Friday, June 24, 2011

Poetry Friday: Tortoise or Hare

After a heavy rain, we found this displaced turtle in the street in front of the house yesterday. He was definitely lost. My daughter gathered him up, and despite his toes touching her, managed to get him to the back yard where he plopped himself back into the creek with speed more like a hare than a ponderous amphibian.

Since I have family here this week, I'm slow getting my Poetry Friday post going. Here is an original poem, written several years ago. Our displaced critter made me think of it. For more Poetry Friday, stop by Carol's Corner and enjoy the roundup.

Tortoise or Hare

I would be the tortoise

If I could choose.

Tender parts

Carefully guarded

By a hard green shell.

A portable hiding place

For those awkward moments.

No need to run,

Just pull in the appendages

And breathe slowly

Until the danger passes.

But some pernicious muse

Had other plans

And without consulting me,

Took my secrets

And made iambic feet

For a bunch of mad rabbits

That care nothing for poetry.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Reads: Too Many Books at Once

Today I'm wondering just how many books a person can read at one time without feeling totally schizophrenic. Here's my list.

1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is in the car. Audio format red by Lynn Redgrave in her stunning voice. It's so intriguing I keep wanting to go somewhere just so I can listen. I know I'm behind times on this one. I didn't even realize there was a movie. I am looking forward to seeing who played all the dark characters. Will watch when I'm done reading.

2. White Darkness by Geraldine Mccaughrean is on the table beside my bed along with my new word journal, started as a result of the weekend poetry retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich. I'm reading slowly, making notes in the margins and recording some of the words that taste good on my tongue.

3. I went to the library on Friday to pick up a requested book, InZanesville by Jo Ann Beard. It's setting is 1971, the same year I graduated from high school and the setting of my own middle-grade novel. But I haven't started that one so it doesn't really count yet. While at the library I picked up a copy of What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, again to pay attention to how the author incorporates a very distinct time period in American history. It was storming outside, so I sat down and started reading. An hour later, I was completely hooked and brought it home nearly half read. Couldn't sleep that night so I got up and finished it in the wee hours. That's what happens when you're reading too many books at once. So now I can replace What I Saw with Inzanesville in my list.

4. Research book in my office is a compelling read featuring letters from the 1700s. Until Death Do Us Part: The Letters and Travels of Anna and Vitus Bering by Peter Ulf Moller and Natasha Okhotina Lind.

5. Beside my chair in the den is Heaven's Calling: A Memoir of One Soul's Steep Ascent by Leanne Payne, another one to be read slowly and savored.

6. In the basket in the bathroom is Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride about buffalo soldiers in Italy in World War II. Another movie to watch once I finish reading the book.

And then there's the stack I haven't gotten to yet. Sigh.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Poetry Friday: Oven Bird

I'm working on a project for a museum in Tennessee, writing some information panels for them. This cute little ovenbird is in the tree exhibit. He gets his name from the shape of his nest, which looks like a dutch oven. His call is increasingly loud bursts of "teacher-TEAcher-TEACHER." So for Poetry Friday, my contribution is a Robert Frost poem about this little guy.

Photo by Bill Hilton Jr. from  Hilton Pond Center 

The Oven Bird
Robert Frost

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

More poetry Friday at Check it Out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Poetry Retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich

It was a lovely, jam-packed, exhausting weekend. I felt like I was trying to soak up a lifetime of poetry from the very generous, Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

My very excited friend, Kathy (left) who's new to children's writing, rode up with me to the retreat and kept me from getting lost. Well, almost. We did fine until the very last turn. But what's a road trip without a little adventure? And I was thrilled to have some long conversations with poet and friend, Irene Latham.

My roommade extraordinaire, Gail Karwoski (in blue)! We won't talk about the mice we shared our space with. Mice are some of my favorite characters in children's literature. Ralph on his motorcycle. Reepicheep. Bella and Bean. All delightful until they inhabit the real world of your bathroom.

The intimate setting, about twenty writers ensconced on the side of a mountain in north Georgia, gave us plenty of opportunities to rub elbows with Rebecca. I'm just hoping some of that lyrical magic rubbed off on me.

And of course, blowing bubbles is necessary for writing poetry!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Poetry Friday: Hanging Out with a Bunch of Poets

I'm looking forward to a weekend with a roomful of Southern Breeze poets who will be "Diving into Poetry" with Rebecca Kai Dotlich. And since I still haven't packed, I leave you with a "loaf of poetry."

A Loaf of Poetry

by Naoshi Koriyama

you mix
the dough
of experience
the yeast
of inspiration
and knead it well
with love
and pound it
with all your might
and then

Read the rest here.

Anastasia Suen hosts Poetry Friday at Picture Book of the Day.