Welcome to Poetry Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome!

I am so glad you are here to celebrate poetry and community.

Poetry Friday is a perfect way to celebrate. As is J. Patrick Lewis’ anthology The Poetry of Us. I love this gorgeous book because it uses poetry to celebrate the crazy diverse community that is the United States. There are wonderful poems about everything from “Saturdays at the Portland Farmers Market” (by Janet Wong) to the Oklahoma Dust Bowl (“Child’s Chant” by Renee LaTulippe) to the “Tulip Time Festival” in Holland, Michigan (by Buffy Silverman) to the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival (“Mass Ascension” by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes). The book highlights regions, geography, animals, culture, events, history, food, literally everything you can think of. To me this seems like exactly the book we need right now, and wouldn’t it make a wonderful holiday gift?  

You can see why I am especially thrilled to have my poem, “The Menorah,” included. As tonight is the sixth night of Hanukkah, it seems an appropriate poem to share today.

The Menorah

Most of the year, I sit and wait.
When the days grow cold and dark,
someone pulls me out.
I’m rubbed and shined,
old wax pried from my fists.
Voices tell the story of how I came here,
hidden in a suitcase, wrapped in a blanket.
At night I stand in the window, defying the dark.
Behind me, my family glows
with the light of my fire,
with the story of the ancient miracle,
with the joy of eating latkes, spinning dreidels,
singing, together, year after year.
Every night I am handed one more flame–
until my hands are full.
I savor the moment,
while I sit and wait, knowing
the cold, dark days will come again.

Elizabeth Steinglass © 2018

I hope that if you are facing cold, dark days (as we are here in Washington), you are also finding warm, glowing lights and good company (human, literary, or furry!) to share them with.

Please feel free to comment and add your link.

Also, if anyone might be interested in working together on a poetry proposal for NCTE next year, please let me know.

All my best,

Liz

Vote!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vote!

Make your mark.
Poke a hole.
Pull the lever.
Vote!

People fought.
People died.
So we, the people,
can decide

who’ll represent
our point of view
and do the work
we need them to.

Claim your right.
Raise your voice.
Make it count.
Vote!

 

Whether you’re voting for class president or a member of the U.S. Senate, use your power, your right, your voice and VOTE!

That’s how democracy works. If you’re a parent and you can swing it, take your child with you. I always went with my parents. They made it a priority to teach me that voting was not just my right but my responsibility. It may have been tiresome to wait in line, but it felt special and grown-up to go with them. Now that I’m the grown-up it still feels special every single time. Every time I vote I think of all the people who can’t–people who don’t live in democracies, people who have served time and live in states where they are temporarily or permanently disenfranchised, people who have come for the safety and opportunity provided by living in the United States but aren’t yet entitled to vote. So please make sure you’re registered and vote!

Elizabeth Steinglass © 2018

Hooray for All Kinds of Kids!

 

 

Once again Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have demonstrated their profound commitment to getting poetry into the hands of children with their latest anthology Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud. Not only are Sylvia and Janet wonderful advocates for children’s poetry, they are also incredible strategic thinkers. “How can we get more poetry into schools?” they ask. This time the answer is: school leaders! The people who make morning announcements and who sometimes make decisions about how time and money are allocated. Let’s definitely make sure these people have poems to love and share!

The book includes 36 poems to share once a week. They generally follow the school calendar and include topics relevant to everyone—forms, safety drills, lunch, making friends, taking tests. They’ve also included 39 additional poems about the first day, the last day, and others that connect to the first 36. That’s 75 poems with suggestions for how to share poems and how to follow up. Brilliant, right?!

I am completely thrilled and honored to have three poems in the book—one about the school nurse, one about field day, and one celebrating student diversity. This one is especially dear to my heart, so I was deeply touched when Janet showed me the visual she had made to go with my poem.

Check out this pinterest page to see many more stunning visuals of poems from the book.

For more about the book and to read one of my favorite poems, “Look for the Helpers,” by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, see Sylvia and Janet’s wonderful blog post at the Nerdy Book Club.

A huge thank you to Sylvia and Janet for all you do for children, for poetry, and for poets!

Happy Poetry Friday!

Liz

The Day After

The Day After

How do we go on?
I ask those who came before
and have gone.
How did you keep going
over lifetimes
of losses
seeing how easy it is
to be cruel?

Child,
the voices whisper,
though I have children
nearly grown
we acknowledged our losses,
wept from the pain,
sat together,
sang together,
recounted small victories,
remembered who came before us
and went on
as we do
when there is nothing else
but forward.

 

Elizabeth Steinglass © 2018

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