Friday, June 28, 2024

I Have a Garden Angel poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit terrific Tricia at the Miss Rumphius Effect for Roundup!

words attendees selected
from Highlights Word Garden
Well. This week did NOT go as expected. Due to travel troubles, I was not able to attend Highlights in person, which was heartbreaking...but I WAS able to connect with everyone virtually! How lucky are we we live in a day and age where such creative alternatives are possible?

Charles is such a champ, and Lacresha Berry is sunshine, and poets are such beautiful people...shout out to all the attendees, including Poetry Friday friends Linda, Tracey, and Marcie...WOW. What amazing work you're doing! I loved connecting with all of you. And the team at Highlights is just the BEST. I'm so so grateful! And inspired! And ready to write all the things!

This week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem is inspired by Pennsylvania folk artist Barbara Strawser. (Since I couldn't be in Pennsylvania...) I love Barbara's work! I've got a few more images of her work I'll likely write about later this year. But for now, please meet my garden angel. She's yours, too, if you need her. xo

I Have A Garden Angel

I have a garden angel.

Her robes buzz

with butterflies and bees.

She sings green songs

of love and hope,

and if I should collapse

to my knees,

she sends along

gentle sunbeams

and a refreshing breeze.

All the while, flowers sing,

weeds shimmy.

Sun plays hide and seek.

As for rain? Well, with rain

one never knows.

But my garden angel

forever glimmer-glows.

My garden angel never

leaves me.

- Irene Latham

Friday, June 21, 2024

Summer Lovin!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday. Be sure and visit terrific Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for Roundup.

Summer is here! Wow, what a hot one so far. We've had some lovely lake days... and in just a few days it will be time to return to the Pocono Mountains to hang out with Poetry Peeps at Highlights! 

This will be my third time to teach with Charles, and our third season. In 2022, we were there in spring, and last year we were there in YAY for summer! I am excited to share this time with some Poetry Friday friends, too. Safe travels!

I've just read another beautiful nature book! The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year by Margaret Renkl. This is a lovely yearly reader with an entry for each week of the year. Margaret references a lot of poems, and her prose reads like poetry in many places. Mary Oliver fans in particular will be pleased and inspired. Take a look!

This week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem is kind of a fun one inspired by a piece by Joe Ortega. 

I could have picked this metaphor apart, but I decided to let it be. It's so fantastical, how can it not work??! You may have a different opinion, of course. Thanks so much for reading.

Summer is an Alligator Eating an Ice Cream Cone

no matter how much

you savor it

such sweet



soon drips,


- Irene Latham

Friday, June 14, 2024

Quilts, Again. And a Bird Book Not to Be Missed.

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Denise at Dare to Care for Roundup.

I have been under the weather all week (grrr), but finally feeling a bit better. Alaska feels VERY far away...we had such a great time, but wow isn't illness consuming??

In Reading Life news, I'm always on the lookout for new nonfiction poetry collections, and I've got a fun one for you this week. The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife by Erica Silverman, illus. by Ginnie Hsu, brought to us by the good folks at Clarion Books.

 It features poems about the ways humans accommodate certain species, like a possum rope bridge in Busselton, Australia and a lighted tunnel beneath a highway for little blue penguins in Oamaru, New Zealand. 

Several of the poems are carried across multiple spreads to nice effect, and there are nonfiction text boxes too. It also includes lots of back matter, including "Children's Books Celebrating City Wildlife," which was missing a few of my favorites (why didn't they ask me??), most notably Sarah Grace Tuttle's Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife. These two titles are already BFF and should totally be presented in tandem.

Some for-grown-up books I've enjoyed lately:

The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan - I know we have a LOT of birder-poets among us, and you will LOVE this book. It features Amy's actual notebook entries and drawings of birds. Absolutely lovely. I was reminded of that marvelous film My Octopus Teacher because Amy goes to the same place every day (her backyard) and she really gets to know the birds and other critters who share that space. Such a great reminder to all of us of the power of a daily practice. We don't necessarily need new and different; sometimes the most powerful way of looking is deeper and deeper into the same.

The Collected Poems by Stanley Kunitz

The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden by Stanley Kunitz

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang (perfect for Emily Henry fans!)

The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros (dual timelines, romance, and a twist at the end that I never saw coming!)

For this week's ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem, I am still writing kind of out of season! Today it's an early-spring airing of the quilts piece that caught my imagination...I decided to write the poem as a triolet (which is reliably a way "in" for me when I don't know what else to do). Thanks so much for reading!

Airing the Quilts

After dark, drowsy hours

a welcome resurrection:

now quilts flirt with birds and flowers.

Forget the dark, drowsy hours;

this moment is ours!

Spring is a stitchery of perfection

after dark, drowsy hours.

Welcome, resurrection!

- Irene Latham

Friday, June 7, 2024

With Love from Alaska

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

I am away from my desk but wanted to pop in with a quick ArtSpeak: FOLK ART poem from Alaska! 

While the forget-me-not is Alaska's state flower, some argue that it should be fireweed. 

Fireweed is quintessential Alaska. It grows everywhere and for the whole summer season (June to September). Turns out it got its name because it's the first thing to pop up after fire...which makes it a resilient and arresting flower...and a SURVIVOR! Of course I wanted to write about it! 

Many thanks to Chelsea Jones for sharing her Alaskan art with the world. And thank YOU for reading!

after long season

of ruin, we are fireweed

rising from ditches

- Irene Latham