Friday, April 9, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem "if god was a season"

 

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

This week I zoomed with 4th graders at the International School in Bangkok. It's a 12 hour difference, so I presented at 9:30 pm my time to be in their 9:30 am classrooms. What a fabulous experience! I'll be reading and responding to these students' biography writing over the next few weeks.

I also presented with my editor Karen Boss to SLJ folks about D-39: A Robodog's Journey... which comes out next month! So I've been working on All the Things that go along with a book's release. Exciting!

I've got another poetry book to give away this week:


You may know Maggie Smith from her viral poem "Good Bones." Learn more about this book here. Simply leave a comment, and our cat Maggie (!) will select a winner on Sunday!

This week's ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem comes from a prompt that's been haunting me for some weeks now... and then I was perusing my Spring file of art... and voila! I found a match! I decided to use the prompt with this piece of art in mind. Thank you so much for reading.



if god was a season, it would be spring

for we are made
of riotous bouquets
and glossy green
dreams.

yes, rooted
        by fear
yet still we stretch
toward something
brighter.

god fills our eyes
nose   mouth   ears,
calls us to worship
meadow
             garden,
                          ditch—

each new shoot
and bloom
showing us growth
is beautiful,
and beauty is brave.

- Irene Latham

(The prompt was: if god was a season.)

Monday, April 5, 2021

Progressive Poem is Here!

 

So many thanks to Margaret for coordinating us in this annual tradition! I love how full of surprises this collaborative poem is... and I'm delighted to be a part of it.

Thank you, Kat, for setting us on a kindness journey... and to those poets before me for offering such lovely choices. We're off to a grand start.

Donna scurried in yesterday afternoon with this choice for me:


 
Let me cleanse the world like a rising tide

or
 
As a force of nature, I'll be undenied


And because Donna IS a force of nature, here we are:

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.
I'll spread my joy both far and wide,
As a force of nature I'll be undenied.


I"m thinking we should move into some specifics, yes? Dear Jan, now it's up to you to choose:

See that child sharing grapes with a friend?

OR

Words like, "how can I help?" will bloom in the street.


(Jan,  I tried to keep the ending words rhyme-friendly!) Whee! Be sure and follow Kindness along by visiting these inspiring blogs:

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers

2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

Friday, April 2, 2021

For Poets, Divers and Revisers

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for a special First Friday of National Poetry Month Roundup.

I kind of can't believe it's April! Which means next month it's May... and Writer's Loft is hosting me for a webinar entitled Diving into the Wreck: How to Revise Poetry

(In case you can't read that small print, here's what it says: Most of us have draft-y poems that we're certain contain some bit of treasure, but it's still at least partly buried in the muck. This interactive poetry revision webinar with award-winning author/editor Irene Latham provides a perfect opportunity to plunder what's there, shine it up, and showcase the hidden jewels. The first part of the webinar will provide general revision tactics that teach you how to dig deeper into your poems and bring beauty to the surface. The second half will be modeled after a "first pages" session for fiction writers; participants will submit one page of their poems in advance and Irene will choose a few to critique during the webinar.)

Please sign up to learn revision strategies that I use every day... and I'll also be using attendees' poems to demonstrate on-the-spot how to use these techniques! It's going to be invigorating, as any rescue dive should be. :) Here's a Facebook event link, too.

And... because it's National Poetry Month, and I live in a small house already stacked with books, I'll be giving away poetry books each Friday! Today's offering: the beautiful verse novel LAND OF THE CRANES by Aida Salazar.


Simply leave a comment, and our cat Maggie will choose a winner on Sunday. Good luck!

This week's ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS continues our romp into spring... and it's a piece from Portland Art Museum. Thank you for reading!



Spring Forward

If you bend with the river
between stands of bamboo

if you let yourself trickle
          flow

meander
                        move—

you'll land in a cradle
of mountains and sky,

where clouds
billow a bracing lullaby.

Awake!
Let your thoughts quiver!

Dreams will unfurl
if you bend with the river.

- Irene Latham

Friday, March 26, 2021

Early Spring Rispetto

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Susan at Soul Blossom Living for Roundup.


