Friday, December 8, 2023

Butterfly Fireworks

 

when I think of the desert,
this experience comes to mind!
(my sons, circa 2004)
Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit desert-poetry-goddess Patricia at Reverie for Roundup. 

Don't miss my post earlier this week at Smack Dab in the Middle where I catalog my Top 10 Highlights of 2023. So much goodness!

Also, Charles Water and I issued an invitation to poets to fill out this Getting to Know You questionnaire, which will help us better match poets to projects as we create new anthologies. So many have responded...thank you! We're so grateful to be part of such a joyful community. 

This week I also sent out my latest Adventures in Ink e-newsletter. Click here to access the "'Tis the Season for Peace" issue. (If you're not yet a subscriber, you can join the fun by clicking here.)

Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem features butterflies! Who doesn't love butterflies? As a Master Gardener and Alabama Master Naturalist in training, I am committed to providing safe havens for these lovelies by planting pollinator plants...which are beautiful in and of themselves, but when you think about all the GOOD they can do, it's kind of stunning. 

A few process-y things about writing this poem:

1. The title came first! (I do love a great metaphor.)

2. The butterflies depicted in the art are not colored like painted lady butterflies. But the yellow and orange background brought them to mind, so... (Just a reminder that you CAN use your imagination when writing ekphrastic poems. It needn't be a literal recreation of the art piece...and I would argue it shouldn't be.)

3. I wanted a lot of space and movement in these lines to mimic the butterflies' action among the goldenrod (in my imagination/memory). 

4. For the same reason, I wanted to use as little punctuation as possible.

5. A Google search of "words to describe fireworks" helped me replace first-drafty words with more vivid ones!

6. I'm still on the fence about whether I need to include "of light" after "dazzle." 

This has happened so many times this year... I talked about it in this post...and in the earlier poem, I chose to cut "of light." Here it feels more necessary. (?)

Thanks so much for reading.





Butterfly Fireworks



two painted ladies
are late summer 
              sparklers

as they sip,
              swoop,
   spin

a living dazzle of light
happy to set 
the whole goldenrod 
                  world
     a-sizzle

- Irene Latham

Friday, December 1, 2023

Ode to the Sun (poem)

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit amazing Anastasia at Small Poems for Roundup.

You guys: just 4 more Poetry Fridays in 2023! 

I've done something I don't usually do: I've mapped out the final 4 ArtSpeak: Light pieces. Maybe this will free up my mind to decide on what my 2024 theme will be?? We shall see. 

Meanwhile, here is my poem. It actually started out much longer, but I realized there wasn't much fresh about the first few lines, so I performed that sometimes-painful but often-refreshing revision strategy of "cut the front porch." 

So often our first lines are just us writing the things that will get us to the really juicy stuff...and the poem immediately benefits when you forgo the porch and swing open the door.

Thanks so much for reading.



Ode to the Sun

You do not shout
when clouds invade sky's valley,
you are steady
as they unsheathe their silver arrows.
Afterwards you are first
to fold us unto your arms,
your voice a choir of birdsong
and solace,
your fingers erasing every tear.


- Irene Latham

Friday, November 24, 2023

If the Sun Had Shoes

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit radiant Ruth at no such thing as a godforsaken town for Roundup. She's invited us to share something GOOD. I'm all about that. So let me tell you: this week I've had so much fun! 

Early in the week I made my first-ever chocolate angel food cake....for my sister. Delish!

I did A LOT more cooking...and then our fellas came...and we feasted! 

We also played some family games, which always generates lots of laughter.

I crafted (Christmas ornaments!)

and gardened (33 wintercreeper plants)

and wrote (a new experimental YA!)

and revised (my adult novel).

So. Much. GOOD. 

And that got me thinking about shoes. I mean, all this going and doing requires a good pair of shoes. So, with a little help from Vincent van Gogh, I wrote this poem. Thanks so much for reading!




If the Sun Had Shoes

those shoes

would hold

a glow 

in their soles


make tracks

across each

radiant day


and illuminate

every midnight

hallway.


- Irene Latham

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Last Poem (Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Special shout-out to all our poet-friends and educators at NCTE! Welcome to Roundup. Please add your link below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

First, be sure and check out the new weekly poetry column headed up by David Harrison! This edition of "Poetry from Daily Life" is written by guest-poet Ted Kooser, and it's a beauty that will remind you to play. (I needed that reminder this week!)

