Summer Poetry Swap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a joy to receive the day’s mail and find a trove of poetic treasures from Irene Latham. Thoughtful and clever, Irene had been to my website, so everything she sent had special meaning just for me. I had written a “Why I’m Here” poem, so she wrote a “Why I’m Here Poem” too–about me! She knows I am a huge fan of haiku, so she used one of my haiku to write two new haiku, using a line or two from mine and adding a new line or two of hers. It’s a brilliant exercise she found in a book titled Write Your Own Haiku for Kids by Patricia Donegan.

Here’s my haiku:

always
one step ahead
sidewalk sparrow

Here are Irene’s:

always
one step ahead
crabgrass

traffic snarls
in front of hotdog stand
sidewalk sparrow

Irene turned the haiku into calling cards and slipped them into a sweet bowl I now have by my door. I dream of adding to the pile and giving them to friends who stop by. Over the summer I read in the Haiku Handbook (by William Higginson and Penny Harter) that  haiku writers used to include haiku in their letters to one another–to tell each other how they were. I love that.

Thank you Irene, for giving me a special treat this summer and congratulations on your wonderful book Can I Touch Your Hair, written with Charles Waters, and your many new books coming soon! And thank you Tabatha Yeatts for organizing another wonderful swap and reminding us that poetry is a gift and that we are part of a beautiful community that gives so generously.

Mary Lee has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Happy Summer!

Liz

Shoes of the Dead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoes of the Dead

empty shoes
flat and gray
amassed in monstrous piles
like schools of dead fish
dumped out of nets
missing the life
that gave them meaning
bring me your stories
the one we know
and can’t understand
the ones we don’t know
and would understand
teach me to count six million
teach me to count one

© Elizabeth Steinglass 2018

 

Yesterday, my daughter and I spent the day at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum bearing witness to the past and worrying about the future. It was a profoundly moving experience. The museum was designed so thoughtfully. I couldn’t help but notice that as we advanced through the museum to the most difficult spaces, the exhibit shifted from documentary and narrative to art and poetry. When we came home I wrote the poem above in response to the shoes. I used the “bring me magic” prompt from Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge‘s book PoemCrazy, which Laura Salas blogged about last Friday and used so effectively in a workshop.

Wishing you all strength as we move forward.

Carol will have the roundup this Friday.

 

Liz

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day

Who would choose
to leave their home—
the place they live
with those they love?

Who would choose
to leave their beds,
their alters,
their ancestors’ graves?

Who would choose
to leave their lives?

No one.

Only a man running
from a gun,
only a woman running
from starvation,
only a child in the arms
of the running

leaves their world.

And how will we receive
those who survive,
those who arrive
at our door?

Will we pretend
they are strangers,
unfamiliar,
unwanted,
unrecognizable
as humans?

Or will we see
our cousins
as cousins?

Will we allow ourselves
to see the pain
in their faces?

Will we allow ourselves
to feel the pain
they feel?

Will we dare to say
come in,
share my shelter?

Will we dare to give
something of ours
to someone else?

 

I wrote this this morning in honor of World Refugee Day.

Liz

2018 KidLit Progressive Poem–Day 1!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy National Poetry Month!

In 2012 Irene Latham launched the first Progressive Poem to celebrate the month, poetry, and community. Every day in April, a different poet adds a line, and together we compose a poem. It’s a mysterious and surprising process that results in a beautiful and unexpected piece of writing. (You can read all of them here.)

I was surprised and honored when Irene asked me to write the first line this year. I was also a little nervous. I wanted to write something poetic and unique but also open-ended, something that offered a solid first step along a path that could head off into the woods in any number of directions.

You can read more about Irene’s inspiration and my agonizing at Heidi Mordhorst’s blog My Juicy Little Universe. Last Friday, as host of Poetry Friday, Heidi posted an interview with Irene and myself. She also suggested we add a little twist this year.

New for Progressive Poem 2018:  Participants, when Liz posts her Line 1 on Sunday, April 1, please take a minute to record your first impressions of how the line strikes your imagination and what you think the poem might become.  A few lines should do it, and that’s Step One.

Step Two is to hide this reaction/prediction from yourself until your day to add your line arrives.  : )

Step Three is to bring it back out and include it in your post  that day, with a little commentary about how your initial expectations have to be adjusted now that each person has altered the trajectory of the poem. 

 

Are you ready? With great thanks to Irene and Heidi and to all of our participants, and without further ado (drumroll, please) …

 

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.

 

Jane, you’re up!

I hope you’ll all follow along for the rest of the month to see where this poem takes us.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Liz

 

 

April

2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 April at Teaching Authors
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
30 Doraine at Dori Reads

Golden Triangle Haiku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now here’s something that doesn’t happen everyday. Each spring the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District runs a haiku contest and then prints the winning entries and many, many honorable mentions on signs and posts them in tree boxes all over the neighborhood. They are literally beautifying the neighborhood with poetry. I love that they are putting poetry out in the world where people can see it during the course of their day. I love that they do this in March just before spring really arrives. The haiku are like the earliest flowers, helping us wait just a few more weeks for the daffodils and tulips. I want to thank the Golden Triangle BID for celebrating the city, spring, and haiku. I encourage you to follow the link to read the wonderful haiku. I also want to thank the store Shop Made in DC for having my haiku on their window. I love being part of a store that celebrates local makers by selling their work and hosting their events. The store sells fabulous jewelry, ceramics, clothing, cards, etc. And chocolate! Did I mention the chocolate? I’m feeling super appreciative!

For more Poetry Friday fun, visit Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty.