Friday, June 7, 2024

With Love from Alaska

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit for Roundup.

I am away from my desk but wanted to pop in with a quick ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem from Alaska! 

While the forget-me-not is Alaska's state flower, some argue that it should be fireweed. 

Fireweed is quintessential Alaska. It grows everywhere and for the whole summer season (June to September). Turns out it got its name because it's the first thing to pop up after fire...which makes it a resilient and arresting flower...and a SURVIVOR! Of course I wanted to write about it! 

Many thanks to Chelsea Jones for sharing her Alaskan art with the world. And thank YOU for reading!


after long season

of ruin, we are fireweed

rising from ditches


- Irene Latham

Friday, May 31, 2024

BOXER BABY BATTLES BEDTIME by Mia Wenjen

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Janice at Salt City Verse for Roundup.


Today I'm happy to welcome Mia Wenjen, aka 
PragmaticMom to the blog! 
You may know Mia as the woman behind the annual Read Your World Day celebration, which showcases multicultural books for kids.

She's got a new book called Boxer Baby Battles Bedtimeillustrated by Kai Gietzen (Eifrig Publishing, May 26, 2024) that came about as a result of a Kickstarter campaign. (Mia makes things happen!)  Paperback copies available here

BOXER BABY is Mia's ode to boxing, stay-at-home dads, toddlers who hate napping, and figurative language. It features MANY well-known idioms that have boxing origins! Talk about a poet's playground! The book trailer is here.

Welcome, Mia!

DIFFICULT:

MW: Boxer Baby Battles Bedtime! is my ode to stay-at-home dads like my husband who stayed home for two years with our oldest, now 24 years old!  He agrees that taking care of children is the hardest job you’ll ever love. However when we had our second child, he threw in the towel and went back to work, and I stayed home!


FRESH:

MW: Boxer Baby will do anything to resist naptime, bobbing and weaving to escape from Dad. She’s no lightweight and she never seems to get tired! 


DELICIOUS: 

MW: Our treat for readers is the “Easter Egg” we planted in the hallway: Leila Ali, Clarissa Shields, and the great Katie Taylor. I spill the beans in my author’s note.


ANYTHING ELSE:

MW: Illustrator Kai Geizen is a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and my daughter’s good friend from when they both took a January session illustration class on the Big Island of Hawaii to draw endangered plants. Going to Hawaii to learn about sustainability in January instead of staying in Providence? That is a one-two combination that I can get behind!

---

Thank you, Mia, for sharing your BOXER BABY with us! I've got several wee ones in my life who love it. 

Today's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem is written as a Square Couplet, which is basically the same number of syllables per line as the number of lines. (Here it's eight lines of eight syllables each.) I'm revisiting work by George Voronovsky, and, after a very busy season, I find myself (again) writing what I need to learn. Thanks for reading!


Spring Reminder

Spring is a busy time, a let's-
get-things-done time. Spider spins, sun
simmers. Mushrooms pitch their tents.
Herons intercept schooling fish
as sailboats skim morning ripples.
Bluebells ring the nest awake—soon,
nestlings! Their gaping mouths will re-
mind us to slow down. Trust. Wait.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Writing Poems in the Wrong Season

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Michelle at More Art 4 All for Roundup.

First a word about Katey Howes, whom I had the privilege of sharing time with at Highlights in 2022. What a bright spirit, and what beautiful books she helped to create! It's difficult to process her passing. Sending love and hugs to all who mourn her.

The good folks at Highlights will be establishing a named scholarship fund in memory of Katey, but that link won't be available until next week. If you'd like to go ahead and send something, here's what to do:

Make a contribution to the General Scholarship fund and put a note about Katey in the comments section. 

And now: it's Spring, obviously. So why is my muse bringing me poems about FALL??

 I don't know, but I have learned to just roll with it. 

I am loving learning about folk artist George Voronovsky, who has some work on exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta. I'll be writing after more of his art later this year. 

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this ArtSpeak: FOLK ART little blast of autumn! Thanks so much for reading.




it's fall, howl the hounds,
let's scuttle up flannel sky,
give Moon a snuggle

- Irene Latham



Friday, May 17, 2024

Gee's Bend quilt poem

 

Irene Latham & Mama
Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Patricia at Reverie for Roundup.

I acquired some new folk art last week at Homestead Hollow. And that got me thinking that I might enjoy writing some of my ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poems after pieces I've collected over the years! So, today, my poem is written after the small quilt we commissioned Gee's Bend quilter Mary Ann Pettway to create for us. (14 years since my first middle grade novel Leaving Gee's Bend was released, and I am still quilting and collecting quilts!) It hangs in our bedroom, and I adore it. The title "Going to Town without a Pocket" is what Mary Ann named the quilt. Such a great title, I had to use it!

Aside: Gee's Bend quilts have been in the news lately thanks to Target.

Before I share the poem, today's lovely PF hostess Patricia last week left a query in comments about how I use line breaks and (sometimes) right justification. How do I make these decisions? Here are my quick answers (thank you, Patricia, for asking!):

Regarding line breaks. In my opinion, the most important word on any line of poetry is the LAST word...because that word acts as a hinge, or a page turn. (The second most important word would be the FIRST word of the line!) You want to entice your reader forward to the next line, so the last word on a line is a great place for a powerhouse word!

 I REALLY don't like conjunctions (a, and, the) or prepositions as last words in the line...which is why I am super-picky about striking lines I choose for Golden Shovel poems. 

I'm also paying attention to natural pauses when saying the poem aloud in addition to line length as I break lines. I want the poem to have clarity and to LOOK pleasing on the page. 

I also really enjoy playing with enjambment -- I get a thrill out of lines that can mean multiple things and find this is a great way to add delight and surprise to a poem.

About justification of the poem. I pretty much always start out in my word doc with left-justified lines... and then (like last week) the lines may migrate as I work in Canva to digitally marry the art image and my poem. 

Sometimes the left-justified just doesn't look good, so I'll try right-justified or center-justified. And then I'm like, wow, I really like this! I should try this more often! 

One thing I love about this weekly ArtSpeak poetry practice is how it pushes me out of my comfort zone and gets me trying new things. It's a great place to be flexible and to be reminded of how much freedom we have as poets. Fun! Thanks so much for reading.

Going to Town Without a Pocket

No pocket for feathers,
petals, or perfect-for-
thumb-rubbing stones.

No coins, no toothpick.
No poem tenderly printed
and folded to give a friend.

My heart wide, swallowing
all that is fleeting:
moon, maple, morning.

I keep the world
under my eyelids, in my ribs.
All day I carry it with me.

- Irene Latham

Friday, May 10, 2024

Space Cat Poem

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

Isn't May full of all the things?! I'm away from my desk today, with my mom at an outdoor arts and crafts event. If we're lucky, we may even pop into a yard sale or two.

For today's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem, I've got a cat for you! It's not my first cat poem here at Live Your Poem...

I followed a little cat one day
What a Cat Needs
Three Black Cats
In the Company of Kittens
old cat wakes (haiku)
Cat's Life
cat on windowsill (haiku)
Cat Bath
Cat and Bird

But it is my first SPACE cat! Thanks so much for reading.




Space Cat

Have you ever seen

a cat like that?

Two surprised eyes

and whiskers wide

as starships,

her oversize ears

must hear the heart-

beat of the galaxy,

the patter of all

paws and claws

as she leaps from

one life to another.

- Irene Latham



Friday, May 3, 2024

Poems About Home

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit boundless Buffy Silverman for Roundup.

I've spent the week blessedly AT HOME gardening, reading, writing, cleaning...and lunching! Seems like every day I've had a lunch date. 'Tis the season!

