Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Joni Mitchell reprise: "in time I would learn" + more found haiku



Having been under the weather several days last week, I had the opportunity to dive into Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe (Sarah Crighton Books/FSG, 2017)—376 densely packed pages of astute insights, sprawling connections, and unexpected revelations.

I'm always a bit cautious about reading biographies of artistic role models and being spoon fed secrets that will mar my rose-colored outlook. This one was no exception. On the other hand, I'm not as impressionable as I used to be. With more than a few years under my belt, I understand that our personality flaws are as important as our strengths—that the friction between the two is what makes us who we are. It has the potential to drive us to better ourselves, maybe even lend a hand to others, and, in some cases, make us... I hesitate to say "better," but at least more impactful as artists.

I've written about Joni Mitchell before (HERE). One thing I've always loved about her, aside from her musical genius, is that as a songwriter, she's a true poet. She wields metaphor with the best of them and wears her heart on her sleeve—not because she needs to confess, but because she wants to reveal. It's no wonder that her albums have kept fans hanging on every word. It's because they see themselves in her songs. That's what poets do. They open eyes and minds, they bring people together, they provide comfort and a sense of belonging, and they promote self-discovery.

Reading this biography has prompted a personal "roadtrip" of self-discovery.



Hejira means escape with honor.
It's one of Joni Mitchell's many songs about travel and self-discovery.
(Read the lyrics without playing the video HERE.)


Listening and reminiscing through all of her albums, from Song to a Seagull (1968) to Shine (2007), I've been filling in the gaps, making connections based on recent reading, and sharing as much as possible of her artistic legacy with my daughter who I hope will appreciate her role as an artistic trailblazer and a strong, independent woman as much as I did (and still do).

Not surprisingly, the biography has also prompted a found haiku in response to Linda Mitchell's DMC challenge.

in time, I would learn—
those tender cellophane years
when I was fifteen

found poem by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes from Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe (Preface: Nothing Lasts for Long)

This little three-liner is like a house of mirrors. Found in the preface, the haiku reflects author David Yaffe's words and viewpoint, but it also reflects Joni, herself, since the cellophane reference is hers:
Years later Joni would tell me that when she made that album [Blue] she was totally without defenses, as vulnerable as "a cellophane wrapper on a packet of cigarettes," as she once put it.
          – David Yaffe, Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Michell
Beyond that, the poem casts an image of my own younger days (and the many lessons I learned in the interim between then and now) and catches a glimmer of my daughter who, at sixteen, is occasionally startled by the crackle of her own tender, cellophane years.


There are a few other haiku on this month's padlet that seem to reflect a similar sentiment, especially after I've picked them out and presented them in sequence. Based on the articles they originated from, the creators of these haiku may not have intended that result, but that's how I am choosing to interpret them. As reader, don't let me stop you from interpreting them otherwise.

in time, I would learn—
those tender cellophane years
when I was fifteen

found poem by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes from Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe

knowing what to do
when unsettling feelings come
up is the next step

found haiku by Bridget Magee from "The Most Important Skills We Teach in the Early Years Aren't Academic" by Elizabeth Mulvahill
 
rise into wonder
life, reckless and opulent
bestows profound gifts

found haiku by Molly Hogan from "So Reckless and Opulent a Thing", a blog post by Marion Dane Bauer responding to a quote by Susan Glaspell

empowered women
no longer push anyone out
the moment of lift

found haiku by Sandie Vaisnoras
from The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates


Thank you to Bridget, Molly, and Sandie for allowing me to take their haiku out of context and play with them in a new way!


There are many other wonderful haiku finding their way to our padlet, including new ones this week by Dianne Moritz, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Angelique Pacheco, Lana Wayne Koehler, Catherine Flynn, Mindy Gars Dolandis, and Mary Lee Hahn.

Fair warning: they are addictive!
I look forward to reading yours. :)


You'll find this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Carol's Corner. She's sharing a sweet poem about the puppy she's been raising paired with photos that will steal your heart.






Thursday, July 11, 2019

DMC: Found Haiku by Kathleen Mazurowski and Tabatha Yeatts




“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” 
          – Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island


I've certainly been enjoying losing myself in the "found haiku" that folks have been submitting for Linda Mitchell's July ditty challenge! Read last week's interview with Linda HERE.


