Friday, September 24, 2021


Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Laura Purdie Salas for Roundup.

It's my pleasure today to congratulate June Cotner, Nancy Tupper Ling, and Helen Cann for their newly released poetry anthology

FOR EVERY LITTLE THING: POEMS AND PRAYERS TO CELEBRATE THE DAY (Eerdman's).  I'm always excited for a new poetry anthology, and this one is a beauty. I especially enjoyed seeing poems by our Poetry Friday friends Michelle H. Barnes and Charles Ghigna. Congratulations to all!

And now please welcome poet-friend-editor Nancy Tupper Ling, who stopped by to respond to a few prompts. Welcome, Nancy!

The delicious

Nancy Tupper Ling

As an author who can barely draw a stick figure, I find “the delicious” to be that moment when I receive the first sketch or two from the illustrator. In the case of FOR EVERY LITTLE THING, this happened when June Cotner and I got a sneak peak at a few of Helen Cann’s sketches, including the “Nightfall” chapter and a full-page spread, which reflected all four seasons in one glorious tree. Ultimately, the tree was paired with a poem by Jill Noblit MacGregor called "Simple Graces" and it is stunning (shown below!), That experience was as delicious as picking the first Empire apple in a New England fall. Ah!

IL: Have I ever had an Empire apple?! I don't think so! Must remedy. And as a long-time fan of June Cotner's thoughtful anthologies for the adult market, I'm just delighted about this partnership! And wow, when I popped on Nancy Cann's website, I fell in love with her maps. Go see!

The difficult

NTL: As an anthologist, I know you’ve experienced this too, Irene, but it’s always hard to let go of a poem that is beautiful. For some reason it doesn’t fit with the collection. This could be because there are too many similar poems on one spread, or because the poem itself is a bit too long. Often, we work with our contributors on a revision if it can make their poem stronger. Still, there are other times when we must say goodbye to a perfectly wonderful poem. That said, that very poem might be perfect for another anthology down the road.

IL: Yes! SO DIFFICULT to say goodbye to some poems. I want to keep them ALL. Alas...

The surprising

That there is a World Gratitude Day (September 21st)! Who knew? And that FOR EVERY LITTLE THING launches on this very day is a perfect fit. When June and I first put a proposal together for our book, gratitude was at the heart of it. Our hope was to foster “appreciation for the small and big gifts of the world,” and by journeying through a child’s day, from waking up to falling asleep, our selected poems and prayers will awaken a sense of gratitude in readers of all ages.

IL: Another "gratitude" poetry anthology to pair with this one: THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE selected by Miranda Paul, illus. by Marlena Myles.

Anything else

NTL: Yes, some very good news! Back in January, I left my position as a librarian at Morrill Memorial Library (after 10 years) so that I could devote more time to my writing. I wanted to give myself a full year to pursue this dream, even though it seemed quite risky with two daughters in college. Well, guess what? As announced in Publisher's Marketplace, June and I recently sold another children’s anthology entitled BLESS THE EARTH: A CHILDREN'S BOOK OF PRAYERS AND POEMS FOR HONORING THE EARTH to Keren Baltzer at Convergent/Penguin, thanks to our agent, Anne Marie O’Farrell at Marcil-O’Farrell Literary (world). Also, FOR EVERY LITTLE THING became a Gold Standard Selection, as awarded by the Junior Library Guild. Turns out, it was a risk worth taking!

IL: YAY for all this happy news! Yay for risk-taking, and for poetry reaching more children and families!!

illustration by Nancy Cann

Simple Graces

Simple graces are everywhere.
under rocks and in the air—
in crashing waves and tall, tall trees,
simple graces for all to see.

Simple graces are near and far,
the sun, the moon, and twinkling stars—
refreshing rain, the air we breathe,
God made every one of these.

Yes, simple graces are everywhere,
in everything, here and there—
summer, fall, winter, spring,
simple graces in everything.

- Jill Noblit MacGregor

Learn more about this lovely book at other stops on the blog tour:

And yes, I have an ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS poem for you! It's the first "Autumn" poem of this series. Thank you so much for reading.