If you want a peek inside my reading-as-a-writer life, be sure to check out my post over at Smack Dab in the Middle, where I share excerpts from a few MG books in my HUGE computer folder titled "Books I've Read." (Yes, recording beautiful words written by others is an important part of my life and writing practice!) Prepare to be inspired.

Also, this just in: check out the cover reveal of mine and Charles' debut anthology THE MISTAKES THAT MADE US (coming Oct. 1 from Carolrhoda/Lerner) over at Poetry for Children. So many thanks to Sylvia Vardell!

One of the books I'm excited about is HOME by Isabelle Simler, translated from French to English by Vineet Lal, brought to us by the good folks at Eerdman's. It contains 27 poems all about homes made by birds, ant, spider, sea snail...and each one has a home/human-made-building word in the title, like the comet moth's "Silky Apartment" or the cathedral termite's "Clay Skyscraper"  or elf owl's "Cactus Cabin." 


Isabelle Simler
The palette is kind of dark and enchanting, and each spread showcases realistic renderings of both animal and home. Back matter includes "More About These Amazing Animals" a Glossary, and a list of Recommended Resources. End papers charmingly show man-made home structures. Beautiful choice for animal/nature lovers and engineer/builders alike! Thank you to the publisher for granting permission for me to share two poems from the collection.


MOSSY MINIATURE HOME

of the hummingbird

Family Trochiladae

My teeny-tiny

featherweight house

has grown under a leaf.

Over several weeks,

I've patiently gathered

numerous bits

of moss and lichen

and, little by little,

shaped my jewel case home.

In this doll's teacup of a nest

lin two hummingbird eggs,

each the size of a pea.


- Isabelle Simler

BLUE PAVILION

of the satin bowerbird

Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

I have a real flair for home decoration.

Azure bottle caps and petals catch my indigo eye

and excite the designer in me.

I've built an arched avenue from sticks and twigs.

I've painted the walls with berry juice

and stuck some flowers here and there.

My collection os objects is a garden of love.

At the blue hour, I shall make my entrance

to steal the heart of my beloved.

- Isabelle Simler


And now for today's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART. Since we're on the topic of "home," I've selected a piece by Cheryl Bartley that features a lake house. Thanks so much for reading!


Lake Cottage

This little house our ours
sits beside a lake full of stars.

Our garden grows rainbows,
thanks to sunsplash and rainglow.

How lucky we are to live
in a place with so much to give!

This little house of ours;
you and me, kissing the stars.

- Irene Latham

Friday, April 26, 2024

Haiku Journeys of One Kind and Another

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure and visit Ruth and her dream of Haiti at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town for Roundup.

Whew, what a National Poetry Month it's been! And it's not over yet...I travel today for a conference tomorrow...and then...MAY!!!

By the way, it has come to my attention that no one has received my annual NPM Live Your Poem postcard. I sent them out the first week of April, but they are LOST, I tell you. LOST! (I've been told several things...apparently there are big problems at the Birmingham USPS distribution center. I don't know, because I've mailed other things this month that made their destinations...but nary a postcard!) Sigh. Maybe they will find you eventually... I hope so.

Today I'm excited to share about Climbing the Volcano: A Journey in Haiku by Curtis Manley, illus. by Jennifer Mann (Neal Porter/Holiday House, 2024). It's a story of family's hike up South Sister Volcano in Oregon told in fifty haiku.

Here's the opening haiku:

dormant volcano—

but at sunrise each day

it blazes


Along the way, the child-narrator shares about encounters with other people are on the trail; change of temperatures; mosquitoes!; other animal encounters (marmot, dogs, owl, butterfly..); adventures at the summit (snowballs, anyone?); sliding down; and looking back up the mountain in wonder.


One of my favorite middle-of-the-book haiku:

lost—

the trail is under the snow

somewhere

The book ends with a ends with a great question... you'll have to read it to find out what! And back matter includes info about South Sister Volcano, Geology of the Cascade Mountain Range; What to bring to climb a mountain; A little bit about haiku; and more info about the Living things mentioned in the haiku (flora and fauna).