To give you a taste of what's been contributed so far, here's one by Kathleen Mazurowski that speaks to one of my favorite qualities in a person—being a good listener.

habits of the heart
chutzpah and humility
listen with respect


          found poem by Kathleen Mazurowski
          from Five Habits to Heal the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer


I'm also quite taken with this one by Tabatha Yeatts that weaves together science and story.

we beings whose brains
are memory and foresight
time is our story


          found poem by Tabatha Yeatts
          from "This physicist's ideas of time will blow your mind" by Ephrat Livni


As of the writing of this blog post, you'll also find haiku about children, learning, and pushing the limits by Dianne Moritz, Rebekah Hoeft, and Kay Jernigan McGriff, respectively. I think I'll try to add to our "found haiku" padlet this week. How about you?


Jone Rush MacCulloch is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Deowriter. She shares a trio of poems inspired by a poetry prompt fortune teller!




Thursday, July 4, 2019

Reader Spotlight: Linda Mitchell + DMC Challenge


LINDA MITCHELL


Linda Mitchell is a school librarian in a public middle school in Northern Virginia. She plans lessons, teaches, and makes sure books and reading material are available to the students and adults in her community. She also enjoys presenting at librarian conferences, discussing best practices with colleagues, swapping teaching ideas, and chatting about great reading. Outside of work, Linda spends most of her time taking care of her family—her husband, four high school and college aged children, a dog and a cat. One of the things she loves most is sitting around the kitchen table with all of them, eating something delicious and talking.

Linda is exhaustively curious. Her superpower is identifying feelings. A natural born networker, she is passionate about learning, sharing information, and making connections. She is also passionate about travel—going anywhere in the world with hiking shoes, a backpack, and a water bottle. She traveled a lot before children, and then, by way of international adoption, travel became a part of building her family. She loves writing about relationships and often starts out with a question. She also enjoys taking photos of words in places that she travels to and arranging snippets of the words into little poems.

When asked to recommend a book everyone should read, Linda responded that she has literally thousands of books that she could recommend, but she believes that any book that makes a person forget to stop reading for a while is the book every person should read. Browse Linda's featured poetry at Today's Little Ditty HERE or read much more of her work at her blog A Word Edgewise. She was a joy to interview and the perfect subject for our debut reader spotlight!


Courtesy Linda Mitchell
Linda's five favorites:

Favorite word:
          poetry

Favorite color:
          green

Favorite food:
          chocolate

Favorite sound:
          laughing children

Favorite vacation spot:
My uncle and aunt’s “land” where there is a cabin, pond and family memories. Every time I visit, I walk to the old campfire ring to visit my favorite ghosts.

What is poetry?

Poetry is life represented in words.

How did you come to poetry?

I think the first poem I wrote was in about fourth grade or so…after Mrs. Simon asked my class to find and copy poems into a collection. I loved writing the poems with my newly acquired cursive writing skill. After that I wrote poems about God. My parents were intrigued. When I was about thirteen I attended a poetry workshop at my tiny rural library. I remember the poet leading the workshop responded to my efforts with comment about me being a “tired old soul.” I would have loved studying more poetry as a child. This is what pleases me about Naomi Shihab Nye’s mission as Young People’s Poet Laureate—to take poetry to young people in rural areas.

Why do you write?

I feel good when I’m writing. I enjoy sharing my writing and trying to make it better. I enjoy being part of the Poetry Friday community of writers.

Describe three of your writing habits.

I write in the early mornings before the rest of my family is awake. On school days, I write from about 6-7 am. On weekends I write from about 6-9. In the summer, when I don’t have to get up for school, I like to write late at night too.

I meet with my online critique group every other week. They help me keep writing.

In the past several months I’ve been “paper crafting.” I make collages with different papers as a means of "creative cross-training." Somehow, the paper crafting helps my writing. I think it has to do with layering. It's also super fun and helps me create without overthinking what I'm doing.

Paper crafting images © Linda Mitchell


Other than Today's Little Ditty, where do you find your inspiration?

The Poem Farm, No Water River, The Opposite of Indifference, Laura Purdie Salas' 15 word challenge, and lots of verse novels.

What is the best advice you've ever gotten?

Trust the process. I tend to want to micromanage…even my own creative process. Whenever I remember to trust the process, things go smoother.

What is the best advice you can give?

Write every day that you can. If you cannot write, read. If you cannot write or read because of life events, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just start up again when you can.

What have you chosen as this month's ditty challenge?

Create a "found haiku."