Second, I want to shout-out the latest from Geisel-Honor-Award-winning author/poet/friend Vikram Madan. It's a rhyming graphic novel. I know! Brilliant, right? Perfect for Dr. Seuss fans. It's called Zooni Tales, and it's sweet and fun and just perfect for beginning readers. 

Vikram takes us behind the scenes in this blog post. Rhyming AND illustrating...such talent! 

Also, here's a quick flip-through video of the book.  

So many thanks to Vikram for allowing me to share below the sea-spread, which I love! I just want to place this book in the hands of all the young readers in my life, and I hope you will, too. 💜


 

Finally: I've been thinking lately about the last poem in a collection of poems. 

Perhaps you, like me, upon picking up a collection of poems flip right to the last poem of the book. Last poems are often my favorite poems in a collection–sometimes the only poem I remember or truly care about. And, since in addition to being a reader, I am in the business of creating poetry collections (just like many of you!), that got me thinking: why? 

What should the last poem in a collection do? What purpose does it serve? What message or mood should it convey?

I want to say right up front that I'm sure there are as many answers to these questions as there are poets in the world. What we crave in collections is personal, subjective. But whatever my (and your!) personal preferences, I think we can all learn something from this discussion, yes?

So, for me, as a reader, I love last poems that are soft, tender, thoughtful. 

I like being left with a question, a wistfulness, a wonder. 

A fat moment, a place to linger.

Acceptance, hope, awe.

I don't want a conclusion, so much as a jumping-off place. 

I want a shift in my mind/heart to someplace else. 

I want a sense of mystery, yet something that also feels satisfying—like an acknowledgement of the journey we've just been on in reading the book, and some hint of what direction to go next. 

An end AND a beginning. 

What poetry collections offer this? Here are just a few from my personal shelves:


The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog: And Other How to Poems ends with "How to Pay Attention" by April Halprin Wayland.

A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye ends with "Thoughts That Came in Floating—"

Cherry Moon: Little Poems for Big Ideas Mindful of Nature by Zaro Weil ends with "twilight"

Requiem: Poems of the Terazin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko ends with these ten words, untitled, which are embedded in my memory:

Blue sky

beyond

barbed wire.


I wish I were

sky.

--

Meanwhile, during my ArtSpeak: Harlem Renaissance series, I wrote a poem titled "The Last Poem," which offer a poetic way of exploring this topic.

And now, this week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem. I struggled a bit this week...couldn't settle on an art piece, and then when I did, I wanted to poem to accomplish SO MUCH, partly because I love this piece of art so much...and also because I mean it as a love poem to you and you and YOU! The poem gets its title from good ol' Walt Whitman. Thanks so much for reading.




Because You Contain Multitudes


I find in your face

enough space for everything—


triangles of mischief

spangles of awe


curves of questions

swerves of certainty


squares of yes

flares of no


and in your eyes

a thousand round skies, all aglow.

- Irene Latham

Friday, November 10, 2023

Another Cat Haiku

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Karen Edmisten for an inspiring Roundup.

This week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT is another cat haiku! It makes a nice companion, I think, for this one, which I wrote last year (ArtSpeak:ANIMALS) as part of my Picasso min-series.


Today's cat haiku allowed me to combine the cat with the season. Yay! Truly, our cat Maggie loves watching the leaves fall. Don't we all?! Thanks for reading. See you next week, for Roundup here at Live Your Poem. 😊



cat on windowsill

sits transfixed as maple

unzips her dress


-Irene Latham

Friday, November 3, 2023

Epitaph for Light

 

River Road
Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit brilliant Buffy Silverman for Roundup.

So much on my mind today, what with it being November (!) Our fall color has peaked and now we're witnessing the great leaf-drop...we were practically wading through our backyard yesterday afternoon!

Today is also my day to post over at Smack Dab in the Middle, where you can read my (very short!) poem "Nine Ways of Looking at Revision." 


Also, here's my 3 favorite reads in 2023! (Not just released in 2023...could be any year release so long as you read it in 2023 And you know I read A LOT!). Click to find out what I loved about these books. :) And, this is super-interesting...check out Shepherd's Best Books of 2023 page. (One of my faves popped up on other people's lists!)

Another exciting thing: I joined the inaugural Alabama Master Naturalist program, so I'm excited to join others in learning more about the amazing biodiversity in my home state. :)

And THEN, a few days ago I stumbled on this post about literary epitaphs, and I've returned to it several times. 

So, trees, forests, and tombstones. For today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem, I've got a poem that combines all these things! 

