Sara Teasdale


Moon, worn thin to the width of a quill,

In the dawn clouds flying,

How good to go, light into light, and still

Giving light, dying.


---

excerpt from The Moon in Your Hands

by H.D.


If you take the moon in your hands

and turn it round

(heavy, slightly tarnished platter)

you're there

---

And now, this week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem! Perhaps you know this poem by Emily Dickinson. I didn't! But something I often do when crafting poems is google phrases I'm using...in order to find out if others have already used that phrase. It could be on a national commercial for all I know, or it might have multiple meanings I'm not aware of. Always good to check! Anyhow, the phrase that opens my poem is in the same wheelhouse as Emily's poem—but not the same—so, YAY! 

Also: please note the different line breaks in the graphic vs. the text version of this poem. The lines were just too long for the art, so I used different line breaks in my graphic. This is a great example of how flexible we need to be as poets, and how the art can inform the text in multiple ways. I hope this helps you as you craft our own ekphrastic poems! Thanks so much for reading.



if you want to make me happy



bring me sunrise in a mug,
join me by a window spilling water

together we'll watch poems sway
as dawn drifts into day

- Irene Latham

Friday, September 8, 2023

Come Fire, Come Fall poem

Rosie says hello!
 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit amazing Amy at The Poem Farm for Roundup. And don't miss Amy's new book, THE SOUND OF KINDNESS! It's so very Amy. 

Also, my Poetic Forever Friend Charles Waters has a new book out with Traci Sorell: a verse novel titled MASCOT. So many congratulations to these two!

Here in the Alabama foothills of the Appalachias, we've got so many happy things going on! Football season, cooler weather, my cello choir back in rehearsals, a slew of family/friends birthdays...and my MOON book coming in a week in a half. Some folks have reported already receiving their pre-ordered copies...yay! I haven't even received *my* copies yet!

Read early reviews at Beyond LiteracyLink, A Word Edgewise, and Imagine the Possibilities. Thank you, my fellow selenofiles! (That's a new word to me...it's what you call someone who loves the moon!)

Speaking of the moon, this week I got a Google alert that sent me to this most whimsical moon-shaped postcard! I absolutely love it. I ended up ordering quite a few things from the etsy shop from whence it came: NoteworthyPaperPress. If you love paper and mail—and I know many in our community do—please check them out.

I've been reading a lot of adult books lately: Tom Lake by Ann Patchett, Spare by Prince Harry, Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively. Good stuff!

This week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem is all about anticipation and longing for that glorious fall season (my favorite!). It won't be long now...





come fire, come fall

o blazing season of leaf-crackle
and falling-back clock

of forest-spark and quiet rot,

come fold us
into your smoldering

for you we burn and yearn

- Irene Latham

Friday, September 1, 2023

The Shape of Forever poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit radiant Ramona at Pleasures from the Page for Roundup.

"Kossola" art in lobby
Last week we escaped to the coast...and roasted! We feasted on seafood (including some crab we trapped ourselves!) and also visited The Africatown Heritage House. As anticipated, it was a powerful experience—especially the final part of the exhibit which features names of the shipmates etched in glass along with audio of descendants saying the names aloud. Kossola "Cudjo" Lewis along with all of the characters in Africa Town are included. However, the majority of those 110 names are "unknown." Heartstopping.

This week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem is an exploration into an ambiguous word. What does "forever" really mean? It's kind of hard to pin down, but poetry helps. Thanks so much for reading!



The Shape of Forever


a thousand box windows
cannot hold sun's eye

a study of light
yields a city of questions

if you paint a bridge
it may bleed,
but it will not crumble

a hole is a circle

so is my heart

- Irene Latham

Friday, August 25, 2023

Writing Down a Dream poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit lovely Linda at TeacherDance for Roundup.

Be sure to check out some wonderful poems by wonderful teachers over at Ethical ELA inspired by This Poem is a Nest. Beautiful and inspiring!

Also, have you heard about this latest course from James Crews and Danusha Lameris? Tending the Heart. I'm thinking about it! (There is also a 20% discount found here.)

Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem is for those poets among us who like to daydream! Thanks so much for reading.



Writing Down a Dream

I dream in poems
like the light
of a gauzy morning
windowpane
that still remembers
dappled night.

I skip the well-trod roads,
choose an untamed lane
that doubles back,
swerves left,
         scoots right—

All the while
my heart drops
breadcrumbs
for my brain.

- Irene Latham


Friday, August 18, 2023

when you are weary from carrying the weight of the world poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit marvelous Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone for Roundup.

So...how's August treating you? I'm enjoying the less hectic days for sure!

Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem revisits Diego Rivera's lily series. Back in 2019 during my HAPPY! year, I wrote a poem called "The Weight of Happiness" after a different piece. Here it is:


And here is today's poem, after the only painting in the series that includes more than one person. (Of course I had to bring that detail into my poem!) Thanks so much for reading.



when you are weary from carrying the weight of the world

remember how easily lilies
carry light

the next time you strap
a bundle to your back

let it bend you

and when someone offers
to help

say yes

- Irene Latham



Friday, August 11, 2023

We Are Cloud Climbers poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit terrific Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for Roundup.


For those stitcher-poets and Sealey Challenge folks among us: have you read I Lay My Stitches Down Poems of American Slavery  by Cynthia Grady, illus. by Michele Wood? It's a beauty of blank verse poems, and it just this week released in paperback! Be sure to check it out.

I rescued a quilt the other day (from a thrift store!), and I am in love with both the fabric and the amazing hand-stitching. If I had to name it, I'd call it "Blue Sky in Blossom." What a treasure!



I've been craving a change of scenery, so today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem moves into the city, to a busy construction site! Don't you love how our writing (and art!) can so easily transport us? 



We Are Cloud Climbers

we carry drills
and drivers,
we scale beams
that claw the sky

our bodies stretch,
              fold
as we toil
to the clang-buzz-blast
of progress

for builders like us,
day both thins
and billows

we lunch on sunlight,
we hang our dreams
on pigeon wings

- Irene Latham


Friday, August 4, 2023

Impression of a Sunrise in August (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit marvelous Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading for Roundup.

It's August! After a July that has sweltered like August... we'll see what this month holds!


What August won't be holding is the release of The Moon is a Museum: The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface. Due to printing delays, the pub date has been moved (from August 8) to September 19

This is actually really cool, because Moon will be my 19th children's book! 

It feels meant to be, doesn't it?

Meanwhile I've had an exciting week of day trips with some of my favorites: Monday to Fayette, Alabama, with son Eric, who is helping me with some book research; Tuesday to Hanceville, Alabama, with dear friend Pat, to celebrate her birthday; Thursday to Chattanooga with my mom to meet up with my sister-brother-niece-and all the kiddos! Yes, my heart is up there in the sky somewhere. :)

Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem is after the piece of art that started a movement: Claude Monet's "Impression-Sunrise," from which the "Impressionists" got their name. I instantly thought: sunrise...morning...love poem...aubade!...but I decided to call it "Impression" (instead of "Aubade") as a nod to the painting. 

Also, an aubade is traditionally a poem about lovers parting, and I wanted these lovers to somehow still be together. Thanks so much for reading.



Impression


you are sun
and I am sea

warm,
drifting

reaching
across sky and time

we steal into every boat,
we flood each face

- Irene Latham

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Welcome to the Wonder House!

Hello and happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit joyful Jan at Bookseedstudio for Roundup.

I'm excited and delighted to give you a wee tour of a gorgeous new book Welcome to the Wonder House, brought to us by WordSong/Astra Publishing, with poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, and (dreamy!) art by Deborah Freedman. I love how this book includes AND invites so many questions. Wonder, indeed!

All three creators are here at Live Your Poem today to welcome you...so come on in, get comfy! I've asked them to each respond to a one-word prompt as it applies to their experience building this Wonder. Yay!

But first, the winner of last week's giveaway of Moonstruck! Poems About Our Moon edited by Roger Stevens, illus. by Ed Boxall is Joyce Ray! CONGRATULATIONS! Joyce, please email me with your mailing address at irene(at)irenelatham(dot)com.

