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


  1. Love the line "a stitchery of perfection." Illness is all consuming. I'm amazed you emerged with such a rich post. I hope you are feeling better and can look back on your trip with joy.

  2. Alaska. How wonderful. I would love to go there, one day. And I could relate to your comment about daily practise, looking deeper. This week one of the themes for the daily photo challenge is 'made of wood' and I have been back to the same spot taking photos three days in a row, trying to achieve a certain effect. As to your poem... My favourite line has to be those quilts, flirting with birds and flowers. 🌺 Hoping this week is heaps healthier for you!

  3. I'm sorry you've been under the weather. :( I plopped Rebecca Yarros's book into my cart --thanks for the rec and link! It is wonderful that Amy Tan is a birder AND artist, as well as a writer. xo

  4. Irene, I'm glad you are getting back on the mend. Thank you for all the beautiful book ideas. Amy Tan's sounds amazing. I love the idea of her sitting in the same place each day getting to know the very birds that entertain her. Your quilt poem today is delightful. I love the idea of resurrecting the wintery quilts.

  5. Being sick in the summer is just so odd...that definitely feels out of season for me. I watched the PBS News Hour segment on Amy Tan and her new book several weeks ago. It's good. She's such a smart lady!
    I love the quilts flirting with birds and flowers. Triolets are so fun!

  6. My daughter has had the flu, a big surprise to her & not fun, as I'm sure you know. Hope you're completely better now, Irene! Thanks for all the recommendations, noted! And for the breezy & lovely poem, Irene. I love "now quilts flirt with birds and flowers."

  7. Glad to hear (and read) the dark, drowsy hours are behind you! The repeat within the form fits well to tell the story.

  8. 'a stitchery of perfection' is, itself, perfection, Irene. Sorry you've been under the weather.

  9. I absolutely love the sounds of quilt, flirt, and birds. So sorry you are feeling under the weather. Hope you are on the mend! It IS all consuming! I've read both The City Sings Green and Hidden City and agree they could be BFFs. :) See you soon!

  10. Thanks for all the book ideas and tidbits! Get well soon!


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