Thanksgiving Week 2020

Thanksgiving Week Peace! Previously I offered, “A Native American Thought of It,” links that are especially important in November, including a Nov. 30, 2020 event link, with The Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Now I want to share how we stepped only slightly off trail recently to peer – with no touch- at a natural creation of North Florida woodlands. It’s a gift of #forestwalks #forestbathing & #fungi. And in time for Thanksgiving2020.

Thanksgiving woods

Brown ribbons ripple.

Announcing dead wood corsages. Radiating necklace rings.

Saying: Stop, see what unfolds here.

Saying: Nature’s way is life, from death.

What of the ancients, who put words to this?

Who was the one who first saw feathers in fungus?

Who pronounced a (polypore*) phenomena to be ~~

turkey tail?

c.JanGodownAnnino2020

[polypore = the way this mushroom forms – fast explainer of complex process]

For more basics on this beauty: already known to most everyone but me.

And for artistry inspired by this step-stopping act of decomposition, I’m pleased to link to a beautiful turkey tail poem by Alexandria C. Eisenberg, who is new to me. So glad I found her pages & poems. And at this time of year. At her site, see “Love Poem for a Mushroom” in Tiny Seed Literary Journal.

I wish you all the steps you can take to give yourself a soothing week. I hold giving-thanks time gratitude in my heart for so much, including for magic woods, for continuing walks in them, for my family, friends & for Poetry Friday & Co.

“Turkey Tail Fans,” by JanGodownAnnino,2020, allrightsreserved.

Last week I wrote about another holiday soon upon us ~~ Hanukkah.

Hanukkah poems & Eight Knights of Hanukkah!

[Here is where to visit #PoetryFriday!]

At mid-week, a gift arrives at my inbox from a brilliant author and poet I met at a nourishing Highlights Foundation verse novel residential workshop. Because of the newsletter, The Whole Megillah, emailed from Barbara Krasner, I know of a sweet, fun, peace-building book.

It is The Eight Knights of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is just around the castle corner, with a Dec. 2020 first night on the Tenth. Since I know some of the beautiful work of poet Alieen Fisher, I’m sharing from her Hanukkah poem at Poetry Foundation, with appreciation for the holiday round up from poet Becca Klaver.

Light the Festive Candles

BY AILEEN LUCIA FISHER

(FOR HANUKKAH)

Light the first of eight tonight—

the farthest candle to the right.

Light the first and second, too,

when tomorrow’s day is through. ~~

c. AileenFisher,allrightsreserved, continued here.

::: Also, regarding Hanukkah!

When I held the cover of the book that creators Gailia Bernstein and Leslie Kimmelman sent into the universe, I smiled. This creative fantasy from Holiday House adds joy to an already festive, yet, spiritual time. And if your computer just read the title out loud to you or if someone else did, make sure you understand the spelling of Knights.

Best Big Bits: Medieval Knights? At Hanukkah. I never expected that. Representation. This is not your white-only, boys-only-allowed, Knights Story. Hanukkah Weapons? The weapons of choice do tug my heart.

And, the mitzvahs! 

And, the surprise ending.

Best Little Bits:

Map! Two pets! Noticing each Knight’s shield emblem. Finding a castle-full of details, Leslie Kimmelman’s deft words. And did I mention, Galia Bernstein’s ultra witty artwork spreads? My huge appreciations to Barbara Krasner for the tip about this book at The Whole Megillah, with Barbara’s fabulous duo interview of the creators, here.

Don’t you want to see if your Library can add EIGHT KNIGHTS to their world culture, Jewish studies, holidays & associated topic, shelves? If you curate a home Hanukkah collection, this is a keeper. Although I am of the Christian flavor of faith path, I’m interested in many many spiritual traditions. And if I did ever have a previous life, it’s likely I was Jewish 🙂

Autumn poetry news Through digital events miracles, I visited in the studios of both

RITA DOVE and

JANICE R. HARRRINGTON in one blessed evening.

I sat rapt as two of my favorite contemporary poets shared conversation with those of us attending, via The New School/NYC. And, they read to us. Bliss. [photo from the Zoom of RITA DOVE and fabulous interpreter, Cynthia Norman]

I felt lucky to attend a children’s literature poetry workshop, with Poetry Friday’s Catherine at Reading to the Core. She limned it recently in a fun piece. After I complete asks & tasks inspired by The Craft and Heart of Poetry with exquisite poetry team Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, I hope to follow in her footsteps with a post about an event that even in virtual, digital space, is an experience for poem readers and writers to savor. I know several of you feel fortunate to have written with them via the Highlights Foundation dreamy woods creek fields setting. I hope you find time to read Linda B.’s blog of this duo’s on-site workshop, different year, at her Teacher Dance.

One item more! “Surfing,” a 2019 poem arising from my wild toss into the sea, years back, recently received an Honorable Mention from poet Tiel Aisha Ansari of Oregon. I’m pleased to be learning about Ms. Ansari’s important works (see below) and her experienced pen for an adult readership. This was the first time I entered & yes, yes, I’m chuffed. I’m not publishing it here as I’m advised that posting in social media can make a piece be considered already pubbed. Any tips for workarounds?

Now giving much thanks in this Giving Thanks Time of Year, I’m pleased to share this, on Tiel Aisha Ansari:

a post after 2020 Election Results

Life is for me and is shining!

Inside me I

Feel stars and sun and bells singing.”

c. Gwendolyn Brooks, “A Little Girl’s Poem”, THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort

Inside I am a bubbly girl, looking and listening as my husband of 33 years in this November handles pages of the homemade card I hand him for his gift. “Life is for me and is shining!”

The stars twinkle as usual, as they did a million years ago… Though something tremendous and sad has changed us all, I am comforted by the beauty of the night sky.” Kurni Heo, illustrator, speaking in the book of poems, THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort.

C. JanGodownAnnino, allrightsreserved

And, yet.

Seventy million people expressed themselves and the misguided direction they expected this country to continue on, at the polls. So, as a continuing, self-directed student of The Holocaust and on aspects of World War Two connected to it, I feel relief that a mature adult who loves God, will be leading the Nation. But, 70 million ~~~

I find no better way to reach adults and older students, with the reality of how the personality of #45, who continues as the head of the Republican Party, echoes the hatred, narcissism and tyrannical nature that Hitler steamrolled with, than with the popular graphic novel, THE FAITHFUL SPY, from the pen of artist/author John Hendrix. [point of personal privilege, I was raised in a BeLoved Republican Family, & a dear relative was once invited to a Republican-term W.H., for a small-business award.]

This is a season of holding close to my heart the privilege to focus on Holocaust education. Many adults and students this year are viewing an empowering presentation from the multi-talented Mona Golabek, who you may know as author of THE CHILDREN OF WILLESDEN LANE. I hope you can spend time with the above linked video sampling, of her personal story of connection to the historic Kindertransport.

You may also like to share information about

Museum of Jewish Heritage – complimentary lesson plans (not just for NYC)

YadVashem

ADL

And I can’t resist sending love to our own powerful site in my state, FloridaHolocaustMuseum

If you are interested in other states, this list is comprehensive.

On some of our many night walks in recent weeks clear skies beamed us the red dot of Mars and yellow glows of Jupiter and Saturn. Then the full moon face floated through a tree frame and my husband pulled me to him, beholding Our Sky. I am so fortunate, so lucky, to walk This Path. I hope you feel the same way about keeping close what makes your heart sing, halfway around the world or just up a wannabe hill.

“Life is for me and is shining!

Inside me I

Feel stars and sun and bells singing.”

c. Gwendolyn Brooks, THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort, selected by Georgia Heard

US The Globe Theatre, London 2019

from Anniversary weekend 2020 visit to #HobbitWoods ~ Florida.

::: #RememberTheChildren #HonorHolocaustSurvivors #NeverAgain #DaysofRemembrance #HolocaustEducation

My favorite Veteran is my dear #Sgt.Dad, of Fort Dix, N.J., who prepared young men to stand up against the Nazis & Axis in #WorldWarTwo. #RedPoppyDay #Veteran’sDay2020. (Yes, I was his laaate-in-life kiddo 🙂 Thank you, Daddy. Thank you, Veterans. Thank you, Holocaust educators.

::::

Please join me as I a visit around with the poetry pals of Poetry Friday, this time’s roundup by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Last week we toured with Soul Blossom Living.

a Native American thought of it

See Soul Blossom Living, coordinating Poetry Friday’s list. Last week we danced with LINDA B at Teacher Dance.

[11.30 alert- I’m grateful to add this Nov. 30, 2020 event with The Seminole Tribe of Florida.Gather ” is available to stream throughout the month. A panel discussion  with FSU faculty from four different departments and representatives of the Seminole Tribe will take place at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.” From The Florida State University communications office.]

::::

“Once upon a time when the world was new there was only one language.”

c. all rights reserved, Betty Mae Jumper, LEGENDS OF THE SEMINOLES

::::My spirit lifts each time I find more quality books about the Western Hemisphere’s First Peoples/Indigenous/ American Indian/ Native American families and communities, meaning, I find titles that are written by and sometimes illustrated by, enrolled members of tribes or those writers with strong, continuing connection with tribe communities.

This idea arose from the Native community and gains supporters each book launch season.

I feel the popularity of the  National Museum of the American Indian (a Smithsonian Institution agency) has helped raise the profile of these books. Mighty work in looking at these titles is evermore prominent from the untiring and detailed research of Dr. Debbie Reese, at American Indians in Childrens’ Literature.

More Native American Topics , a resource page, is available on this site year round ::::

Here are highlights of excellent referral opportunities

::::Blogs at American Indians In Children’s Literature on published POETRY from tribal communities and members.

::::2020 AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH LITERATURE AWARD the inaugural year

As already mentioned, AMERICAN INDIANS IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

and

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

OYATE

::::Today I’m sharing from a book that I’ve re-read for enlightenment in this year of 2020, by poet Leslie Marmon Silko, of Laguna Pueblo heritage. I went back to it on my shelves after not one but two people mentioned an unpublished lovely anecdote about this impassioned author. It’s prose piece I’m reading as a poem, from her introduction to the book, Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit:

Except for a few fragments

the magnificient folding books

of the Maya and Aztec people

were destroyed in 1540

by Bishop Landa

who burned

the great

libraries

of the Americas.

©1996 Leslie Marmon Silko, all right reserved

I have not yet seen this 2019 title for adult readers, NATIVE VOICES: Indigenous American Poetry, Craft and Conversations, from Tupelo Press, but it looks to be a superior volume to read.



Photo of a map, created by Aaron Carapella, C. all rights reserved. Photo is C. by Hansi Lo Wang/NPR, all rights reserved
Aaron Carapella, a self-taught map maker in Warner, Oklahoma, has designed maps of Canada and the continental U.S. showing the original locations and names of Native American tribes before first contact with Europeans. View the full map (PDF).PHOT If you have a home or classroom wall that it would nourish, it is offered here.

November is Native American month, each year, where once in the land every month of every year was Native American month.

A Place at the Table

Poetry Friday is danced this week by the always creative LINDA B. Last week we visited Janice at Salt City Verse. Go, travel! And I’ve got a Q for you, if you can stay to The End. Appreciations.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::I reached for Karla Kushkin’s SO WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A CAT? illustrated by Betsy Lewin and out fell Mary O’Neill, next door to it I know not why, but quite providentially, Mary fell open to her John Wallner illustrated poem, “BLACK.”

“Black is kind~ it covers up The rundown street The broken cup. Black is charcoal. And patio grill.~~ Black is beauty In its deepest form~~ Think of what starlight And lamplight would lack Diamonds and fireflies If they couldn’t lean against Black.”​

excerpts from HAILSTONES and HALIBUT BONES by Mary O’Neill and John Wallner. (with apologies for lack of line breaks)

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Recently in this nourishing Poetry Friday community I was grateful to read in a comment to a post, wise words from Mary Lee Hahn about her sensitivity to students whose families don’t celebrate & are possibly uncomfortable with, Halloween. So her thought brought me to share today (of all days!) about a MG new novel, A PLACE AT THE TABLE by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan.

This is the third LS novel I have read & loved but I’m grateful Laura teams here with an equally vibrant, but new-to-me author, Saadia Faruqi. If you want to read and recommend a lovely friendship book set in the Season of Autumn, I hope you will consider A PLACE AT THE TABLE. I bought my copy independently.

WHO WILL TAKE THIS TO HEART ~~ Cooking school fans, recipe creators, community festival-goers, fans of girl friendship stories, Pakistani-Americans, ex-pat Brits, Jewish families, readers with family members or friends who may have depression or non-conformist grandmas, and, especially anyone needing to understand much better than they do (such as me) about the path Muslim students in Western society neighborhoods and schools may travel.

FAVORITE QUOTES ~~From Sara: “I envy my brothers. They feel no shame in being Muslim. They’re too young to appreciate, how different they are from their classmates.” From Elizabeth: ” When the congregation sings my favorite prayer, Ma Tovu, Dad rocks back and forth on his loafers. The melody is sad, but hearing it fills me with hope. I love the line about the temple being a place of glory. I look out the windows. The autumn leaves are more beautiful than stained glass.”

IN SHORT ~~ Their missteps smoothed, dutiful daughters of very different families that each have their own daily home stresses, grow organically into close pals despite their religious divide, which in the end, isn’t a wall at all. My heart tugged. Appreciations to the authors for creating this collaboration, which should be much-noted and appreciated.

Anousha Syed created the lovely cover illustration.

SAADIA FARUQI. (who, it turns out, sometimes has Florida on her mind 🙂 Hope to read more of your words. Congratulations, Saadia!

LAURA SHOVAN Congratulations on another literary treat, dear Laura!

You are invited to Send a Q or commeent about Halloween to Saadia or Laura via Instagram today (Oct. 30, 2020)

From Laura: Today, 5 pm EST! Chat with me and @saadiafaruqi about Halloween. This American tradition is an important chapter in our book, #aplaceatthetable. Does your family go all out or lights out for Halloween.”

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::My Q. Know a source of groovy doodle and writing daily prompts? I expect distraction more than usual in November but I’m feeling a lift about the idea of something-a-day. Like INKTOBER? Maybe something like NAPOWRIMO, but in November?What prompts look lively, to you (even if you don’t do them.) Thanks a bunch.

2020’s Halloween

[Poetry Friday is with Salt City Verse this week. Last week we were way over in Europe with Bridget. Go travel!]

C r e a k! The first treat out of my Halloween book fault was created by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

RAGGED SHADOWS, Poems of Halloween Night will delight! Haunt the collectible book sites for this unnew treasure to spend All Hallow’s Eve with Jane Yolen, Nancy Willard, Fran Haraway, Karla Kushkin,Deborah Chandra, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Alice Schertle,Valerie Worth, Marilyn Waniek, Pamela Espeland andof course, Lee. Such a partee!

Here is Lee’s poem.

And isn’t it so like Lee, in his selection for the collection, to remind us of the day-after all-safe! day of Allhallowmas. It’s only been a year and two months since Lee left this earth, but it still feels fresh. So grateful to find a Lee hug within each of his books.

This year I’m late to Halloween preparation but here is my short confection.

2020 Halloween

 Ghost stories for a Celtic celebration.

What October traditions have you seen?

Thank you, olden times Irish refugees

for your gift import, of All’ Hallowe’en.

 𝕔𝕠𝕡𝕪𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥©𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘JGAnnino, all rights reserved

Please look for KNOCK ON WOOD from poet Janet Wong and artist Julie Paschkis.  It’s great for older kids who still love Halloween but deserve a more nuanced illustrated journey. This one weaves through the world of superstitions.

copyright, JULIE PASCHKIS, from Knock on Wood. Poems about superstitions. by JANET WONG, all rights reserved. 

A favorite treat in Knock on Wood is this poem:

“Wood” copyright JANET WONG, from KNOCK ON WOOD, illustrated by JULIE PASCHKIS.

I also like to run my finger over the branches  finding all the tree details.

Halloween isn’t just an outdoor partee at our house. This year I’ve used the fireplace hearth, too. Where in the house do you decorate?  We are still feeling festive about a socially distanced Halloween. How are you handling things? I have an idea to put a big plastic bowl of candy on a chair at the end of our drive & keep lights off, blinds down.  

RAGGED SHADOWS art C. Giles Laroche, all rights reserved

The RAGGED SHADOWS page-turning step-this-way don’t-be-too-scared! cut paper artwork is from the very talented Giles Laroche.

Trusted friends are also recommending, these I haven’t seen:

THAT MONSTER On THE BLOCK, by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and Luke Flowers MONSTER MAKES A SANDWICH by Adam Rex                                              SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED Marcus Ewert and Susie Ghahreman       PICK A PUMPKIN by Patricia Toht and Jarvis,  earlier love, here.                      FLASHLIGHT NIGHT by Matt Forrest Esenwine and Fred Koehler                   MONSTER SCHOOL by Kate Combs and Lee Gatlin

Just in today’s traditional mail post, a treasure from an author I met through Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty, rhyming poet Carrie Clickard, who has sadly passed on, but not before creating this treat with artist John Shelley, MAGIC FOR SALE.

“On the corner of Hemlock and Blight/. skulks the shop of Miss Pustula Night/ with a sign on the stair:

COME INSIDE. BUT BEWARE

THE UNWELCOME MAT’S LIKELY TO BITE!”

copyright Carrie Clickard, illustrated by John Shelley

Please add your favorites in the comments. Day and night we visit with our October gal when we pass down the drive.  Her flair is the work of my artist mother-through-marriage, my hubby’s talented Mom, and it’s just not Halloween month without her riding herd on our yard.  She never arrived with a name and I feel we are way overdue in conjuring that. Hmmmm.

Hope the zombies don’t get you!

On stage with the FSU Flying High Student Circus, Halloween edition, 2017

#RBG #AmericanAnthem

I’m uplifted by the uncountable celebrations in many mediums/forms, and by many people, of the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

American Anthem”, which I wasn’t familiar with, was sung at the U.S. Capitol ceremony for this incomparable woman. You can see why it is so fitting, from even one verse.

from, “American Anthem”

For those who think
They have nothing to share
Who fear in their hearts
There is no hero there
Know each quiet act
Of dignity is
That which fortifies
The soul of a nation
That never dies

The Smithsonian Institution hosted the first performance of the anthem, in 1999, at the unveiling of one of my favorite treasures to see in D.C. ~~ the mended “Star-Spangled Banner” flag. The song’s creator is Gene Scheer.

Every S.C. Justice who has served with #RBG, paid tributes. Many are here.

