Thursday, April 6, 2017

Welcome to Poetry Friday Roundup!

Hello! I'm so glad you're here!

Wow, so much goodness going on this National Poetry Month, isn't there? I am loving all the crazy poem-making going on will everyone! If you haven't already, be sure to visit Jama's Alphabet Soup for a complete listing. I do love April... though with travel this week, and crazy weather, and other spring madness, I am also feeling a bit overwhelmed. I hope to take things a bit slower this weekend. How are all of you holding up?

Before we get to the Roundup: how 'bout our Progressive Poem?! Today is my day!!!

Big thanks to all our contributing poets so far. I am loving all the energetic words and sounds. I also love the medieval theme that has emerged -- I have long been a fan of King Arthur stories. Is there any better musical than CAMELOT? And what about DON QUIXOTE? And THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley (one of my most favorite books when I was a teen!)? So I knew I wanted to keep that going. And I also thought it was time to bring the poem back to our speaker, to set his/her feet in motion. And so, without further adieu........

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour

Readers, I opted to keep going with the non-US spelling for "armour" to match Kat's "vapour." It seems to fit, given the medieval imagery we've got so far! Also, I did a little armor research here as I wrote my line. Take it away, Mary Lee!

Okay, so here it is, day 7 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
5. "Warning" after the bull by Lee Jung Seob
4. "I am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

That's 3 women, 1 man, 1 child, and 1 animal. So today I've selected another child. Here's what she would like you to know:
Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait
- after “Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl)” by Frida Kahlo

Mama says I must siéntate tranquilo
sit still, be quiet.

But I want to know everything:
how the brush knows where to go,

how much paint to leave on the bristles,
what kind of strokes can smooth my tangled hair.

I want a dress of lace and polkadots,
not the boring white one I'm actually wearing,

though I'd like to keep the safety pin,
which Mama says

is God's one eye always watching –
guarding my corazón from harm.

- Irene Latham
Readers, I have long been a fan of Frida Kahlo. This painting came early in her career -- you can learn more about it here.  It seems a lot to ask of a child, to sit for a portrait! Which is why, I guess, many portrait artists these days work from photographs. I enjoyed imagining Virginia's thoughts, and I knew I wanted to include some Spanish. I used Google to help me with the translation. I hope it's correct! Also, you may notice that oh-so-familiar mother-daughter theme! What a rich, complicated, beautiful relationship. I don't think I will ever grow tired of exploring it in my writing.

And now, the reason you're here: ROUNDUP! Please leave your link below!


  1. So much to enjoy in your host-post, Irene. The wordplay in this year's progressive poem is impressive. I'm enjoying watching it develop.

    And this persona/ekphrastic poem. Wow! Zen Pencils just released a short comic about Frida's life. Take a look:

  2. Thank you for hosting, Irene! I LOVE that the narrator is shimmying OUT of armour and spurs rather than into it. What will she or he do next? What has just happened? Very intrigued...I also love Virginia's meandering thoughts--so childlike. And that safety pin, which certainly resonates these days.

  3. I love your line, Irene. I can't wait to add a line on the 15th, but I have to confess to being a bit nervous! Your Frida narrative is just right. I love what you say about the safety pin and the use of spanish words.

  4. Oh, a feast here today, Irene - thank you for 1.) hosting the busy Roundup, 2.) providing another INTRIGUING and wonderful line in our Progressive Poetic Adventure, and 3.) sharing this beautiful poem in the voice of the child posing for her portrait - to me, she sounds like you... wanting to know everything(!) and appreciating lace and polka dots.
    Take a deep breath at some point this weekend... we have certainly had the weather this week in the Southeast, haven't we?! XO

  5. I love reading the new lines each day for the progressive poem, and I am enjoying your Artspeak poems too. I am amazed by the way your words so deeply match the paintings. xo

  6. Much to love in your hosting post, Irene. I love both those spunky kids, both dreaming in unique ways. A friend of my daughter's just named their new baby girl Corazón. I will share your poem with them. And, I love that there is a safety pin in the portrait, and you placed it so aptly in your poem. Thanks for hosting this first Friday in April!

  7. Hi Irene! Thanks for hosting today and for inspiring and adding to the progressive poem. I agree. I love the dazzling, sizzling language. I love your Artspeak Poems too. They give the art another layer of complexity and interest. I hope you get a little time to relax this weekend. I knew my April would be too busy for a daily write this year. I miss it though.

  8. I have just the suit of chainmaille for our young MC, right here! My son made it - and there is a definite shimmy required to extricate oneself! And I love 'our' vapour/armour. :)
    Also, what fascinating projects you set yourself. Beautiful voice for Virginia. Just lovely! Thank-you for hosting during this very busy week/month!