I've been away from my desk this week, spending time with my mother. But I do have two newsy bits to share—D-39: A Robodog's Journey got its first review from Kirkus, and it's a good one! Here's an excerpt: 

"Latham uses an invented lexicon of delightfully creative and expressive hybrid words—jinglesnapboomblastsitchglitchy—to tell this... girl-meets-dog story of hope, perseverance, and survival."


And Miss Fancy is in the news! Yay for this new discovery. I look forward to being part of these celebrations!

 Yes, of course I wrote a new ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem... the first "spring" poem of the year. Yay! Since it's a new season, I decided to try a new-to-me poetry form. Ever heard of a rispetto? 

1. Rispetto is a short poetic form of Italian origin comprising of 11 syllables per line. 

2. It has 8 lines. 

3. Rispetto uses the ababccdd rhyme scheme.

Fun! I hope you'll try it. Meanwhile, here's mine, after work by new-to-me Aussie artist Elioth Gruner. Thank you for reading!


Early Spring Rispetto


Again frost blankets greening pasture
as cows wait for the warm-faced farmer.
Yesterday it seemed sun climbed faster,
but today shadows wear cold armor.

Cows pace alongside familiar fence—
O, Spring! That season of wild suspense!
Whether sun or rain or heat or breeze,
when the farmer comes, cows low, Yes, please!

- Irene Latham

Friday, March 19, 2021

Experience WILD PEACE with Il Sung Na... and a Cover Reveal!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Linda at TeacherDance for Roundup. You can find my latest ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem "Saying Goodbye to Winter" here.

Today I am happy to welcome children's book illustrator Il Sung Na to talk about our new book WILD PEACE, which will be released Oct. 18 by Roaring Brook Press. 

WILD PEACE was inspired by a poem: "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry, and the text is a long poem that celebrates peace, and explores what wild animals can teach us about peace.

To celebrate the cover reveal (below! keep reading!), I invited Il Sung to respond to a few prompts, specifically about WILD PEACE. 

But before we get to that, I have to share something else about Il Sung: when I contact him with my request to purchase a piece of the original art, Il Sung let me know that the work was created digitally, so there was no original art, per say. Instead he offered to send me a print of my requested spread... which was the "rabbit" spread, since we call our home the Happy Rabbit Hideaway! Only I didn't tell Il Sung that. So imagine my surprise and delight when along with the rabbit spread, he included a small original piece... of a RABBIT!! Oh, the serendipity! And the kindness of one Il Sung Na. Thank you thank you thank you!

what I got in the mail!

And now, please join me in welcoming Il Sung to Live Your Poem!

IL: What was the delicious/best/most enjoyable thing about working on WILD PEACE?

ISN: My all time favorite thing about working on this book and other books is always coloring. When I do colors, I don’t have to worry about composition and layout anymore but just enjoying.

Sometimes it takes a while to find the right colors to convey the mood, sometimes it comes once.

I typically have some color palettes in mind but it can change as I adding colors.


working on endpaper

IL: What was the most difficult thing about working on WILD PEACE?

ISN: The most difficult part was thumbnail sketches, the first idea sketches for the story. When I first got the manuscript and read it multiple times, I had two different ideas for images. The first idea was the girl finds a butterfly and follows, and steps into a wall where she drew some greens. Then all her journey starts in her imagination.

very first thumbnail sketches that the girl
goes through a wall using the gutter

The second idea was more literal. The girl begins her journey away from all noises that other kids make by simply walk out to a door.

This first one's more imaginative, and I wasn’t sure whether the publisher would agree with this concept. But luckily they did!

revised sketches

more revisions


final color spread


I wanted to bring the girl back to the real world somehow and it was a challenge for me to figure out. As I used a butterfly (red) to lead her to a forest, I used a fox (red) to be the one who guides her to come back home. I tried to show a fox stuffed toy as well as a fox drawing on her sketchpad in the beginning of the story, so all visual story connects seamlessly. 

My favorite spread is the one which all three visual elements, the girl, a butterfly and a fox, meet in one place. [below]

Il Sung's favorite spread!

IL: What was something unexpected/fresh (or something that you learned) while working on WILD PEACE?

ISN: It is the story itself. Every project/book I have worked on brings new/unexpected/fresh learning.

There are always struggles and Eureka moments. Understanding the main character’s emotions and finding visual flows is a part of struggles. Each book has a different approach and different struggles.