Heart-felt, deeply moving statements from all the current justices & many retired shouldn’t come as a surprise. Without regard to political party, they all knew and openly admired her work ethic, her courage, her mind, her personal gentility, her comradeship & kindnesses to them. It was unanimous.

I particularly smiled at this one:

Retired Justice David Souter: “Ruth Ginsburg was one of the members of the Court who achieved greatness before she became a great justice. I loved her to pieces.”

Again, from “American Anthem”

For those who think
They have nothing to share
Who fear in their hearts
There is no hero there
Know each quiet act
Of dignity is
That which fortifies
The soul of a nation
That never dies ~~

The reports on the Capitol memorial said that the song was one of  #RBG’s favorites. And suitably for an opera superfan such as #RBG, it was sung in the Capitol by one of her favorite opera stars, Denyce Graves. You can hear the anthem sung on You Tube (at the link following) in its entirety, by this incredible opera singer who was a friend of The Justice. It was this star who also presented it at The Capitol. At this link, the pianist is Laura Ward, who also accompanied Denyce Graves at the Capitol Memorial

The website for the composer.

Michelle Barnes highlighted this wonderful #RBG quote earlier this week.

Poetry Friday is collected this week by Jone (at her outstandingly beautiful new site.)

d-liver d-letter

SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED/ Stevie Wonder

some picture books about postal mail

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I slip a hug onto paper.

Pen a poem.

Soothe a tear.

Share a quest.

Mail it off

to a point further west.

~©JGAnnino,2020

 

For some seniors, the postal mail is medicine. ~~ actual prescribed

pills that arrive to keep a BeLoved alive. And for most seniors & juniors,

personal paper mail is the good medicine of a smile from far off miles.

 

This year, many of us want our US Postal Service to be delivering election mail.

But Republicans in the Senate need to stand up to the President in the White House as he appears to plan to eviscerate the Postal Service & thwart the 2020 vote-by-mail elections.

:::

My love of postal mail is generational.

My parents wrote (and saved) fun postcards to each when they were courting.

If not for the historic U.S. mail, my father wouldn’t have received from his

relative, the cherished Civil War love letters that a Union Lieutenant relative wrote his

fiancé. They married, after the war!

Our daughter and her husband send us paper mail delights from their changing postal zones. I think her delighted reading and opening of all the little envelopes in THE JOLLY POSTMAN  interactive picture book, by the Ahlbergs) set her up for a StampLife.

Not only am I happy to have postcards and sweet personal letters sent to me, I also love to trade through the US postal mail. I can’t imagine how shopify and etsy traders would have fared without the USPS. Here, a nod to my favorite Poetry Friday etsy shoptraders, Robyn and also, Michelle.

 

On one of our several trips to D.C. we family Postal Lovers visited our US Postal Museum. We had fun!

https://postalmuseum.si.edu/

I find it wrong-minded and unpatriotic (nod to Ben Franklin)

clearly an Anti-USA act, to stifle, squeeze, or shutdown the historic and necessary hallmark of a free government

that my postal service is. Here are some resources.

PBS

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-vital-role-of-the-u-s-postal-service-in-american-elections

League of Women Voters

https://www.lwv.org/blog/why-we-need-fight-united-states-postal-service

NPR

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/14/834336341/hoping-to-save-the-postal-service-people-rush-to-buy-stamps

Buy US Postage Stamps online. Create an account for free. LOVE stamps, flowers, cartoon characters & other miniature works of art, can come at you in your postal mail.

In these times of #saferathome, #selfisolating  we’ve felt fortunate to use the snorkel USPS collection boxes.

Here’s a picture of them from Wikipedia. 

YOUR TURN:  Any memorable songs or poems, when you think of postal mail? Enjoyed reading a book to children that features postal mail? Find the link for moderated comments box, below with my appreciations. [ a wonkiness in digital land here at the moment, so there may be x-tra space before box.]

For more on #PoetryFriday, please see Renee and please visit Molly this week @ NIX THE COMFORT ZONE.

::::::

#SusanCerulean: I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird

[please find PoEtrY fRiDaY links at the end]

Susan Cerulean: I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird

Earlier this week on another page here, I honored the “good trouble” created by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who as a young man in segregated Alabama, was positively influenced by Rosa Parks and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

This page turns to a “good trouble” activist in Florida for environmental justice. She is Susan Cerulean. Maybe your Florida kayak glide, escorted above by a fish-hunting osprey, brought you to love this confounding state where I live. Or perhaps your Florida habit began via books by Zora Neale Hurston, such as Their Eyes Were Watching God, or with Oranges by John McPhee, or any of the several books of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, such Hurricane or her best-known, Everglades, River of Grass. Or, perhaps your student brought home from the school library, the rambunctious Florida eco-warrior Skink in the YA novel Skink, No Surrender, a character first crafted years ago in his adult fiction, by Carl Hiaasen.

Whatever the reason you commune with the idea of Florida, please look for the works of our state’s excellent, revered, unique literary eco-definer and eco-defender, Susan Cerulean.

I don’t often depart from children’s literature, especially poetry, as my theme at this site. But please pay attention to an extraordinary new double-memoir, I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird, (University of Georgia Press.) Susan Cerulean movingly blends her care for Florida and its ecosystems, including nesting terns that like to lay eggs where tourists tromp, with her care for her beloved Father, who like so many, migrates to Florida from elsewhere. In this case, from New Jersey.

 

I created a poem in celebration of her extraordinary story. I hope you will find some time for I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird. The birth of it brings a unique author-opportunity next week.  (shared at the end with other resources)

 

Your assignment

 

How to know what it is.

 

Accompanied

by a brightening of the sky at the engaging moment.

Likely, not.

 

What is the assignment? 

Who is the assignment?  

 

The assignment may arrive

as a thin needle jab

of torreya tree you petted in a park

now stuck in pain under your fingernail

so that you can’t forget this struggling creature.

 

 

The assignment may arrive

when your diabetic neighbor calls from her doorway

as you take your nightly walk. At her front step, you learn

you are to dress her unending toe wound.

 

You can’t know the assignment in advance.

 

Just know, it will call.

~JGAnnino, 2020

 

 

I hope you will want to meet Susan Cerulean in a digital meet up 6 p.m. August 7.

Susan Cerulean photograph copyright, Jeff Chanton, all rights reserved

Sample the book in this review by novelist, poet, memoirist Trish (Pat) MacEnulty. Enjoy a feature on it by author and editor, Kathleen Laufenberg.

If you can encourage your library or bookstore or reading group to create an event for this book, contact Susan and please say I sent you.

full disclosure

In addition to her own writing, Susan Cerulean is an environmental nonfiction anthologist. She edited Milkweed Editions’ The Book of the Everglades, which included my chapter, and, works from Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, Susan Orlean, the late famed sea turtle author-scientist Archie Carr, poet Lola Haskins, and longtime Miami Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen.

I have been friends and writing colleagues with Sue for more four decades. And following I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird, I’ve a hope for what’s next between her book covers  ~ Ursus, which walk, feed, birth and die here in crazy Florida, barely.

:::::::

Poetry Friday is organized and cheered today from the pages of READING TO THE CORE.  Learn more about Poetry Friday from Renee M. LaTulippe. Please keep scrolling to leave your thought in the moderated comments box, with my appreciations.

 

 

#BelovedCommunity Rep. John Lewis

“You never become bitter,” Rep. John Lewis said. “You never become hostile. You never try to demean your opposition.” National Public Radio

A baton is aimed at young John Lewis, on ground, foreground right during a peaceful demonstration. His skull was fractured. March 7, 1965./Associated Press photograph  

Recent monumental pandemic news stepped into background noise for me as I listened transfixed to the heartfelt, emotional and proud commemorations, funeral moments and memorial for the famed #GoodTrouble #BelovedCommunity creator, Rep. John Lewis. I learned that Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, spoke to his courage and strength in sticking to his pledge to always conduct himself nonviolently, even under torture, in events that could lead to death:

IN the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

According to an interview with his sister, she remembered in child days that her big brother John recited Invictus, walking from room to room in their house. They lived in segregated Pike County, Alabama, where the local library denied her book-loving, voracious reader brother, a library card to the whites-only, tax-supported facility. The boy once denied a library card, became a member of the United States Congress in 1987, and later was honored as a book author, at the Library of Congress, on more than one occasion.

Rep. Lewis’ peaceable human rights actions, for what he thought of as #BelovedCommunity, were in keeping with his earliest studies, to become an ordained minister.  His degree from Fisk University was in philosophy and religion. As a boy he thoroughly read the Bible at home, his sister remembered. He also liked learning, from the newspaper, that the already-admired civil rights activist Rosa Parks and a new person on the Alabama scene, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., called for peaceful protest. And, she said, he liked comic books, for their Justice League heroes, who righted wrongs.

So, so fitting, that his National Book Award winning triology MARCH, is told as a graphic novel, as illustrated below by Nate Powell, all rights reserved. See The Horn Book Q/A with the Congressman.

from the John Lewis triology, with Andrew Aydin, illustrations copyright Nate Powell, all rights reserved

As I find poems about Rep. Lewis, I will link them here. “John Lewis” is a tribute poem I recommend to you from  my talented Poetry Friday colleague ,Michelle Kogan.

Appreciations to a group that means much to me #BigBendPoetsandWriters @BigPoets for sharing this poem about US Rep. John Lewis, by Avis Veronica Simmonds 

Float

Welcome to Poetry Friday for 17 July 2020. More on Poetry Friday, is below.

Float

My dear but overtasked Mom, whose occasionally inscrutable life I ponder more often in the summer than any other season, was an excellent small-lake swimmer in her school days.  As an adult, this former athlete, also a high school archer and basketball player, chose as her only sport, the face-up float. So this is for dear Mom.

 

Mom and me in the sea

 

She allowed me to

link by hand,

drift alongside her 

beating heart,

her stretched-out

living raft.

~ JG Annino, 2020

 

I wish I owned a photograph of Mom swimming, or just lounging on a lake dock in her one-piece, sleek, classic Jantzen “diving woman” logo swimsuit,(in blue, not red as pictured at the link.) When I grew older, she confided that to invite her body to feel light, to drift, was free therapy, needed bliss, release, otherworldness.

 

 

So now, switching moods, because we can use a smile in these traumatic times, I share here from the animal kingdom, what Mom practiced – the free-spirit float. She passed on long before I made this image a few years ago on a trip to  Homosassa Springs. A defender of natural Florida, she would want this serene sirenia & you, to enjoy a float if it rolls our way. Strength & peace & also some float to you, in significant days leading to Nov. 3, 2020.

 

"FLOAT", copyright, all rights reserved,JanGodownAnnino

“FLOAT”, copyright, all rights reserved,
JanGodownAnnino

Poetry Friday is within Kidlitosphere, illuminated by poet & educator Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.  Last week Ruth hosted, writing from among the lovely people of Haiti.   Next week, we connect with Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche.  Thank you for your beautiful link ~~ via comments, traditional-style. Keep scrolling for the your thoughts? box, which doesn’t automatically post. If you think there’s a glitch or if you prefer, send your Poetry Friday link to me by owl, snailmail, email, butterfly, turtle, twitter, fb, fern, affirmation or, prayer. I’m anticipating a bit of away-time at zoom events Friday & Saturday that weren’t scheduled when I answered the lovely calendar call, so I’ve posted early. Appreciations for your visit.

As often as I can, I will wrap up your links from comments & notes right here .

