Looking for good poetry posts? Start here at Margaret at Reflections on the Teche who is sharing nesting poems and a fabulous oak and moon poem. She is also rounding up all the Poetry Friday's post.
Who knows Lesléa Newman the fabulous author of SPARKLE BOY, GITTEL's JOURNEY, MISS TUTU'S STAR, and DONOVAN"S BIG DAY to name a few? And for teens, the must read book, October Mourning: A SONG FOR MATHEW SHEPARD.
Did you know she also writes for adults? This month her latest book, I WISH MY FATHER, was published. It's a companion book to I CARRY MY MOTHER. Both books honor, give witness, and celebrate her parents.
I was sent an advanced copy of I WISH MY FATHER when Lesléa Newman offered them on Facebook. She include her book about her mother as well. She uses poems such as "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens or "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost or "Who Has Seen the Wind" by Christina Rossetti as well as others as inspirations for her mother's poems that chronicle her illness and passing.. It's a wonderful mentor text.
I WISH MY FATHER delves into life without her mother, how her father coped after losing his wife of 60+ years, and aging. It is a loving tribute filled with poems that resonated with this reader. I remember how my father lived without his wife and life partner of 50 + years. Moments of sadness, followed by his flirtatious nature and grappling with issues like giving up driving and moving to assisted living while keeping his dignity.
Poems such "My Father Drove My Mother", "The Second Time We Visit" revealing the hard decision to give up driving is crafted with tenderness and a doctor who was brilliant in getting to the point. It brought me back to when my father decided not to drive anymore.
There's an aching in the poem "My Father is Slipping" with the words:
"...and that's how I know the ladies"
man my mother loathed
and loved for all her life
has finally slipped away"
In the final poem, "My Mother is at the Bridge" imagines what it was like when her father and mother met up in heaven. So poignant and the last stanza is perfect. Many of us imagine those reunions the our loved ones pass from this earth. We want to make sense of what is no longer. I have imagined the reunion of my parents.
These narrative poems capture Lesléa Newman's love for her dad and who he was as a person in the last acts of his life. Many readers who has lost their parents will be able to connect with these moving poems.
If you need a poetry book or two, I highly recommend I WISH MY FATHER and I CARRY MY MOTHER.
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER
Gail Aldous won the calendar. Please email me your mailing address, Gail.
.Our Poetry Friday community has many ways to connect; every Friday here, poetry collectives that share monthly challenges, the upcoming New Year's Poem Postcard sendoff, and Tabatha Yeatts' summer and Winter Poetry Swap.
This week a package arrive from the east coast and my Winter Swap partner was revealed. Thank you, Heidi Mordhorst, for this thoughtful poem, "Under her Tree." It could be a bio-poem about what I care about. "You'll find" is a terrific repeating line. She used a photo recently took from Astoria for my trees, don't you love the stars? I need to up my poetry game fir these swaps after this.
I also learned something about Heidi. I was unaware of this delicious book, PUMPKIN BUTTERFLY; POEMS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF NATURE by her and illustrated by Jenny Reynish. It's a perfect addition for my poetry mentor books.
I particularly like the poem, "Winter Linens" which is probably perfect for part of the country today and in which I hope to see sometime this winter.
Winter Linens by Heidi Mordhost
just water frozen white
clinging to every leaf and chunk of gravel
lying along every twig and wire
mounding over every stump and silent ball
and in the dawning light
this water frozen white
glows cold and comfort both
as if to step out and lie down in it
to sink into the later that lines the slope of the slide
would be a cozy coming home to bed.
Thank you, Heidi for this wonderful and timely winter swap.
I wonder what others will find under their trees.
Poetry Friday goodness is found at Michelle at Michelle Kogan. Please head over there and see what else is happening in our poetry universe.
Meet Johanna Wright, illustrator of THIS POEM IS A NEST
Welcome to Poetry Friday, late edition. I just returned from traveling yesterday plus got up at 3:30 AM to take oldest grand to swim practice, and Buster has needed attention (poor guy caught kennel cough) so I'm just getting to this. Some days are like this, right?
Our Poetry Friday is hosted by Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup
I can't remember when it was that I learned that local artist/illustrator/author, Johanna Wright, was illustrating Irene Latham's book, THIS POEM IS A NEST. I was thrilled as I love Wright's work.
How did you decide which nestling poems would get an illustration?
