Thursday, November 8, 2018

Diary of a Basket Case + The Poetry Friday Roundup


Shawn


It was only after catching my first glimpse of last week's Poetry Friday roundup that I realized I picked out a potentially difficult date to host—the Friday after Election Day.

Will I be hopeful? Despondent? Determined? Crushed? Under the best of circumstances, I am not a last minute blogger. How can I possibly wait until after the election to piece together words and thoughts when I'm not even sure I'll have fully processed what those thoughts are?

The best I could come up with for today is a muddled mess of emotion, anxiety, and borrowed poetry collected over the course of the week—my personal "Diary of a Basket Case." I've included four short poems by Jane Kenyon, Tom Hennen, Robert Lax, and John Martin, all of which were previously featured on The (now defunct) Writer's Almanac. [UPDATE: Did you know The Writer's Almanac is back as a podcast? Subscribe to the daily newsletter at GarrisonKeillor.com.] Three of the four also appear in GOOD POEMS, selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor (Penguin Books, 2003)—a new-to-me anthology purchased recently at my local Friends of the Library book sale.


Philippa Willitts

MONDAY

I got my hair cut today—short-short-short. Shorter than last time, which was shorter than the time before that. Freshly-mowed short. I've decided that the length of my hair inversely correlates to the amount of stress in my life and I'm trying to slough off anxiety with each snip. After tomorrow, I may have to shave my hair off altogether.

Otherwise
     by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.


          Read the rest HERE.


TUESDAY

After waking up with bedhead the likes I've never see before, I went about my routine as if today was like any other day. Since I voted a few weeks ago, there is nothing to do but wait... and hope... and eat leftover Halloween candy.

The Life of a Day
          by Tom Hennen

Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has
its own personality quirks which can easily be seen
if you look closely. But there are so few days as
compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it
would be surprising if a day were not a hundred
times more interesting than most people.


          Read the rest HERE.


WEDNESDAY

Oh Florida, what have you done???

Alley Violinist
          by Robert Lax

if you were an alley violinist

and they threw you money
from three windows . . .




THURSDAY

And here we go. Let's start off the day with another mass shooting, shall we?

Bear in Mind
          by John Martin

A bear is chasing me through a meadow
and I’m running as fast as I can but
he’s gaining on me—it seems
he’s always gaining on me.
I’m running and running but also
thinking I should just
turn around and say,
“Stop it! Stop chasing me. We both
know you aren’t going to catch me.
All you can ever do is chase me. So,
think about it—why bother?”


          Read the rest HERE.


I guess it's time to get over the election results and move on. Accept the wins and losses for what they are—the chase is not going to end any time soon and there are other things vying for the nightly news hour. Welcome to the new normal, as exhausting as it may be.

More than the election and more than the news of the day, this poem is, for me, about life in all of its ursine glory—its hunger, its growl, and its roar.

Joe Giordano

Lately I've been feeling life's hot breath on my neck more than usual, which means it's time to get off the treadmill and go into hibernation for a while—to take a break from blogging. (I know, it seems like I just got back from my last hiatus, but tell that to my burly friend!)

I may pop in from time to time, but when I come back in earnest, Today's Little Ditty is likely going to be a little less structured. After 41 interviews with authors and editors, it's time to have some fun and turn the spotlight on YOU! I won't be dropping author/editor interviews altogether, but they will be less frequent since my time has become more in demand at home. With interviews that will be less research-intensive and more free-form, I look forward to finding out more about your favorite things, the writing habits you keep, and what role poetry plays in your lives. Plus, after being so well-practiced in ditty challenges (find them all here), I have no doubt that you have some great new ones to suggest!

If you're interested, please fill out this short Google form. Bear in mind, it won't commit you to anything, it will just give me a better idea of who might like more information.




Now I know you're all keen to get to the Poetry Friday roundup, but I have one more announcement to make—the winner of last month's DMC giveaway!

Thanks once again to everyone who contributed to such a fun collection of anthropomorphic poems! Random.org has determined that a signed copy of The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poems by Calef Brown will be winging its way to . . .


LINDA BAIE
Congratulations, Linda!




Add your link below for this week's Poetry Friday roundup.



50 comments:

  1. Love your basket case diary, Michelle. Such great poems! It truly has been a roller coaster of a week -- all those emotions you mentioned and more. Exhausting! Enjoy your hibernation. We'll miss you, of course, but understand. Thanks for hosting this week!! You have my permission to eat extra pie this month. :D

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    1. Oh good! Not that I was going to hold back on the pie anyway, but it's nice to have permission. :)

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  2. A bittersweet post, but if you'd like you're always welcome here in the fair prairie state of Illinois Michelle (course you'd have to deal with our winters, but they're not all that bad anymore do to global warming.)–We swept a big Blue Wave throughout the state. Your Bear poem reminded me of a book I'm reading by a friend of mine "All That I Can Fix." Hope to see you emerge every once in a while, I love everything about your blog! But I know well about a lack of time–all the best with this new transition. Thanks for hosting the roundup. Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays as they are right around the corner, xo.