This book was no different. It was a new challenge from the time I received the manuscript. I wanted to understand this girl’s emotion and how it changes throughout the story. I wanted to capture the moment to convey the right mood. But also I wanted to find the right visual language to show it.

I typically do cover sketches in the end after all inside spreads are done—because I want to know and understand the story more before I work on cover ideas.


cover sketch ideas


revised cover sketch

... and drumroll please...... here's the final cover image:



Aside from Irene: Isn't it dreamy?!!

IL: Where do you find peace?

ISN: There are a few things I do. 

Pippi!

ONE: I find peace while I drink a GOOD hot chocolate or eat GOOD dark chocolate. I have found one place in London where they make REAL hot chocolate. Back when I lived there. I used to visit quite often. (It is a loooooong time ago already!) 

TWO: Being alone in my studio and not working on any books but just doodling. This makes me feel calm and forget about other things.

THREE: Short walk with my wife and Pippi (a little dog, 2yrs old).


IL: Thank you, Il Sung! And thank you, readers, for celebrating WILD PEACE with us. 


Pippi says, "Goodbye! Hope your
day is as happy as mine!"



Thursday, March 18, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem "Saying Goodbye to Winter

 

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS! (Posting early because I have a special guest coming to the blog tomorrow!) 

A special welcome to  Mrs. Hahn and students!!! Did you write "Sleigh Ride" poems? I hope so!!

Today I'm excited to share with you my last winter poem of this series... until winter returns in December. :) 

Next week I'll be back with my first Spring poem of the season! And so...





Saying Goodbye to Winter

As sleigh crests
one last hill

eager sun
goldens the snow,

remembering.
We grin

into the wind
as bells sing

and horses keep
the season's

one true rhythm:
let go  let go  let go

- Irene Latham

Friday, March 12, 2021

"Why River Smiles in Winter" poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Heidi at my juicy little universe for Roundup. I'm excited to be presenting this weekend as part of Michigan Reading Association's annual conference and look forward to sharing about the impact of nature on my life, and about dog stories! 

I've been reading a lot of marvelous middle grade novels lately: Fly Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly, Alone by Megan E. Freeman, The Sea in Winter by Christine Day, The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm, Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt, and Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen.

I am a huge fan of Gary Paulsen's books, and my $2 book review (10 cents per word!) is this: Memoir about finding solace in the woods and a future in books despite a heartbreaking childhood punctuated by beautiful moments.

Unlike most first-person memoirs, this one is told in the 3rd person, about "the boy" who is seldom named—which creates an interesting distance. I realized I'd never before heard Gary's actual voice (only in my head) when I listened to The Yarn podcast featuring Gary. Colby Sharp did such a great job with this interview just hanging back and letting Gary shower us with wisdom... beautiful, and it made me misty-eyed more than once!

Today's ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS offering has me a little giddy, because we're getting so close to spring! Just one more winter poem to go!



Why River Smiles in Winter

snow offers itself
equally

to leaf and limb,
post and rail.

It blows kisses
to each and every
blade of grass.

Whether it's bound
to pile up
and stay a while

or get gulped
by a hungry current

snow is fair.

- Irene Latham

Friday, March 5, 2021

A Winter Snow Haiku Poem Just for You

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit for Kat's Whiskers for an Aussie Roundup.

One fallout from the pandemic has been book reviews trickling in much much later than before. This week—five months after its release—THIS POEM IS A NEST received a starred review from Booklist! I'm delighted, of course. Anytime is a great time to get a starred review!

Earlier this week I wrote on the topic of "gratitude" at Smack Dab in the Middle.

In other news, I volunteered to help my women's group publish a cookbook. (!) And I (with some help from son Eric) put plants in the ground this week... a rhododendron, some drift roses, and a bunch of iris bulbs. Exciting!

And yet... it's still winter. So today I have another snow poem for you. It was inspired by one of my favorite haiku (below!), which sets you up for one thing in the first two lines, and then really surprises you in the last line... the "turn," for which traditional haiku is known (and what makes it so incredibly challenging to pull off)!