^^^^Janice soothes us with an original poem & photo of an element often overlooked. http://janicescully.com/

~~~Amy’s offering some mighty fine lines at BookBuzz. Just can’t get each kind, out of my mind. https://bookbuzz123.blogspot.com/2020/07/window-shelf.html

@@@ Linda’s yuk-yuks are totally lucky ducks. Feel the images, See the sounds! Linda astounds. http://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/2020/07/refurbished-clunkers.html

🙂 🙂 🙂 Michelle, Fine Artist, features feather finery inspired by On the Teche & she offers more fabulous poem-making (I’ma afloat over one in particular). Do inhale her signature, exquisite poetry in artist inks, too.  https://moreart4all.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/poetry-friday-poetry-mix-flowers/.     I also like to play in Michelle’s studio at Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/michellekoganfineart/

Tim, joins in first time here (to my recollection) with work-in-progress/science fiction. Welcome! images.https://timkulp.com/home/visual-stories I’ll spend more time at his site later, where a Middle Grade novels post led me to a link & thereupon I gorged on a photo gallery of libraries’ eye candy at a swoony copyright-free site. Additional appreciations, Tim!

Carol arrives back at New York from Virginia with questions, thoughts, worries building, about #quarantineoverdrive, employing clunker gifts & outasite art. TY, also, for the sweet treat, Carol! https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2020/07/clunker-line-poem.html

Little Willow peeks out from behind her pile of reading/websitedesign/acting/article-writing/ etc. duties to visit, with her usual depth. https://slayground.livejournal.com/907539.html 

Matt has fallen for flowers, but not in the usual way, wrangling a wort, a vetch & who knows what else, along the path. Be sure to continue on at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for his You Tube channel. https://mattforrest.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/poetry-friday-summer-flowers-my-first-prose-poem-ever/

Bridget, known for “wee words for wee ones,” is up to something BIG! http://www.weewordsforweeones.com/2020/07/wee-source-floating-poetry-across-world.html

Kind Tabatha, who I’ma never indifferent to,  serves up clever. https://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/

Molly shares artistic comfort at Nix The Comfort Zone – how could she not, with the gifts she unwraps? https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2020/07/17/pf-poetry-swap-and-more/

Tim Gels contributes an original poem that gave me pause, at Yet There is Method. I hope you find time to read & think about it, too.  https://timgels.com/2020/07/17/bothered-or-not/ Welcome to Bookseedstudio, Tim.

Island gal Ruth invites a peek at her Summer Poetry Swap. Not to miss! https://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/

Apples drops down into Bookseedstudio for the first time ~~ welcome!~~ with a post about wide-open, tall-towering, water-flowing, grasses-growing, preserved places & spaces. Go & enjoy this fresh-air share. https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2020/07/17/poetry-friday-national-park-haiku/

Amy of The Poem Farm fame, gets into the kitchen to whip up a list 🙂 A tasty list. A maker list. A go-do-that-list.  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2020/07/just-make-something-list-poem.html I promise to go-make. Some thing!

Ramona invites us to consider a common summer kids’ drink, through a Marcus Jackson lens. Wow. Appreciations, Mr. Jackson & for Pleasures from the Page https://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/2020/07/poetry-friday-ode-to-kool-aid.html

Leader Mary Lee shines light on prolific & moving poet/playright/storyteller/publisher/picturebookcreator/forceforchange, Zetta Elliott, in her highly regarded poetry collection, SAY HER NAME.
http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2020/07/poetry-friday-say-her-name.html

Donna at Mainely Write brings her sweet older Sister self to us & she gifted me with tears. xo to D.

https://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2020/07/a-recap-of-some-squiggles.html

Please help me welcome to Bookseedstudio & perhaps to Poetry Friday, Susan Bruck. She is creator of the nourishing SOUL BLOSSOM LIVING, which features her wisdom & artistry in several mediums, including poetry. Her clever verse about floating in child days, follows her story of a recent, not-be-be-repeated flying encounter.  Not-to-be repeated, but you don’t want to miss reading it!

https://www.soulblossomliving.com/floating-and-flying-through-life/

#NikkiGrimes

A humid Florida hey there weary travelers, from this Bookseedstudio patch of Poetry Friday. We PF bffs are collected this week via Live Your Poem by honorary Floridian & groovy poet Irene Latham. To know more about friday poet pals, please visit No Water River & Kitditosphere, at this article’s end, where I’ve linked.

"Flower Face" by Jan Godown Annino.

“Flower Face for Nikki Grimes” from June. 2020 miniature zinnias/ Bookseedstudio.

I think of gardens when I think of NIKKI GRIMES, “poet, photographer, artist & avid gardener,” as she describes herself. In addition to the shelves of literary & publishing success honors that this poet has earned, I feel that everyday, Nikki Grimes deserves armloads and cascading gardens of all kinds of flowers,  baskets of fresh herbs and roaming vines of fresh veggies. In her decades and decades of work in crafting exquisite books, she has helped young readers, especially those whose skin color is similar to hers, feel someone understands their rocky road. But please know that she is a writer for all. Her words nurture all children & many adults, to bloom into their full potential. Start with WORDS WITH WINGS, a title that I connect with deeply. In 2015, I included it in a Bookseedstudio blog here.

 

An early self-bloomer, despite finding little fertilizer & too much rocky ground in earliest years, young Nikki created poems and art before the age of 10, living in bleak circumstances. She always desired to create beautiful things. She remembers making poems from age six!

C..2019allrightsreserved/JGA
heirloom rose plant adopted from Goodwood Gardens/Florida

Nikki Grimes is outspoken in her commentary on our world’s marginalization of books   created by writers of color and about the sidelining of books about families and children of color. Consider how infrequently these good resources are brought up in class, outside of a specific anniversary, celebratory day or month. Nikki Grimes has.

Listening to Nikki Grimes at the Reading Rockets’ interview linked in the paragraph above, says to me that from the first day of school, children should be reading stories where not all the children are white. And in fact, it is right that all children read bright stories where most of the kids in the room, at the park, are not white. Stories on making new friends, losing shyness in class, managing seats on the bus, events at the fair, camping adventures, discoveries at a museum, should cover all children. Consider also how often a book about a topic on people of color or other marginalized people who aren’t people of color (and this does include people who are American Indians/Native Americans) is a sad book, a book about a difficult topic. Most children still grow up unaware of the exceptional, trail-blazing healers, scientists, thinkers, discoverers & others, who are people of color. The general public only in recent years learned of the brilliant work of black women in the U.S. space race program, dedicated mathematicians, cruelly marginalized, while proving exceptional crucial brainpower to the United States mission. People in Florida, home of NASA, should be especially sensitive to knowing & teaching this story, told in HIDDEN FIGURES, the great picture book that was sold for a movie, created for all ages.

OK. I’ve stepped a bit off-topic. But that too, may be a key part of the Nikki Grimes story, as when you read more Nikki Grimes’ books or follow her life story you may tend to step off-path, too. This poet’s child days truth is told in the enormously potent ORDINARY HAZARDS. As a young girl she endured, she survived, through serial, multiple, unhappy home & school settings. There was violence. Out on Mean Streets, she did defend herself. This makes the exquisite beauty that Nikki Grimes delivers in the poems she crafts & also in her images in photographs and paintings, all the more compelling. Step into her visual art gallery.

Nikki Grimes at Pennsylvania Center for the Book

Poet Nikki Grimes at Pennsylvania Center for the Book

Author appearances with new books are altered in #healthierathome times. But meet the inspiring Nikki Grimes at her home’s Nikki Grimes You Tube Channel, Try a poetry prompt there or learn how lists are important to her creative process. You can also catch up with an April 2020  visit some of us checked into at the Highlights Foundation #HFGather. Subscribe to her newsletter, read her blog & other pages at her website & follow along on twitter. As you dwell among her works and learn more of her life, you may discern that two of Nikki Grimes’ themes are Faith & perseverance. For ideas on Faith look to her book, THE WATCHER, inspired by Psalm 121 or sit in the pew, COME SUNDAY. For life as a creator who keeps on keepin’ on, look to her generous sharing about bumps in path to finding a publisher for her exceptionally successful book, A POCKETFUL OF POEMS. She also shines a generous spotlight on other creators, as she does in this interview she conducted with POEMS IN THE ATTIC artist, Elizabeth Zunon. I beam thanks to Michelle Barnes, who met Nikki Grimes at a library event in Florida, for tipping me off to the N.G. Elizabeth Zunon Q/A.

Notes from Nikki is bright with her tenderly cultivated blooms, cultivated words, & with creative re-imaginings of her recycled paper projects & news of her deep connections with students around the globe. When you find one of her books out there in the world, let her know, for this newsletter!

Nikki Grimes Books Generally Available Now

April 2020 Highlights Foundation #HFGather visit

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I appreciate poet Irene Latham for gathering us this week via Live your Poem, in the Kidlitosphere, explained so well by poet & educator Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.

Peace to you, especially in troubled times.

Peace flowers abloom at the Bookseedstudio patio 6/2020.

Peace flowers arranged, inspired by Nikki Grimes calla lilly artwork at her gallery

Flowers arranged – 6/2020, inspired by Nikki Grimes’ paintings at her gallery: https://www.nikkigrimes.com/grimesgallery/grimesgallery.php

 

#KidLit4BlackLives #TheBrownBookshelf

A heart-lifting moment in recent conversations on race & how to counter racism in this beautiful USA, is the community children’s literature coming-together, of June 4th, 2020.

It collected under the banner #KidLit4BlackLives & I heard about it through #TheBrownBookshelf, my guide for 13 years, to fabulous books I might otherwise not have known about & some titles I was already seeking.

Jackie Woodson warmly welcomed us to the table, hosted by Kwame Alexander. But the best thing about it is that so many soon-to-be luminaries were invited onboard with now-famous, once-unknown, contemporary, award-winning children’s-book creators of color. I especially enjoyed meeting a 9-year-old future leader, zooming in from overseas. Correction: Leader. Period.

It’s exciting to see thousands of publishers, editors, educators, parents & creators of books for young people, listening/learning from an evening of vivid voices that are predominantly from people of color. We all pledged to learn more, learn harder, learn better, about what our community needs to do to improve.

Following the event, which he attended, graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang shared this thoughtful instagram conversation with a beloved esteemed educator who was 10 during the 1967-68 riots in the USA, which led to the Kerner Commission. (divot to the right, to flip to each page.) Educator Tony Green believes that the country needs a national commission that has broad ethnic representation (unlike the all-white, male Kerner Commission) to create implementable provisions that will move the USA forward in the wake of a shameful litany of black lives lost after an incident with police. That is one part of a larger racial issue, which involves food deserts, poverty, imprisonment and health care access. I would like to see this country’s Native American/American Indian population included in this national discussion.

I loved how Ms. Woodson, whose BROWN GIRL DREAMING, is a favorite of mine, asked everyone to speak out when a racist remark is heard, when it comes directly to you from your uncle who is a wizard at guitar-playing, or the friendly neighbor who grows sweet cherry tomatoes two streets over. “That’s not kind,” is a starter, before walking  away. “I don’t feel good being around thoughts like that.” Doesn’t have to be a long lecture. Shouldn’t be. Jerry Craft knew how to get a conversation going in many families, such as in Florida, where I live. He said to share how, “Save the Whales doesn’t mean that dolphins don’t deserve to live. Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that ALL Lives don’t matter.”

The evening was awash in appreciation for people regardless of their skin, the quality of their home, their unemployment status or the labels on their clothing. More kindness, more thinking before speaking, more interest in people of color all through the year, and not just at a significant anniversary of birth or death, or a standard celebration time, or month, is a step toward shedding racism.

Appreciations to author Joanne Fritz for this fb page grab.

To revisit these speakers, make time for the recorded event. Above, find & follow #TheBrownBookshelf link, which also includes a rich list of resources.

Appreciations to political cartoonist Nathan Archer, Florida chair of the National Cartoonists Association, for this #BlackLivesMatter 6/2020 image shared on his fb page.

Generator Season

Greetings from the precipice of the reason for generator season. Our 1st named tropical weather system is mapped in color on our local newspaper’s pages. Arthur. In case you had bet on Arnold or, Aurturio. We seek bids from installers of our chosen brand of generator. Photos of fuse box & outside electrical power components have been taken & sent. A gas line will be connected from our house to the (fortunately) existing pipe under the tree-lined suburban street we trod daily. All this fuss so our very own, yard-to-glass, Myer lemon hand-made yellow glow frozen cubes, via  old fashioned-style but super retro gift juicer from our thoughtful daughter, will last until October. That month is the H.S. end. O, Florida!

Hurricane For the term hurricane we give thanks to the beautiful Caribbean Island’s original peace-loving Taino people. Their way of saying it was more like  hura’ca’n, modified by armed Spanish conquerers so that armed English-spellers could come up with our hurricane. Here’s my page with Taino resources. No word on what the armed French called it, during their hurricane days here.

Some of you know I’m a collector of objetos di las floridas, so here is one I can’t take credit for, but it lifts my #healthyathome spirits  Would love to know if Maine uses a public service moose. Credit deserved!

Although every time is alligator time in Florida, May and June coincide with bull gator bellows and mating season, so reptile alertness, always needed in Florida, is wise evermoreso if you decide to practice your physically distant/social distant novel covid-19 avoidance protocols in the beautiful, water-abundant outdoors. They like same trails you do!

Two recent very local news notes speak of alligators, I imagine much as a news source in polar bear country would alert you to Ursus maritimus’ ways. The story on blue crabs reminds against E.R room forseen events if you tie your bait cord to your wrist. Yes, I have seen this, at the old Caloosahatchee River dock near Tice at the border of Fort Myers. The other speaks of how to conduct safe outdoor tuba-time, lest you call up a live gator.

photoC.JanGodownAnnnino,allrightsreserved

JanGodownAnninoC.allrightsreserved

Do you have a unique local design face mask? I would like to see some featuring art or photo images of our beautiful swimmer, blue crabs, or shells of pink/purple striped scallops, or my favorite coast plant – sea oats. I’m not a sewer so I haven’t created masks for medical staff, but a word from Ancient City Poets via North Florida Poetry Hub called for upbeat personal poems for Mayo Clinic staff. My poems were paired with art by the coordinator & the report is that staff is loving them.  So, Xo for our good first responders.    And, keep smiling behind your face masks.

Aleppo, 3,000 B.C. citadel, and Cat Man

part of Poetry Friday/KidLitoSphere, sparkling this Friday, with poet Liz Steinglass.

+::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::+

a poem in celebration of Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary, Syria by JG Annino Peace Color rocks me transforms prey into pal predator into pillow we settle in- wary aloy allies peace be with us and also with you c.2020JanGodownAnnino

a poem in celebration of Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary, Syria
Peace
Color rocks me
transforms prey
into pal
predator into pillow
we settle in-
wary aloy allies
peace be with us
and also with you
c.2020JanGodownAnnino / sculpture by Anna Annino, 2000

Stone is a core pillar of Earth that baffles me.

How it’s made, the differences between igneous and metamorphic, why some stone is marble and other stone is, for example, crumbly shale. And why Florida, where I live, isn’t stoney. But Syria, for example, defines Stone.

As I turned pages in a new and supremely worthy true-story picture book set in perhaps the oldest continually settled city on Earth, my eyes lasered to artist Yuko Shimizu’s paintings of walls, buildings and ancient paths. Stone of Aleppo, a place where famous people we know of from both the Bible and the Qur’an (Koran) walked millennia ago.

We are talking a community whose trade paths  echo so much of so many languages and intrigues and faiths, the entire Old Aleppo is a World Heritage Site.

On my second and third glances through THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO, as a mother, aunt, and children’s writer,  I honed in on the helpful kids. And yes, on the cats the kids were helping, having grown up with, at one count, 13 named felines, in the Franklin Township woods in New Jersey. There were more who lurked further back in the woods. We fed so many because, word got out, if you dumped a cat near our place across the country lane from the Knispel Dairy, we would take it in. Mom, you would have liked Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel and his unselfish service to people and pets of Aleppo.

Mr. Alijaleel, who asks to be called Alaa, his first name, is a paramedic and ambulance driver. He walked stone paths, pulled open doors in stone walls, knew stone buildings in Syria all his life. And then came war. And then, for the first responder, who stayed to help the wounded, came cats.

Fortunately, a Syrian immigrant in my neighbor state of Alabama, Karim Shamsi-Basha, who had once studied in Aleppo for a year, met one of my favorite children’s poets and storytellers, Irene Latham. Mr. Shamsi-Basha spoke with Alaa. They all teamed up with artist Yuko Shimizu. Alaa opens the book with a letter: “This is a story about cats and war and people. But mostly it is about love.”

This book breaks down boundaries.

It’s going to introduce the artistry of calligraphy in Arabic writing to many schoolchildren. Told in English, the book creators use opportunities to also tell the story in the native language of the good people of Aleppo. Read it and learn ma’amoul and barazek – names of two kinds of cookies.

On back and front endpapers, ethereal double spread skyscapes, closing and opening the book feature an uncountable number of flying peace symbols. Over and over. White doves in the air. No cats. Think about that. A brave choice for a story about cats. This story and illustrations leave me feeling as if, without any credentials whatsoever, I’m invited to sit in on a key United Nations aid committee meeting on healing the Syrian people, physically and emotionally.

Please find this book of good will, book of hope, book of love, book of peace  (Jane Addams Peace. Association, please take note.)

twitter: @theAleppoCatman 

Tabatha Yeatts’ Opposite of Indifference  Poetry Month 4.28.20 entry, “Healing Heart” is about this book.

Betsy Bird has her say. And it’s beautiful.

We saw United Nations’ (UNESCO above) Aleppo pages & here, too, Syrian children’s issues at UNICEF.

Please also know paramedic Alaa’s fellow Syrian, a brave medical student.

Aleppo may be from an old way of saying the Arabic idea to”give out milk,” halaba. We don’t know. We do how in one huge example, the milk of human kindness flows from THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO.

Alessandra Abidin in Italy helped found Aleppo’s Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary with Alaa. Ernesto was the name of one of her beloved cats. People all over the world join every day to support the work, which now includes not only cats, but also, children orphaned by war and yes, their chickens, goats, and dogs. A veterinarian is on staff, as are a technician and other helpers. The orphan animals help the hearts of shell-shocked children heal. The orphanage Alla’s group created gives kids a home.

All because one man, at the end of a long work day in an Aleppo ambulance, fed starving cats.

c.2020 Yuko Shimizu THE CAT MAN OF       ALEPPO

 

 

 

#ShelterinPoetry #SharonLovejoy & #NationalPoetryMonth

readings:  lyrical words, memories, in “A Lap Full of Monarchs” Sharon Lovejoy – A BOOK OF TOADS; THE WILD BRAID, Stanley Kunitz ;  teachings of Betty Komarek, Birdsong Nature Center, where I resided one summer, care-taking. 

this blog is a proud part of poetry friday

Back in March I yanked an invasive thorned vine off ou

big black mailbox only to discover my mistake –

I also wrenched a thorn-tangled

sweet jasmine vine that sheltered an underleaf jewel,

nature-glued.

 

 

 What to do? Leave a treasure somewhere

out there? Under grandmother oak? Nestled among

ferns?

Because I’ve met Sharon Lovejoy and Betty Komarek,

because I’m a reader of Sharon Lovejoy and Stanley Kunitz

I knew, I knew.

With worried hands, I carried jewel on vine fragment

to screened front porch. 

 

 

 

Aqua box

transparent nursery

paper mache wiggle

hang out to dry

probe cut-fruit sustenance

walk through open door

        “Watch”c.2020JGAnnino

all photographs copyright 2020 JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

 

 

 

But!

Usually-welcome little brown lizard

creeps up (off-camera) thru foliage outside

yon door. Spotted not by me,

but by my eagle-eyed husband,

attorney advocate for kids,

who misses little about a predator.

Butterfly hadn’t graduated from walking to

more than a bunny hop, yet.

I stopped taking video & stills, tip-toed past

ground-floor butterfly &

placed barriers between it & the liz.

 

 

After about 6 ticking minutes, monarch did fly

out & up & away, on Easter Sunday, 2020.  As Betty Komarek would say, “Blessed Be.”

 

p

#ShelterInPoetry – Home front: Covid-19 times

Home front:  Covid-19 times.
Collected by Heidi Mordhorst #PoetryFriday for today’s #ShelterinPoetry
IMG_3534
When I collect the plastic bag at the end of the drive, wearing a
plastic bag on my hand, and after I shake the daily news out of
said bag, I head straight for the important stuff. The funnies.
Sadly, few see funnies every day, these days. Have some here:

copyright 2020 Shakespeare on the Sound

copyright 2020 Shakespeare on the Sound http://www.shakespeareonthesound.org T.Y. to Michelle H. Barnes, for alerting me to this at your fb. page, shared by Stephen Burdman.)