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    1. Who knows, Michelle— maybe Miranda will end up at SAIC! That's a good excuse to move there, no? :)

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  3. Wow, I won a book! And 'that' book by Calef Brown! Thank you and thank Calef, please! I love your gathering in a basket which you can then put away for another time when needed, Michelle. It a lovely way to say goodbye to this week, hoping that for you it held the "right amounts of sunlight and shade" and that you made peace with the bear per its suggestion. Thank you for all the goodness (solace?) here and for hosting.

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    1. Thanks for all the good wishes, Linda! The bear and I are in negotiations. ;)

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  4. Michelle, you remain an inspiration...from a daring haircut to putting your week into the four perfect poems to speak for your feelings to taking care of what needs to be taken care of. I sincerely hope that YOU are at the top of the list. You are an amazing teacher. One of the things we talk about 'nowadays' in educational jargon is the "gradual release" of students as they learn. First we teach by working along side...student copies teacher. Next, students work with each other to mimic what they learned with teacher...until finally, students are working independently and teaching others. You are not going away...you are providing a lovely gradual release and in your usual style, being extraordinarily inclusive and kind. Well done, you. Take time, take care....be you in all the basket of crazy ways that entails. See ya when we see ya. xo

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    1. Thanks for this, Linda... these comforting words. And thanks for you being you! xo

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  5. Terrific idea -- making a poem diary! Love it! I hope you don't go the bald route, but I'm sure you could make it work ;-)

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    1. Ha! Not so sure about that, T. But "making it work" is the name of the game, so I guess we'll just wait and see. ;)

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  6. A perfect solution to a rollercoaster week: a poem a day! Thanks for sharing these, Michelle - especially Jane Kenyon's. (we NH folks have an affinity for our fellow Granite Staters!)

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  7. Such a rich and honest post, Michelle - thank you. Terrific poems to share. Yep, this week I've been part cat-under-a-blanket, part chased-by-bear, and part bear myself! (And our little corner of SC went BLUE in our House race- actually B-L-U-E, which is pretty unheard-of ANYwhere in South Carolina, that's for sure!)
    PS - I do miss The Writer's Almanac.... XO

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    1. Well happy BLUE to YOU, Robyn! That IS good (and surprising) news. Here's some more good news for you— Margaret informed me that The Writer's Almanac is back! I've updated my blog post to include the link where you can resubscribe. xo

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  8. These poems are perfect for this week, so, no, I don't think you are a basket case at all. Or maybe that means I'm a basket case right along with you. Thank you for hosting today, and I look forward to see what fun arrives in the future as you pop in and out.

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    1. Will you be insulted, Kay, if I think it's the latter? LOL. Seriously, this basket has plenty of room for all of us... it's nice to have some company. :)

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  9. I love the poem-a-day memoir of your week. All you can do is put your two legs on the floor, enjoy the interesting day, consider the notes of violins and strangers, and outrun that bear! Thanks for sharing these beauties.

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    1. You *almost* make it sound manageable, Buffy. I was with you until you got to the "outrun that bear" part! Though I guess I do feel a bit better. Thanks. :)

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  10. Take heart, my friend! There are still ballots being counted in a number of states. Take deep breaths, take a step back, and read and write more poetry! We'll be here.

    "Alley Violinist" is my favorite from your week's choices.

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    1. Sounds like some great advice, Diane. I'll give it a try. :)

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  11. Michelle, what a bear of a week it has been. You did a marvelous job of weaving your week together by choosing the right poem for each day. I think many of us have agonized over the news this week but yet we have poetry as a bond to keep us all going. I hope your brief departure allows you to rest and rejuvenate. I completed the bear in mind survey of which I am still reflecting upon.

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    1. "...poetry as a bond to keep us all going." Yes! I think hosting PF was just what I needed today, Carol. Thanks for completing my form. :)

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  12. Michelle, I appreciated the place from where your words came- the intersection of life and poetry. It made for intriguing reading. despite my physical distance from the US, I was most aware of the significance of the week's events in your part of the world. i followed it intently. So, I understand the angst and trepidation so many of you felt as events unfolded. I loved the 'bear' analogy and the range of poems you brought to our attention. Thank you for hosting. Your post added a broader dimension to the notion of poetry friday.

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    1. Thanks for your support from afar, Alan. Sometimes I'm so focused on meeting deadlines, that it's eye-opening (and comforting) to make these kinds of everyday poetry connections. I should do it more often!

