Friday, April 30, 2021

Because every day is a symphony in spring (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme for the last roundup of National Poetry Month. Whew! No month pops its buttons like April. :)

This week I had a great time presenting about how to find poems hiding in art to young poets in Deschutes County, Oregon (thank you, Poetry Paige!)'s the link to the (free!) replay.

And TODAY at 3 pm CST, Janet Wong will be presenting poems... free! And you're invited! Simply go to this link to join in.

 I also shared this week about all my books to 3rd graders at Appalachian School in my very own Blount County, Alabama... and today (after helping with a community yard sale!) I'll be joining Yuko Shimizu and readers from Homewood Public Library to chat about THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO. 

Lucky me!

AND... there's a new review of D-39: A ROBODOG'S JOURNEY, from Publisher's Weekly, and it's lovely! 

"Any dog lover will appreciate this heartwarming tale of love and perseverance."

(Just 3 weeks until release day. And thanks to covid I still haven't held a physical copy yet... I'm told it's in the mail...)

In the spirit of celebration, here's my newest ArtSpeak: Four Seasons poem. Thank you for reading! 

Because every day is a symphony in spring

When green


gold cannot
hold its applause—

Glimmer! Shimmer!

Red rises
from banks

yellow explode
from beds

All is awake,
even the skies—

Flash! Crash!

Blue drops in
with a sudden

Encore! Encore!

- Irene Latham

Friday, April 23, 2021

ARTSPEAK Poem for the Joy of Reading

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Catherine at Reading to the Core for Roundup. I've been on the road this week, enjoying the fresh green scenes as they roll past my window. And a few times, I stopped, to take a break and READ. 

Is there anything more glorious than reading outside, in spring?

Once Upon a Story Orchard

I am rooted—


in a swaddle

of green
        and sky.

Words spring
from pages,


I am first
to bl O O M

- Irene Latham

Friday, April 16, 2021

Make Way for Almond Blossoms


a favorite pic from last week's beach trip!

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure and visit Jama's Alphabet Soup for what I am sure will be a delectable Roundup!

I've had so much fun this week reading nonets from Read Aloud Revival kids, after a video lesson I presented. So. Many. FABULOUS. Poems! Truly, nonets are such a great place for young poets to start.

AND... it's my pleasure to be presenting interactive and transformative poetry today alongside Vikram Madan and Laura Purdie Salas for Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival. I love National Poetry Month!

For my ARTSPEAK: Four Seasons offering, I've got a van Gogh-inspired haiku for you! Funny thing: pretty much every time I type "almond blossoms," I first accidentally type "almost blossoms." :) 

It happened so often when working on this poem and creating the post that I've just written "almost blossoms" in my writing notebook to use as a writing prompt later. :) Thanks so much for reading.

snowfluff suspended

in newborn sky—

almond blossoms

- Irene Latham

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

yes, rooted
        by fear
yet still we stretch
toward something

god fills our eyes
nose   mouth   ears,
calls us to worship

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

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?


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


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

where clouds
billow a bracing lullaby.

Let your thoughts quiver!

Dreams will unfurl
if you bend with the river.

- Irene Latham