Check it out! It's a winner.

Perhaps inspired by Climbing the Volcano, this week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART is a haiku...or rather, THREE haiku! This art by Mose Tolliver just speaks to me, I guess...I couldn't decide which one to post, so I offer you all three. :) Thanks so much for reading!

Night performs secret

mysteries—fire where there was

no flame before

- Irene Latham



Full moon large and low

crimson flame ignites the stars

night garden

- Irene Latham



My longing stretches

crimson across dark mountains—

where are you moon?

- Irene Latham

Friday, April 19, 2024

Animals in Pants, Animals in Dreams (poems!)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit innovative Heidi at my juicy little universe for Roundup. Her WhisperShout writing workshop and magazine for young writers sound amazing!

Margaret Simon & Irene Latham
Last week it was my pleasure to hang out and present with Margaret Simon at the Kaigler Book Festival at USM (home of the amazing deGrummond Children's Collection!). It was so great to see attendees writing poems in our session!! I made so many new friends and got to catch up with folks I haven't seen since before covid...good books, good times (as Lee Bennett Hopkins would say!).

If you've been thinking of joining Charles and me at Highlights this summer for a Working Retreat June 23-26, NOW is the time to sign up! Just a few slots left...AND we've added a special guest: Carter Hasegawa, editor at Candlewick, who has worked with quite a few poets on quite a few poetry books! We are SO EXCITED about all we will surely learn from him!



Today I am delighted to welcome to the blog Suzy Levinson, author of ANIMALS IN PANTS (illus. by Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell, published by Abrams) This book charmed the pants off of many of us last year, and continues to enchant! Suzy is a wonder, and I'm excited she has another poetry book coming..read more about that below! 

Today she's responding to a few prompts in relation to her experience with ANIMALS IN PANTS.

Welcome, Suzy!

DIFFICULT:

ANIMALS IN PANTS probably wouldn’t exist if pantoums weren’t so impossible to write.

I love to write verse that sounds loose and conversational but actually falls neatly within the strict parameters of meter and rhyme scheme. Those parameters always seem to free me up, creatively. So logic would suggest that I’d enjoy adding even more parameters by using traditional forms like sonnets, villanelles, or pantoums, right? Wrong. The extra rules that come with certain forms break my brain a bit, and I often wind up struggling to keep it all sounding natural and fun.


Which brings me to late 2016: I was so frustrated with my progress on a pantoum that I decided to scrap it entirely and invent my own poetic form instead. My new form was called a “pantaloon” (take that, pantoum!), and the only rule was it had to be about animals in pants. Much easier!

Fun fact: the original title of this collection was PANTALOONS. The publisher thought (quite rightly) that it might be confusing from a marketing standpoint, so we changed it. But my agent and I still secretly call it PANTALOONS and I’m sure we’ll never stop.

FRESH:
I wrote the first poem of this collection, “Cat-itude,” long before I knew there was going to be a collection at all. The piece was an assignment for a writing class. Our homework prompt was to “choose two incongruous things and find a way to connect them.” This really resonated with me! So much so that I’ve returned to it again and again over the years, whenever I’m at a loss for ideas. Nothing shakes up my imagination and produces fresh material like taking two things that don’t belong together and smushing them together anyway.

So with “Cat-itude,” I connected a cat with pants. It was so fun that after the whole pantoum debacle (see above, ha), I decided to keep the ball rolling, writing the “pantaloons” that eventually became ANIMALS IN PANTS. And a while later (after buying my nephew a very strange-looking set of dinosaur-head cars for his birthday), I tried connecting dinos with cars, and boom: my second collection, DINOS THAT DRIVE, is coming out next year!

True story: at lunch with my agent a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a new idea, but I wasn’t sure if I should pursue it. I was concerned because I’d be using the same old prompt again, connecting two incongruous things, and maybe that would make the project too similar to ANIMALS IN PANTS and DINOS THAT DRIVE. My extremely patient agent looked at me for a second, then said, “But Suzy, you realize that those are your two books that have…um…sold?”

