Friday, May 28, 2021

"Why Roses" poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Michelle at Michelle Kogan for Roundup.

I'm in with a quick kind-of-experimental latest poem in my ArtSpeak: Four Seasons series. As many of you know, van Gogh is my artist of choice. Today's piece is one he created while in the asylum, so I put it in his voice—and I tried to create something that could be read in two different ways: both as a traditional l-r poem and as 2-poems-in-1 (when read in columns). What a challenge! I'm sure I'll keep tinkering, but here's where I've landed for now.

Speaking of tinkering: so many thanks for friends sending notes after reading D-39 (and meeting tinkerer-heroine Klynt!). Truly, it means so much to hear your reactions. Mwah! Thank you so much for reading!

Why Roses

because—                                  asylum walls
                                                   are grey

because I have—                        thorns

I remember                                 Paris—

(ribbons of pink                          hopeful green)

because my song
is paint &                                    brushstrokes—

I am                                             alive!

- Irene Latham

Friday, May 21, 2021

"A Good Teacher" #PoemsforMaryLee #MarvelousMaryLee


Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Christie at Wondering and Wandering for Roundup. 

It's a very special Poetry Friday today because we are celebrating  #MarvelousMaryLee with #PoemsforMaryLee—because Mary Lee is retiring after 37 years as a classroom teacher!

How I wish I'd had a teacher like Mary Lee! I love thinking about the impact Mary Lee has had on so many lives... including mine. I've been learning from Mary Lee ever since I joined the Poetry Friday community. Nearly 10 years ago I wrote a post/poem "Ode to Mary Lee." I admire Mary Lee's willingness to be vulnerable and the bold way she embraces teaching/human challenges like talking about race. I'm often inspired by her poems and thoughts, and always always grateful for the ways she brings all of us together by organizing the Roundup schedule time and time again.

In honor of Mary Lee's service to so many, here is the "Service" poem from DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD.

... and here is a new poem I wrote for Mary Lee... with a haiku syllable count, because I know Mary Lee loves haiku!... but I had to add a title:

 A Good Teacher

fills young minds with more
than mathematics—they learn
how to spell themselves

- Irene Latham

*THIS JUST IN! A bonus #MarvelousMaryLee #PoemsforMaryLee from dear Ann Marie Corgill!

A Poem For #MarvelousMaryLee 

From Ann Marie

Roses are red
But I’m not a poet
Mary Lee is quite awesome
Can I adequately show it?

I’ll just write from my heart
Because words come from there
She’s a gift to our profession
A friend, true and rare.

Classrooms full of kids, year after year
Have learned, grown, and thrived
Under her care.

Far across the miles, or across the dinner table,
Mary Lee’s taught us all
Always willing and able.

Now it’s time to take a break
Smell the roses, catch the fish
Read, write, rest, and travel
Do exactly as you wish!

Happy retirement, Mary Lee!
All good wishes I do send
Enjoy your new beginning
My poem is over now….The End.


... and here is my latest ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem! Thanks so much for reading. xo

Fishing in Spring (Life is but a Dream)

row row row your boat

fish ignore
flashy lure


row row row your boat


row row row your boat

let your heart

                catch       hope

- Irene Latham

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Because a poem is for everyone. (Roundup is Here!)

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Roundup is here at Live Your Poem.

Note: if you have a WordPress blog, due to some setting/error/? I am currently not able to leave a comment. I am so sorry! 

When I signed up to host I was thinking how lovely it would be, because SPRING! 

And now here it is, and my new middle grade dystopian verse novel D-39: A Robodog's Journey releases next Tuesday!

Many thanks to those who have already helped me to celebrate... Sylvia had me (and others!) answer some tough questions about writing verse novels with tough topics over at Poetry for Children.

Janice gave a sneak peek over at Salt City Verse.

and Linda's post today at A Word Edgewise has me answering just 3 of the 8 (excellent! thoughtful!) questions Linda crafted after reading D-39... because I am (still) buried in revisions, she's given me permission to address the other ones at a later date. 

Thank you!

One of the really exciting things about D-39 is that Mary Lee Hahn wrote the Discussion Guide! It's pretty amazing, just like Mary Lee.

With that in mind, I want to share with you three of D-39's "Poem Friends" from the Guide. (There are 10 in the Guide!)

The first, "The Journey" by Mary Oliver is one you're probably familiar with. If I had to pick ONE poem to pair with D-39, this would be it!

The second you also probably know: "Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Joy Harjo. The accompanying question in the Guide is Where does Klynt's world begin? (Where does your world begin? Where does mine?) Nothing like the end of the world to prompt such queries!

The third is one you may not know— "A Center" by Ha Jin. It begins:

"You must hold your quiet center,
where you do what only you can do.
If others call you a maniac or a fool,
just let them wag their tongues."

Klynt holds her quiet center... and her "distant" center. I loved getting to know her and D-39! And I hope you will, too.

And here's a new (Spring!) ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem. The "Girl" in the poem could be Klynt. Thank you so much for reading!!

A Poem for the Girl by the Lake

a poem wears a hat in spring
a poem wanders off the path
a poem gathers shy blooms
a poem listens to ticklish grass

a poem ripples along the shore
a poem serenades the sun
a poem isn't afraid of shadows
a poem is for everyone

- Irene Latham

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Friday, May 7, 2021

From Here to Happy (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Bridget at wee words for wee ones for Roundup.

I'm excited to be sharing time with some of you this coming Monday night for Diving into the Wreck: How to Revise Poetry. Yay! (If you missed this before, there's still time to sign up!)

Charles Waters and I are neck-deep in revisions of AFRICAN TOWN, our historical fiction YA verse novel coming early next year... but I did sneak away from that work to write a new ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem. Thank you so much for reading!

From Here to Happy

Meet me at the bridge
where the wild lilies grow.
Meet me before breakfast,
and we'll watch the Morning Show—

one turtle, two turtles. . .
look, now there's four!
And a pair of glossy ducks
where there were none before.

Meet me at the bridge
where the wild lilies sway.
Between fish-nibbles and sun-ripples
the pond smiles at us all day.

- Irene Latham