Find an interesting article on a topic that fascinates you. As you read the article highlight phrases with the right syllable counts for traditional haiku (5-7-5). It’s true that haiku is not strictly 5-7-5. However, for this exercise, keep to the “rule.” Once you have found several phrases, place them into the form of a haiku. I’ve shared several of these on my blog A Word Edgewise. (See examples here, here, and here.)



What do you say, writers? This sounds like fun! The only thing I might add to Linda's instructions is don't forget to give credit to the article where you "find" your haiku.

For reader spotlights, I won't be sending you to an external link to post your poem. I've embedded the padlet below. Add your poem(s) at any point during the month, or scroll through to check out what others are contributing.


HOW TO PARTICIPATE

By posting on the padlet, you are also granting me permission to feature your poem on Today's Little Ditty.  I'm not sure how often I'll be featuring poems from reader challenges, but I want to keep my options open. :)

If you have not participated in a challenge before, please send me an email at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can contact you, if necessary.

HOW TO POST YOUR POEM
In the lower right corner of the padlet you'll see a pink dot with a plus sign. Click on it to open a text box. I find it works best to type your title on the title line and paste the rest of your poem where it says "Write something...". Single click outside the text box when finished. This board is moderated to prevent spam. Once your poem is approved, it will appear publicly.

PROTECT YOUR COPYRIGHT
Remember to include your name as author of any work that you post!

TEACHERS, it's great when students get involved! Ditty of the Month Club challenges are wonderful opportunities to learn about working poets and authors while having fun with poetry prompts. Thank you for spreading the word! For children under 13, please read my COPPA compliance statement in the sidebar to the right.

BLOGGERS, thank you for publishing your poems on your own blogs–I love that! Please let me know about it so I can share your post. Also remember to include your poem (or a direct link to your post) on the padlet.

If you prefer to open this padlet in a new tab, click HERE.

Made with Padlet


Thinking of Linda Mitchell, words that come to mind are creative, supportive, innovative, enthusiastic, and on-the-ball.  Turns out she's also brave! It takes guts to be the first reader spotlight, and I hope that you'll join me in thanking her for sharing herself with us today!

If you would like to be featured in a future reader spotlight, I invite you to complete this form.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Thanks once again to everyone who participated in last month's DMC challenge from Karen Boss! If you missed our collection of advice poems for children, you'll find it HERE.

Random.org has determined that the winner of a copy of I AM SOMEONE ELSE: POEMS ABOUT PRETENDING, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu will go to . . .

ANGELIQUE PACHECO
Congratulations, Angelique!


Patricia Stohr-Hunt shares a wonderful triolet inspired by the memory of her grandmother and a letter she wrote during WWII. Please join her for this week's Poetry Friday roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Book Love: "Bellies, Bones, and Paws" from I AM SOMEONE ELSE




Thanks to Karen Boss I feel like I've been celebrating this book's arrival for the last month, but today's the day it finally hits bookstore shelves! To honor the occasion, I'm excited to share my own contribution to this charming collection of poems about pretending.

Bellies, Bones, and Paws
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

I button up my lab coat,
scrub my hands with soap,
check the day's appointments,
and grab my stethoscope.

Some patients will be nervous,
legs quivering like leaves.
I'll give them treats and cuddles
to make them feel at ease.

I'll look at teeth, eyes, and ears,
listen to their hearts,
examine bellies, bones, and paws,
write details on their charts.

When the workday's over,
and my lab coat's shedding fur,
I'll remember every thank you—
every nuzzle, kiss, and purr.

From I AM SOMEONE ELSE, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Chris Hsu (Charlesbridge, 2019).  Click to enlarge.



















Isn't Chris Hsu's illustration adorable? I was touched when he told me that the girl is based on his daughter, so every time he's read the book for story time, she knows the page is coming up and says "next I'm going to be an animal doctor!"

Don't miss Matt Forrest Esenwine's wonderful interview with Chris Hsu and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. You'll find my interview with Karen Boss from Charlesbridge (who edited the book) HERE. And finally, a reminder that this is the last day to leave a comment on last Friday's post for a chance to win your very own copy. Just imagine the smiles on the faces of the children who are gifted this creative collection! The winner, selected randomly, will be announced on Friday.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

June DMC Wrap-Up Celebration + Giveaway


poetry2capullet

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."
                    –Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter


At the beginning of this month, Karen Boss challenged us to write a poem for kids, telling them something important for them to know.


"Your child is listening" by Wayne S. Grazio


She wanted to put good vibes for kids into the world.  