::::
Do you find joy from other artists such as poets, singer-songwriters.
I’m going now, back outside. Not way out in the world, but where I treasure
our luxury –  small, green, and growing yard. I follow shade in day. Find bright
Venus in the west at night. Soon it will be too Florida-hot to work outside.
0-1
Wings
Jan Godown Annino
Circus colors
clown faces
overeaters anonymous
you mesmerize me
a tent trick in my yard
leaf disappears into
chubby caterpillar
overnight, oval jewel
shelters crawly bug
morphing
to
paper flapper
a prayer that
no windshield
meets
your orange wings
as we hope
no Covid-19
wall crushes our
wings
C.2020JanGodownAnnino,allrightsreserved
IMG_3631 2.jpeg
O for more bright spots for all, especially children, in contrast to angst.
My prayers and heartfelt wishes are for all who suffer,
no matter how hugely or minisculey in our world’s
Coronavirus 19 epidemic.
I think of the elderly, the disabled, the already-physically frail.
#ThankHospitalHeroes
I applaud the Upstanders.
Teachers, caregivers, medical teams, #ThankHospitalHeroes, law enforcement,
emergency staff, essential service workers such as those who
haul off bins of excess we’ve wastefully created, appreciations
for food providers, and all their families –
whatever part of the network all helpers work in.
I think of life and death precipices for poor children,
some of whom are still being sexually trafficked during these
times. Crime hasn’t halted. It’s one of the issues industrious law
students with the FSU Public Interest Law Center work on daily.
And my hubby leads some of these brilliant students via
Zoom sessions in the LR. All the more reason for me to tip-toe outside.

It’s important to catch a smile when you can.

0

local buck-eye, gift plant of a dear neighbor

When you have a moment, what are your go-to smiles?

Good luck, wishes for healthy days and nights.

To sooth your Poetry Friday questions, it’s off to No Water River for you!

SPRING AFTER SPRING by Stephanie Roth Sisson on #Rachel Carson

See Poetry Friday here!

Yesterday was March 17, 2020. As a Bailey on one side of my family, I like at least a wee nod to the holiday. And so my wonderful husband surprised me with a splendid Ireland-set film for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day’s post-Irish stew, kick-back.

We watched a treat of Irish wild fields, wild woods, streams and even, the Ethiopian desert, through the adventures of garden upsetter Mary Reynolds, of Ireland.  DARE TO BE WILD  made me think of world- traveling artist and writer Stephanie Roth Sisson.

Stephanie’s book about a United States woman who treasured the wild places, who worked for pesticide-reduced appreciation of Mother Earth’s natural bounty, is titled SPRING AFTER SPRING. If you like organic veggies and fruit, a blooming meadow, hidden lake, a mountain forest glen or a wide wild salt shore, Rachel Carson is the U.S. woman you need to know more about. She was a solid, steady, yet revolutionary scientist who many may not know endured vilification for her spot-on testimony before the U.S. Congress, saying that the facts indicated that in most instances, we need to hold off on a drenching of damaging chemicals when it comes to growing crops and sharing the land.

Stephanie’s charming picture book biography of Rachel Carson invites children to explore in delightful detail the rural girlhood that became catalyst for little Rachel to grow into a keen recorder of bugs, birds, bees and trees. And, a young observer of smoke and soot spewed by Pennsylvania factories. The drawings and artwork are precious and frame-worthy.

SPRING AFTER SPRING 

How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement,

written and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson, Roaring Brook Press

Q  You write, “I have long loved Rachel Carson’s writing, especially,
her books about the wonders of nature where she writes so poetically
about science.” How did that long connection to Rachel Carson inform
your proposal to write about her?
Stephanie:
I keep files with potential candidates for possible biographies. There were a few things that came together at that time to make it clear that Rachel Carson should be the subject for my next book. But, although I had read her more poetic books which completely transport the reader to this universe of interconnected lives in the natural world,  I had not yet read Silent Spring. 
 
My husband and I had just moved to Mauritius from our uber environmentally conscious bubble on the coast of California. The house we first rented in Mauritius was at the edge of a sugarcane field. So we could see everything that went on in that field from the house. I had never seen so much pesticide use and it shocked and worried me. Even inside the house there were these little thimble sized cups of gecko poison (which we immediately removed) to kill the very geckos that if you left them alone, would eat the bugs that were also being “treated” for.  We saw pest control making regular rounds in our little neighborhood. So at that point Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring became immediately relevant to my life.
 
Then there was my dear friend, Sharon Lovejoy. She was a cheerleader for choosing Rachel Carson for my next book. Her books, well, you should get them and read them, they are a genuine and heartfelt connection to nature.  And of course the politics around the E.P.A. starting in the first months of 2017 and continuing on now were also an influence.
How does an author already familiar with a subject discover
new details? And bring a fresh perspective to the story?
Stephanie:
What I try to do in the picture book biographies that I write is to not only tell the story of a person’s life, but also to explain about a field that they contributed to. For example, Star Stuff, Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is also an astronomy lesson, and Spring After Spring, How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement is a lesson in ecology. 
There is so much information that it isn’t hard to get lost in it. There are so many things to convey, but I try to remember the child who will be “meeting’ this person for the first time and who probably knows nothing about Rachel Carson, the time she grew up in, the things that influenced her and what was important to her and why what she did was important. Also, I put in things that I think that another child could relate to, like Rachel had a dog named “Candy” who was her constant companion growing up. When she was older she always had at least one cat, and so I showed her always with her pets at home- always with that relationship to her fellow creatures.  Then there was the shell that her mother had that you see throughout the book which represents Rachel’s connection to the ocean and that you can see throughout the book.
this and all images, copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
What are your processes, tips, organization plan, in
winnowing an extraordinary amount of information on record about
someone who travels from being an unknown child of farm origins,
to testifying before tough inquisitors in Washington, D.C.,
changing U.S. history?
                  copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
Stephanie:
I love researching, as I mentioned before. I do so much that my editor has to say, “stop!” And then I sit there with my piles and look for threads that I can pull through a narrative both in words and images that I can use to illustrate a concept. 
Then I try to get a theme down to one sentence, which is SO hard to do because as I research I find so many interesting things out and want to share them all. Every page in the book should harken back to that one theme, sometimes there are sub themes in the images or hinted at elsewhere.  
 
I like showing my subjects as children and what they were like. There is a clear thread going from Rachel’s childhood and the experiences she had as she grew up, becoming aware of threats to the environment and seeing their consequences.
 
Another parallel to now is that she had to contend with a lot of disinformation and personal attacks to discredit her. So, her coming forward to testify was an amazing act of bravery. The science she had behind her as she spoke and her thorough and clear presentation, including in her book Silent Spring, appearance on the CBS Reports television show and her testimony showed people that she was credible and should be listened to. 
What sorts of materials relating to Rachel Carson did you find in research?
Stephanie:
A constraint I had was not being able to visit the places she grew up in or was associated with because I was living in Mauritius at the time. So I had to rely of print media, film and the internet. Our U.S. home base was still California at the time, so when I could fly home I would fill my suitcases with books I found about Rachel.
Particular materials that I felt gave the most insight into Rachel were her own speeches she delivered that gave a few sentences here and there describing her childhood. There is also a collection of letters between Rachel Carson and her very close friend, Dorothy Freeman where I think you can get a really good sense of what she might have been like. And also another great resource was The Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, edited by Linda Lear. 
I read everything I could find on Rachel Carson and then I researched topics related to Rachel Carson. I kept thinking about the title Silent Spring and the iconic first chapter where Rachel paints this picture for us, with a landscape without birdsong. I used the idea of having a lot of creature voices in the beginning and then showing less as we go on could help kids get what was going on. I had also stumbled on an interview with Bernie Krauss, who wrote The Great Animal Orchestra. The book talks about how the sounds in nature represent the health of an ecosystem and that each living thing has its place in the “orchestra.”  You’ll notice that in Spring After Spring that in the first few pages hours are passing and that first we hear birds in the dawn chorus, then insects after their bodies warm up and they are able to produce sound, etc. Then in the next few pages it’s the seasons and then years. I used the idea of the health of an ecosystem being represented by sounds to not just talk about birds, but also the entire web of life as it relates to the over-use of pesticides.
copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson
                    copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
. Do you mind sharing how your mother, who you dedicate the book to,
helped create your love of nature?
Stephanie:
My mom is amazing. She had always had this connection with children and the kid in her that I benefited from immensely. She always had a garden growing, flowers all around the house …But it was this one moment that I remembered that made this her book. I was living on an organic farm and environmental education center called “Ocean Song” in Occindental, California when I was maybe 19 or 20. I had packed up all of my possessions and left to live in this place and my parents and sister had come out to visit me (aka check up on me and make sure I hadn’t joined a cult or something). We were all walking through his beautiful forest with towering redwoods, lush mosses and ferns, when my mom launches into this, “I’m very botanical” speech. All of this while she is petting the mosses and is clearly “in” the moment of being swept away with all of this aliveness around her. I love that memory. 
Q . With thanks for your time and these incredible great stories today, Stephanie, any extra, random or other surprise thoughts?
On a side note, there was a subtlety that I wanted to mention in this biography. When you look out into the world at what people have written about Silent Spring and DDT many articles vilify Rachel Carson saying that she contributed to deaths from malaria because of her cautions about pesticide use. These articles mischaracterize her stance. I wanted to make clear that she never said to not use pesticides ever, she was concerned with the inappropriate use and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides. If you want to see something shocking you can find videos online of people almost bathing in DDT. It was everywhere on everything because no one thought there were any dangers associated with it. 
Also, a lot of people don’t notice this, but the front endpapers are little vignettes of Rachel and her mother, but the back endpapers are of Rachel and her adopted son, Roger, her nephew. So while she was doing all of this writing she was also a single mom. 
                 copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson
I thank Stephanie for writing and illustrating Silent Spring and for her generous
interview including sharing these enjoyable book-process images
from her home studio.
SPRING AFTER SPRING is a multi-textured book, with extra pleasure for
little readers in voicing animal sounds and yet, equally appealing to older
nature-loving students, who will dwell with nuggets of the fascinating end notes.
Adults who are besotted with the best picture book bios will savor it, too.
Here is what KIRKUS said about Stephanie’s achievement.
Each time I read this book I am struck by how Stephanie folded a
gargantuan amount of information, conclusions and nuances, into a
smooth-flowing entertaining story. I’m especially delighted with how the book
is sprinkled with animal soundclouds, or word bubbles, which children will love
enacting out-loud, as they page through the story.
Here is my found poem, from SPRING AFTER SPRING by Stephanie Roth Sisson.
With Rachel’s chorus
Cheerily! Cheerily
fee-bee!
coo-coo!
Turalee! Turalee!
whichity!
grunt!
Jaree! Jerilay!
click!
squeak!
inspired by Spring After Spring
Besides both of us living in the Sunshine State, a connection I have with Stephanie
is our deep respect and affection for prolific national nature educator Sharon Lovejoy,
whose beautiful books of artwork and stories of bees in hollyhocks and birds on
fence posts evoke Beatrix Potter.  In a SPRING AFTER SPRING afternote, Stephanie
especially thanks her good friend, Sharon, who brought me to Stephanie’s title.
Visit Stephanie Roth Sisson at Stephanitely!
To satisfy your Poetry Friday curiosity, it’s off to No Water River, for you!
Bookseedstudio is c. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

 

Poems. Three ways.

Poetry Friday’s party is with poet Linda at TEACHER DANCE

 

♥♥♥♥

Hello and please know I’m giddy to share three recent magics.

ONE

The newest volume from anthologist Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ series, TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY, shares the first and so far, only, Abcedarian poem form I have ever completed, titled, “Jaunty.” An Abcedarian is a poem with lines featuring a first letter in each line that follows the natural order of the English alphabet. If you like puzzles, this is it!

Also nested in TLD pages please find works from a forest of Poetry Friday bloom-givers, including children’s poets Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, and Matt Forrest Esenwine, as well as new picture book author Randi Soneshine.   

Each poem in TLD represents the mastering of a writing challenge issued by venerable poetry purveyors, including Carole Boston Weatherford, Naomi Shihab Nye and J. Patrick Lewis and the incomparable Jane Yolen.  If you aren’t already playing the Today’s Little Ditty monthly game, with challenges such as Golden Shovel and Ode poems, follow along at editor Barnes’ site. 

 TWO

Let’s debate, for a second, if seeing your poem on clear sparkling glass constitutes publishing? Our town is in the midst of celebrating the newest Council on Culture and Art’s fun thing, Poem on Panes. Thank you for putting local poets poems on windowpanes, dear COCA.

My poem is “House of Rhymes.” Thanks! sponsor, Adams Street Advocates:

#COCA #POEMSONPANES #VISITTALLAHASSEE

“House of Rhymes”

by J.G. Annino

In a jewel-box mansion not covered in vines

Dwelled Louella K., creator of rhymes

 

She rhymed her squat ice box, she rhymed her tall lamp

She rhymed the piano, she rhymed her fern plant

 

She rhymed down the sidewalk, she rhymed into church

She still rhymes today, in her other world perch

©JanGodownAnnino2019

Yes, it’s true. In our town in the late 1920s to the 1960s, lived a most unusual person. Among unique characteristics she is remembered for, she wrote little ditties about the appliances and furnishings of her very decorated home. She tied her verses to each honored piece, with little silken ribbons. Today the house is a downtown community museum, which I have highlighted in a couple of my Florida travel guides.

THREE

I am more-often absent in contests or challenges, too wrapped up in two books-still-in-progress.  But, Hi ho!, Hi ho!  nearly at the top of the brick poster wall, find my answer to the new Buffy Silverman challenge. I added two photos to my poem, titled “Ice-giving tree,” over at the same, prolific, Michelle Barnes’ February padlet, here.  

“””””””””””””””

To order go here: TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY

cover art c. Miranda Barnes, 2019

Bookseedstudio is part of Poetry Friday go-go juice, a super spot, if your reading or writing would like a boost.

happy birthday, Rosa Parks

this post is part of the Poetry Friday collection*

Dr. Carla D. Hayden photograph by JG Annino at FAMU, Tallahassee

introducing a new book, ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words

I salute the Library of Congress staff and its director Dr. Carla D. Hayden, for unending reasons, including our national library’s collection of historical civil rights materials. This Bookseedstudio focus is on Rosa Parks, whose Feb. 4, 1913 birthday, as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement is remembered publicly in many areas, from the nation’s Capitol  south to Alabama and westward to California.

It’s also marked at home with awe by those of us who curl up with a riveting new read, generously leavened with photos I recognize immediately, from this exemplar’s historic timeline. Rosa on the bus. Rosa with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, Rosa on Dec. 1, 1955.

That day she paid her public bus fare, but wasn’t allowed to sit in an empty bus seat of her choosing, in Alabama. She was judged guilty, fined $10 and given 14 days hard city labor.

Source: aclualabama.org

 

Guilty, of being black where blacks, by local law, were denied access to tax-supported facilities.

A Landmark New Book

Because the Library of Congress received, archived and has made available, a massive collection of this incredible history-maker’s notes, kept by hand on single sheets and notebooks, and also her letters, essays, arrest details, bus boycott assignments, and other documents, a valuable, new Rosa Parks exhibit and book, beckons. It is Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words.

As noted by the book’s author Susan Reyburn, Rosa’s flowing cursive, which sprang from her expressive mind, bears witness in pencil and pen, across the backs of envelopes, paper pharmacy bags, small pocket calendars, assorted stationary, lined notebooks and other papers.

This pathfinder recorded events going back to age six, when she milked cows and picked cotton, created her first quilt, and stayed up all night fully clothed, ready to escape if needed, as white men, who often worked as law officers during the day, felt free to ravage black neighborhoods, burning buildings and flogging or killing black people found outside at night.

“Grandfather stayed up to wait for them to come to our house… 

We could not undress or go to bed at night. 

The doors and windows were boarded and nailed tight from inside.”

                                                                           Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

I trace my fingers over her handwriting and marvel at how fortunate this nation is to be the beneficiary of her bravery, her ideas and her positive civil disobedience actions. Can we have her calm proud gaze on one of our currencies?

Reading along in her moment-by-moment notes, I shout obscenities at her near-rapist, the night when teenage Rosa Louise McCauley babysits for a white couple.  A six-foot, 200-pound white bully, known to the white family, uses a con to get onto the back porch. He threatens Rosa for hours, as he guzzles liquor he has brought inside the house. He suggests sex for money. Read the heart-wrenching seesaw of keep away around a large upholstered chair. She won’t attempt escape, because of her duty to the white child asleep upstairs. The return of the couple ends the attack.

“I was not for sale. The U.S. Mint wouldn’t buy me, if he could offer it.”

             Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

 

From physically dangerous moments, to everyday insults, the story in Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words,  is as inspiring as any world civil rights leader’s memoir. Reading this led me to a poem:

Check Out The Book 
JG Annino
Oh, sure, gal. 
We got that book you want.
Yeah, I say for sure, right here.
Right here.
WHAT?
No. Now you know you can’t check it out, Rosa!
This is THE downtown li’bary.
You know your kind gotta check out over at your kind’s branch.
You don’t ever, why you can’t never, ever, all your life,
check out books here.
Next?
I say, STAND ASIDE, girl!
Why dear Miss Katrina, so good to see you.
And just how may it be my pleasure, to help?
c. 2020 JG Annino

 

Beyond Checking-out Books

Unarmed, without a bodyguard, Rosa Parks slipped into rural backwater communities of her state, as the top sexual assault investigator for the NAACP. She also collected other eye-witness experiences, such as of the school superintendent who refused to allow black children on a public schoolbus. And consider that all this is before she tests the limits of segregation of the tax-supported bus system.

On Dec. 14, 2019 in Tallahassee, I was fortunate to have placed in my hands by The Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the freshly released book, ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words. 

Dr. Hayden delivered powerful words at the Florida A & M University commencement. And I also am grateful to my longtime friend and mentor, Librarian-educator Lenita Joe, retired, who was a kind bridge to my attendance at a post-graduation, local friends’ conversation with Dr. Hayden, who was born in Our Town. I expect to report on that in a later post.

Some 90 years after young Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was denied a book at her main library branch, her hand-written words, notes, documents, photographs, detailing little-known aspects of her personal civil rights history, dwell in the new nonfiction book ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words, a book on paper, on-line and in glorious exhibit, showcased in an exhibit created by this nation’s most important public library open to all – THE. LIBRARY. OF. CONGRESS.

C. The Library of Congress

Find the book in many locations, including here.

Several pages of the Library of Congress exhibit are designed for families and schools.

If you write or podcast about this book or visit the exhibit in person or online, leave a link. I expect to further share the book and my poem at Tallahassee’s My Favorite Books’ open mic. night.
Jan Godown Annino/ February 2020
AND some past related articles

Bookseedstudio has several times visited the Library of Congress with joy, including here and here.

And again, happy happy birthday, dear Rosa Louise McCauley Parks! We love you. We thank you.

C. all rights reserved, The Library of Congress

  • here is more detail on the Poetry Friday collection that occurs in Kidlitosphere – you may want to join in.

one little word

Happy 2020 & all that jazz.


Bookseedstudio is present as often as possible for #PoetryFriday& #SpiritualThursday,

For Poetry Friday’s line up, please visit #KidlitosphereCentral,  for the 2020 calendar.


