Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lighting a Fire for Change


Breaking Dawn by B. Gilmour

dawn chill—
the rooster
lights a fire


               © Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
                   Frogpond 40:3, Autumn 2017

Pardon my crowing. I'm just so excited to have my first haiku published in Frogpond Journal! I haven't seen it yet, but Jone MacCulloch assures me it's there. (Thanks, Jone!)

Why does this small acceptance mean so much? Because writing haiku is one of several new activities I've explored in 2017, my year of saying yes to Change. (Read Robyn Hood Black's recap of the Haiku Society of America workshop I attended last April.) I lit a fire under myself to try new things this yearto take risks, listen to my intuition, and trust that I won't get burned. On a smaller scale, it's a bit like searching the internet for photos for my blog posts. Although I never can be sure the right image is out there, or that I will find it, or that I will have permission to use it, I trust that it is (and I will), and then it appears. Every time.


Such is the nature of change, don't you think? 

Andrew Tinmouth

You can't fight it.

Sure, you can kick, splash, and make waves, but wouldn't it be better to go with the flow? Become a partner with change and see what happens? I'm not saying you should become someone you're not, I'm not even saying that you have to like the change (at least not at first). What I'm saying is that you should probably introduce yourself and get to know change. Show it respect and let it become your ally, not your enemy.


I know, easier said than done.

Embracing (and bracing for) Change.
When I chose Change as my one little word for 2017, it came with some trepidation and skepticism. Yet six months in, I noted the positive effects of opening myself up to possibilities, and now, as the year draws to a close, I'm not sure I want to give that one little word up. Change has accompanied me through several new undertakings, haiku being just one of them.

Most noteworthy are probably the poetry workshops I've presented this year. Although teaching poetry has been something I've wanted to do more of for some time, this is the year that made that desire a reality. I've discovered just how much I love sharing poetry with young people who haven't yet been exposed to the "right kind" of poem—the kind that meets them where they live and knocks their socks off. The summer workshops were great, but it was working with juvenile offenders that was truly transformative—for them and for me. I'd love to do more of that. I'd also love to share more about my teaching experiences on the blog.

But there's something else that I owe myself even more—attention to my own writing. This year I've had two acceptances in journals ("dawn chill" in Frogpond and "Look for the Helpers" in the Journal of Children's Literature), "Look for the Helpers" also appeared in HERE WE GO: A POETRY FRIDAY POWER BOOK (Pomelo Books) last January, THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY 2016 is now available, and I have three or four publication credits in the works for next year. It's a respectable list for someone who can count her 2017 submissions on one hand, but it reflects the life of a productive blogger, not a productive writer.

My Summer with the Old Man
It's time to change the rules again—to go back for the Poet Toad who's been patiently waiting for a helping hand to cross the road.

Don't worry. Today's Little Ditty and the DMC aren't going anywhere! My plan is to have fewer formal interviews and introduce monthly challenges in a fun and interactive way. I've already got some ideas simmering, but by all means leave me a comment or email me at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com if you have ideas of your own.

Anthony
Today's Little Ditty will be taking a break for the holidays, but I'm leaving the light on. Feel free to stop by anytime. You can access an alphabetical list of all TLD's spotlight interviews HERE and an alphabetical list of all the DMC challenges HERE.


And speaking of DMC challenges—

Last month was amazing. Carol Hinz inspired us to find beauty in so many surprising and wonderful places. We had 46 poems in all, at least 10 of which arrived after the wrap-up celebration was first posted! Please do yourself a favor and take another look. You won't be disappointed.

Random.org determined that the winner of THE SUN PLAYED HIDE-AND-SEEK: A PERSONIFICATION STORY by Brian P. Cleary and illustrated by Carol Crimmins (Millbrook Press, 2017) is . . .

CINDY BREEDLOVE 
Congratulations, Cindy!


Wishing you blessings of the season, my friends. See you in 2018.

Sunset by Tanja Rott


Mary Lee Hahn shares her own haiku at this week's Poetry Friday roundup. Find her at A Year of Reading.
Hooray! The second volume of The Best of Today's Little Ditty (2016) is now available at Amazon.com. (Click HERE to purchase.) I'm so proud of this collection of 75 poems by 50 poets. In addition to some great work, including contributions by Jane Yolen, David L. Harrison, and a whole bunch of folks you'll recognize from Poetry Friday, the book has an extra section on using poetry in the classroom. At only $9.95, it makes a great holiday gift for teachers, or anyone who enjoys readng and/or writing poetry!




DMC: "I'll Wash, You Dry" by Robyn Hood Black




I'LL WASH, YOU DRY

Pile of dishes in the sink -
remnants of our food and drink.