Long story short, it’s a great prompt. It’s fresh, it’s happening, and everyone should try it!

DELICIOUS:

One of the sweetest parts about writing ANIMALS IN PANTS was discovering that it was just so me.

A few years back, when I first started writing in earnest, I didn’t know I was a children’s writer, or even a poet. I experimented with lots of different genres. Nothing clicked into place. People would say, “Write what you know!” To which I’d say, “NO, THANKS.” Because what did I know, exactly? I knew I’d recently 
quit acting (sad), in part due to health issues (depressing), which left me with little to focus on besides a boring day job (yuck). Why would I want to write about any of that?

And yet…

If I were to step in a time machine, zoom back to the ’80s, and tell the kid version of myself that I’d recently written a funny poetry collection called ANIMALS IN PANTS, Young Me would probably shrug and say, “Well, yeah, of course. You’re writing what you know. What else would you be doing?”

Writing’s different for everyone, but for me, it’s less about examining the here and now, and more about unearthing the person I’ve always been—that kid who grew up on Muppets and dad jokes and silly jingles and anthropomorphizing stuff. That’s what I really know, deep down. So when I write, I dig up weird little forgotten bits of myself, mix them together, and use them to pave a strange new path.

That’s what I did with this collection, and everything finally clicked into place.
---
Thank you, Suzy! I am kind of in love with that "try smashing two incongruous things together" advice!

And now, I offer you this week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem, after another piece by Alabama contemporary self-taught artist Trés Taylor. Don't miss my first poem after Trés' work here! You can meet Tres and Helene in Uniontown, Alabama, on May 5th when they will be planting sunflowers! (I wish I could go...sigh...but I will be celloing!)

This poem is an "Abracadabra," which uses a the rhyme scheme abacadaba (which is "Abracadabra" without the r's!) Click to read my first Abracadabra poem "Mule Ringing the Doorbell of Heaven." Thanks so much for reading!


Casting for Dreams


Before I drift
to sleep
I lift
my flute,
set my tune adrift—
Come cat,
come chimney swift!

For the path is cold-long-steep
and fellowship is the finest gift.

- Irene Latham

Friday, April 12, 2024

Bless This Earth, Catch This Light (poems!)

 

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit wonderful Jone Rush Maculloch for Roundup.

Today I am excited and delighted to welcome co-anthologists June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling to share about their newest project BLESS THIS EARTH, illus. by Keum Jin Song, brought to us by Convergent. Divided into five chapters, young readers, ages 3-7, are invited to explore a colorful world filled with musical rainforests, majestic birds, sea creatures, stars, and much more!


June Cotner
is the author of almost forty books, including the bestsellers Graces, Bedside Prayers, and House Blessings. Her books altogether have sold more than one million copies. Cotner has appeared on national television and radio programs and her books have been featured in many national publications, including USA Today, Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day, and Family Circle. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their rescue dog, a Border Collie/Corgi mix (a Borgi!).

Nancy Tupper Ling
is a children’s author, poet, bookseller, and librarian. Her most recent books are One Perfect Plan: The Bible's Big Story in Tiny Poems and a collection of poetry entitled For Every Little Thing: Poems and Prayers to Celebrate the Day, which she coauthored with June Cotner, and was a Junior Library Guild Gold selection. Nancy is a bookseller at Blue Bunny Books, and lives with her family in Walpole, Massachusetts.

June and Nancy have generously offered a book for giveaway! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. I will announce the winner next week!

I'm honored my desert-coyote-stars poem "Hymn" is included along with so many other beauties. Look for it below. 

But first, please welcome June and Nancy as they reply to a few simple prompts. Take it away, ladies!

FRESH: We think BLESS THE EARTH is especially fresh! Besides including a few well-loved poems, we also solicited for original submissions from award-winning poets. For example, in regard to “fresh,” here is the first stanza from a poem by Susanne Wiggins Bunch: 

Darkness falls,

Creatures call,

The people’s prayers are said.

