Friday, December 2, 2016

Celebrating THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY compiled by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Please visit beautiful Bridget at wee words for wee ones for Roundup.

Michelle is such a gift to this world, isn't she? And this book is, too. I loved reading these 75 poems from so many poets (55!) I've come to love in our Poetry Friday community, and just yesterday one of the challenges (David Elliott's letter poems) gave me some direction for a poem-in-progress. What a fun, beautiful and useful ditty of a book! So I asked Michelle to stop by and respond to a few prompts. Here's Michelle:

The Difficult: Leaving out some really excellent poems. While I had a terrific ditty committee to help narrow down the choices, sometimes it came down to which poems more closely reflected the challenge, conformed to a particular format, or even fit best on the page. I also felt strongly that I wanted to reflect the breadth of the DMC community, so no one, including myself, had their work appear in more than three challenges.

The Delicious: Oh my, it all feels pretty delicious right now! But I'd have to say the most delicious is that I never felt alone in this undertaking. (I'm quite sure it wouldn't have happened otherwise!) I discovered that the same community that generously contributes all these wonderful poems month after month, is also generous with their time, knowledge, and, in some cases, hand-holding. All I needed to do was ask. I'm especially grateful to Renée LaTulippe for being my sounding board and proofreader throughout the process and to Michelle Kogan for the gorgeous cover.

The Unexpected: A few squiggles can wreak havoc at crunch time! Because I'd never self-published before, I knew the learning curve would be steep. I did my reading, asked for help when needed, and allowed enough time for each step in the process. It all went smoothly until I submitted the book at the beginning of November and was informed that nearly all the decorative borders I had chosen were not high enough resolution. Really??? I spent an inordinate amount of time choosing those squiggles, and higher resolution versions were not to be found. I had put far too much work into this book to have it be marred by fuzzy lines, so that's when the panic set in. You can thank Carrie Clickard for those nice crisp lines, but don't ask me how she pulled it off!
And now for four of my favorite poems included in the book. Just like Michelle, it's difficult to select. There's always some other poem calling... but these are the ones that are whispering sweet somethings to me today. Enjoy!

Today's Piggies

This little piggy had an iPad
This little piggy Skyped home.
This little piggy watched YouTube.
This little piggy ran Chrome.
This little piggy went...
tweet, tweet, tweet,
all the way home!

- Buffy Silverman, based on the traditional nursery rhyme
(I know I am not the only one giggling... what a timely and entertaining poem!)

Dr. Plover, DDS

open wide:
it's checkup time!
I'll come inside
to see if you have
tooth decay --
bits of flesh
I'll eat away.
It seems you haven't 
flossed of late.
that's good news --
you're doing great!
Okay, my friend,
they're good to crunch.
See you next time --
thanks for lunch!

(Don't you love how imaginative and fun this one is?! I want to see it paired with an illustration... and it reminds me of my own "Oxpecker Cleaning Service" -- another cleaner-upper bird!)


Lemon is a sunny yellow word.
It speaks of summer,
days sliced thin and swirled
with sugar nights.
I halve one,
a stinging spray,
raise the rind to my lips
for a sour-pucker kiss,
my hands perfumed with happiness.

(I want to kiss this summer-sugar sour-pucker happy-making poem! Love the way it tastes in my mouth.)


Scissors is a sharp word,
a thin word, a steel word,
an I-can-hear-it-click word,
a catching-the-light word,
a see-it-flash word, a fast word,
cutting here, clipping there,
a round-metal-eyes word,
a long-pointed nose word.
It sews as it goes,
and it sings its own name:

(I love all those dashed-together words, and yes! It sings its own name, doesn't it?)

Thanks and congratulations to everyone who's a part of this lovely collection!


  1. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy and reading through. Thanks for having Michelle on to share about the process.

  2. I ordered my copy and will let someone give it to me for Christmas this year. What fun I'll have reading these poems from poets that I know. I love this line from "Lemon" - 'my hands perfumed with happiness.' And I'll be trying out "Today's Piggies" with Teddy on his next visit to Grandma's house.

  3. Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog, Irene, and for sharing some of your favorite poems from the anthology. And here's a special big toothy-grin T-H-A-N-K-S for being the one to inspire "Dr. Plover, DDS" with your Poem of Address challenge! :D

  4. I love the sample poems--thank you! I can't wait to read the rest. Yes, a lovely gift to all of us!

  5. Bought copies for family. It is so well done, Michelle. Congrats.

  6. Nice interview! Michelle really had a lot of work ahead of her when she decided to do this...but she pulled it off wonderfully. Looking forward to getting my hard copy!

  7. I remember some of these, and love the others, too, Irene. What a lovely gift this is to all of us. Highlighting and celebrating Michelle's work makes a wonderful post today. Thanks very much.

  8. My copy of the BEST OF TLD is whisking toward my home as I type this - yay Cyber Monday! I love the style of your interview, Irene, and Michelle's insightful answers. The four poems you chose "whispered sweet somethings" to me too. =)

  9. Aw shucks, Irene...thanks for including my poem here. And thanks to you and Michelle for a wonderful interview. I agree--Michelle is a gift to the poetry world.

  10. I can't wait to get my copy. I am so excited about being a part of this project. You are right, Michelle is a gift to us all.

  11. Oh my goodness, thank you all for these comments. You're too kind!

  12. I just got my copy and can't wait to dig in. I also can't wait for another MHB anthology!!

  13. I got my copy, and I am holding off reading it because once I've read it, I will be done. It's like the biggest package under the tree, and I just want to look forward to it for a while longer. I like these ones you've chosen very much. I'm happy to be in such outstanding company.

  14. What a great interview. I am looking forward to getting mine. I think putting the anthology together could be a daunting task.

  15. Appreciations for this chat with Michelle.
    I haven't read this lively collection but it is on my To Get list.
    And I like every poem you selected, Irene.
    I am guessing I'd like each in this collection.
    Brava to the anthologist & to the contributors :)

  16. Lemon is my favourite! Thanks for sharing - particularly love the difficult, the delicious, and the unexpected bits. How about the delightful??? :)

  17. Hooray for my dear friend, Michelle, and for her wonderful anthology -- the first of many, I hope! She did an outstanding job, but I expected nothing less. What a dynamo! And thank you for including my poem here, Irene. I'm honored! <3

  18. Just catching up after a busy season...and delighted you celebrated this fun anthology on your site. Some really great poems in a lovely and thoughtfully laid out volume. Thanks.

  19. What a lovely review and feature Irene! I always enjoy hearing more about the process. A belated thanks for featuring Michelle and the poetry anthology!


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