Then Sings My Soul

clothe yourself
as maples do,
in burnished gold

rest and reflect—
a puddle after rain

welcome the child's boots
as a way to give yourself
to the world

and when it is done,
gather light
in your damp hands,

let yourself

- Irene Latham

...and... welcome to my first-ever fun quiz! (This was SO MUCH FUN to create. Go ahead, give it a go!)


  1. Congratulations to Nancy and the rest of the "For Every Little Thing" team on a beautiful book! "What Does Your Soul Look Like?" is an evocative question, and I adore your poem response! I got "A Robodog's Journey" when I took your quiz...sounds like just the ticket!

  2. I do love this anthology by Nancy, June, & Helen, Irene, and all your post, the new fall Artspeak, a beloved welcome. And, your quiz was fun. It led me to Robodog, which I already have read, and adore. Happy fall to you!

  3. Love the new anthology and enjoyed hearing more from Nancy about it. Helen's illustration for "Simple Graces" is one of my faves so thanks for featuring it today.

    Your ArtSpeak poem for today is gorgeous. You always find the best art. :)

    Love your fun quiz too -- I got "This Poem is. Nest," which I loved.

  4. I also got This Poem is a Nest!

    I just wrote to Amy about the message the PF roundup is sending me over and over again today: to slow down and appreciate small wonders. I can't wait to savor this anthology, and the title of your poem sent me straight to YouTube to listen to a favorite old hymn. Thank you.

  5. What a gorgeous book, with a gorgeous cover, and your wonderful poem, especially - "gather light/ in your damp hands" - somehow the imagery of watery sunshine on a rainy day struck and took root. LOVELY.

  6. Lovely fall poem Irene, your first stanza wraps us up and carries us into your poem. Thanks for sharing the new poetry anthology, "For Every Little Thing" and congrats to all! And it looks like I'm going to be reading "D-39: A Robodog's Journey, " from results of your delightful book-quiz… Thanks!

  7. Thank you for all of this goodness, Irene! This looks like a beautiful anthology, and I love your autumn poem. For each of the last 7 lines, I thought, "best line of the poem!" And then the next line was even better! Also, I'm supposed to read THIS POEM IS A NEST next, which is no problem since I'd love to reread it :>D

  8. Of course, I got something beautiful This Poem is a Nest. That quiz is so clever! I plan to begin reading aloud D-39 to my 6th graders next week. (Thanks for you little note.) I am judging Cybils poetry this year and hope For Every Little Thing gets nominated.

  9. What a snazzy quiz! I love that it sent me to The Cat Man of Aleppo. I've had so much fun with self-quizzes and MG students. We are introducing e-Book collections with a 'Would You Rather' game in my library right now. It's super fun.
    And, I'm delighted to see this book from Nancy Tupper Ling! It's gorgeous -- so beautiful. I am a librarian that day dreams of publishing. And, the focus it would take for me to do both at the present moment is not possible. I so admire NTL for taking that leap of faith and seeing that dream come true. Go, Nancy, go!

  10. I do like Nancy's success story, of course! This is a beautiful book, and it's always fun to hear about how collaborations come to be. That's a slippery-beautiful maplegolden-flavored poem, too!

  11. So much loveliness in this post, and somehow the word "burnished" is my favorite thing!

  12. I am looking forward to reading this book

  13. Thanks for highlighting this new anthology - the beautiful art and poems sound delightful.

    I love your poem - this
    "welcome the child's boots
    as a way to give yourself
    to the world"

    A beautiful poem that invites contemplation. Thanks for sharing it!

  14. Thank you for introducing me to this lovely anthology, Irene. I think my granddaughter needs a copy! I also love the "burnished gold" of the maples. Fall is my favorite season!

  15. Irene, I read your post back on Friday but did not have time to comment. After a long weekend, I am making my rounds again. Thank you for sending me a postcard. It was unexpected, making the surprise more delicious. Love the poems and especially the introduction of the word, burnish. This one word brings me back to fall in Central New York: the sky and leaf colors along with the taste of maple syrrup.

  16. This anthology looks great and I enjoyed the interview and loved MacGregor's poem that felt like a prayer. And I loved your line "Clothe yourself as maples do."

  17. Ahhh....fall is just beginning to show herself here, and your poem matches our Western New York days delightfully. Thank you for introducing me to this new book. I am excited to get my hands on it. Your (such fun!) quiz led me to THIS POEM IS A NEST. (Great big smile.) xoxo


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