Vegetable papers

I crack open an unsalted, roasted peanut case to gently pull red-amber skin from each little nut.  And I peel large garlic clusters, which look like little trolls. First, pick at the troll-top head, to begin a thin-striped, white-paper, wide outer curl. With a paring knife, pull at the plastic-looking inner paper, releasing what for me (& not most others!) is a joyful aroma. Finally, I turn to these less frequently, but I relish separating Vidalia onions from their sunrise-colored skins.

THE paper

The news on paper I collect at the end of our drive is a morning ritual. Walking outside, stretching up to the dark sky, bending down for the precious free-press, unfettered critic and reporting cylinder of my life’s training and profession, walking back through the screened porch, are as essential to my morning as much as are stretches, song (“rise up this morning, smile at the rising sun“) & delicious warm Egyptian licorice tea.

With her weekly local newspaper column, Rev. Candace, who I have met only once, reaches me with calm advice. On Dec. 28 she reminded me that 2020 is the street # for my ocular MD’s office. Whether by clever developer manipulation or serendipity, this sprawling newer building sits at its ideal street number. How many of us desire the clarity of 20/20 vision?

“Vision and clarity is the prayer of many for our nation, for our state, for our community, for our families, and for ourselves,” Rev. Candace wrote, wishing every reader a year of clear vision, of clarity, in 2020.

This sent me back to the paper pages of two of my December 2019 reads, Mint Snowball and also, Voices in the Air, new to me, each created by Naomi Shihab Nye. Her words prompt a cascade of “ah, ha” &  “O, My” feelings.

Her verses wrinkle my face with crinkled eyes and a deep grin at her wry humor, or her lines release my sudden intake of breath at her pairings of words about about the poignant, the painful. Reading her poem collections make me appreciate the next youngster on the park bench dribbling mustard down his front. Closing a volume from Naomi Shihab Nye  helps me rise, to clear out the unnecessary, the forced, the unwanted. To invite in the invigorating moment that is as near as crackling garlic paper and feathery onion skin.

from “Time’s Low Note” by Naomi Shihab Nye in VOICES IN THE AIR

A peony has been trying/ to get through to you

 

One more reference – I love to find the plenty that my friend Lisa Desimini, illustrated. in NSN’s FAMOUS.

As if Rev. C & Poet NSH & Lisa Desimini aren’t handy wands enough, to shabazz! my one little word into existence as 2020 guide, when I flitted online for mentions of Voices in the Air, I found this “ah, ha” – Live your Poem/ Irene Latham

Plenty is my 2020 one little word. There is plenty plenty plenty in this world. Plenty moments with a peanut skin. Plenty joy on a park bench. Plenty helpers, especially massing among the vibrant young. Plenty connections. Plenty. This idea of plenty armors my spirit against plenty of worries that I won’t let consume me, which would render me frazzled.

During the holidays my husband & luxuriated in three hours – 3! – viewing real-time visions, sea potato clumps of delight, which exist through efforts such as #SaveOurSprings, #SaveTheManatees, in my beloved fracking-endangered, oil-drilling threatened, Florida. Plenty. 2020. They fit.

Young one & Mother, #BlueSpringsStatePark#SaveTheManatee

c. 2019allrightsreservedJGAnnino

#BlueSpringsStatePark#SaveTheManatees

For more moments with this week’s Spiritual Thursday contributors, please visit my friend Margaret Simon. For same, with Poetry Friday contributors, please visit Poetry Friday friend, Carol Wilcox. You’ll be glad you did.

c. 2019 JanGodownAnnino/JGAnnino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick A Pumpkin: meet children’s picture book poet Patricia Toht

[Poetry Friday is collected by Carol who savors summer this week. Go, see at her “Linky” page.]

. . . .

Let us write a holiday story, in rhyme. Topic: the much-anticipated October trip to ye olde P.P.

pumpkin/bumpkin/lumpkin        patch/catch/thatch     pick/kick/lick

Er, this isn’t rolling so trippingly off the tongue. Lucky you, Bookseedstudio readers. I asked poet, picture book author & pumpkin patch queen Patricia Toht to join us for Poetry Friday:

“Pick a pumpkin

from the patch

tall and lean

or short and fat”

c. Patricia Toht c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

“Vivid orange

ghostly white

or speckled green

might be just right.”

c. Patricia Toht, all right reserved.

c. Patricia Toht
c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

Her prancing pumpkin verses romp in a new picture book stuffed with the fall fun of finding a unique vegetable FRUIT. And the sly illustrations (from artist Jarvis, in a second holiday party with Patty after PICK A PINE TREE, both from Walker Books ) are drool-worthy. So, I just had to grill this author:

Q/Bookseedstudio – Will you tell of Halloween costumes you’ve enjoyed wearing – at any age? With your & your hubby’s background did you ever create costumes? What were they like?

PATRICIA TOHT My folks never allowed store-bought costumes, so ours were either sewn by mom or pulled together from the dress-up bin. When I was in middle school, my best friends and I dressed up as three blind mice and a black cat. Random, but we loved it!

My husband has made some amazing costumes for our kids. One year, our son Will went as a garbage can. Straps held the can at shoulder height, “garbage” scraps were hot glued around the edges, and my son wore a pizza box on his head. If he stopped and scrunched down, no one knew it was a costume and not an actual garbage can!

Q/Our family knocks on the Toht Family door at Halloween. What’s in the candy bowl? Is the carved pumpkin scary or goofy or ….? Decorations at the front step?

PATRICIA TOHT Our Halloween candy always includes the family favorites – Nestle Crunch bars, Mounds bars, Malted Milk Balls, and Twizzlers. The pumpkins are usually goofy ones because…well, we’re a pretty goofy family!

We have this amazing motion-detector skull and bones above our front door. When trick-or-treaters approach, it makes a spooky sound and the bones lift to either side so we can hand out candy through the middle. I love it! I hope it never breaks!

Q Other than yours, which I think will become a modern classic of pumpkin festivities, can you mention a title or two that your family enjoyed at Halloween when the kids were young?

PATRICIA TOHT Aw, thanks for saying that, Jan! A few of our family favorites include THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd, BORIS AND BELLA by Carolyn Crimi and Gris Grimly, and ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler. Great books for reading aloud!

Bookseedstudio says: Wonderful selections! Among my favorite Halloween titles I now have yours.  I have often shared these beloveds: Lisa Desimini’s TRICK OR TREAT! SMELL MY FEET, Kathi Appelt’s & Melissa Stewart’s BAT JAMBOREE & a surprise animal for Halloween pages in TRICK-OR TREAT OLD ARMADILLO, from Larry Dane Brimner with art by Dominic Catalano.

Thank you for this lively peek inside your family Halloween traditions, Patty. That garbage can get-up sounds super!

Below, I send everyone away with my best pumpkin pudding (chocolate-pumpkin pudding. . . 🙂 from hot, humid Florida, in lieu of pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies & pumpkin pie. But first . . .

More on author Patricia Toht

How did Patty get into children’s books? Invoices, orders, returns. She created, owned and operated her very own kid lit bookstore. This Never Never Land, in the Chicago region, brought a full calendar of back-to-school, holiday, summer vacation & other story times. Not to mention boxed crates of children’s non-fiction, chapter books, classics, novels, poetry collections, picture storybooks and yes – rhyming picture books.

At one playful point – Jumpin’ Jacks!- Patty added to her sales floor, shiny, fluffy, bouncy, moving products from a closing toy store. After keeping her Never Never Land venture hopping for s e v e n years, change came. The intrusion of big box competitors prompted a shuttering of the Land.  Sniff, sniff.

But, no worries. The play side of the store brought a toy designer into her life, Mr. Toht, the Toht Family’s four wonderful children followed along with a decade of fun living near a real British palace in the UK, while Patty’s husband created and produced in kids’ TV, before returning to the USA. Patty’s hubby has designed such darlings as Lamaze baby toys and kid give-aways for fast-food emporiums. Guess whose kids posed as testers?

Beyond this, I know from Patty’s guidance and support to me with my works, via our mutual online space, Group Blog, this author is like us within Poetry Friday; she is a reading, writing & editing pal who cares deeply about creating the best books for children. And she creates just that.

Here is what Kirkus says about PICK A PUMPKIN, brand-new this season:

“The nearly flawless rhythm of the text is a pleasure to read and will likely become a favorite…Enchanting.”

Author Patricia Toht   

JARVIS, artist 

PICK A PUMPKIN at Alphabet Soup!

Group Blog

What is Poetry Friday?   

I am a recipe renegade, so add ingredients into blender in amounts you think are good. Taste after the big swirl. Adjust flavors. CHILL!

 

…enroute to chocolate-pumpkin pudding bliss . . .

 

( I am posting early due to some important family events at Poetry Friday time. I appreciate your comments & may be delayed a bit in adding them.)

Update:  7 Oct 2019  Groovy photo – Patty’s PICK A PUMPKIN featured on the Halloween table at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cleveland. I was occupied with kidney surgery routine check ups & first-time thyroid tests last week- dear friends, all is well!! My joy was amplified when after that squee! news, ambling around the Cleveland Clinic campus, I was wowed by surprise – a stand-up book party with my talented pal prominent. (See who in the book world keeps Patricia Toht company?  🙂

Blue skies over Bulgaria

all images & words copyrighted, all rights reserved ©JanGodownAnnino 

[Poetry Friday is collected at dear Laura’s WRITING THE WORLD FOR CHILDREN. Go, visit!} 

Not as depicted in fairy tales 

JGAnnino

I step down along

narrow paved lane

truly a steep slope,

foothill of the Teteven Balkans

 

 a beauty blue, summer blue,

postcard blue sky is my roof

it deserves a salute, but eyes rivet

down at the footing 

less I twist ankle, break bone

5,600 miles away from home

 

and so moving shadow over the land

alerts me

 I stop, arch neck up

behold!

 air-floated leviathan

of grace and strength

 

lone

feathered giant

creature soaring in a million

child stories

 thrill of a glorious day, I whisper

-keep winging on your elegant way-

 

wild wild wild stork

flies free without baby bundle

©JanGodownAnnino

c.2019PetarTodorov, Ribarista, Bulgaria

The slope-day memories are part of our short summer family adventure, not a birding trip, so the surprise made the thrill more intense. I thank my fabulous son-in-law for this memory of a magnificent bird in flight I couldn’t tear my eyes from until as glided out of site in the Balkan mountains.

It is sweet to realize that less than one month ago, we returned home from afar. We traveled  5,600 miles away, journeying in three outstanding areas of Eastern Europe’s Bulgaria. Among stepping stones of Neolithic, Byzantine, Ottoman, Thracian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman people. (I may have missed a culture or two, in there…) Our biological clocks adjusted to the 10 hours of flight differences by refueling. Always-fresh, always-local veggies, bowls of pure Bulgarian yogurt, often homemade, considered by many to be the original yogurt of the world, fresh air, exciting archeological and ancient sites and most of all, wonderful people to meet, brought lovingly to our family by marriage. Here are a few images. I could spellbind you with a day-long travelogue!

A few snaps from Beautiful Bulgaria

Something of Plovdiv, named the EU’s Cultural Capitol of 2019 – ruins of stadium entrance, open air-three-story theater, Jewish temple menorah under reconstruction. The Cyrillic alphabet is a compelling cipher to me. My first-ever Arabic mosque minaret in an Arab region.

c.2019 Plovdiv at night, stadium entrance tunnel

 

 

c.2019 Plovdiv three-story open-air theater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Plovdiv ancient Jewish menorah floor tile under reconstruction

c.2019 Reading cryllic.

c.2019 Plovdiv Mosque minaret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something of Sophia – We felt as if we stepped into a scene from The Nutcracker Suite. Often the alphabet is translated. We sought out houses of worship and were pleased to be allowed past security, to experience the lovely Sophia Jewish Temple. We always looked for the national flower – roses – here, outside the 700 AD Christian Orthodox Church.  The underground village of Serdica is yielding its stories, while museum treasures include truly-golden pages of a 4th-5th century book and    young hairstyle I love, from a lass of ancient times. We never tired of the lovely red-tile roof views, this from our balcony at Sophia Place Hotel – glad to recommend it!  Fresh foods, including fresh-squeezed on-the-spot orange juice are the norm.

c.2019 Sophia “Nutcracker Suite”

 

c.2019 Learn “staff only” in Cryllic.

 

c.2019 Sophia Jewish Temple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Young roses, old church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Underground Serdica.

 

c.2019 Sophia. Gold pages,
4-5th Century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Sweet Pigtails!

 

c.2019 Sophia. Mosaic of red-tile roofs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Fresh O.J. available frequently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something of Rila – Ancient roadway, a monastery with architecture that is a work of art and a feeling as if I am walking into The Name of the Rose (Umberto Ecco) a favorite novel – all at the Rila Monastery at Rila Mountain.

c.2019 Rila. Ancient roadway.

c.2019 Rila. A stunning UNESCO World Heritage monastery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Rila. Step into my chamber…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few fun scenes of family time. With more than 1,000 images between all of us, new family included, this is but a taste…

c.2019 A circle of bread, the newly marrieds, who gets the bigger piece?

c.2019 An entire afternoon of sweet & folkloric circle dances!

c.2019 Ribarista Folk Dancers with our lovely young couple.

 

 

 

All images and words ©JanGodownAnnino, 2019, all rights reserved. 

 

Nudge

Nudge

Nudge poem by Tingyu Liu, c. 2017. photograph c.2019 JanGodownAnnino all rights reserved

The poem above, titled “a moment, ” is by Tingyu Liu. It  begins

 

“a moment

 this morning I caught

your breath beneath my ribs

and relearned how to breathe…”

 

Here is a link to the rest of the sidewalk poem, several poems along the list.

I snapped the image on a fast walk in the Boston area back in May;  poem makers are encouraged to send in their works in some communities! Yours? How about that for a nudge? Your poem on a sidewalk!

I have to ask.

Would your poem be concrete?

If your village or city offers a similar program, I’d like to know. It sounds like a form of poem-publishing (is etching on a sidewalk, publishing?) that would be wonderful to experience. I would advocate it especially for young poets.

 

I’m published!

Next time here at Bookseedstudio, I expect to have original poetry to share again. Today I do my offer original words in prose, as published under my byline in Florida’s Capitol city newspaper.

My hubby & I observe a ritual of retrieving the paper

from the end of our drive every morning.

Do you? What is it named? (The paper – but if you name your drive, say so, too!)

One in our state (Florida) was once called the Playground Daily News. 

Ours is the Tallahassee Democrat.  We love this newspaper for many reasons.

 

A big glimmer about the paper for us is that bringing it in,

to read with morning tea or coffee,

sends me schlepping outside in the morning dark to

commune with the setting moon and even to visit planets and stars.  Are you outside at those hours,

collecting a newspaper, too?

Before my book-writing days, I met deadlines at this newspaper. And it remains dear dear dear, to me.

 

Sept, 7, 2019 Tallahassee Democrat “Window on an empire” Jan Godown Annino

Sept. 7, 2019 Tallahassee Democrat Ottoman exhibit article

Goodness & Light to  Poetry Friday & Spiritual Thursday writers & readers.

 

 

 

Hurricane Dorian 2019

Hurry, it’s coming

JG Annino

 

At the grocery just

up the canopy road 

I backed away from

cart-jam

 

came home to prune

yard of potential missiles

knowing back at the store, families

wiped out beverage shelves

 

snatched up bubble waters,

the bottled fruit teas,

but at home, I brewed our London-tin tea bags

squeezed into that tangerines, from last week’s fruit bag

 

took my drink out to visit with

cherry red umbrellas

sprouted from my queen of late summer blooms

she faithfully delays her show

 

sweltering oceans

towering thunderheads

trip Hurricane Lilly’s

pop-up alarm

 

re-tinting

Dorian

gray

days

c.2019JanGodownAnnino

“Dorian Hurricane Lilly” c.2019JanGodownAnnino

Category 4 torrents bring beach-combing days, potential bright spots in fraught hurricane aftertimes. This is from Carl Sandburg’s “Sand Scribblings” collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins’ sweet THE SEA IS CALLING ME, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, c.1986.

from “Sand Scribblings”/ Carl Sandburg

Boxes on the beach are empty.

Shake ’em and the nails loosen.

They have been somewhere.

c.Carl Sandburg

from The Sea is Calling me, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, c. 1986.

Carl Sandburg in “THE SEA IS CALLING ME, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, 1986.

update of Aug. 23, 2019 “About Lee Bennett Hopkins” tribute, SIDE BY SIDE will be mailed out with pleasure to Linda M. & Amy LV.

 

 

 

 

August 2019

image c.1986 Walter Gaffney-Kessell, The Sea is Calling Me

On an August Day 

by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Ocean waves rush in

just in time

to give the shore-brids’

hot burning legs

a cool, cool bath.

c. 1986 Lee Bennett Hopkins

from THE SEA IS CALLING ME

poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins with illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessel

Bookseedstudio mentioned this book previously, here. And so my heart found these lines, thinking of our dear LBH:

On an August Day

It was time to 

sing

the last

line

c. 2019JanGodownAnnino

 

About Lee Bennett Hopkins

23 August 2019 #DearOneLBH

“I don’t know why you say good-bye I say hello” *

from RAGGED SHADOWS c. 1983 Lee Bennett Hopkins c. 1983 Giles Laroche

You will find no better thoughts about literary lion

LEE BENNETT HOPKINS than from my dear colleagues who include:

 POEM FARM – Amy

1 NO WATER RIVER – Renee

2 NO WATER RIVER – Renee    

 LIFE ON THE DECKLE EDGE – Robyn

TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY – Michelle

LIVE YOUR POEM – Irene

POETRY FOR CHILDREN – Sylvia

As I take in these tributes, I visit again with Lee & also, Charles Egita, Lee’s beloved partner of so many decades & spouse since 2014. So today in saying good-bye to Lee, I also say hello.

(*c. Paul McCartney, all rights reserved.)

Thank you for hosting this celebration of his life, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater – a Dear One beloved by Lee, her long-time mentor. All, please return if you have time, to read comments & find more links.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES, a Book of Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Renee Flower & dedicated
“for Rebecca Davis who supplies me with enthusiasm.”
published 1996, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I have indulged sorrow by re-reading every of the 15 books of Lee’s, that I gathered here at home from shelves & desks & bedside & placed on a soft green chair.  The clutch is only a mere patch of the 120 or so books #DearOneLBH is credited with, including his three novels.

 

 

I run my fingers  over his autographs. I play with the light-bright poems he selected. I sigh with the poignant ones in his poem autobiography of difficult New Jersey days, which leaves me inspired with his child pledge -to grow up to be a writer. 

I don’t need a tissue during my putting this together, until I open up a book I have gifted multiple times (some to teachers, with his autograph.) It is SIDE BY SIDE, Poems to Read Together, illustrated by children’s illustrator literary lion Hilary Knight. As is often my habit, I begin at the back. And I find what I had forgot. A barefoot boy of about seven or eight who can only represent Lee, as illustrated by Knight, greets me. Lee sits beneath a bare limbed tree. A brown bird peers down at him and a dragonfly  perches on his pencil which is clamped by his teeth.

This gives me the giggles.  “Hi, little Lee,” I say. Above his image, Lee says:

“Among my fondest

memories are the times my

grandmother recited, from

memory, some wonderful

poems her mother had read

to her. Many of these same

verses are here in Side by

Side. It shows that good

poetry lasts forever! Thanks

grandma.”

 

Lee shares a Truth; He will last for us forever through his poems & anthologies & if you know him, through experiences  I feel you will want to find this volume, if you don’t have it so you can pretend, as I did, that Lee is reading with you, side by side. I have an extra to give; will select in random, from comments. 

When I came late to Charles Egita’s kind social media news of his loss of his beloved, Lee’s passing on 8 August, (I learned 18 August) I was glad my husband was handy that Sunday because in my shock came waterworks. He held me a long time until I was ready to not be held. Preparing for today, in paging back-to-front through SIDE BY SIDE (the way I often read poem books) when I came forward to page 21, my lip trembled; another cry.  Paolo was at work. I dried my tears and began notes for this post. Never before had I read Jane Yolen’s poem from this page in this new light of loss Her page is anchored by Knight’s Grandpa bear  (to me, the big bear is Lee) in a rocking chair. Here is is from page 21, SIDE BY SIDE:

“Grandpa Bear’s Lullaby

by Jane Yolen

 

The night is long

But fur is deep.

You will be warm

in winter sleep.

 

The food is gone

But dreams are sweet

And they will be

Your winter meat.

 

The cave is dark

But dreams are bright

And they will serve

As Winter light.

 

Sleep my little cubs, sleep.

c.Jane Yolen,all right reserved

 

If you know of Lee & Jane, you know that they were decades-long dear colleagues & close close friends. Only the genius who is Jane could have been unknowingly prescient in her poem selected by Lee.

Lee Bennett Hopkins, Orlando, SCBWI, 2015

c.1988HilaryKnight
SIDE BY SIDE
detail, page 80
allrightsreserved

What is on Little Lee’s notebook?

It reads “Munching Peaches  S c r a n t o n Pa ’48”

{c. 1988 Lee Bennett Hopkins & c. 1988 Hilary Knight SIDE BY SIDE.]

Please remember to visit Amy’s POEM FARM for her gathering of a wide array of published book industry & personal tributes to #DearOneLBH. This attention will make its mark if more poetry anthologies are read, more youngest writers are encouraged to set down their poem words. Finally, I am appreciative of Linda Bernfield & her SCBWI Orlando 2015 crew, for creating the event where Lee & I are laughing (above.) And here at Bookseedstudio, I’ve mentioned #DearOneLBH over the years, such as here & also, this. 

Summer shorts

SUMMER SHORTS

Today’s Poetry Friday hoopla is parked at A WORD EDGEWISE, the creation of Poetry Friday public school teaching librarian-poet, Linda Mitchell.