God is singing a lullaby

While earth prepares for bed.

DIFFICULT: While working on a children’s book, it is especially challenging to make sure a certain poem we’re considering works for children’s ages 3-7. We frequently will find an “older audience” poem that we’re tempted to include, and we often ask the other: “Wait a minute. Will young children understand it? Will they relate to it?”

In BLESS THE EARTH, we wanted to knit together humanity, the environment, and spirituality in an engaging way. While it would be difficult for one poem to include all three of these elements, we feel we achieved our overall goal with the book.



DELICIOUS: What a fun word in regard to a book! We think the delicious part of BLESS THE EARTH came as we saw the illustrations unfold. For example, we love all of the earth elements surrounding Nancy’s title poem, “Bless the Earth. The poem “Wonder” by Amanda Smith beautifully describes the wonder of Earth and it’s placed on a full-page spread showing earth from land to sea. The images throughout the book offer many topics for parents to discuss with their children. Another gorgeous spread features a poem written by Jillian Pappan when she was age 10. She is a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. Her poem closes with:

Baby in a cradleboard

Riding safe

In the sky.

The poem is accompanied by a stunning illustration of a brown eagle with a cradleboard carrying a young child.

ANYTHING ELSE:
In addition to offering a book of universal prayers of gratitude and earth-related inspirational poems, we also wanted to include ideas about how children can contribute to helping the earth. Our last chapter is “Caring for Our World.” Rather than offer a list of practical suggestions, we asked our contributors to create poems and beautiful prose for ideas to introduce to young children. One free verse poem, Earth’s Voice,” by Theresa Mary Grass, “speaks out” in both a tender and empowering way about how we can speak out for the earth, from prairies and 
deserts, to oceans and rivers, from mountains and valleys, to plants and animals. Another free verse poem, “I Take Care of the Earth,” by Barbara Younger, gives kids some practical ideas such as “When I’m finished with paper, I recycle it.” And “When I go to the store, I bring my own bag.” We hope we have succeeded with both the visual words and thoughts conveyed through the poems as well as creating a book that is relatable for children about how they can appreciate, honor, and care for our world.
---
Thank you, June and Nancy! I can especially relate to that "Difficult" answer...so hard sometimes to cut poems that might be "too much" or "too adult" for our target audience. Many thanks for choosing to include my poem "Hymn."

HYMN

coyote sends
her song
spiraling
past sand
and saguaros—

she, too,
knows who
swirled the sky
with stars,

who sent
the wind
to carry
her voice
across centuries

- Irene Latham

---

This week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART features another Alabama artist, Trés Taylor. I love this bit from his website: "He paints about life's journey and the joy that resides within." 

Now that's my kind of art!

When I approached Trés about permissions to use some of his work for this project, I was greeted with warm enthusiasm! I have been an admirer for a LONG time, and Trés' wife/Fellow Artist/Amazing Person Helene and I have run in some of the same artsy circles. As we discussed the possibilities, she brought up a vital point:

"My only reservation is that we no longer call Trés' work 'folk art' but rather 'contemporary self-taught.' But it is inspired by Southern folk art, Mexican magic realism, with a touch of Asian/Japanese influence."

What we call ourselves, how we identify...such a personal and important choice! So I wanted to be sure and acknowledge that here.

I also want to share with you Trés' Revolution of Joy community art (mural) project. SO COOL. I hope to pick up a paintbrush and participate myself! I'll also be featuring more of Trés' work in the coming weeks.

Today's piece is called Catching the Light [click to see it much larger!], and I am in love with it! Takes me back to my ArtSpeak: LIGHT year...how these themes fold into themselves, expand, and merge again... thanks so much for reading!