                    Did we succeed?
 
The jury's still out . . .

Henry Burrows



















but I like to think so.

United Nations Photo

















Thank you to everyone who contributed a poem or followed along, and thanks especially to Karen Boss for opening our hearts and exercising our creativity.

lonel POP

















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

Made with Padlet


Inspired to write your own second person poem giving advice to kids?

Add it to our June 2019 padlet by Sunday, June 30, 2019, and I will move your poem to the wrap-up presentation.




Participants in this month's challenge will automatically be entered to win a copy of the Charlesbridge anthology I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu. (One entry per participant, not per poem.)

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below. Comments must be received by Tuesday, June 2nd. 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, June 5th when we reveal our next DMC challenge and debut reader spotlight!



Buffy Silverman, host of this week's Poetry Friday roundup, has taken Karen Boss's challenge in a different direction with a poem offering advice to a sandhill crane chick. Her inspiration was Hello, I'm Here by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder. (Find out how to use Hello, I'm Here in the classroom in this interview with Helen Frost.)

DMC: "Risk It" by Heidi Mordhorst




RISK IT

You want a band-aid.
What’s it for?
It won’t heal hurts.
It’s something more.

This blister on your
hand’s a scar
from conquering
the monkey bars.

Your knee is skinned,
your ankle’s bleeding--
this happens RIDING,
not while reading.

How’d you get those
itchy scratches?
Berry brambles,
firefly catches.

Elbow, hipbone
bumped and bruised
shows every part of
you got used.

Chafes and gashes,
scrapes and cuts
show you risked it,
had the guts.

You went there,
but you’re not a goner.
This band-aid is your
badge of honor.
 

© 2019 Heidi Mordhorst. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration tomorrow, Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Wednesday, June 26, 2019

DMC: "Race Toward Goals" by Sydney O'Neill




RACE TOWARD GOALS

Do you race toward goals with giant leaps,
bounding over small obstacles, scaling tall walls,
ignoring distractions and focusing on your destination?
Or do you prefer to race with a steady pace
of slower steps, marveling at small obstacles,
tunneling paths through tall walls for others to follow,
swerving to investigate intriguing distractions?
Maybe you do both at different times.
That's fine. As long as you keep moving,
you'll get there.

© 2019 Sydney O'Neill. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DMC: "Calling All Kids" by Janet Clare Fagal




CALLING ALL KIDS

Inside of you:
dreams,
ideas,
potential.
Wildness, maybe.
Athletic skills,
eyes that show
your hands what to draw,
music that only you may hear.
A tender heart
full of caring.
Words that want to find
their place on a page,
feet that tap a rhythm,
a brain that seeks
to learn, to know.
Curiosity.
You, the real you.
Like the sky lit
by fireworks,
you are brilliant.
You can light up the world.

© 2019 Janet Clare Fagal. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Monday, June 24, 2019

DMC: "Turn the World on Its Head: A Reverso" by Jesse Anna Bornemann




TURN THE WORLD ON ITS HEAD: A REVERSO

The world might say:

Look, inside,
I know you have ideas, observations, opinions—
Wait your turn.
There’s no reason to
Be impatient.
Grownups have it under control.
You think
You can solve big problems?
Well, guess what:
You’re only a kid.

But here’s MY view:

You’re only a kid?
Well, guess what:
You can solve big problems.
You think
Grownups have it under control?
Be impatient.
There’s no reason to
Wait your turn.
I know you have ideas, observations, opinions.
Look inside.

© 2019 Jesse Anna Bornemann. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Thursday, June 20, 2019

DMC: "When You Wish upon a Star" by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes


Yuliya Libkina


WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

Hold it loosely,
          say goodbye,
                        let it go—
(it’s fine to cry).

You might not see
that wish again.

But one day,
when a long
lost friend
blows into town
from far away,
ask her
“Would you like to stay?”

Look deeply
in her twinkling
eyes—
                see
if  you can recognize
your wish from many
moons ago,
changed somehow
yet still aglow.

Sometimes
wishes
don’t come true,
                      but others
       will come back
to you.


© 2019 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Review for The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2017-2018 is underway! Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in being on this year's ditty committee. As far as this month's challenge goes, our padlet is filling up with some terrific advice poems for children! Featured ditties this week included ones by George Heidenrich, Michelle Kogan, Robyn Campbell, and Linda Baie. Also be sure to check out Carol Varsalona's poem for her granddaughter at Beyond LiteracyLink.


