Friday, July 17, 2020

ArtSpeak: RED poem "Priorities"

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to "float" on over to visit Jan at bookseedstudio for Roundup. (Sorry I didn't do anything float-y!)

I'm delighted to be back at my desk today, and I am eager to read all of your offerings! Before I get to my contribution, I've got a couple of newsy bits to share:

1. THIS POEM IS A NEST got its first review, and it's a  from Kirkus. Yay!

2. I recently picked up in a thrift store QUILTING: Poems 1987-1990 by Lucille Clifton. Here's one that speaks to me:


my grandsons
spinning in their joy

keep them turning     turning
black blurs against the window
of the world
for they are beautiful
and there is trouble coming
round and round and round

- Lucille Clifton

3. On our pilgrimage to North Dakota in memory of my father, a dear friend (who loved and worked with my father) said she didn't want to be like him in the end, because he "died in the chair." Meaning, he worked until the day of his death. And it's true: nothing was more important or gratifying to my father than his work. And while that is admirable, it's also... sad. I'm grateful for every moment he gave me over the years, and I should say he gave me maybe more than he gave anyone else (besides his work). Paul and I talked about it a lot on our (24 hour) drive home, and it inspired this week's poem.


If I say red
and you say morning
are we talking about
or strawberries?

If I say red
and you say forever
does it indicate love
or intolerance?

If I say red
and you say yes
let's think later
and dance right now!

- Irene Latham


  1. Congrats on your star and Clifton collection find, Irene. I especially like your 'Priorities' poem - it is always best to say yes to dancing right now. :)

  2. Hooray for the Kirkus star! And, I haven't heard of this Clifton collection. But, the more I read of her the more I love her work and need more. So, I must find this one.
    Oh, those trips home to visit ghosts...there's so much learning and growing I wish I could share with them. I try on my ghost walks. But, I never really know if they hear me. Your red poem is full of life and love.
    Irene, I'm a little 'junk journal' crazy right now. If you're ever working up a project on one, I'd love to participate in some way.

  3. There's some haunting foretelling truth in Lucille Clifton's poem… I wish I could remember where I read or heard this week about the importance of holding onto the big rocks poured into a container, and not the little trickles of water and sand filling up in between. Because these are most important, the big rocks are family and friends. Your poem reminds me of those big rocks, especially in these lines, "let's think later
    and dance right now!"
    Thanks for your sensitive, moving poem Irene. And many congrats on the star review! xo

  4. Not a bit surprised to see an octopus poem nestling inside your poem! Congrats on the star and another book to love. Now that my library is accepting holds and letting us pick them up outside, I'll be checking to see if they have it. I imagine you had a lot of time for thinking and talking on your road trip. I hope you did that dancing when you got home! A book of Lucille Clifton poems with a quilt pattern on the front. What a find! Feeling sad today that another one of the great ones, John Lewis, has left us.

  5. Congratulations on the review for your new book! It was intriguing to see your premise and how you approached it, as I've been working on trying to figure out how to create a 'found poetry' collection myself - so I'll have to make sure it's nothing like yours! And I love you thoughts on "red" helps to show how many meanings and emotions one word can invoke.


Your thoughts?