If You Want to Catch Light

dive into night-ocean
where a million fins
ripple-spark

learn the ways
light multiplies
in deep-dark places

how it moves—

gleam
           beam
                      stream—


such mysterious currents!

changing you
changing me

—Irene Latham 


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Community Poetry Projects (because Poetry is for Everyone)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! 

Poetry Friday Roundup is here at Live Your Poem! Please leave your link below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

It occurs to me that our Poetry Friday Roundup is a Community Poetry Project. 

So is our annual KidLit Progressive Poem, which began in 2012 as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month (April) as a community of writers.

The latest line in our Progressive Poem is here today. Yay! Thanks to Margaret for organizing and creating the beautiful graphic...and to the lovely poets who've gotten us off to such a great start! 

I'm honored to add the fifth line, which in keeping with the pattern established by Patricia, Jone, Janice, and Leigh Anne, is actually a couplet. 

I felt like it was time to break up the established pattern and infuse some urgency and immediacy...the best way I know to do that is to get into the speaker of the poem's body, so that the reader feels like they, too, are experiencing this refugee's journey. 

cradled in stars, our planet sleeps,

    clinging to tender dreams of peace

sister moon watches from afar,
    singing lunar lullabies of hope.

almost dawn, I walk with others,
    keeping close, my little brother.

hand in hand, we carry courage
    escaping closer to the border.

My feet are lightning;
My heart is thunder.


Here is the schedule for the rest of the month. I pass the baton to Margaret. I can't wait to read what happens next!


April 1 Patricia Franz at Reverie
April 2 Jone MacCulloch
April 3 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
April 4 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
April 5 Irene at Live Your Poem
April 6 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
April 7 Marcie Atkins
April 8 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Town
April 9 Karen Eastlund
April 10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
April 11 Buffy Silverman
April 12 Linda Mitchell
April 13 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
April 14 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
April 15 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
April 16 Sarah Grace Tuttle
April 17 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
April 18 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
April 19 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
April 20 Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
April 21 Janet, hosted here at Reflections on the Teche
April 22 Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading
April 23 Tanita Davis at (fiction, instead of lies)
April 24 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
April 25 Joanne Emery at Word Dancer
April 26 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
April 27
April 28 Dave at Leap of Dave
April 29 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
April 30 Michelle Kogan at More Art for All

Today I'm excited to share with all of you pics of my most recent public community poetry project here in Blount County, Alabama...to which so many of you have contributed! So many thanks to those who sent poems. 

At the time of this posting we have poems from 28 poets from all across the US, including AL, CA, CO, CT, MA, MD, MI, NC, PA, TX, UT, VA... + AUSTRALIA and CANADA! THANK YOU, POETS! Here is a photo of the bulletin board. Isn't it adorable??

I also posted this week over at Smack Dab in the Middle, about writers being rooted in poetry, in words, and in the present moment... if you'd like a dose of inspiration from me, Walt Whitman, and Mary Oliver!

And now for this week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem. This is one of those poems that sort of wrote itself...and I followed along. I love when that happens!! The work of art is part of the collection at the American Folk Art Museum (and appears in the post card book given me by Charles Waters). Thanks so much for reading.

Prayer

my heart is not on my sleeve
your heart is not in my hands
my hands do not hold the world
nor do yours

we are small
we are travelers

let us hold each other
my heart your heart
sleeves or no sleeves
hands or no hands

we are pilgrims
in a world made mostly of water
somehow we walk  feast   love
in bodies made mostly of water

together let us flow

- Irene Latham

For your reading pleasure, here are links to a few other "prayer" poems I've written and shared at Live Your Poem. Thanks so much for reading!

A Writer's Prayer

Autumn Prayer

Winter Prayer

Prayer for the Berry Pickers

Prayer of the Black Rocks

Epitaph for Light

Fair Prayer

For the Builders

I Give Thanks for Trussville, Alabama

I Pledge Allegiance to the Lake

Let Us Now Praise Leafy Things

Mending

If you want to make me happy

Vespers

When Moon Sweeps Sky Clean of Clouds