Join Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise for this week's Poetry Friday roundup and a "Clunker Exchange." What a great way to give old words new life!

DMC: "When You Begin" by Linda Baie




WHEN YOU BEGIN (A Skinny Poem)

You will discover pals.
Ignore
seeing
mean-spirited
glares.
Ignore
hearing
put-down
scorn.
Ignore.
Pals will discover you.


© 2019 Linda Baie. All rights reserved.


Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Wednesday, June 19, 2019

DMC: "Teach Us" by Robyn Campbell




TEACH US

With one step
from darkness
into the light,
you can teach us. You
can make us see why. You
left your country
riding on your
daddy's shoulders
through gloomy days
and darker nights
to live beside us.
How long did it take?
And how did you sleep?
Was there food to eat?
When did your daddy grow too tired to carry you?
And when did your feet grow too tired to bring you
through?
You can help us see
Teach us.

We want to learn.

© 2019 Robyn Campbell. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Tuesday, June 18, 2019

DMC: "A Kid Forever More" by Michelle Kogan




A KID FOREVER MORE

Be a kid
right now,
this minute–
Nuh-uh you say,
you wanna be
like everyone else,
all grown up.
But now’s the time
to be yourself–
Silly, smart, sassy,
sashaying across a sun-warmed street…
Meek, mellow, musical,
mumbling melodramatic moments…
Seize the opportunity,
follow your passion,
indulge in your daydreams…
Time flies by, and before you know it–
Even grownups wish they could
be a kid
forever
more.

© 2019 Michelle Kogan. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Monday, June 17, 2019

DMC: "Father's Day" by George Heidenrich




FATHER'S DAY

You're little now, but when you grow
what direction will you go?

A fireman, maybe, or a nurse?
Someone who studies the universe?
A dancer, a poet, a Mom or Dad?
You'll always make your Daddy glad.

So love your life, your dreams, your play time,
and don't forget to hug me anytime.

© 2019 George Heidenrich. All rights reserved.



Click HERE to read this month's interview with Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge. Her challenge this month is to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know.

Post your poem on our June 2019 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, June 28th. One lucky participant will win a copy of I Am Someone Else: Poems About Pretending, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Hsu, available online for preorder, and coming to a bookstore near you on July 2, 2019.





Thursday, June 13, 2019

Planning Ahead, Moving Forward, and Celebrating Dads


"Father and Son" by Tuan Hoang Nguyen

Hello Friends—

If you've been hanging around Today's Little Ditty for any length of time, you probably know that I struggle, more or less constantly, to find balance in my life. There's so much I want to do and never enough time for it all!

Organizer Me would be perfectly content planning blog content a year in advance, Family Me wants to be on top of everything and everyone when it comes to taking care of my home and loved ones, while Poet Me wants to be fully present in the moment—giving myself the space to breathe, notice, discover, and play. There are a few others "Me"s I could mention, but I won't bother. Let's just say they resemble toads and I've written about them before (HERE).

As much as I try (and I DO try), I can't seem to satisfy one Me without disappointing others, and unlike the well-balanced duo at the top of this post, patience is not my forte. So I guess I'll have to keep up the juggling act. If I'm going to take on something new, something else has got to give.

Oh, I can hear some of you already—Today's Little Ditty is going on hiatus AGAIN???

NO!  
(Ha! Gotcha!)


The Best of Today's Little Ditty (2017-2018)

One of the things that I've been reluctant to take on is a third volume of the TLD anthology.

Volumes 1 and 2 with beautiful covers by Michelle Kogan and Teresa Robeson.

Not because I don't want to, but because creating these anthologies requires an inordinate amount of work with little, if any, financial benefit. But the thing is, I've never done these books to make money. I do them because they make me proud. YOU make me proud with the way you come back every month with new poems, many of which knock my socks off.

But guess what—I think I've finally figured out a way to manage it! Starting next month, instead of hosting author/editor interviews, I will be sharing READER spotlights—focusing my bright shiny light on . . .


 YOU!

As I first explained back in November, these interviews will be will be less content-heavy than my author/editor spotlights and they will be pretty much self-contained. There will still be ditty challenges each month, but the padlet will be embedded in the blog post itself. I will not be featuring wrap-up celebrations, book giveaways, or daily ditties (though I may still feature a poem, or two or three, each Friday).