The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children

- Issa, translated by Robert Haas

Those who know me or have heard me speak about writing poetry know that I adore surprises in poetry! So... I hope my haiku effort below surprises you. Let me know. Thanks for reading!



first snowfall
and the village is bundled
in wonder

- Irene Latham

p.s. I tried so hard to use my 2021 OLW "bewilderment," which for me means "awe" and "wonder," but "wonder" seemed to work best. :)

Friday, February 26, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS "Snow Song" poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Karen Edmisten for Roundup. I'm away from my desk, having some birthday adventures... and possibly a new First to add to my 50 Firsts!

In case you missed it, here's my homemade-by-me everything-for-free book trailer for D-39: A ROBODOG'S JOURNEY! This was my first time to make a book trailer. I hope you like it! And I hope it makes you want to read the book. :)


My poem today uses rhyme and musical language to talk about snow. (Just 3 more weeks of winter poems. I am SO READY for spring!) Thank you so much for reading. 

Snow Song


when adagio
of snow

serenades
the meadow

partridges
forgo

grass-bowl
hollows

to flush
         hope

from pianissimo
crop-rows

- Irene Latham

Friday, February 19, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS "February" poem

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


First a special announcement for my Alabama friends: Karim and I will be signing THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO this Sunday at Little Professor Books in Homewood, 2-4 pm. Socially distanced and masked, of course... I'll be the one in the cat mask. :)

Today's Poetry Friday offering has a few connections I'd like to share. 

1. Unlike most of the world, I love February! I love it because it's short, and I love it because it's my birthday month. (Happy Birthday to my fellow February birthday Poetry Friday friends, of which I know there are quite a few: Ruth, Heidi, Laura, Kat, Tabatha!!!)

2. I wrote this one in a new-to-me form called a "viator." It has a refrain that appears in a particular spot in each stanza, and I kind of love it! You can learn more about the viator here. 

3. This piece of art by Vincent van Gogh is his "cover" of another artist's painting. What a great reminder that ALL artists imitate as they are learning!

4. You may recognize the words "bleak midwinter." They appear "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Christina Rossetti. Also, Thomas Shelby and his compatriots repeat these words whenever they are facing death. (If you don't know who Thomas Shelby is, you should! Check out Peaky Blinders.)

5. One article I read said the colors of this painting have faded over time, so that now the ravens stand out more than they originally did... adding to the bleakness that I chose to write about. Perhaps my poem would have gone in a different direction were I writing it upon Vincent first completing it?

And now, the poem! Thanks so much for reading.


February

On bleak midwinter mornings
birds forage forgotten fields.
They dust and flutter,
dig and carry.

For birds, joy unfolds
on bleak midwinter mornings.
At this peaceful feast,
all are welcome.

Frost cannot keep
their chorus from rising
on bleak midwinter mornings.
Wings, too, symphony the sky.

Stop your stalling,
the birds call.
Marry yourself to fortune
on bleak midwinter mornings.

- Irene Latham

Friday, February 12, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem "Boating in Winter"

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Molly at Nix the comfort zone for Roundup.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a bit weary of winter. This week's poem shows that. Thanks so much for reading.


Boating in Winter

oars stir
             icy
unwelcoming
     water

wind ruffles
             faces
into puckers
     and lines

even sun's
             kiss
     turns cold

- Irene Latham

Friday, February 5, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS "Digging in Winter" poem

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

It's been a wintry week, hasn't it? I feel like I've been digging myself out of piles of one kind or another... and so this poem! Thank you for reading.



Digging in Winter

sky bends
over backs
that have made
               friends
with winter

snow grips
              fingers
as hoe's resolve
crumbles

song stirs
potatoes
             awake

- Irene Latham

Friday, January 29, 2021

"how to dress in winter" poem... and Caldecott-love!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Jan at bookseedstudio for a song-full Roundup!

What a week! I've been floating ever since I got the call Sunday night about THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO being named a Caldecott Honor Book! So proud and happy for illustrator Yuko Shimizu... Karim Shamsi-Basha and I are simply delighted about this recognition and hope it means many more children will learn about the Alaa's (the Cat Man) good works. Such an inspiring story! Thanks to all who have sent me notes—it has meant so much to share this with all of you. Mwah! 

And for those who have asked, "What does it feel like for one of your books to win a major award?" My short answer is: IT IS SO MUCH FUN! :) :) :)

My ArtSpeak: Four Seasons poem today is inspired in part by a comment from Laura PS, who mentioned taking walks during winter being kind of a hassle, because you have to put on so many clothes!