***

And now...I want to share one of my most favorite spreads in Welcome to the Wonder House. It's called the "Room of Wishes." Thanks to the whole team for allowing me to share a couple of poems, too. 



This first one is by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. It doesn't have a title. (None of the poems in the collection are titled. And the author of each poem is identified by the poet's initials at the end of the poem):


I wrote my wish

upon a kite,

closed my eyes,

grabbed its string—


through wind

I ran,

let it fly. . . 

My wish came true,

it flew into

that wide, wide map

of sky,


and sailed my name

up high and free,

and with it sailed

a part of me.


- RKD



I may have written a few wishes upon a kite, and watched it sail into sky. Lovely, yes?

And this one is by Georgia Heard:


Where do wishes go,

do they linger in the sky?

Old wishes,

Birthday wishes.

Shooting star wishes.

Wishbone wishes.

Dandelion wishes.

World wishes.

Even superhero wishes.


Clouds are crowded with wishes.


- GH


Don't you love the thought of all those wishes up there riding the clouds? So wistful (as clouds are). :)

And now to the interview portion of this post! As is tradition here at Live Your Poem, the creators are responding to simple one-word prompts. Enjoy!

DIFFICULT

Georgia Heard

Georgia Heard: 
Creating the poems for Welcome to the Wonder House involved many, many months, and even years, of writing multiple drafts with insightful guidance from our editor, Rebecca Davis. But when you're passionate about a topic like we were about Wonder, writing is not difficult and, paradoxically, writing the poems felt effortless, although it took a lot of hard work -- if that makes sense.

The idea behind Welcome to the Wonder House came easily and naturally during a car ride to Newark Airport back from a Highlights workshop. Rebecca Davis was driving, Rebecca Kai Dotlich was in the passenger seat and I was the scribe in the back seat scribbling down all of our ideas as we excitedly shared them out loud. That’s how our framework of the Rooms of Wonder was born.

One of the most difficult yet most wonderful parts of writing Welcome to the Wonder House was deciding on the particular Rooms of Wonder. Out of numerous ideas, we had to think through if any of the Rooms overlapped, which ones felt childlike, and which ones were repetitive. For example, we initially had a Room of Praise, a Room of Blessing, and a Room of Prayer, but we realized they were too similar. In the end, we decided to keep the Room of Praise. Some of the poems that we had already written, we either revised or saved for another project. It was challenging to let go of those poems that we had put so much effort into crafting.


At some point, Rebecca Kai Dotlich visited me to co-teach a poetry workshop. After teaching all day, we worked on our book, staying up late curating each Room of Wonder by cutting out our poems and placing them onto large post-it notes that we had designated different Rooms (see photo). We reviewed each poem to ensure that they covered a broad range of wonder topics, as well as poetic forms, and if a poem didn’t fit in a particular Room we went back to the drawing board and wrote a new one.

Perhaps, the hardest part of creating Welcome to the Wonder House was waiting to see Deborah Freedman’s enchanting art. When we finally saw the first sketches, we knew she would bring something extraordinary to the project.

Writing, as William Stafford poetically puts it, is like following a thread. And with Welcome to the Wonder House, the effort and the years it took all of us to create this WONDERful book, required passion and persistence and, even though we didn’t know exactly where it would lead, we had an unwavering belief that wonder was the thread we needed to follow.


DELICIOUS

Rebecca Kai Dotlich: In writing the poems for Welcome To The Wonder House I was often transported to my own childhood places full of wonder, like the creek that ran behind our house and beyond, meandering over rocks and roots, under branches and sky, and in and out of corrugated culverts that became small, dark, silver 'caves," as we walked, bent over, to the light on the other side. The scents of those days, and that place especially, was familiar and delicious as I went bumping along on my bike over tangled roots, umbrellaed by a cool, damp world of green and open air.  