I already have a few of these interviews in hand and, let me tell you, the DMC challenges are terrific! My hope is that while we can continue to have fun writing poetry together, we will also have a grand old time getting to know one another. What's more, this should free up enough of my time to work on the next anthology. WIN-WIN-WIN!

I'll return to hosting author and editor interviews once my workload lightens, but even then, the reader spotlights won't be going away completely. They will be ongoing, interspersed with the more formal spotlights.  

Are you interested in being featured in a reader spotlight? If so, I invite you to complete this form

And one more invitation for you:

Would you like to be on my ditty committee?

What's a "ditty committee"?

"Ditty committee" is what I call the group of ten individuals who will help me decide which poems from our roster of challenges should appear in our next TLD anthology. (Actually, to be honest, the committee does most of the deciding. I try to keep out of it as much as possible.)

Volume 3 will include the following 12 challenges:

  • Personified feeling poems (Jeannine Atkins)
  • Ode poems (Helen Frost)
  • Comparison poems (Melissa Manlove)
  • Abecedarian poems (Carole Boston Weatherford)
  • Spooky poems (Carrie Clickard)
  • Poems that find beauty (Carol Hinz)
  • Epitaph poems (J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen)
  • Golden Shovels (Nikki Grimes)
  • Dinosaur poems (Deborah Bruss and Matt Forrest Esenwine)
  • Window poems (Julie Fogliano)
  • Poems with questions (Naomi Shihab Nye)
  • Anthropomorphic poems (Calef Brown)

Are decisions made as a group?

Yes and no. Although committee members share a common set of criteria and guidelines, each person on the committee will be assigned six challenges to review. Poems are reviewed individually, not as a group discussion. I am the only one who sees all of the recommendations, consolidates them, and makes final decisions on which poems should appear based on overall results.

What kind of time commitment are we talking about?

The review process takes place from mid-June through mid-July. Within that time frame, committee members can review challenges at their own pace. Any committee members who complete their assigned challenges and are keen to do more are encouraged to do so!

Interested?

Please contact me via email at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com.


Now how about some poetry? 

Today I'm sharing three poems that feature dads.

simpleinsomnia












Father's Day is Sunday, of course, and this year I have not planned ahead. I'm delighted that my parents will be arriving tomorrow (it's their 58th wedding anniversary on Monday as well),  but since the visit was a last minute decision, I'm not exactly prepared. I don't have gifts for either occasion! Do you have a favorite poem to suggest? I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments.

Although these three poems about fathers are favorites of mine, and each reflects a certain aspect of my dad, none of them accurately portrays our father-daughter relationship. I should probably write my own poem for that, but, well, juggling. Maybe next year.


Advice
          by Dan Gerber

You know how, after it rains,
my father told me one August afternoon
when I struggled with something
hurtful my best friend had said,
how worms come out and
crawl all over the sidewalk
and it stays a big mess
a long time after it’s over
if you step on them?

                              Read the rest HERE.


Recalculating
          by C. Wade Bentley

So Google Maps has me somewhere west of Evanston,
Wyoming, telling me that to get to the gas station where
my daughter and her broken-down Subaru are waiting
for me, I need to go straight for two miles through a quarter-
mile dead-end trailer park. This is the young woman
with whom, some Sunday mornings, I have coffee
and a game of chess as an excuse to get caught up
on her life and the status of her sobriety. It’s not much
of a game. I’m a reactive and distracted player and more
interested in the new medicine she has found in an online
Russian pharmacy than the fact that her horsey has me
in a rook-king fork because I failed to castle while the castling
was good.

                              Read the rest HERE.


Seeing and Believing
          by Edwin Romond

The girls giggled
but the boys laughed right out loud
when Mrs. Stone raged crimson
holding my eighth grade project:
"The Map of New Jersey."
"Get up here, boy!"
and I had no choice
but to walk the gangplank to her desk
where my map choked in her fist.

                              Read the rest HERE.


Mirza Asad Baig

Happy Father's Day!



Karen Boss has challenged us to write a poem in second person, speaking directly to a kid or kids about something that you think is important for them to know. This week's daily ditties were by Margaret Simon, Kathleen Mazurowski, and Diane Mayr (plus some musical inspiration from Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens). Add yours to our June 2019 padlet by the end of this month.

Laura Shovan is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup. She's a fantastic middle grade author and poet in the Maryland schools who also has some wonderful blog posts housed here on Today's Little Ditty. Today at her blog she is sharing an imaginative, happy-making collection of poems by some talented students from Northfield Elementary.