Before I get to the poem, I want to address a question from Heidi about how I decide what to publish here on ye ol' blog, and where these poems may eventually land. 

Full disclosure: it is a dream of mine to publish a collection of art poems... but so far I have not been able to find a publisher willing to do so! Maybe someday! 

Meanwhile, I love that this collection (now at over 200 poems) lives online and is accessible to all readers for FREE. It's allowed me to connect with students and to teach art-poem workshops (which I LOVE to do) even without a book! In many ways, it's BETTER than a book, because it is available to all. 

Anyhow, I write these poems with no restraint and always always with great care, putting forth my best work at the time. IF a publisher someday wants to publish some poems (or if I decide to submit a group of them as a manuscript), I can always remove those individual poems from the blog and padlet. (Some poems I have revised significantly, and they are included in other manuscripts... but the revisions are such that they are two different poems now, so no need to remove those poems from my online collections.)

I hope that makes sense! Thank you,  Heidi, for the question. 

And now, this week's poem. Thank you for reading!


how to dress in winter

think
red velvet
                    cake
in reverse—

layers of sweet
underthings
topped

with rich, dense
cake
            velvet red

- Irene Latham


Friday, January 22, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS "Walking in Winter" poem

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

After a busy start to 2021, finally, some space to breathe this week! 

I don't know about you, but this time of year I get a little clutter-crazy... as in I WANT TO CLEAN EVERYTHING OUT. So I've been moving files from my studio filing cabinet to the attic; sorting through the closet and discarding things I never wear; and throwing away the expired food in my pantry. 

I also LOVE to rearrange furniture and came thisclose to moving our piano from my studio to the family room—and then changed my mind. I called the piano tuner, and that's that. As soon as he comes, I am for sure not moving it. (It belongs in my studio. Truly.)

And, even in Alabama, it's still winter... here's my latest ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS offering. Thank you for reading!



Walking in Winter

Let's go walking
in the snow, in the snow—
let's discover where the deer go.

As our boots squeak
and our cheeks turn pink—
we'll soon forget about the cold
as the snowswept woods unfold.

Let's go walking
in the snow, in the snow—
let's listen for the bird-show.

Hear that song, soft and clear,
full of love for this time of year—
for snow so wet and deep
and some seeds buried beneath the heap?

Let's go walking
in the snow, in the snow—
our footsteps mapping happiness
                                     wherever we go.

- Irene Latham


Friday, January 15, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS "When Snow" poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for Roundup (where she's got more nestlings. Yay!).

It's been a catch-up kind of week for me, after the long vacation from the week before. I still don't feel all the way caught up, but there is satisfaction in checking more than half the things off the to-do list!

I'm excited to share with you today another winter snow poem—especially as parts of Alabama got snow this week. Here at the lake we got a new-to-me phenomenon: frozen fog. It looked like the trees were cast in suspended snow. Beautiful! Thank you for reading.



When Snow

when twilight falls
snow calls—

when child wiggles
snow giggles

when coat twirls
snow whirls

when horse prances
snow dances

when fire flurries
snow scurries

when moon shines
snow whines
                     come back

-Irene Latham

Friday, January 8, 2021

ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS "One for Joy" winter poem


ceiling display at
Rooster in the Garden
Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Sylvia at Poetry for Children for her annual Sneak Peek of Children's Poetry books (one of my favorite posts of the year!)... and Roundup!

We've been enjoying the beach this week in Ft. Pierce, FL... and Heathcote Botanical Gardens and A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery and seafood and the beach... nice to escape the real world for a while. (Actually we've decided this IS the real world, and all that other madness is what we'll happily leave behind!)

In D-39: A ROBODOG'S JOURNEY news, I wrote a post over at Smack Dab in the Middle about my D-39 dystopia-robo-journey-hope playlist. So fun to pair story and music... I hope you'll check it out.

And you've got to read the beautiful, creative nests and nestlings written by these marvelous poets:

Margaret Simon: Reflections on the Teche
Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise
Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core
Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

What a fun, inspiring surprise! You poets make me want to write and create and love the world... thank you.

Today's ArtSpeak poem is inspired by Monet's magpie, and a little rhyme you have heard about magpies that begins "One for sorrow..." Well, I wanted to turn that upside down. Thank you so much for reading!

