Friday, November 27, 2020

Book + Gift = Happy Holidays! (2020 Gift Guide)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Carol's Corner for Roundup.

2020 has been some kind of year, hasn't it? I'm incredibly thankful to have had 4 books release this year. And since it's Black Friday, I'll be buying books for friends -- and  perhaps you will be, too! With that in mind, I thought I'd offer some shopping suggestions.

To pair with THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO, how about some cat-themed memo pads? Or adopt one of these adorable crochet kitties! Or (my favorite), these cat socks?

For DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD, I am loving this "Together We are Better" poster from SeasideShedStudio. (If you've read the last poem in the book --  a byte entitled "The Etymology of Progress," you'll know that's what Charles and I learned from our experience creating this book! Art by Mehrdokht Amini.)

To pair with THIS POEM IS A NEST, might I suggest this "Found Poem" t-shirt, available from TourDeBookshop which, when I discovered it, I promptly gifted myself?

Finally, for NINE: A BOOK OF NONET POEMS, try Play Nine (a card game!) and... if the recipient happens to be a 9-year-old child, you can't beat this "Nine Years/108 months/3,287 days/78,894 hours/4,733,640 minutes/284,018,400 seconds of Being Awesome" t-shirt available at Vintagestylearts! (Add to the fun by checking the math!)

And now, the latest installment of ArtSpeak: RED... inspired by another one of Richard Jones' illustrations! I was thinking about how the holidays can be difficult for many -- and for me, honestly  -- and I wanted to write a poem for us. Savvy readers will also notice that it's a tricube: 3 3-line stanzas, in which each line has 3 syllables.

Bear's Promise

When day bends
burnt yellow,
bear with me.

When red heart
hollows blue,
bear with me—

paintsplash skies
will arrive!

- Irene Latham

Friday, November 20, 2020

ArtSpeak: RED Bee + Apple = Love Poem!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Suzy at The Poetry Garden for Roundup.

Quickly, for my #NCTE20 peeps, here again is my schedule. I am excited to be learning from so many this weekend!

And here's an update for those of you who submitted to our IF anthology: we have our final contributor's list and are in the process of contacting all who submitted work. If you haven't heard from us already, you will very soon! Truly, it was an honor to read so many wonderful poems. I wanted to hug them (and you) all!

In other news, this pandemic year has meant lots of home improvement projects for us (and for many!)... this week we painted our kitchen cabinets! Well we didn't do it—Bruce & Mike did. Even if you're not putting in the brushstrokes, it can be kinda chaotic when you're kitchen is out of order! So I am feeling behind on pretty much everything. We're very much looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving here at the lake. I wasn't going to cook, then I was... and then I decided to go half-n-half: we ordered a turkey and a dessert, and I will make a few sides... including a new one called "Irene's Cranberry Salad," which my mom clipped for me from Guideposts magazine. I'll let you know how if it makes this Irene's tastebuds sing!

And now I'm pleased to offer you another red poem inspired by art created by Richard Jones. Thank you so much for reading this little love poem... are you the bee, the apple... or something else?? xo

Once Upon a Time
by Irene Latham

Bee spied something red—
Home is where the apple is, she said.

You are the heart of my desiring,
Red said, admiring each intricate wing.

Bee danced until the sky turned dizzy.
To think yesterday she'd been in such a tizzy!

Buzzily buzzily buzzily, Bee sighed.
Life is but a dream, Red replied,

for she knew bees could be capricious.
Still her cheeks blushed crimson delicious.

And so the day wept rain and laughter
as Bee + Red lived apple-y ever after.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Three New Poetry Books and ArtSpeak: RED poem "Water Lilies"

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge for Roundup.

I'm excited to share with you some poetry books today. One you already know about, as many of you have poems included— congratulations!! The other two are from the UK, and I learned about them through the CLiPPA Awards. Beautiful books, all!

But first: my session info for #NCTE20. Our title was inspired by the poem "Remember" by Joy Harjo.

... also, good news for THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO: it's the winner of the 2020 Middle East Book Award (Middle East Outreach Council). Hooray! Also, the audiobook will soon be available (the narrator's voice is PERFECT, I say. PERFECT!), and it's been listed on Evanston Public Library's 101 Great Books for Kids of 2020. Yay for more folks discovering Alaa's amazing good works.

And now, the books. I selected 2 poems from each, just to whet your appetite. You'll want to add these to your holiday gift list for sure. Enjoy!

CHERRY MOON: Little Poems Big Ideas Mindful of Nature by Zaro Weil, illustrated by Junli Song

After the Purple Rains
by Zaro Weil

after the purple rains
restless clouds of
crayon-box wildflowers
hurtle and tumble
in between rock beds
over squelchy slopes
through stone walls
to up-pop
outside my window
how very luck-dazzle
how very spring

by Zaro Weil

said the wise-talking wind
to the seed
then rainumandgrowum
and infivehudredyearsum
a mighty great
forest you'llbeum

HOP TO IT: Poems to Get You Moving
 by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, illustrations by Franzi Paetzoid

When I Move
by Carole Boston Weatherford

When I swim, I become a fish.
When I jump, I become a wish.
When I run, I become the heat.
When I dance, I become the beat.
When I bike, I become the wind.
When I flip, I become the spin.
When I lift, I become the strength.
When I stretch, I become the length.
When I grind, I'm beyond extreme.
When I climb, I behold my dream.
When I move, I'm a force so free
I feel the planet move with me.

Rabbit Dance
by Joseph Bruchac

Over the meadow
a full moon is shining
almost as bright as the sun.

It is the time when
the rabbits all gather
after the day's light is done.

Making a circle
they dance in the moonlight
hopping and stomping their feet,

hearing the music
that's kept in their hearts
moving to that ancient beat.

I've never seen them
dancing and dancing
but I know that it is so.

I've seen their footprints
all in a circle
there in the late winter snow.

 poems by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated by Lawrence Schimel, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury

What the Streetlight Says
by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated by Lawrence Schimel

What a 
humiliating life:

by day
the dogs
and at night
the drunks.

wasn't I born
a table lamp?

by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated by Lawrence Schimel

When night begins to fall
and the first apartments turn on their lights,
the buildings that border the plaza
look like gigantic crossword puzzles.

Finally, here's my latest ArtSpeak: RED poem. I'm so glad that several of you have discovered the padlet galleries -- I love seeing all that art in one place! Yes, please share these with students. Thank you!

This week, I've returned to Monet— and revised "red" to "pink" —all in the name of alliteration.:) 

I am hyper-aware that my "red" year will soon come to a close... just six more RED poems! Which art to choose, which art to choose? And... what should be my theme for 2021??? These are the questions... meanwhile, thank you so much for reading!

Water Lilies

Spring pond
dons glossy
green skirt
with plump

- Irene Latham

Friday, November 6, 2020

ArtSpeak: RED poem "somewhere"

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Susan at Soul Blossom Living for Roundup for what I think is her first Roundup. Yay!

What a strange week... I don't know about you, but it's been a bit hard to focus. I do have some happy book news to share:

THIS POEM IS A NEST received another starred review, this one from School Library Journal!  

★ "A beautiful, emotional, and incredibly creative poetry book that inspires reflection, dreaming, and writing. A must for libraries and schools."

Big smiles from this poet. :) :) :)

And... I got to kitten-sit for one night, which was absolutely delightful. Nothing quite as hopeful as a kitten!

Lacy! (my mom's new cuddle-love)

 Finally, here is my third poem in a row inspired by illustrations shared by Richard Jones on Twitter. Enjoy!


a world turns
without words
like lost,

we are not
by winter

each moment

as a red coat
with no pockets

- Irene Latham