Rebecca's creek (referenced in the poem
 that lives in the "Room of Wishes")
The creek water itself had a unique earthy and even fishy scent of moss and sunlight that became a place of discovery during those marvelous, aimless hours of exploring.  I went back there (with my mother) to see it again, while writing our wonder poems. It amazed me then, and it amazes me today. If we dig deep, we can tap into those feelings of wonder and go back long enough to write a poem or tell a story or share a moment in time with the world, and especially with young readers who I hope are experiencing their own feelings of wonder, however and wherever that may be for them.


FRESH

Deborah Freedman

Deborah Freedman: 
Every new book is a fresh start for me, a new challenge to relish. Though until now, I have had to create these challenges for myself! So when Welcome to the Wonder House landed on my desk, it was a wonderfully welcome surprise.

I immediately fell in love with the concept — an allegorical house, organized into “rooms”. Georgia’s and Rebecca’s poems would fill those rooms, inspiring wonder, curiosity, imagination, and my job would be to create environments for them. I aspired to honor and enhance each poem’s spirit by, somehow, creating the visual equivalent of a poem.

"Room of Creatures" spread

I began with the end, the last line of the book:
the Wonder House is our Whole World. Clearly, the authors were not thinking of this as a literal house; pages would be the only walls, acting at the same time as doors to open one room to the next. The physical book itself would form spaces for readers to inhabit, sprinkled with touches of domesticity sparked by vivid imagery in the poems. The question, “How bubbling hot does it get on the sun?” in the Room of Curiosity prompted a lightbulb. “Where is everyone? Can you hear us?” in the Room of Mystery led to a telephone to the universe. In the Room of Creatures Poems, sea animals swim in an underwater scene… but is that the ocean, or your bathtub?

We would like to invite children to drift dreamily from room to room—to read a poem here, another there, and read the pictures. But most of all, we hope children will leave with lots of their own questions, and encouraged to move through their own worlds with a fresh sense wonder.

---

Thank you so much, ladies, for sharing your HOUSE with us! Special shout-out to editor Rebecca Davis, who is a poet's dream! And to Kerry McManus, who does such great work getting poetry books out into the world. Mwah!

And now, this week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem. I was inspired by Rebecca and Georgia to include some questions. Thanks so much for reading!

In A World That is Burning

What is the reason
for heat, for light?

Is there more
to a candle's flicker
than brightening
night?

What if the flame
is meant to soften us,
to make us willing
to melt?

Why then do we rush
to snuff
and smother?

Perhaps that puddle
of wax
is the place
where we'll learn
to love one another.

- Irene Latham

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Moonstruck! Poems + Giveaway!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit magical Margaret at Refections on the Teche for Roundup.

I've been at cello camp all week, learning and playing lots of beautiful music with new friends!

Meanwhile, Publisher's Weekly included the notice for my new project with Charles Waters, an anthology coming from Lerner entitled The Mistakes That Made Us: Confessions from Twenty Poets. Congratulations to all the contributors, including Poetry Friday friends Tabatha Yeatts, Matt Forrest Esenwine, and April Halprin Wayland!



And now, I'm super excited to share with you a new favorite anthology I discovered on my quest to find "moon" poems to share in conjunction with my new book The Museum on the Moon: The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface...which releases in just over two weeks!


Moonstruck! Poems About Our Moon edited by Roger Stevens, illustrated by Ed Boxall, brought to us by Otter-Barry books contains nearly 60 poems for young readers that "capture all the mystery and magic of the Moon in an exuberant mix of humor, wonder, and sharp observation."

I love this book! And thanks to Roger Stevens, James Carter, Cynthia Grady, and the good folks at Otter-Barry, I've a three poems to share with you today. 

AND...we have a GIVEAWAY!

Roger Stevens in lovely generosity quite reminiscent of the Moon herself sent along (all the way from the UK) a copy of the book that you can win! Thanks, Roger!

Simply leave a comment by midnight CST July 23, and our cat Maggie will select a winner. :)

Trust me, you want this book. Here are three poems to enjoy. 