One for Joy

solitary magpie
dressed in shiny finery

makes a bride of winter—

each morning
renewing its vow

to love this decadent
wedding-cake world

- Irene Latham

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Word, New Season, New Year— and a Winter Love Poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Ruth at there is no such thing as a godforsaken town for Roundup.

How wonderful to find ourselves entering this brand-new year! I'm excited to share with you my 2021 One Little Word:

I've selected this word because I can easily get caught up in cleverness, which keeps me in my head, when the way I want to experience the world is through my senses, fully engaged in the awe and mystery each moment offers... (reminds me of a quote I love: "You're either in your life or in your head." You can't be in both at the same time!)

Plus I'm turning 50 this year, and that seems like a good time to question everything. Simply selecting this word feels like spiritual growth for me — it's not neatly packaged like some of my other One Little Words... I look forward to discovering all it will come to mean in my life during the coming months.

...and I have a new ArtSpeak theme, too! While I enjoyed my "red" color study very much, I wanted something a bit more structured this year, which brought me to this:

So I'll be exploring all four seasons in art — as I experience the season we're in. I'm excited, and also aware that this may present a grand challenge... I mean, how many fresh and original poems can one write about snow? Eep! This practice pushes and grows me every year, and I expect this year especially so. We shall see... 

You can read the poems here each Friday and also at my new ARTSPEAK: Four Seasons padlet gallery.

Today's poem is a love poem, and a dream poem, and a poem more for adults. Pink evening (or morning) light on snow is especially dreamy, isn't it?


A Dream of Winter

up the curved path
between steadfast trees

yellow house holds
a dazzle of winters

we fold ourselves
into sinking pink light
into each other

at first cold cool
soon warm warm
                          hot

as the windows
swallow January's
shy sun

and winter
strips us bare
of all the glittering
meaningless things

and brings us
back to the miracle
of drift
         flurry
                        melt

- Irene Latham

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Merry Poetry Friday (Roundup is Here!)

 For my last ArtSpeak: RED poem of 2020—and for a Poetry Friday that falls on Christmas— I thought it would be fun to find a piece of Christmas art. 

... but then Richard Jones, who has been my muse in these last months of RED, posted a "Christmas Bird." How could I not write about it? 


How to Make Merry

just for today
believe
in elves and fairies

eat too many
cherries

bury your
worries,
marry joy

sing!
(with or without
canaries)

tarry—
whether the day
ferries clouds
                or flowers

let love carry you
across all hours

- Irene Latham

----

Merry Christmas, and Happy Poetry Friday! Please leave your link below... see you in 2021!!


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Friday, December 18, 2020

ArtSpeak: RED poem "Because Every Day is a Red-Letter Day"

 


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

Also, please see my "Friend Friday" guest post over at Kirby Larson's blog, about friends and friendship poems from THIS POEM IS A NEST.

My desk has been stacked this week, as editors close up shop before the holidays, so I will keep most post here short. 

I've been thinking about the days we celebrate, and how the work of a poet is to be mindful of the small ordinary miracles, too... and also about how challenging the holidays can be for many of us. What emerged is this poem! 

Another shout-out to Richard Jones for sharing his art and welcoming these poems... just  one more ArtSpeak: RED poem to write, and I will post it here next week when I host a Very Merry Poetry Friday Christmas Roundup. :) Thank you for reading!


Because Every Day is a Red-Letter Day


wake up
                   wake up


a new day is here


time to wiggle  wander
                   wonder  wag

chew through the blues

new day
                    new you

- Irene Latham

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Muse in December

 


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

Update: The Artist's Way Jan-March 2021 group has two slots left. If you're interested, please leave a comment, and I will send you the information. 

Wanted to share a little December from THIS POEM IS A NEST, art by Johanna Wright:


Isn't that sweet? :) 

And... here is a post I wrote over at Smack Dab in the Middle, about something I do every December.

I'm feeling a bit blue about my ArtSpeak: RED year coming to a close... I've enjoyed the energy of this color-themed-art-year so very much... and the slew of Richard Jones-inspired poems here at the end has been a lovely surprise! Today I've got a short one for all of us who enjoy creating. Thank you for reading. xo