~~~~

Logbook*/ Recently I learned from artist/author John Hendrix to create a logbook.

Heart map/ In winter I learned from artist/author Georgia Heard to create heart maps.

Novel/ Recently I sent to an esteemed big city book editor, my first verse novel, completing a promise I made in 2015 to a man now my dear friend, to memorialize his year-long Holocaust escape as a 6-year-old Jewish boy,  often hiding in plain view from Nazi soldiers. It is 44 poems on 50 pages, for Middle Grade. From this work:

“funny black hat Un nouveau beret!/ messy charcoal stick Entre un artiste!/ really really really stomp on grapes? Oui! Fouler les raisins!” c.JanGodownAnnino

Poem swap/ Recently I created a poem “The Glory Season” inspired by reading Thomas Lux (thanks to writing partner M.R. Street/TurtleCovePress) to send out as part of author/poet/educator Tabatha Yeatt’s  organized joy called Summer Poetry Swap. My first time on this picnic!

Young Authors  In recent weeks (enough with the recently already!) I was honored to be an invited teaching author at a local school’s Young Authors Conference. It is guided by debut author of DHALIA in BLOOM Susan Koehler, who is on the right.

Debut author Susan Koehler (far right.) Yellow pants on the left is me.

Appreciations for your time reading here, your comments & for the everlasting joy, nourishment & love that is Poetry Friday.     Happy Summer!

c. 2019JanGodownAnnino

Global Read Aloud & Padma Venkatraman

Introducing Global Read Aloud,

& a Q/A for Padma Venkatraman,

author of THE BRIDGE HOME

 

Here’s my fresh poem today inspired by the Global Read Aloud, which unfurls after summer recess.

 

“My street” by Jan Godown Annino

 

Quaked earth in Sicily shakes me –

family rides by vulcan shadow

drought hitting honey bees honey farmers in Bulgaria

exhorbitant price rises in Argentina

echoes of WW II children of Amsterdam

echoes of Trail of Tears children in America

child drowned in cruise waters on frantic float to freedom

child shot on panicked walk to freedom crossing lion safari lands

 

potent stories reach my small suburban foot-path

crossing distance

opening eyes heart embrace

to create One Street

© 2019JanGodownAnnino

. . . .

I appreciated so very recently learning about a big book event – Global Read Aloud.Padma Venkatraman, author of a lovely & potent new MG novel, THE BRIDGE HOME, set in coastal Chennai, India, enlightened me about this interactive book celebration.

Lyrical Picture Books, lively Early Readers, lovely MG &YA are selected for focused reading & reader interactionwith the creators & other young readersduring the GRA celebration of world stories.

 

All books selected invite participants to understand & welcome learning about lifestyles, regions, cultures, ideas & teachings that may be lesser-known. According to Kara Yorio in School Library Journal, students have reached out to each other via social media, traditional mail, Skype & other ways to discuss selected global books.

GRA 2019 has selected Padma’s THE BRIDGE HOME.

In her tale, inspired by incidents from real life, four children of coastal Chennai, India, find themselves cast out upon the streets. How will they survive? What will that look like, day and night? Can they become a family? Can a street child living with a disability be as resilient as those without that challenge? Who among the many adults encountered, can be truly trusted? How do children handle the sorrows that inevitably shadow street people living near, but also so far,from the beautiful beaches along the giant Bay of Bengal?

THE BRIDGE HOME is deservedly moving here there everywhere in reading groups, at teacher conferences & home study programs. I haven’t had a chance to look at all Mock Newbery 2020 blogs but I am happy to see this dream list.

Classrooms from South Africa  to North Carolina are talking about connecting across community streets to discuss THE BRIDGE HOME after summer recess. You can join the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GRAMiddleSchool/

But some won’t be waiting for September 30th – official start of Global Read Aloud – to meet Padma’s four young characters, thanks to the far reach of TV.  And  last month in The New York Times, Marjorie Ingall had this good word to say.  So much YAY! for a book I love.

Q/A with Padma Venkatraman, author of THE BRIDGE HOME

Q

Your story is so excellent in offering an MG visit into extreme poverty, while authentically sharing the characters’ lightness & love. How many years has this beauty has been in the making? Please share a peek into the revision process on this one, after contract.

PADMA This book was about 5 years in the making, maybe even 6 or 7!  It was easier than the others to revise in some ways (except that I was used to writing  YA so it started off a lot larger and I had to trim a lot while retaining the essence and especially the emotional punch.)

Climbing the Stairs began as diary entries, but that seemed too narrow; so I widened it to rewrite the whole thing in third person but that felt too impersonal; then I rewrote it all in first person and I knew I had the voice right.

Island’s End originally had 2 voices but then I realized I didn’t need multiple points of view and it was just Uido’s story.

A Time To Dance started as verse and stayed verse in the end but in between I was frightened and tried prose which sounded horrible for that novel, so then I trusted my instincts and went back to verse.

With THE BRIDGE HOME, I just knew the voice was right, right from the start. 

It’s a really unusual voice – 2nd person – direct address, so it has the feel of one long letter that Viji the protagonist is writing to her sister, but I wanted the reader to feel both like Viji was speaking to her sister but also, in some way, like there was the intimacy of the protagonist speaking to the reader directly. 

Q

I find poems from writers with India heritage in young peoples’ anthologies, notably those selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. Would you please share a a poetry collection for YA or MG by an Indian author, or authors, available in English?

PADMA I absolutely love Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry. Much of his work has been translated into English – YA readers would be easily able to read those translations.  I believe W. B. Yates’s translation of his Gitanjali won the Nobel Prize.  

[ Bookseedstudio: RT created the India national anthem & is known for literary & educational innovations & for winning the Nobel Prize.]

Q

Your back story reads like a novel, Padma. After child days in India with your accomplished single mother, who has a wonderful shout-out in your author’s note, which makes me fall for her, you worked as an oceanographer following university years in  the UK.

This ocean-going leadership position took you far out to sea, on fascinating waters of the world. Which is one reason why we are fortunate to have ISLAND’S END, set in the Andaman Islands.

Please share any moments when the ocean’s creatures or phenomena left you amazed, or perhaps when the ocean’s fury astounded you. This is a question, I guess, about theimpact of those years dwelling close to Nature for weeks, months, on end. And also please share your your view of how our fragile giant blue/green marble fares today.

PADMA Ever since I was a child, I have been attracted to nature.  I could always lose myself in a place of natural beauty and I think that feeling of losing one’s ego entirely is something that also happens when I write, which is  why I like both being in nature and writing.

As for moments that left me amazed, I remember dolphins following our small craft in the Andamans once, and how they threw rainbows into the air every time they leaped. 

It astounds me, though, that we refuse to look after Earth.  We only have this one planet and it is shocking to see how poorly we’ve treated it.  It’s so depressing to me to see that we Americans act as though Global Warming  is a question of belief. It’s not. It’s a scientific fact.

If I ask you do you believe in God, that’s a fair question. But to even ask if anyone believes in Global Warming is not okay because it is not a matter of choosing whether you want to believe in it or not – it’s a matter of opening our eyes to the fact that if we don’t change the way we live, we soon won’t have anywhere to live.  

Q

THE BRIDGE HOME leaves me tremulous for the four children – one older sister & her younger sister, and also, two boys who are friends by circumstance. I began to worry about them incessantly.

At other moments the unlikely informal family- by- accident makes me laugh. I still think about them.How did you deal with your heights of joy for them  & also your sadness at their poignant, tragic moments?

PADMA I love them too, so thank you. I remember hearing Lois Lowry say once that the worlds she created were real and I feel like the characters I create are real, too.  I do get very involved in my writing and I must admit my sadness at the way we treat children even today does affect my family.

Plus it was incredibly tough to return to the place in my childhood and adolescence when I witnessed violence and I had to do that, to write. I wish I could say it was cathartic but it is wasn’t because we still have so many real Rukkus, Vijis, Muthus and Aruls today in this world who are suffering from hunger and homelessness.

 I am not sure I really know how I deal with it – it’s just a fact I live with and think about and try to do something about through my writing and outside of my writing; but some days of course, other aspects of my now-comfortable life take over and I don’t think or do as much as I should.

Q

Your author’s notes are fascinating, especially about your mother. What are some of the things she tells you about your writing. And especially about, BRIDGE, as it must seem so personally potent to her, considering her volunteer work when you were young.

PADMA My mother ardently supports and admires my writing. She has, ever since I was a child. It was to her that I first dictated my poems – and she says I was really picky about line breaks, even when I was just 3 years old!

Apparently, I’d say – a poem came to me, I have a poem in my head, write it down for me – and that was because at that age I couldn’t write myself. She recorded in her journal that she was shocked I had the concept of a line or such an extensive vocabulary.  

 Q

This is a tiny prompt I will share with writers in my home June 19. It is modified from one given by poet Helen Frost at the poetry blog of editor/poet Michelle Barnes.

Please complete.

Select an object relating to your story idea or your character. But, an object that isn’t usually symbolic. Can’t be the surface of a small pond/mirror/window, nor a banner/flag or flower etc.. It could be a sock, a patio chair or chewing gum, to offer examples.

1/ What is the object    

Padma: Newspaper

2/ Ask this object a question   

Padma: How do you feel when people throw you away so easily

3/ What does the objects answer   

Padma:  I don’t like it. I wish they’d all recycle me. 

Q

We met when you spoke at a Highlights Foundation Novel-in-Verse workshop.

PADMA Highlights is an incredible place – at least a place that is special to me. The beautiful setting and just being surrounded by nature would itself be enough but here one is not distracted by mundane everyday needs and you’re served amazing and wholesome food, everyone is welcoming and I think (hope) the faculty really and truly supports the students. I rejoice when I hear that so many writers who were once students when I was faculty – like Traci Sorrell, Charles Waters, and many many others – are doing so incredibly well. I have heard some people say Highlights is expensive but I really don’t think that is true at all. It is an all inclusive package so it is an incredible price I think. But I am biased in favor of this wonderful program!  

 

Highlights Foundation Workshop – Padma Venkatraman, Jan Godown Annino

Q

Anything else you’d care to add about where we might connect with you.

PADMA I would love to have any and every school that wishes, to participate in the Global Read Aloud, for which THE BRIDGE HOME is the middle grade selection.

I am so honored and humbled this is the case and I cannot wait to connect to students and teachers and librarians and readers around the world.

I also am so honored that the book is a ProjectLIT selection as I think that is an effort I so greatly admire, too.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment, Jan! Off to catch my flight to Trinidad – so excited to be chief guest at their Beach Pen festival again! A great week ahead with many school visits library events and even an event at a women’s prison, which I am sure will be so incredibly important and meaningful to me.  

Bookseedstudio: Appreciations, Padma for this deep sharing.

. . . .

More connections

Padma Venkataraman’s website, including, when underway, Padma’s updates on  connecting with GRA students & other events:

Teach the Bridge Home (GRA#19 GRABridge #ProjectLIT)

https://padmavenkatraman.com

Scholastic calls the Global Read Aloud originator a cool teacher:

Global Read Aloud website:

https://theglobalreadaloud.com/blog/

Padma Venkatraman is a special guest at this 2019 Highlights Foundation workshop.

 

Here at Bookseedstudio I also wrote about Padma’s novel, ISLAND’S END.

I love this wonderful piece on PV, at groovy Nerdy Book Club:

Thank you for reading this far!  The comment box is below. Many appreciations to today’s Poetry Friday host the multi-talented artist & poem-maker Michelle Kogan.

. . . .

 

Naomi Shihab Nye

I have a circle story.

It begins with author/artist

Lisa Desimini who exquisitely illustrated

my children’s book about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.

I try to buy every book Lisa

is part of creating,

even when a spooky topic that may inspire

nightmares

is between her jewel covers.

http://charlaineharris.com/lisa-desimini-prints-sale/

When Lisa’s book

FAMOUS came along in 2015

I bought it immediately & loved how she

interpreted Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem.

FAMOUS Naomi Shihab Nye/Lisa Desimini

(Scroll to the 5th book at this site…)

https://readingpartners.org/blog/inspire-children-national-poetry-month/

Find Lisa/Naomi’s book distributed from Independent Publishers Group

https://www.ipgbook.com/famous-products-9781609404499.php?page_id=32&pid=WNP

Some of you know

that “Famous”

is one of Naomi’s most beloved pieces.

 

I think of “Famous” as Beatitudes for the Poet.

 

Last year I settled into my seat

at a singing workshop here in little

Tallahassee

organized by my

friend Velma Frye, a musician, poet and singer.

Imagine my surprise when

Velma’s friend, the event’s

guest musician songwriter artist Becky Reardon

just in from the west coast

sang

Lisa’s book FAMOUS/

Naomi Shihab Nye’s famous poem “Famous.”

I nearly levitated

at this surprise as I didn’t

know Becky had set it to music.

I tell you my eyes leaked.

Naomi’s “Famous” poem has

bloomed into an

evocative writing

prompt for creators all ages

celebrating the beauty

of everyday needed

things and actions.

 

Here are three of my responses to the poem, “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

I want to be famous like…”/ NSN

 

an ant is famous to the ant hill

 

a bib is famous to the young parent feeding a young one

 

the pine cone is famous to the crackling fire

 

If you love “Famous” or want to know more about it, you may want to get yourself a copy of

the CD where Becky Reardon sings it, INSIDE THE OUTSIDE.

On You Tube I found it at #41  searching Becky Reardon’s Top Tunes.

I also pulled to a moody ‘Famous” rendition in film,

from Poetry Foundation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFuH4o2yxXw

 

And you may want to visit with Naomi Shihab Nye mentoring

us at Poets.org:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64WACNcLH3g

 

Many many appreciations to Mary Lee Hahn/ A Year of Reading

for gathering us together to celebrate Naomi Shihab Nye,

this country’s new

U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate. Lots of workshops & travel ahead for Naomi!

So wonderful for all ages of students of the World.

(because of a confluence of kerfluffles, my post is launched a bit ahead of our community party…)

#

 

A little green

We are part of POETRY FRIDAY so if you are hunting the host, travel to the bayou with Margaret hosting Reflections on the Teche.

 

But also welcome to Bookseedstudio’s bloom time plant time.

Here we are inching toward being torreya guardians, nurturing a rare babe of an ancient species of North Florida that is so special it has its own website. We felt lucky to cart a fringed creature off in our haul from Birdsong’s Olde Timey Plant Sale.

We also planted a tough-leaf kumquat, gift of my dear father-in-law, who dug it up for transplant. And he is a hardy species himself, at age 95+ (we won’t exactly say….) Among groundlings we planted from seed, color pop zinnia and yellow-flower cucumbers push the dirt down in the ground around and lift their eyes to the sky. The established blueberries, Meyer lemons, aloe, jasmine, gardenias, penta, and likely some chlorophyllic creatures I’ve forgotten to mention, each of them tickle our fancy.

 

A little green in the scheme

On a postage-stamp plot or even in a clay pot

a little green

in the scheme of things

planted

nurtured

means more green growing 

in this world of

plastic and concrete

 

means green growing things

set up shop within eyesight

tiny oxygen factories

serve a light lunch to

munchers

who can’t ever expect to prospect for

a meal

with a cents-off coupon

in concrete glass plastic

grocery

stores

©2019allrightsreservedJanGodownAnnino

Mother’s Day love with knowledge that everyone came from Mother, everyone knows a dear Mother, everyone can mother our precious Planet….

 


©2019allrightsreservedJanGodownAnnino

Progressive Poem 2019 Day 25

POETRY FRIDAY’s annual Progressive Poem is here at Bookseedstudio this very

Thursday, of April, Day Twenty-Tive. (With great thanks to the Live Your Poem! godmother.)

If you are new to the game, progressive in the title means that each day by day, progressively, one poet after another, adds a line. It’s like one of those neighborhood feasts where appetizers are at the Apple Family, walk over to salads from the Spinach folks, the Main course is with the Macaroni Family (we wish!), Fruit is on offer by the fun Fig couple & a Sweet is served by the Sherbet Sisters.

Today’s new line is

You’re simply the best

. . . .After holding myself back from reading any of the lovely lines leading up to today’s Day 25 until this morn, I discover that we are working with found lines! And not just any sources. I expect a festival of great blog reading between now & this Sunday to learn how each creative person grabbed their  line … from lyrics! Does

You’re simply the best

 

fit? With great joy for so much musicality – this line dance is ready for your groove:

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today.

Gonna get me a piece o’ the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there’s a tiger in my veins Oh,
won’t you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?

It’s not easy to know
less than one minute old
we’re closer now than light years to go
To the land where the honey runs

…we can be anyone we want to be…
There’s no stopping curiosity.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
Looking for a sign of life

You’re simply the best

. . . .

(which is how I feel about all you line-leaders & line-a-day readers!)

AND SO like a springtime jigsaw puzzle that awaits just a few pieces, I hand this baton to

April 26 Linda @Write Time

April 27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

April 28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

April 29 Irene, the Closer @Live Your Poem

Here are line sources, taken from Wednesday’s fun blog by Tabatha, with thanks:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carol King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea ” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M, “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by The Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson), “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”

L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”

BUT BEFORE you leave me today, I prepared a few things. Or come back later?

Last weekend when I realized that my Family’s Easter Weekend joy overlapped with many of my dear Friend’s Passover commemorations, I pulled out two favorite books for young readers about Anne Frank, always remembering that she was not passed over.

A History for Today, Anne Frank from the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

The Life of Anne Frank by Menno Metesellar and Rudd Van Der Rol

Of the many inspirations that the young author left for the World , here is just one

“I can shake off

everything

as I write

my sorrows disappear

my courage is reborn.” 

-Anne Frank

I am also reading

Birmingham, 1963  by Carole Boston Weatherford, actually a re-read for me, of this poignant poem in book form.

Thurgood Marshall, American Revolutionary, the bio by Juan Williams, which has insights about emotions & ideas in the justice’s child days, including passionate political dinner table discussions led by Willie Marshall, Father, who fed his family, in those times, working as a sleeping-car train porter.

Acts of Light, poems from Emily Dickinson, illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

I just finished (& so did my husband, double pleasure when we read a book one just after the other) The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. This novel of India is a game-changer. In it we dwell in the world of extreme privation of children, beginning with abuse by a violent father and continuing to life on mean streets- but we can’t help feeling how events unfold in an underlying, uplifting way. I cried a little & I think sensitive middle and high school students will have a tear, too. Followed by vigorous good discussion guided by their teaching librarian or classroom teacher. The four child characters in this page-turner of a story show us their creativity, humanity & humor. Yes!

I fell in love with each of the two girls and two boys who created this experience, which the author bases on extensive knowledge – her own, told in a fascinating author’s note which made me fall in love with Padma’s Mother. As someone who has been transported by all Padma’s novels, I know her trademark practice, in bringing on board informed beta readers, is instructive & to be followed. This is a book for all and of special interest to the disability community and of special interest in the domestic violence community.

(For those with an interest in the indigenous community you will be enriched with this author’s Adamans Island novel, Island’s End.)

Brava! to Padma, my teacher from Highlights Foundation days, with Alma Fullerton & Kathryn Erskine. Padma has agreed to visit Bookseedstudio. Stay tuned.

ALSO in the tap tap tap of writing news –  a word about poem projects. The young readers project continues along well on a WWII history topic theme very close to my heart. And when I rest that story in verse for an afternoon or a day, I look into the paused verse novel from pre-Civil War days, about an impoverished, white, abolition family. Plus, in this surge of spring, maybe one day a week, I work on other poems on a theme – 54 of them, so far. (none of this poem-ness could occur without having found a nurturing, poetry community, especially Poetry Friday nor without the Highlights Foundation verse novel workshop. The newest poem project flows from my fascination with a unique peninsula that is lapped by both the Atlantic Ocean & the Gulf of Mexico.