  9. I'm here for many more reasons than roundup, Irene! What you give to our kidlit poetry community is immeasurable. It's that beautiful corazón of yours, plus a healthy dose of talent, of course. Speaking of which... what an excellent line 7! Thanks for shimmying us back on track. I'm glad the medieval theme is sticking around. (Mists of Avalon was a favorite of mine too!) And Virginia! Man oh man, how I love this poem. You've given her such life, such personality, such voice. You make me wish I could meet her in person. Hope you get a good rest this weekend to recharge. xo

  10. Holy wow you have a lot going on in this post, Irene! Thank you for hosting and for sharing your Virginia portrait poem - I'll never look at a safety pin the same way again. =)

  11. A lot is going on in the world at this very moment. I wish you all peace.

  12. Thanks so much for hosting, Irene, and for this chock-full post! I especially love the line in your Virginia poem about "God's one eye always watching." I imagined a safety pin before spotting the one in the image.
    The link I shared won't go live for a few hours, but it will contain a brief poem I wrote, inspired by my co-blogger Esther's Monday post. I can't recall the last time I wrote a poem, so it was fun to give it a shot today.

  13. Thanks for hosting Irene. As others have noted, there is a lot happening here at present. Like the progressive poem in particular, and the poetry link to the work of Frida Kahlo. I can recall doing something similar in school as a student.

  14. What fun, glad the character in the progress poem has emerged, and made him/herself at home. I love the play on words with "brush" in your poem. We need more of those safety pins around now guarding "hearts from harm!" Wishing you a lingering weekend . . .

  15. Oh, I am very intrigued by this project! "I want to know everything.." I feel like little Virginia most days! I look forward to you sharing more of these. Thanks for hosting, Irene!

  16. I adore this girl child with a dream of a dress and a hope for God to stay close. Simply enchanting. She has you in her too...I know. And your line! What a blast. This is indeed my fave Progressive Poem yet. It wants to fly off of the screen! Thank you for hosting and for your ever-giving spirit to this community. xx

  17. Hi Irene! Thanks for giving us a place to party today, and with sweet treats besides. No wonder you're tired! Time to put your feet up, I hope. xo

  18. Great post, great line, great poem!

  19. Must get the armor off to sit by the cracking fire or do anything else! And another beautiful poem.

  20. Irene, I'm so grateful to you for many reasons. Hosting a round up in National Poetry Month. That's a biggie. But, you've created such an inviting, welcoming and thoughtful playground for us today. I also am encouraged to use my spirit ear when you show us just how exquisite that can be in the poetry you are creating from portraits. Sometimes, the pressure of producing is greatest something "good", "worthy" etc. is from myself and I struggle to put that at rest. A spirit ear is a good way to think about doing that. I am a better reader, writer and lover of poetry because of your contributions. Thank you!

  21. I love that she tells us the artist listened to her & granted her wish for a different dress. Thank you for this beautiful project of portraits. I stood transfixed in the National Gallery over Spring Break, admiring self-portraits. And thanks for the new fridge art/postcard!

  22. I am really enjoying your ArtSpeak series! Love today's portrait and poem, especially the part about the safety pin. :) And the Progressive Poem is unfolding nicely.

    Thanks for hosting this week!

  23. I love how the Prog. Poem is shaping up, Irene - it feels much more lyrical and magical than past years, if that makes sense. And a very thoughtful, personal poem about the little girl, nicely done!

    Oh, and thank you for hosting!

  24. Love the exploration of the mother daughter theme in your poem, your new line (yikes, I may need some medieval research of my own), and another Poetry Friday. Just wrote my post NPM post, but forgot it was PF. There's so much to keep up with this month!

  25. Irene! It's been so long since we were at the Festival of the Book together---I think that was it, right? Anyway, I adore your take on a child's portrait and hearing her restless, inquisitive thoughts. Also---I was a fan of The Mists of Avalon as a teen, too---it was like this secret look into the adult world where people acted really boldly and really bravely and really BADLY, too. I remember being fascinated. Thanks for hosting today!

  26. So much poetry goodness here today (and all around)! I love the wordplay and energy of the progressive poem and am looking forward to see where it goes next. Your girl sitting for her portrait drew me in with her words--I can relate to the questions running through her mind.

  27. Hello & thank you for today's luscious roundup! I love how the child wonders "how the brush knows where to go"--like asking how words come out of the pen, which sometimes amazes me. Can't wait to dig in to today's treasures!

  28. Irene, yes, so much goodness in the blogosphere for National Poetry Month! Love your progressive poem, and your poem-a-day project. That book takes my breath away -- beautiful! Thanks for hosting this week in the midst of all your busy-ness!

  29. Thanks for hosting! Happy Friday, everyone!

  30. My you are busy these days, Irene and keeping up so famously. I continue to really enjoy your portrait secrets--imagination stirring! And thanks for hosting today.

  31. Great job, Irene! I wish I had more time to spend on writing poetry. Fortunately, I had some free time this morning to put a poetry post together for Wild Rose Reader. It's about writing "things to do" poems with my former students.

  32. Wow, thank you for hosting. You have some amazing projects going on this month - that portraiture thing is wonderful!

  33. Thanks for hosting, Irene.
    Love your line for the progressive poem! This year's poem is full of adventure and you added more.
    And your Art Speak poem is amazing. I feel that your captured the art perfectly!

  34. Thank you for hosting, Irene! Your ArtSpeak poem is true to it's name: I love that we learn so much about Virginia from a few well-chosen words. She has such a strong personality. I'd like to know more about her!


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