Thursday, April 30, 2020

Poetry in Action: Poem Movies and a Postcard for My Pocket


"You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket."
              – John Adams, in a letter to his son John Quincy at the University of Leiden

One of the silver linings that has come of all of us being stuck at home for National Poetry Month is the number of folks who have taken to reading their work aloud on YouTube. While I have not braved those waters yet, I'm grateful for those who have, and to two poet friends in particular who have shared poems from The Best of Today's Little DittyRobyn Hood Black and Margaret Simon. It's been such a treat to hear their poems in their own voices!

So today, on the last day of National Poetry Month, I would like to share those four short videos, with a heart full of dittylove and appreciation.

Paperback and Kindle versions available for purchase at

From the first volume of The Best of Today's Little Ditty (2014-2015), "I turn" by Robyn Hood Black was inspired by Bob Raczka's November 2014 challenge to write a haiku about a monster. The poem is short, but packs a wallop. Make sure to watch all the way to the end for a special surprise. But don't be scared—it's just a video.

From the second volume, The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2016, Robyn shares a beautiful poem titled "Blank," inspired by Douglas Florian's January 2016 challenge to "write a poem about nothing."

And from the most recent volume, The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2017-2018, we have two poems. The first is a performance of Robyn's "Epitaffy" that's good, spooky fun! It was inspired by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen's February 2018 challenge to write an epitaph poem.

The second selection from the same volume comes from Margaret Simon—"Window Impressionism." It's a gorgeous, mindful poem inspired by Julie Fogliano's May 2018 challenge to write a poem that comes from staring out the window and writing what you see.

Finally, since today also happens to be Poem in Your Pocket Day, I'd like to share a postcard I recently received from the Poetry Project, under the supervision of Jone MacCulloch.

Isn't Rylee an impressive first grade artist? Wow!

I do hope Coco doesn't get up to too much mischief in my pocket!
You can read more student postcards I received in past years by clicking HERE.

If you missed last week's wrap-up celebration of poems inspired by My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice by Patrice Vecchione, you can find it HERE. Leave a comment on that blog post by 5pm today for a chance to win your own copy!


  1. Thanks for the Shout out today. I love connecting with poets everywhere. Robyn's videos have an added element of music and some editing. Heidi Mordhorst is also doing videos on her YouTube channel.
    It's fun to see people and hear their voices.

  2. Look at you with your virtual lasso, Michelle - thanks for collecting these Ditty-friendly offerings into one post. Margaret's poem is full of such gorgeous imagery - refreshing!
    And you are right about young Rylee's art (& fun poem). Letter nerd that I am, I love her beautiful cursive R's. :0)

  3. Lovely end-of-month celebration, Michelle. I've seen all these, except your special postcard. It's such a nice surprise to receive one in the mail! Happy May!

  4. How very brave of your readers. I feel like I have been frozen these last couple months -- not doing much reading and even less writing. I will try to get here more often. I'd forgotten how nice it is here on your blog. Thanks, Michelle.

  5. A wonderful celebration of National Poetry Month! You've done a super job of providing poetry, poetry resources and how-to advice. Bravo! I hope, hope, hope you had time for writing as well.

  6. Love each of the videos that Robyn and Margaret shared - and that post card from Rylee! I think I fell in love with mischievous Coco. The end bit on the "I Turn" video was a hoot! Great post to round out NPM and begin May, Michelle! Thank you!

  7. How wonderful to see these read. Thanks for sharing!