And so this little ditty buzzed in, after a recent walk at our non-beachy & clean-water coast…

 with appreciations to Emily Dickinson

Thistle whistle

Bumble bee!

caught you on your shopping spree

 

you flounce along salty store I roam

whilst thistles tower in marsh loam

 

seems like just yesterday

you were last year’s memory

 

pink-purpled spring spikes signal

that social insect whistle – hear!

 

buzz buzz coming in for a landing

glad to snap you, m’Dear

Yours, Shutterbug

-c.2019allrihtsreserved, JanGodownAnnino,

 

c.2019allrightsreserved SpringBee
JanGodownAnnino

LASTLY This may not be the only place you’ve admired a lively National Poetry Month Post Card, but I am tickled to share this, courtesy of artist Robert Mensan and his poet fan,  Irene Latham, who has all the month’s line leaders listed at her site.

c.2019allrightsreserved “Live Your Poem” by Irene Lantham

 

Book winner, international women, climate change

 

Hello dear readers. It’s Poetry Friday, collected by My Juicy Little Universe

to consider climate change, posts I am eager to read.

 

First –  on Friday, March 15, the winner of a charming picture book,

BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT! by Georgia Heard and Aaron DeWitte,

from Boyds Mills Press

is announced here.

 

Today I’m celebrating international women, a potent theme

collected last Friday here.

Two women I want to celebrate

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, of Florida and Jennifer Worth of England.

Both were book authors and both were nurses. I am intrigued with each of their stories,

encapsulated here today.

 

[Important – if you know a fantastic book for any age student which illuminates

the path of a girl or woman whose legacy deserves wide attention,

will you please consider nominating it for honors of ALA’s Amelia Bloomer List (March-October nomination period 2019.]   Thank you! 

 

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

 Think of a gigantic place near the end of land

A mamma alligator floats babies on her back

And itchy black bear takes a palm tree scratch

Leaving soft fur tufts for mice to fetch

©2010 all rightsreserved

-Jan Godown Annino

I came to know Betty Mae Tiger Jumper after our first conversation at a Florida festival.

Eventually with her agreement, I wrote a book for young readers about her, She Sang Promise.

Raised outdoors in the late 1920s/early 1930s, she helped her midwife mother and grandmother deliver babies in South Florida – when still a child. A teenager on her first day of kindergarten, she couldn’t read or write English. This path-setting nurse, newspaper editor, author and legendary storyteller’s many honors include her traditional singing recorded on two Smithsonian music CDs. She served a U.S. President on an advisory committee. In 1967, she was the first woman elected a leader of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  And, she also wrestled alligators.

The international? A fascinating aspect of federal and tribal relations involves the fact that federally recognized tribes, such as the Seminole Tribe of Florida, are considered sovereign nations.

Jennifer Worth

Wind your way through the dockland, stenchland, fight land

Bandage the sad hand, worn hand, burned hand

Lift up the glad hand, smile hand, tiny hand

©2019 all rights reserved

-Jan Godown Annino

 

I came to know Jennifer Worth through a recent need to escape temporary

small miseries now past (loss of dear old pet, a despised nasty molar pulled.)

I found her through Call The Midwife, her first book,

also the name of the BBC series about her.

 

Jennifer Worth was a financially secure young woman who chose to study

how to deliver babies for impoverished families. In the 1950s she selected

wretched areas in the East End of London for her work. Her careful telling

of poignant stories about the bravery of women and older children living in

near-scavenger conditions is a movie series from her three nonfiction books.

 

 

Writing Room

For some bit of time this season, this will be one of very few posts here, as I pull back from social media  & its affiliates to focus on writing projects.

I will miss this community in-between-time  & look forward to more connectivity later. And there is always email, snail mail, the phone & perhaps we will bump into each other at an event. I hope so.

Book birthday! BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT!

I’m so chortling to introduce a new picture book from poet Georgia Heard & artist Aaron DeWitt!

Please head over to my post about this inventive & interactive chorus of communication where I occasionally appear –  at Group Blog/Grog – a creative community established by school media wizard Todd Burleson. Comment there to win a copy of this new fun title.

March 8 Poetry Friday at Bookseedstudio

Hello kind readers –  Poetry Friday is here.

This short link goes to

*my sad cat post* this week – a short short original poem, there.

I also have a short link to

*my happy book post* this week, on another blog, with a give-away.

Please visit/comment over there – poet Georgia Heard involved!

Next week I expect to be back with

an International Women’s Day celebration,

so fabulous.

Ginger the cat

Ginger, the cat, in action . . .

“office clerk” c. 2007

 

“book reviewer” c. 2011
Ginger’s favorite story

 

“building inspector” c. 2009

* * * *

at sun-kissed window

waiting in wide-armed writing chair

for his pounce

* * * *

Losing a family pet is part of living with animals.

Many of you have eloquently expressed a similar

loss, which I would like to be reminded about if you

have a moment.  When it happened to me recently,

I was not expecting to be smacked off my feet.

Our Ginger cat, indoors-always for at least

12 years, was at age 17, feeling quite elderly.

So we knew we would be losing him. We were not

prepared for the sudden, unplanned, necessary

good-bye. It was challenging for us, massively

more difficult for him. I am grateful for our animal ER

open in the middle of the night & my husband, who saw me

through that & still eases me in this palpable absence

of my daily purring partner. We buried Ginger on a recent

brisk sunny morning at a high point of our back yard,

by whispering bamboo.

I am finding relief in poet Alvin Greenberg’s

WHY WE LIVE WITH ANIMALS (Coffee House Press.)

The words I scraped out above are thanks to

Laura Purdie Salas, whose book

CATCHING OUR BREATH, Writing Poignant Poetry,

(Capstone Press)

nourishes me.

 

For fans of buds & flapped fans + book winners!

This week Poetry Friday is collected at Teacher Dance!

* * * *

Hello & welcome to half-past winter time for some, spring for others.

On a walkabout just beyond my door this week, I didn’t pick any flower, as I like to do,

but left what I saw. And I collected a list poem (sort of . . .)

 

c.2019allrightsreserved pink buds of blue berries

c.2019allrightsreserved
pink chandelier of wild azalea

c.2019allrightsreserved blooms of lipstick plant

c.2019allrightsreserved
heirloom rose plant adopted from Goodwood Gardens

c.2019allrightsreserved
lemon fruit/ lemon buds

Bud time

Winter Beach

Winter Garden

Winter Haven

Winter Park

Winter Springs

 

Winter Flower, Florida

exists

only

on the

map

of my

heart

© all rights reserved JanGodownAnnino

The blooms are fresh-snapped from the last week of February in our North Florida garden yard. It is not uncommon to enjoy a sprinkle of snow, or to create icicles in winter here, with a bit of dripping water. So we appreciate February buds and blooms as much as any snow country flower fan. Our spot on earth, Little Yellow Cottage in the made-up Winter Flower, Florida, would be only half as lovely without a chance meeting I lucked into with garden guru Sharon Lovejoy. I hope her nourishing books are known by your library or bookstore. We correspond now & again; she is always a generous sharer of goodwill & joy (as befits her name.) And forever she is a marvelous author to read & read, again. Laura Jepsen’s Lichgate Cottage, is where we met.

c.2019 Sharon Lovejoy

 

Please read on for a link to next week’s book giveaway, & so important – last week’s book winners, announced just below! I have won, too  – your comments you left. And special thanks for so many words from the wild shared, such as flub, throttlebottom, porridge, murliks.

Smiles are due these winners of last week’s giveaway, courtesy of publisher Boyds Mills Press –

Christie, Dawn, Ramona & winner of the two books, Linda M., soon you will be holding

WHAT IF?… THEN WE… by Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Fred Koehler.

Linda M. also from me, the companion, ONE DAY, THE END, by the same creative team.

Enter again

There is still time to win a Boyds Mills Press book. Join me next Wednesday March 6, over at the friendly Group Blog, when I introduce and giveaway the fresh-minted BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT Animal Poems in Two Voices from poet Georgia Heard & illustrator Aaron DeWitt.

Fan time

In a treasure hunt, I came across a boxed heirloom under my roof, and wrote a poem for it.

c.2019allrightsreserved
“Fan Souvenir”

Fan souvenir

flutter flip flap

avian wingspans inspired

fan fashion

© all rights reserved JanGodownAnnino

If you are ready for real blooms & warm breezes, soon enough, you in higher spots of the north hemisphere will skip through April. Down under the drape of Spanish moss in North Florida, April will find me in full fan mode (not with this under-glass antique!) to keep my cool. You can hang on until then, you can, you can . . .

To visit others adding to this week’s Poetry Friday, please remember to see Linda B at Teacher Dance.

 

c.2019 “Bunny picks a winner”

WHAT IF…? THEN WE… Rebecca Kai Doltich + Fred Koehler picture book giveaway

Looking for Poetry Friday? This is but one blip bit of it. Visit poet pal Robyn at her lovely  Life on the Deckle Edge. She is this week’s host, until next Friday, when we will meet at Teacher Dance with poet pal Linda

This moment at Bookseedstudio, we enter a double-decker day called  Friday Finds. One find  is Try this one, it’s good”  a book to herald. The 2nd find is words from the wild . First up, the words.

Friday Finds 1 – words from the wild 

singed     kettle      minnow      incantation
tilt        pyjamas      paraffin

Most writers I’ve sipped a cuppa with collect words. Culled from hand-written menus, the subway wall, in listening to a busker at the plaza, maybe talk overheard in the Post Office line, or ___________________, where? You tell us.

My heart sparked as I read kettle at a travel website, reminding me of a Revere Ware copper-bottomed tea kettle. It  squatted on our kitchen stove in my child days. Haven’t listened to a tea kettle whistle in eons; I heat water for tea in a trendy, safe-glass, all-glass, sort-of tea kettle I do love. With no built-in music maker. I am partial to all the words above I hadn’t read or heard for too long. Minnow is now added to a notebook of the current writing project – minnow, I see possibilities for you. Another time here I expect to have words from the wild that I wouldn’t have thunk, because I never knew them until . . .found ’em in the wild.

Friday Finds 2 – TRY THIS ONE, IT’S GOOD. In which I share a good good book.

WHAT IF…? THEN WE . . .Creators: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, author, Fred Koehler, illustrator.
Boyds Mills Press fresh-published this picture book, subtitled Short, Very Short, Shorter than-Ever Possibilities.

Two polar bears who walk upright, like kids, enjoy adventures. Events are altered by the idea that everything could fall apart. WHAT IF…? is finishing up a BIG blog tour.** 

It rides the waves as sequel to this creative team’s ONE DAY, THE END, the short, very short tales that understandably won Golden Kite & Boston Globe Horn Book honor awards.

I love both these impish books for their pixie quality. And since they go together like spooled
typewriter ribbon & a manual Olivetti, I’m offering my personally bought copy of ONE DAY, to accompany a brand new, publisher-given WHAT IF…?, for your exploration.

This new partner book, WHAT IF…? will be sought for lap-readers,
school floor readers, bedtime readers, worrywart readers, park blanket readers, beach
hut readers, hill top readers, bus readers, high flown readers & their kin.

Why? Events bubble out of characters’ very own imaginations, which spins
the story wide to activate a young reader’s quick mind. As Rebecca says, she wrote
this book for those who “fish for dreams.”

Page after page pull my eyeballs to Fred’s big images of creativity – paintbrush, pencil, coloring tool, looking glass, origami, a map, musical notes & the like. Fred is generous in unfolding ambitious situations where the bear pals, (unnamed, better for the reader to provide them) might want to call upon these tools.

Quick pick: This tumbling-along story entices our youngest ones, offering a high-five that imagination is wonderful. The take-away is that it is good to be bold and experimental.

[Appropos of nothing but a smile, I want to share that one typeface name for text is Rather Loud (bold.)]

Fred’s website +
Fred’s TED-like talk on p.b. creation (in which you can learn to pronounce his last name, among other things)

I have written about Fred, (who we in Florida are lucky to claim as one of our own) in the launch of another picture book.

Rebecca’s blog + You can meet Rebecca – Highlights Foundation workshop

Highlights Foundation offers this great interview with Rebecca by my Poetry Friday pal,
Matt Forrest Esenwine, author of FLASHLIGHT NIGHT, Matt’s & Fred-Koehler’s irresistible picture book,)

**Don’t take my word for it!  Please visit other WHAT IF?…THEN WE... sites invited on the tour:

Monday, 2/11                       Simply 7 Interview    

Tuesday, 2/12                      Storymamas

Wednesday, 2/13                Librarian in Cute Shoes

Thursday, 2/14                    Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

Friday, 2/15                          Miss Marple’s Musings

Monday, 2/18                      Bridget and the Books     

Tuesday, 2/19                      Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

Thursday, 2/21                    KidLit Frenzy

Friday, 2/22                         Unleashing Readers

                                             Book Seed Studio       (you are here!)

COMMENT here at Bookseedstudio to win a chance for the two pal books & you could also win the new one, it’s own self. Try, try, try.

Comment with a collected word or two from your lists, mention a connection with author Rebecca or artist Fred (or with Highlights/Boyds Mills Press/WordSong) or maybe, just let us know who will enjoy this team’s clever ONE DAY &/or also the new book, WHAT IF…? You know you want a chance to win. Make sure to leave your name/contact info so I can ask your United States postal address. (You may also comment & mention that you don’t want to win.)

Leave a response by NOON next Thursday so I can announce winners on Poetry Friday March 1 hosted by Teacher Dance.

So many appreciations for your visit today. (And if we haven’t met yet at a Highlights Foundation writing workshop, then someday, I sure hope we do.)

Remember to visit poet Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge, for her blog & her wrangling of this week’s Poetry Friday collection of Kidlitosphere blogs.

c.2019 Fred Koehler from inside the expanding universe of WHAT IF?…THEN WE… by Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Fred Koehler, from Boyds Mills Press

UPCOMING – I travel to Group Blog on Wed. March 6, 2019 with another new Boyds Mills Press book. See you there?

 

[I recommend that you b l o g  AT WORDPRESS.COM.]

Love letter

Today’s Poetry Friday parade is parked at CHECK IT OUT.

. . . .

This week I wrote a love poem of sorts to a stranger, which you can find here on twitter. 

It was praise, appreciation, exaltation dashed off quickly for someone named a Happiness Engineer.

This is a real person working for WordPress,

who solved my kerbobble wobble of a recent post when the comment box had no gumption – wouldn’t function.

The Happiness Engineer sent me such a sweet note about receiving an original poem. (And didn’t even mention the typo!)

So now I’m of a mind to more often create a little ditty (nod to dear Michelle, Poetry Friday’s Today’s Little Ditty editor, author, creator, mentor) when I find myself saying a big thank you to the people who keep me functioning in work & at home (book finder, plumber, hurricane spotter, mole finder, etc.) Why didn’t I think of this before?

I am still so floaty that an email I sent into the void, asking for help, was read by an actual, factual, live human who bears a winsome work title & who responded efficiently with a fix. In keeping with this theme of rhyme poems of praise , I saw a poem sent along this week in social media from the Glasgow (Scotland) Women’s Library:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Libraries, oh libraries,

We couldn’t live without you

‪#LoveYourLibrary

Ain’t the world a lovely place?  Here is one for lovely you:

In a moment to spare

you left a few words

lines of flair,

like trills of the birds

-Jan Godown Annino

So many appreciations for visiting today. I want to see what you’ve written at your lovely site. And . . .

I hope you can return here next Friday, Feb. 22, when I’ve been invited to join some keen bloggers

& post a few words about a new book in town.        There will be a Give Away 🙂

2019 Book Launch Tour for Rebecca Kai Doltich & Fred Koehler WHAT IF…? THEN WE. . .

Remember that Poetry Friday this week is hosted at CHECK IT OUT

 

 

 

 

 

 

All heart

Poetry Friday for Feb. 8 is hosted by the wonderful Laura Purdie Salas!

All heart

I like the idea that a shape loved all over our world,

the heart,

first came to people in Nature’s creations, such as fruit and leaves.

 

                       Forest Heart

Drift gift from above

paper heart glows like sun

gilds the path

©JanGodownAnnino

Forest Heart c. JanGodownAnnino
allrightsreserved

 

A few days after this New Year 2019, in wetlands woods of a nearby Florida park,

a leaf fell through air just ahead of us.

The wind sent other paper-thin treasures aflutter from towering trees to join leaf litter

on the old forest’s floor. But this emissary glowed in the gray and brown setting.

When we reached the spot where it lay, my urge was to pick it up.

I looked, looked, looked.

I left the heart,  in hopes it could charm someone else on the path.

 

                         Breakfast Heart

Rise to greet the twenty-four

clay mug cradles gingered tea

knitted love cushions potter’s heart

©JanGodownAnnino

Heart Mug/ Anna Annino
Knitted Heart/ Laurel LaPorte-Grimes c.allrightsreserved

 

When my husband and I tip up our mugs, a wee heart peeks out from the base.

Each handle is half of a heart too, an additional spark of love when we examined

our gifts, created by our daughter far away at college.

To begin work, I set down this mug of love, resting it on a knitted heart

created by Laurel, our longtime dear pal of Florida, gone to Connecticut.

(miss you, Anna & Laurel!)

 

(Are you sticking to the west world  syllable guide of 5-7-5 for haiku? As you can see from above, not me!)

 

Heart map

Poet Georgia Heard creates a way into authentic writing with HEART MAPS.

February feels like a copacetic month for entry into the wisdom &

magic of heart mapping.

I’m a beginner (have just one, which I must share with the intendeds, before here.)

Georgia Heard’s  blog, with wonderful links, on heart mapping

 

Heart Letters

 

A great modern classic- I hope you’ve read it – is LOVE LETTERS by Arnold Adoff with

illustrations from Lisa Desimini, my friend.  I have previously written a valentine to this

picture book, here.

And I always love to share the love these two creators lavish on children

with these fun love poems for school-age readers & their teachers & families.

Not. To. Miss.

 

Heart loss

Below, links to three of a seashore full of tributes about love of the work of poet Mary

Oliver who passed on in January. I’ve taken to some of her poems,

but in reading just a bit about her after her death

(in Florida, where she had spent her last years)

I understand I want to catch up in study of her life story and poetry path.

I love this,

from her essay “Wordsworth’s Mountain.”