The first one comes from James Carter, and it's a shape (concrete) poem. In order to honor his request and present it exactly right, I am relying on a photograph. I know you'll be able to see its gorgeous presentation, and I hope you can read all the words! 


Oh, lonely Moon! Bless her.

The second poem I'd like to share comes to us on the facing page, and it's written by Cynthia Grady, whom I adore! The poem offers a horse metaphor (for which I am a complete sucker!) and also a kind of an unexpected take on the Moon. 

Having worked as an anthologist, I can tell you how welcome this is! Anthologies need variety, and if you are submitting work for inclusion, it helps to follow Emily Dickinson's advice to "tell all the truth but tell it slant." Give us an unusual, unexpected angle, and your poem is more likely to be selected! Here's Cynthia:


Winter Night on a Rocky Coast

Like galloping horses across the headlands,

               waters rage and roar.


Reign in your tides, Moon! Tame those wild

       mustangs

               beating up the shore.

- Cynthia Grady


Finally, I'm delighted to share the titular poem, Roger Stevens' "Moonstruck." It's so full of whimsy and imagination -- perfect for a "Moon" poem! 



Moonstruck

Moonstruck

A brilliant idea that arrive after midnight

Moonsick

When you live in the city and yo long to catch

moonbeams

Moonstick

A branch cut for walking across moonlit fields

Moonsack

A bag made of memories for storing your dreams


-Roger Stevens


----
And now for this week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem! A poem about fog that breaks the rules and intentionally includes two adverbs. (Poetry is totally for rule breakers! I love that.) Thanks so much for reading!


Fog

Sky bundles mountain
in a bulky quilt
until sun comes along
with her needles of light
to quickly, quietly
hem the edges of night.

—Irene Latham

Friday, July 14, 2023

Poem for a Blue Afternoon

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit lovely Linda at A Word Edgewise for Roundup.

First, I want to send up a little prayer of thanksgiving for Mary Ann Hoberman who died earlier this month at the age of 92. She gave us so many beautiful poems and books! Recently I read this short one, which to me is a celebration of introversion and solitude. Being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely! I'm grateful for this message for myself and for kids everywhere:

Sometimes

Sometimes I like to be alone

And look up at the sky

And think my thoughts inside my head—

Just me, myself, and I.

- Mary Ann Hoberman


Next, please allow me to share some inspiration and direction for those in our community working this summer on solo poetry collections! I love the following advice from one of our UK poetry peeps/editor Janetta Otter-Barry. Plus, it uses the word "light," not once, but twice! 

"If you’re writing poetry for a solo collection make sure there’s a wide range of moods and tones. Light and shade. Poetry is a great way to address important issues but it needs to be done with a light touch. Experiment with different forms. Mix rhyming verse and free verse. The more variety the better."

Finally: Today's ArtSpeak: Light poem combines a few of my favorite things: blue & water & mystery & light...and perhaps a whispering to a touchstone poem for me and many others: Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese." Thanks so much for reading!


On a Blue Afternoon

throw open a window

grab sky by the eyeful

you don't have to think

you don't have to choose

ocean is a blanket of light

let it unfold you

-Irene Latham

Friday, July 7, 2023

Wild is a Place that Changes Us.

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit marvelous Marcie Flinchum Atkins for Roundup.

I've been reading Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of The Grand Canyon by Melissa L. Sevigny. 

Here's a quote I love:

What does “wild” mean anyway? Not untouched by human presence, for even the plants—especially the plants—show how the canyonland's first inhabitants tended agave and prickly pear, coaxing them into new shapes. A wild place isn't one unchanged by humans. It's a place that changes us.

So, my question for you today—and because I've been thinking about it all week—what is a place that has changed you? Would you call it "wild?"

In the midst of these musings I wrote a small ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem, which is also about being changed somehow. The art at first glance doesn't seem to be of a "wild" place, but by Sevigny's definition, I think, YES, this IS a wild place! We are changed by light, by wonder, by simply sitting in communion with one another. Thanks so much for reading!



late afternoon

we are all glass windows

stained by light


- Irene Latham

Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Moon in June - Welcome to Poetry Friday Roundup!