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  13. Whoa--what a wonderful collection of poems! I love how you created a diary of the week -- what a creative and engaging approach to a challenging time. I'm going to be reading all of these poems again, as each struck a chord in its own way. Thanks for the wonderful world of TLD and for challenging us each month to try something new. I'm excited for you as you move in a new direction, and look forward to seeing what this new format brings. Knowing you, it will be as creative and engaging as today's post. Thanks for hosting this week!

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  14. Michelle - your post is amazing. I love that you have matched poems to your tumultuous week, even though I wish for you a calmer pace. Hugs to you as you take a hiatus. You go hibernate till you feel the kiss of sun. Hugs to you.

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    1. What a beautiful way to put it, Sally. Yes, the kiss of sun is what I need. :) Hugs backatcha.

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  15. Beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. You are wise and I wish you peace. I am hibernating a bit too. Thank you for your openness. xx

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  16. Thanks for sharing and hosting, Michelle. There always seems to be a lot happening and it can be overwhelming. Perhaps when so many things need to be changed, it takes a crumbling of the foundations before you can re-build. I can relate to the hair thing, when my hair got a bit longer I got into a habit of pulling at it nervously, I kept cutting it short to get rid of the feeling. I'm still contemplating how short I can actually go but it can be a way to de-stress!

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    1. Yay! I welcome the company in the Short Hair Club for Nervous Poets, Erin!

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  17. Dear Michelle - big bear hugs to you!! For many years GOOD POEMS was the anthology I gifted most often. Lots of comfort and wisdom and joy there. Funny thing: I find I am most at peace when my hair is LONG. (Right now it's a little too short!) Love to you - and congratulations on these efforts toward self-care. That can be the hardest thing to do. Irene

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    1. I wish I had discovered GOOD POEMS a long time ago—it's wonderful! Wrap yourself in that beautiful long hair of yours and feel loved and safe, Irene. xo

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  18. This post is a keeper! I love your selections. Now, take care of yourself. We'll be here for you.

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  19. Thank you for hosting! It has been a week, for sure. May next week be better for us all. And thank you for invitingi that adorable cat!

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    1. The cat's name is Doxi. I found her on Flickr Creative Commons. She's a real cutie, isn't she?

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  20. Such an amazing selection of poems for this week--thank you! I love the bear references, which all seem too true to me, too. Our first snowfall of the winter reinforces my urge to hibernate. I hope your blogging break rejuvenates you and brings you comfort! xox

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    1. Thanks, JoAnn! One of the things I love most about poems is their determination. Somehow they just show up when you need them most.

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  21. Thanks for sharing this handful of poems, Michelle. Jane Kenyon's poem especially struck a chord with me. Good reminder to live with gratitude!

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    1. Living with gratitude is something I remind myself about every day... and still it's easy to forget.

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  22. Dear Michelle - As poets, we all know the bear and inclination to the comfort of hibernation and haircuts. Jane Kenyon and the other poets’ beautiful words celebrate the poignancy of today - like TLD has done for so many of us. Thank you for your inspiration and honesty - your life’s poetry. Take care.

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  23. I got my hair cut today--not really short, but shorter than it's been in a while. I think it has to do with wanting to shake things off/up. This is such a crazy, scary time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and poems. I especially liked the one about the bear. Enjoy your hibernation! And thanks for hosting.

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    1. Hope you're able to keep your own bear at bay during this crazy, scary time, Susan.

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  24. Dear Michelle, I think the "muddled mess of emotion, anxiety" our lives have become is a reflection of the world at large. The poems you've shared are pitch-perfect for the roller coaster quality of recent weeks (years?). I hope things settle into less of a chase and more of an amble. You have been such an inspiration to me over the years; I don't know if I could truly ever convey how much I've grown as a poet thanks to you and your ditty challenges. Thank you for that, and thank you for hosting today!

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    1. Oh Catherine, your kind words mean so much. Thank you! May we all become reacquainted with the healing that comes with a peaceful amble.

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  25. I've decided

    that the length of my hair
    inversely correlates
    to the amount of stress
    in my life

    and I'm trying to
    slough off anxiety

    with

    each

    snip.

    Ok, so maybe it needs something other than blogspot to space properly but I love these words as a poem.

    I'm glad you're doing what is best for you and your family and am very grateful for the interviews and safe place to share over the last couple of years.

    I usually have someone's ditty of the month posted in my classroom which my students notice and read and think it's cool that I'm part of the "club" so for helping make poetry a fun and normal thing to third graders, thank you from the bottom of this teacher's poetry loving heart! Can't wait to see the new things to be at TLD.

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    1. Thank you for the gift of seeing my own words with new eyes, Bekah. I'm touched and honored that TLD has a place in your classroom! Thank you from the bottom of MY heart.

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