It was tough to decide what poems to illustrate! There are so many in this book that called out to me. The editors gave me a lot of freedom to pick what I was inspired to work with. So I made a list of those that called out to me the most and we went from there. Some of the poems I had ideas for right away, and others I played with lots of ideas before settling. It was a really unique and fun book to illustrate!
I love the illustration for “Black”, can you share a bit about that?
“Black” was one of the illustration ideas that came to me right away. I love to put a bit of magic into my artwork, and it was fun to interpret that poem in that way. In general I tried to apply nature and magic themes throughout the book. It gave me a bit of a framework and helped me feel less overwhelmed with illustration options!
I notice a lot of magic depicted and at work work in your illustrations. It seems that it’s a constant theme for you no matter where your art leads. Would you talk about that a little bit?
Oh I love that you’ve noticed that and, yes! Magic is a big theme in my life and work. I love to include it as much as possible. Seeing life through a lens of magic makes everything a bit more bearable and fun and full of possibility.
I know that often the author and illustrator don’t get to talk about the book. Were you and Irene able to chat about ideas and concepts?
Irene and I didn’t chat directly during the making of the book, but our fabulous editor Rebecca Davis did a great job of communicating our thoughts to each other. When the book was done Irene and I did have some exchanges that were really fun! I love her work and felt so lucky to be a part of this book project.
GIVE AWAY~ WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK
Comment and I will select a winner and announce it next week.
What are your current projects? What would you consider your signature style? Right now I’m working on illustrating and writing a deck of oracle cards and developing a new, illustrated, guided journal. I’ve really enjoyed combining my interests in healing energy and intuition with illustration these past few years. It’s taken me a long time to feel brave enough to share that work, but I feel like people are more receptive than ever to self healing and creative tools, so it feels like a good time for it! My signature style...I love to have my characters a bit sketchy and free. When I'm working in full color you'll usually find a layered painted background. I've been working with a darker palette the last few years, with brightly colored characters layered on top.
What would you like to share that I haven’t ask?
I just really loved working on this special book and I’m excited for kiddos to dive in and make their own poems based on this concept!
Johanna Wright has illustrated and written several books. My grands and friend's children have been gifted her books. I love her art work, the richness of the colors and the magical quality.
Bunnies on Ice by Johanna Wright
The Best Bike Ride Ever (by James Proimos)
The Orchestra Pit by Johanna Wright
Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage by Kaye Umansky
Clover Twig and the Perilous Path by Kaye Umansky
Celie Valentine Friendship Over by Julie Sternberg
Celie Valentine Secret’s Out by Julie Sternberg
Celie Valentine Everything’s Changed by Julie Sternberg
Keep a Pocket in Your Poem
The Magic of Mindset by Johanna Wright
This Poem is a Nest by Irene Latham
Thanks for stopping in, Johanna and sharing with us about THIS POEM IS A NEST.
There is a lot of goodness to be had in the Poetry Friday community today. Please visit Janice at Salt City Verse for more places to read poetry.
I will get right to it. Yesterday was the official book birthday of HOP TO IT: Poems to Get You Moving, edited by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell. It features 100 poem by 90 poets that will make you wiggle your hands and toes, hop, skip, stretch, and jump in puddles.
The Children’s Book Council (CBC) selects a small number of new releases to highlight on their “Hot Off the Press” page ever month. This month, they chose HOP TO IT. What an honor.
Lucky me to have my poem, "Umbrella" in the collection. Living in the Pacific Northwest, there's plenty of rain and puddles for jumping, I've always been that person.
Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell create books that are treasure troves for anyone sharing poetry with kids. In HOP TO IT, each poem is paired with a book. This is something I did when I taught poems and books, they make a lovely paring. So I am thrilled that The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates was selected to be with my poem.
Welcome to Poetry Friday. For other places to find poetry in the world, please go to Bridget at wee words for wee ones
If you haven't gotten THIS POEM IS A NEST by Irene Latham and illustrated by Johanna Wright yet, go to your nearest independent book store and order. What a delight: poems as nests and little nestlings inside the nests. Today I decided that I would play with the poem nest, "Autumn" and see what nestlings I could find.
It's really fun and soothing to do blackout poetry.
climb the branches
where the crispcool world
dizzy leaves flood
the stage below
a sun puddle, clouds still
imagine another life
the whisperweight of faith
with ancient memory
What nestlings can find? The art work is by one of my favorite local artists, Johanna Wright. I will be featuring an interview with her soon. Stay tuned!
All photos and poems in these blog posts are copyrighted to Jone Rush MacCulloch 2006- Present. Please do not copy, reprint or reproduce without written permission from me.