Hello and welcome to Poetry Friday Roundup! Our theme for today is "The Moon in June." Please add your link below...and take a moment to enjoy all the lovely poetic offerings! 


I wanted us all to share moon poems because I hope this post will be a valuable poetic resource for educators in conjunction with my new book THE MUSEUM ON THE MOON (Bushel & Peck, 2023, illus. by Myriam Wares). It features 20 poems about some curious objects humans have left on the moon. It just got its first (glowing!) review: 
 “The poetry and facts complement each other and make for a nice flow of information and fun.…A lovely picture book that mixes poetry and history about the moon.”School Library Journal

Is there a poet among us who has NOT at some point written about the moon? Click here for a MOON padlet I created that includes some moon poems I've collected so far!



Write about a radish

too many people write about the moon.


The night is black

the stars are small and high

the clock unwinds its ever-ticking tune

hills gleam dimly

distant nighthawks cry.

A radish rises in the waiting sky.

- Karla Kuskin


So, here's to radishes and all the fresh ways poets of today and yesterday write about the moon!


And now it is my pleasure to share some moon offerings from a few of today's beloved children's poets.

Marilyn Singer's book A Full Moon Is Rising (Lee & Low, 2011, illus. by Julia Cairns) opens with “Broadway Moon” and closes with:


Broadway Moon Again

New York City, USA

On the sidewalk, the audience of one is now ten.
“What you looking at, girl?” they ask.
“O, the moon,” she says. “Just the moon.”
But what a moon!
Between the skyscrapers, it takes a bow.
“Encore in one month!” it proclaims.
“Admission is always free.”

- Marilyn Singer

“Broadway Moon Again.” Poem from A Full Moon is Rising. Poem copyright © 2011 by Marilyn Singer. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Julia Cairns. Permission arranged with LEE & LOW BOOKS Inc., New York, NY 10016. All rights reserved. Learn more at leeandlow.com/books/a-full-moon-is-rising

Don't you love "Admission is always free" ?? Lovely!

The next moon poem comes from J. Patrick Lewis, found in his book Phrases of the Moon: Lunar Poems (Creative Editions, 2018, illus. by Jori van der Linde). Thank you, Pat, for giving me permission to share this one...and for calling the moon an "eternal museum"... my forthcoming book also uses the museum metaphor. Yay!


The Moon Is


Man or woman,
Rabbit or cat,
Depending on what
You're gazing at.

Misshapen in full
Or parenthesis,
So often mistakenly
taken for Swiss

Cheese. Dusty trustee
Of famous footprints
Of twelve astronauts who
Have landed there since.

Eternal museum
Where folklore abides,
Sojourner of heavens,
Re-turner of tides.

The luminous news
(Farmer's Almanac),
A cool monthly cruise
Round the zodiac.

- J. Patrick Lewis

Finally, I've got this magical one I just want to read over and over again from Rebecca Kai Dotlich in One Minute till Bedtime: 60 Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep selected by Kenn Nesbitt (Little Brown, 2016,  illus. by Christoph Niemann). Thanks, Rebecca!


Sky Story


Who has the keys
to the moon,
to the moon...
who has the keys
to the moon?
Not me,
said the owl,
said the owl;
no keys.
Not me,

said the mouse
as he nibbled his cheese.
Not me,
said the bee.
Nor I, said the fly.
Only I, said the sky.
Only I.

- Rebecca Kai Dotlich


And here is this week's ArtSpeak: Light poem. It has a very long title. (Do you, like me, love very long titles??)



Soliloquy of a Moth Upon Rising from the Rushes Just as Moon Sheds Her Robe of Clouds

O Queen of Tides

O Mirror of the Sun
Crabs are dancing
their sideways dance
Sky is surging
as I tilt toward you
and only you
O Beauty, O Muse
O Furnace of a Thousand Dreams

Burn me

- Irene Latham

I'll have more moon goodness in the coming weeks. Thanks so much for reading...now let's get ready to dance with the July Supermoon! (Or at least say hello/make a wish/send a kiss.) 💜