I've had this "tree" piece of art in my file all year, and I each time I think of "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manly Hopkins. The word "dappled" in particular comes to mind. I got to thinking: where does Light go to die? Which sent me to listen to a favorite piece of poetry-song "Take This Waltz" by the great Leonard Cohen

Perhaps that's the First-Week-of-November-Poetry-Cocktail that inspired me to finally write about The Bodmore Oak by Claude Monet.  This painting is a rendering of an actual tree in the Forest of Fountainbleau outside Paris. At one time Fountainbleau was "the" place for landscape artists to visit and work. Let's take a field trip, shall we? We can all write poems! 

Meanwhile, here's my poem. Thanks so much for reading! p.s. just 8 more Poetry Fridays in 2023!



Epitaph for Light

Here lies Light—

beloved friend 
of painters, 
photographers, 
and poets

truth-teller
hope-giver
the original 
transformer

O Light 
of a thousand faces
we cherish your 
flash, glimmer, glitter, beam!

Rest now, 
happy and dappled
forever 
in your forest home

- Irene Latham

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Wake Up Post

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Carol at The Apples in My Orchard for Roundup.

Are you awake on this Friday morn (or whatever day/time this post finds you)? When I was a kid we would blast this song on the record player to wake our parents on Saturday mornings. It always always makes me smile!

 

But this post is about another kind of awakening.


Before I get to that, big shout-out to Melissa Stewart, who included me and other new-moon-book-creators in the celebration of her beautiful new book THANK YOU, MOON: CELEBRATING NATURE'S NIGHTLIGHT (Knopf BYR, illus. by Jessica Lanan). Here's the post, that also includes a pic of the NASA flight patch vest I created! All these books will get you feeling the moon-love, that's for sure!

Okay. Back to awakenings. You know how sometimes you have a sudden and intense revelation? A message from the universe saying "This way" or "Leave this"? We use the phrase "it was a wake-up call." We talk about how one day we "woke up." Of course all this suddenness is really an illusion for things that have been working inside us for days, years, decades. Finally, it's time to make a change.

That's what my ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem is about today. Not all goodbyes are sad. Some are long overdue. Others are joyous reminders to carpe diem.

To every thing there is a season, yes? Maybe right now it's your season to sleep, or stay, or, like Rooster, to FLY! Thanks so much for reading.



And Then, One Radiant Day, Rooster Sang Himself Awake

Goodbye barn,

goodbye hen.

See you never again!

Path is lit,

sky is alive–

time for me to fly!

- Irene Latham

Friday, October 20, 2023

Grief / Remembrance Poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Bridget (who has a new anthology brewing!) at wee words for wee ones for Roundup.

Last week's Fall Festival and gardening conference were lovely and enriching! I also really enjoyed presenting about my MOON book to readers at Homewood Public Library in conjunction with their Eclipse Party. Y'all they served Moon Pies and Sun Chips. Fun, yes? I love libraries and librarians and book people of all ages!  

I'm still working on getting all the spring bulbs planted. Plus a new friend gifted me with iris bulbs, so those need to go in the ground, too. It will all be worth it come spring!

After months of talking about rearranging and organizing the office, Paul and I finally emptied the room and have begun sorting and such. Not a fun chore, but gotta be done, right? Next up: painting our bedroom!

I've got a couple of craft-y/re-purposing projects in progress, including these little pillows I cut and created from a larger project I salvaged from a thrift store. Aren't they adorable?!


Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem features art by one of my new favorite artists Henri Le Sidaner. He must have been an introvert, because nearly all of his pieces feature places of calm and solitude. I feel quite at home in all of them, and they touch that bittersweet part of me. And he had a garden, which I'd love to visit! I wrote a poem "If You Want to Make Me Happy" last month after one of his other pieces, and I suspect I will return to him in the future. 

For now, I offer you a poem for the brokenhearted, for those who have loved and lost...or for those who are simply missing a loved one. Thanks so much for reading!


I Remember You in Autumn

I remember you in the hush of early morning
beside a house with a thousand windows
on a lonely street dotted with damp leaves
where the whole world shimmers in a puddle
lit by the glow of the brokenhearted
and for a breath you are here,
you are here

- Irene Latham

Friday, October 13, 2023

Sewing as a Metaphor

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit for Heidi at my juicy little universe for Roundup.

October is turning out to be round and full as the O that begins its name! 

