Hello and happy first Poetry Friday of 2023! Be sure to visit the ever-inspiring Catherine at Reading to the Core for Roundup.
This is my 16th year to choose One Little Word to guide and inspire my year. It's a spiritual practice I'm quite attached to. Each year so far I have created a quilt block to commemorate the word and the year, and a few months ago I realized I had enough squares to make a "sampler" twin size quilt...so, voila!
Now I am not sure how I will commemorate this year and/or the coming years. I love cumulative projects, and I love quilts...but do I want another word quilt...or do I want to create something else?? I'd love to hear your suggestions!
The word I've selected for 2023 is a bit...odd. And open to interpretation. And it came from my dear friend Summer Laurie, who was the very first person in children's publishing who saw something in my writing and encouraged me to keep going! (We met at an SCBWI conference many moons ago, where she was presenting as an editor for now-defunct Tricycle Press. We had a one-on-one critique of a middle grade novel ms, and Summer requested the full ms! That book never got published, but Summer and I have kept in touch over the years, and she continues to be a huge supporter and person I'm proud to call friend!)
Aside: Summer edited a gorgeous verse novel that came out last year: WAVE by Diana Farid. It was recently recognized (along with AFRICAN TOWN! Thank you, committee!) as a Cybils Verse Novel Finalist. Don't miss it! (These other titles are wonderful, too. I've read and loved all of them!)
Back to my 2023 OLW.
In my lastest Adventures in Ink e-newsletter, I asked for suggestions regarding my ArtSpeak theme, and Summer wrote back with "Space."
Space, as in the moon, Mars, constellations, black holes...and perhaps also because I have a moon book of poems coming this year, called THE MUSEUM ON THE MOON: CURIOUS OBJECTS ON THE LUNAR SURFACE.
More on this soon! Some of you know I am a NASA/Space junkie, and I'm super-excited about the Artemis program...so fun to be able to bring this passion to a book of poems for kids!
Anyway...I instantly latched onto this words not for ArtSpeak, but for my One Little Word. It's got me thinking about space in the celestial sense obviously.
Space in the physical sense, as in my writing space, my space in the world, and natural spaces, like caves, forests, meadows, lakes...
Space in relationships.
The space between us.
Negative space. Space in poetry. Space in music.
Empty space. Peaceful space.
I'm a person who needs a lot of space, privacy, distance...and then there is nothing that means more to me than closing those distances to be with the ones I love...no space!
With all those things in mind, I'm excited to explore and discover more about my own personal relationship to Space in the coming year.
About my annual ArtSpeak project: this year I have decided to focus on LIGHT.
I know! It's another vague/open word! This is what I need in my life right now, apparently. And when I think about the art that moves me most, it often has to do with light.
I'm fascinated by how artists use light as a tool, how it guides the eye and the composition.
There are so many kinds of light: moonlight, starlight, lighthouse, candlelight, sunlight, a certain slant of light, light at the end of the tunnel, and so many more!
Light is such a great metaphor for so many things, and when I think about what I crave and enjoy on a daily basis, it's light, lightness, illumination...
When I think about the best gift we can give the world, it's us, ourselves, shining our own special kind of light....
So lots of poetic potential, yes?
And also some challenges: what fresh/new can I bring to poems inspired by/related to light?
I'm trusting the universe (light!) here and just going with it. We'll see what happens!
For today's offering, I've got Edvard Munch's Moon Light...and obviously had the hinge of the new year on my mind. Thanks for reading!
moon extends its knife
slices night-rumpled waters—
what was, what's to come