Fulsome meal and laughter, too -
now we have a job to do.

Messy saucepan, crusty cup;
we’ll need time to clean this up.

Spray of water, sudsy foam –
we are grateful for our home.

Grateful, grateful
here at home. 


© 2017 Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group. Her challenge is to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.

You have until today, November 30th, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our November 2017 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a copy of The Sun Played Hide-and-Seek: A Personification Story by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Carol Crimmins, and published by Millbrook Press earlier this year.






Wednesday, November 29, 2017

DMC: "The Beauty of Grief" by Jone Rush MacCulloch




THE BEAUTY OF GRIEF

It arrives
unexpectedly.
Song lyrics
driving home.
The woodsy clove scent lingers
with his memory.

Grace moments,
sorting memories.
Hold this one,
free others.
Watching the sunrise with him.
Soaring with eagles.


© 2017 Jone Rush MacCulloch. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group. Her challenge is to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.

You have until Thursday, November 30th, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our November 2017 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a copy of The Sun Played Hide-and-Seek: A Personification Story by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Carol Crimmins, and published by Millbrook Press earlier this year.






Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Two Line Tuesday: Rabindranath Tagore






Hernán Piñera


Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain 
or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.


– Rabindranath Tagore
from Stray Birds



Carol Hinz has challenged us to write poems that find beauty in things that are not usually considered beautiful. You have until Thursday, November 30th, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our November 2017 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE.





Monday, November 27, 2017

DMC: "Oxblood Red" by Juanita Havill




OXBLOOD RED

Once it was red
now no longer
the color of ox blood
the barn stands gray and bleak
in disrepair
gaps where boards have split
the farmer would paint it
replace the boards
if he were still alive

pigeons don’t mind
roosting on rafters
cooing in the morning
mice don’t mind
sheltering in aging straw
hiding from the owl

the wind doesn’t mind
it blows through chinks
reclaims the loft
and one day
collapses the boards in a heap
of memories
strong as the smell
of fresh-baled hay


© 2017 Juanita Havill. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group. Her challenge is to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.

You have until Thursday, November 30th, at 5:00 pm (EST) to join in! Post your poem on our November 2017 padlet and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation HERE. One lucky participant will win a copy of The Sun Played Hide-and-Seek: A Personification Story by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Carol Crimmins, and published by Millbrook Press earlier this year.






Thursday, November 23, 2017

November Wrap-Up + Giveaway


"Eye of the beholder" by Tim Kirman


"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not."  

             ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

At the beginning of November, Carol Hinz challenged us to write a poem that finds beauty in something not usually considered beautiful.




It's a marvelous quest, isn't it? 

Even if we carried this challenge over December and into the new year, I doubt that we would run short of poetry. So many wonderful poems graced the padlet this month! Far more than I had opportunity to feature as daily ditties. I hope you'll take your time with this collection—it may yield you some fresh perspective... and throw in a few oohs and ahhs for good measure.

Scroll through the poems below, or for best viewing, CLICK HERE.


Made with Padlet


Thank you to everyone who contributed a poem, commented, or followed along, and thanks most especially to Carol Hinz for encouraging us to take this journey to find the beautiful. 

As Emerson said, the rest is up to us. I know it's a challenge I'll carry with me.


Would you like to write a poem that finds beauty in something not usually considered beautiful?

Post it on our November 2017 padlet by 5:00 pm (EST) on Thursday, November 30th, and I will add it to the wrap-up presentation.




Participants in this month's challenge will automatically be entered to win a copy of The Sun Played Hide-and-Seek: A Personification Story by Brian P. Cleary, with illustrations by Carol Crimmins (Millbrook Press, 2017). One entry per participant, not per poem.




Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below. Comments must also be received no later than 5:00 pm (EST) on Thursday, November 30th. If you contribute a poem and comment below, you will receive two entries in total.

The winner will be determined by Random.org and announced next Friday, December 1st.


Many thanks to everyone who came by last week to help me celebrate the launch of The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2016! I was touched by so many expressions of support and congratulations, and raised a toast to you at my Thanksgiving table.


Join Carol at Carol's Corner for this week's Poetry Friday roundup.








DMC: "Puddle Wonderful" by B.J. Lee




PUDDLE WONDERFUL

boring brown puddles,
on bring-your-umbrella days,
transform in bright sun
into billowing-cloud skyscapes
or shimmering rainbow art


© 2017 B.J. Lee. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group. Her challenge this month is to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.

Post your poems on our November 2017 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration tomorrow, Friday, November 24th. One lucky participant will win a copy of The Sun Played Hide-and-Seek: A Personification Story by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Carol Crimmins, and published by Millbrook Press earlier this year.