This past week has included many of my most favorite things, and the fun is not over yet: this afternoon I'll be presenting at Homewood Library about my MOON book to help celebrate tomorrow's eclipse...and then it's Fall Festival time! This is an annual tradition in my community, and this year I'm in charge of the Silent Auction while Paul is in charge of grilling 400 hot dogs. Fun!

Today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem features another favorite thing of mine: sewing! 

While I am not the Embroidery Queen like others among us (Mary Lee!), I do love stitching, especially quilting...and I learned from my mother, who is quite an amazing seamstress. So of course I was smitten by this piece of art. 

I also adore sewing as a metaphor, and this poem gave me a chance to learn more about the traditional embroidery stitches and knots. AND...following a trend in my writing of late, this poem is ala Emily Dickinson: title-less. Sometimes a title is an essential tool, and sometimes a poet just wants to jump right in! 

Thanks so much for reading, and may your October be plump with all the things you love best!




mother and daughter

make a French knot

as sun puts in a satin stitch—

another embroidery morning

- Irene Latham

Friday, October 6, 2023

Love Poem with Snow and Constellations

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit for Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme for Roundup.

Don't you love October? It's my favorite time of year. That's why I haven't been at my desk much this week...too many fun things to do outside! And chores, too...every gardener knows fall is the busiest season in the garden. I'm doing a little something out there every day, all to help create the most beautiful spring ever. Gotta love the faith of a gardener!

Speaking of faith...over at Smack Dab, I posted a few words For the Discouraged Writer.  Hope they find you just when you need them.

Oh, and you'll love this! The publisher of my MOON book is having a Fall Book Sale. Buy any 4 of their books, and get 4 free...+ free shipping! Y'all there are some gorgeous books over there, including some poetry titles, like WITNESS TREES by Ryan G. Van Cleave. Don't miss this opportunity to get a jump on your holiday shopping!


In my reading life, I am focusing on SHORT novels. After writing a humdinger that's hovering around 100k words despite my repeated efforts to shorten, I on a quest to make my wip lean and mean! Today's read is The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. Imagine the Queen becomes a reader...it's a love poem to books and readers, and funny to boot! It includes all the arguments people have AGAINST reading, which always come as something of shock to me. How could reading be a bad thing? 

However, I do recall one of my siblings talking about our father who had a book-a-day habit his entire life...the complaint was that my father spent all his time in imaginary worlds and not in the real world/the present/engaged with his family. Hmmm....

Moving on to today's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem! As much as I adore fall, this poem jumps ahead—to winter! I can't explain it, and I won't try. The poem wants to be what the poem wants to be, yes?

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you are enjoying the marvels of October, as I am. xo




Love Poem with Snow & Constellations


Walk with me

across a field of light


on our tongues

we'll catch sparks


o sizzling starflakes!


we'll toss starballs

and kindle star angels


so radiant

even our boots will glow


- Irene Latham

Friday, September 29, 2023

Your Heart is a House poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit delicious Jama's Alphabet Soup for Roundup.


I've been reading Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages edited by Chris McCabe.

What important work, to preserve poems in disappearing languages! I'm learning so much. Also: do you know the middle grade verse novel


The Lost Language by Claudia Mills? It's pretty darn wonderful and would make a grand companion to this collection!

I offer you two excerpts that might have been in my subconscious mind when I was crafting this week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem.

My heart by Anjela Duval, trs. by Iwan Couee (Breton: The Bretons are a people of Celtic origin who are located in the region of Brittany in the westernmost part of France. Breton is the only Celtic language spoken on the European mainland and has been historically repressed by the French.)


My heart is a graveyard,

Enclosing many and many a tomb,

Everyday there is a novel one,

The tombs of parents and friends,

The tombs of the companions I loved so much.

My heart is a graveyard,

...My heart is a sanctuary,

That welcomes all the ones I love.


excerpt from "I Love This House" by Meg Bateman (Scottish Gaelic)

With the child asleep

I wander from room to room,

bare feet on bare floorboards,

seeking the ghosts

who left this legacy of calm,

whose breath appears in the long grass

as blue and purple flowers

----

Now for m ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem! It's about moving, which figures, because I've moved many, many times in my life. And I guess I have a lot to say about that experience... because I wrote many, many drafts related to this art, moving my poem in many, many directions! I finally settled on sharing this version because I love a title that is a metaphor. Thank you so much for reading!



your heart is a house


each time you

pack up the boxes

haul out the furniture

empty the trash

what's left

is a room flush

with light


- Irene Latham

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