“But dawn—dawn is a gift. Much is revealed about a person by his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of day. No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it, could be a stranger to me.” – Mary Oliver

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/01/17/passing-mary-oliver-at-dawn/

https://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2019/01/17/poetry-friday-rip-mary-oliver/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/books/mary-oliver-grief.html 

Appreciations for links to your Mary Oliver post in comments, or that of recommended

ones you saw out & about.

 

And of course, other thoughts, including of this ♥ season, are so welcome.

Head’s Up!

I expect to be here Friday Feb. 22 with a give-away of

the brand-newest from creative team

Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Florida’s own Fred Koehler. Hope you don’t miss this!

[ Friday Feb. 8 edit – The comment box is missing below. I have placed several questions out there

with WordPress forums & etc. Please follow on over to twitter with your comment, if you are comfortable

with that. Many thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rare

[ today’s Poetry Friday is instantly yours with my Aussie pal of Whiskers!]

I went into the wet woods and came back with
a poem.

Rare
By J.G. Annino

Shades of orange pink
purple blue
green yellow

float in rows
glimmering
quiet woodlands water

stands of tall cypress
witness
rainbow room

lend dark shadow streaks
across
floated painting

prayer from the sky
© 2019JanGodownAnnino allrightsreserved

For many years of my life
my parkland has been wetlands.
They renew my spirit,
exercise my legs.

I have trod boardwalks above their tannin waters,
have skirted flat ground around their towering cypress,
observing their many moods and often am witness
to resident creatures
gathering their groceries,
sunning,
or taking a swim.

As an author I have also written extensively about
back country areas of Florida, regions that
feature wild water-recharging, cleansing
wetlands necessary for life, all juxtaposed against
the amazing fact that my state has become
the third most-populous in our union.
I say this to set up my doubt at first,
at what I saw in the water last
Sunday afternoon.

* * * *

Our home is about 40 miles south of Thomasville, GA,
a scenic, book-loving, culture-supporting village
of restored buildings and homes that lures us
with all that, plus being the closest downtown
to Birdsong,
which I have written about before.

After treating me to a Sunday afternoon late lunch in
Thomasville, my wonderful hubby suggested we indulge in one of our
walkabouts at Birdsong, which never fails to invigorate our
souls, and where we always exercise our legs on the woodland
slopes and farm hills.

The expansive blue sky without a cloud,
the great white herons lifting up in silence
out of a cypress wetland,
the flighty yellow-breasted warblers
flitting in front of us on our field path,
one cawing crow flapping off from a tall pine tree,
all was groovy.

As we walked away from a favorite contemplative spot
I looked back one last time past a wood cabin walled
only in floor-to-ceiling screen on three sides, perched
like a tree house, high above a cypress
wetlands. The Listening Place.

And I saw a vision in colors.
Collected colors of a rainbow,
not arched high in the sky,
but laid out flat
against dark water,
in pastel, like a public art contest's
chalk painting across a street canvas.
Tall cypress trees standing in their water
lay down shadows between color panes,
creating a stained glass wetlands art.
I shivered on this unseasonably warm,
sunny afternoon.

"Honey, what is this!" I whispered to
my husband. Wondering if he would see it.
Was I seeing a vision? Would it disappear before
he could even look?
He came back from his steps ahead,
to wonder with me.

Our eyes devoured,
scoured
the water scene,
followed each color line as long as we could
to drink it all in,
until we needed to tear our eyes and bodies away,
to walk the 20 minutes back for the farmhouse
parking area’s 5 p.m. closing time.
We avidly showed pictures and shared
delight there, in wonder.

That evening I read two helpful posts,
from commercial sites with advertising popups
so I’m not linking here,
for some possible explanation, perhaps how
a natural process of decomposition in
a wetlands paints a water rainbow.

A phenom not often seen, even by those with
more wetlands walks or paddles through the years,
than myself.
I am eager to learn more, especially from
a scientist. If you look up
“rainbow swamps” you will find a social media
extravaganza leading all the way to the BBC.

This is my first post of 2019, the New Year.
The experience reminds me that
I feel so grateful to occupy my tiny
space on this remarkable planet.
Much happiness, good health,
good pages, good words to my educator,
writer, reader pals, including
the Poetry Friday, Spiritual Thursday crowd.

I expect to post once a month this year,
perhaps less than that,
as I work on poems that
fit a theme.
I look forward to reading your poems,
columns, articles, stories and books
and to knowing about your
other projects.

Posts at this site are ©JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved
link/share with attribution please
[tech note 1.12.2019 My apologies if you are experiencing an awkwardness
in leaving a comment! Kind readers have alerted me. At the moment, it seems that followers of this blog don’t experience that but others, may. Perhaps the settings need a tune up & for me, that will mean a couple days of effort…. Appreciations for your understanding. And of course I’d love it if you are able to “follow.” T.Y.

©2019JanGodownAnnino
all rights reserved
“Rainbow Room” January 6, 2019

2018 Christmas poem






The 365 days of 2018 delivered
a host of surprises, especially in the
health-travel department, when our family
unexpectedly created an Ohio vacation to
wrap around my cancer surgery, which made it feel
less urgent & blessedly robbed it of being all-medical.

I am aglow about this
one and only 2018 Christmas
at blessed home sweet home!

…………………………………..
2018 Christmas Haiku poem

familiar Christmas emblems
garland the spirit
wrapping best gift, life

c.2018JanGodownAnnino all rights reserved

(p.s. edited the title!)

Appreciations for Poetry Friday & Spiritual Thursday,
with wishes that joy will be wrapping your world!

…….

Gather and thank

Poetry Friday’s own Teacher Dance, Linda B. gathers us this week

Poetry Friday’s spiritual Thursday of Novemeber,is gathered by Ramona. Appreciations, Ramona!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Gather and thank

For a gathering sense of shared community here,
pulled together by response to the local yoga tragedy
& the quest for valid votes in Florida governor
& senate elections, I am appreciative
for the the ahisma people,
non-harming people

For a gathering of new poems** flowing to
my pen since summer, I am appreciative

For the brave gathering of journalists at
meetings, speaking with sources, asking
questions across our states & world,
I am appreciative

For creativity, dignity of leadership & perseverance
within U.S. indigenous tribes, I am appreciative

For a gathering of most-loved ones by my
side on Nov. 22, I am so very appreciative

And for my Poetry Friday world,
all of you, ashisma people,
I am always so appreciative
to be gathered with you.

** poems!
I feel grateful that my writing guru, Adrian Fogelin, has looked over a small gathering of my new poems, written since summer, which surprised me to be on a theme. If I can continue apace, I plan to bring more to an early 2019 workshop. I will say that terms such as “flamingo”, “catamount” & “skunk ape” appear among the lines. . .

Apalachicola November 2018 55th Annual Seafood Festival

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<The Poetry Friday Sunrise is with Kay!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
After what blewew through

people of the village of Apalachicola
scanned clear sky chasing hurricane gray
rejoiced for oyster spat found live on farmed sea baskets
cleared storm clutter off shoreline
rushed sweets to tupelo bees
bustled to serve 55th annual seafood dinner line

c.2018JGA/JanGodownAnnino

The first week of every November for 55 years, the Florida
Panhandle seaport of Apalachicola, where our family has
spent inspiring days and nights, where the city library
has been so inspiring to young readers,
where history-holding people revive old wood shotgun houses for needy locals,
where my husband met with legal services clients more than 30 years ago,
holds the cantankerous FLORIDA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL. And what a celebratory event
this post-H.Michael, miracle festival can be.

I was chilled as I began to understand
the wreck and wrack Hurricane Michael wrought on
this North Florida coast. What other calling card would a categroy 4 storm that barreled over
beautiful barrier islands and blasted mainland sands Oct. 10-11, 2018, leave behind?
Although 40 miles or so separated working waterfront Apalachicola from the westward
deadly direct Mexico Beach hit,
the swirl of winds and stormy surf reached tough tendrils east of Apalachicola into Eastpoint, Carabelle,
Dog Island, Alligator Point and southeast of us, at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Blessedly, the refuge is
recovered enough for this weekend’s annual Monarch Butterfly Festival.

Families and friends are personally coping with the horrific loss of 29 lives in Florida,
an uncounted number of physical and emotional injuries.
Locals and second-home visitors are dealing with the splattering of home roofs and cafe walls into neighbors’ yards, pushing boats and cars down familiar streets.
Residents are reacting to the disruption of work, school, and everything else that happens
in seven days of a week.
Singular landscapes that the region’s people work in and relax in,
and wild acres thought preserved from human habitation, road building, place making,
in national refuges or state lands, suffered a scouring sea change.
Many of us keep a wary eye on how the world’s sea changes are known to be human-born.

But always there are moments of hope in recovery efforts.
Such as bringing food to the famed
Apalachicola River Basin tupelo tree bees.
Yes, feeding sweets the bees. As the line, above…

Your official invitation to attend the Apalachicola party the first weekend every November is always here at the FLORIDA Seafood Festival website.

Some aspects of working waterfront Apalachicola, to know if you go
Downtown Books and Purl, Hole in the Wall, The Gallery at High Cotton, Bowery Art, Cafe Con Leche
and other strong small storefronts calling to you, that keep keeping on. If you are fortunate to attend, check online with AAA or the Florida Highway Patrol
or your navigation sites, for updated traffic details. Storm-Battled U.S. 98,
coast-hugging road ribbon of life for the region, as of this post, has lane closures in places.
Perhaps try Hwy. 20 or Interstate 10 & work your way south an an open, interior road.

I have written about Authors in Apalach on more than one occasion, such as here.
Downtown Books and Purl
The Gallery at High Cotton


I love this potent article in SIERRA magazine by Sue Cerulean
, editor, author, friend in
Florida who brought me to book-making with Falcon Press & and published my history essay (p. 107) and an important Seminole Tribe of Legend by Betty Mae Tiger Jumper (p.92), my book biography subject, in
the Milkweed Editions collection,
BOOK of the EVERGLADES.

c.2017
JGA/JanGodownAnnino
Baite Place, Eastpoint, FLA
all rights reserved.

Birdsong Co-Founder Tribute – Betty Komarek

[We are in the Poetry Friday Universe collected this week by Brenda. See the bees knees!]

Many of us who grieve for loss of life,
destruction of land & structures from the natural force of
winds & water powered by Category 4 Hurricane Michael, think of the Florida coast.

Hurricane Michael busted on from the Gulf & its sugar sands,
to scream through inland pecan groves & cotton fields – southwest Georgia’s farmlands & river/lake coves, including a tiny Georgia writing retreat I’ve loved, that my critique partner owns,
The Cove.  R.I.P to The Cove. But also …

Before the storm arrived I wrote here about Birdsong, in Georgia.
Today I share my poem set in 1998, & inspired
by Betty Komarek, co-creator of Birdsong,
just over the border of Florida, outside Thomasville, GA
Due to Hurricane Micheal, Birdsong postponed an Oct. 13 music fundraiser,to be rescheduled.

>>>>>>>>

Birdsong Summer

That summer she left the land
for Kay’s mountain cove
she looked long
across Horse Pasture
opened her screened porch door
smiled that eternal smile that says –
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

She bent, offered food to Skink,
scuttling back-step friend

She stood with deep-seeing eyes,
finding
far fields, deep woods, green swamp, farm pond

Her gaze remembered
flying squirrel, grazing deer,
zebra longwing,
bob white, towhee, wood thrush,
pileated woodpecker, indigo bunting –
all her feathered friends of tiny beating hearts

She crunched hot feet on dry peanut stone
felt cool moss on split rail
returned inside to the wide hall
stood at stairs in the center
of her universe
looked up through roof to her Sky

She stepped across the straw mat
to her Window
reached deep into her chest
drew out a part of her heart
fixed it on the handle
of the room’s screen door

That summer she left the land
all her planted friends
talked about change –
Nandina, mulberry, saw palmetto, yaupon holly,
liriope, pokeweed, quince, needle palm, loquat,
sweet gum, coontie, tea olive, wax myrtle,
crepe myrtle, yucca, pyracantha, pittosporum –
they rustled, sighed, bent their heads
not knowing if this was forever

That summer she left the land
the champion pecan tree from Shadrack’s time
with the excuse of a purple storm
split itself open
in a final crash into the west yard

That summer she left the land
bears walked into town
padding along South Madison Street
as if they still lived there

That summer she left the land –

A coyote yipped in Ginhouse field

Skink disappeared, reappeared,
disappeared, reappeared

A panicked juvenile cardinal
flew out from accidental entrapment
in the log cabin room
where it had battered itself against the window

That summer she left the land,
in front yard leaf litter,
one leathery brown leaf shape-shifted
into a perfect heart

Following that summer she left the land,
since she had got by without all her heart,
since Birdsong had got by without all of her heart,
she now knew –
both she and her World
would be all right
when the purple storm came again

She still
smiles her eternal smile that says
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

(a poem in celebration of Betty Komarek
January 29, 1914 – April 16, 2002)
c. 2002-2018 JGA/Jan Godown Annino
allrightsreserved

Thankful after Hurricane Michael 2018

Thankful after Hurricane Michael 2018

Most bumps in the road are smoothed by a
wild beach
new book
ripe fig from the front yard
belly laugh

I wrote the above while recovering
from surgery.

But Hurricane Michael of Oct 10-12, 2018, roaring
up the Gulf of Mexico from Cuba with the power of
a cataclysmic Category 4 tropical storm,
can’t be considered a bump in the road.

Sadly, there are 22 deaths to mourn in Florida
& still others, in other states H. Michael blasted.

Things are so in flux, next month’s election process
will be disturbed for our coast; officials also say it
may take years for some villages to ever function as before.

My city was spared all but discomfort –
nights and days without electric power,
streets blocked by tossed trees,
progress was rapid in #LOVETLH. Tree arborists hoisted snapped
pines from car & building roofs,
electric and cable line workers restored service.
We the people own the electric utility here; it is
very responsive.

My family in Tallahassee is grateful
for slight damage – loss of dogwood & Myer lemon
(fig tree still stands!) –
& we are more than grateful for First Responders
everywhere who take on 16-hour shifts to set things right.
Neighbors also pitch in, unasked, to help
clear yards of a fresh carpet of green pine needles,
or pull downed brown branches to the curb for collection.

What IF?
If we had taken our savings & become owners of coastal lands,
an idea we have had fun dallying with, we would have known,
signing papers, that the beautiful seashore places
will always, always, always
be mere shifting sands & will some time be in the eye of the storm,
so our purchase would have been a lark, a giant gamble.

A gamble –
knowing about the history of
guaranteed natural beach erosion &
the inevitable onslaught of Gulf of Mexico storms.
I feel very very sorry for children caught
up in this gamble that was not of their own
making. And I wish more grit than usual,
for adults who couldn’t call The Forgotten Coast,
as it is lovingly nicknamed by regional officials,
a second or third home, but their only home,
due to needed work or, happenstance.
Thousands of helpers are pitching in
during this unfortunate time,
not the least of these,
The American Red Cross/Hurricane Michael.

c.2018
allrightsreservedJGA
Spring 2018
Wild dunes at St. George Island State Park, pre-Hurricane Michael

Birdsong Nature Center, Georgia

Birdsong Nature Center, Georgia/ Jan Godown Annino

Twenty years ago I spent days and nights strolling, stopping
and listening to the rhythms of life among Georgia pines and magnolias,
walking through fields and woods, as I watched over a natural treasure
known as Birdsong. This was a surprise – that Betty Komarek, co-creator
of an outdoors classroom of 500 acres, selected me to substitute for her.

I felt inadequate for the task, yet she decided that without a science degree,
without any field work to my name, I was the just-right caretaker to: feed
roaches to her back-doorstep pet; give a firm Scat! You! broom swipe to
squirrels and raccoons that dared to reach the bird window feeding station;
and, among other tasks, it seemed I commanded adequate enough hands to haul in
and freeze North Meridian Road road kill for someone’s elses examination
later (not me!)

In her 84th year, Betty would finally take a hot-weather break from Birdsong,
so I was in residence (un-airconditioned) in July and August of 1998. My supposed
eagle eye was to keep check on the before-hours and after-hours thrum of activity
around the wild land and weathered buildings, including the classic small
farmstead hearth and home, a listed historic property that is a musuem,
populated with numbered curios collected by Ed and Betty Komarek
during domestic and foreign adventures they created in
decades of marriage as premier traveling fire-management
ecology researchers and trainers.

c.2018JGA
“Birdsong Door”

My one flop was failure to prevent a small car loaded with college kids from
driving through a staff-only grassy path on a terraced old field, in order
“to make observations” (trespass) at a further-out cypress swamp. They mumbled
verbal permission, as colleagues of Professor So and So of University Such and Such.
That meant they should park and hike as every guest would.
Birdsong is not a drive-through scenic car route,
quite unlike Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains.
I held my hand up while I said would make a call to check,
prompting them to roll past me, grinning, gaining vehicle
access into the wild footpath acres. No harm done, I guess.
At least, I was not relieved of my duties.

Treasured moments filled notebooks, including listening to
night songs of coyotes, the first I’d ever heard them,
side-stepping a coiled water moccasin (thanks to hiking partner
Susan Murowski), finding a small shiny brown magnolia leaf
shaped like a heart, when I needed it, during a moment I felt
Betty had erred in selecting me, finding a dead but still
lovely blackbird in the attic,
learning of the best food for the pet lizard named Skink
(roaches I was to trap for Skink and, did) and,
having Betty share surprises of a few other of her tricks of trade.

c.2018JGA
allrightsreserved
“Birdsong Charlotte”
Where E.B. White’s writing spiders live

When I later wrote a feature about Birdsong during my corresponding days for editor
Paula Crouch at the travel desk of The Atlanta Constitution,
I didn’t disclose those tidbits. And, as Betty Komarek’s spiritual colleague
in caretaking, to honor her memory, I’m not doing that now.
This week for Poetry Friday, I expect to share a poem, about Betty at Birdsong,
that I wrote in 2002 upon her passing at age 90. I hope you will return for that.

SATURDAY event Oct. 13, 2018
Depending upon how Hurricane Michael affects the region,
consider attending a family-friendly Birdsong music benefit
by Sammy Tedder and Mike Andrews
4:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 13, 2018 at Birdsong Nature Center.

Giggle me, world

Giggle me, world

This October, Spiritual Thursday is arms open wide to share
about humor, meaning –
not mean, but sweet silly stuff that brings on the happy.
I’d smile if you comment.
And later when  ST jolly jottings are up, please leave
a link.

Have you brought out a giggle from a baby or toddler?
For our gal, holding her just a wee bit over my head,
her belly down, face looking at mine,
for a brief “airplane” flight, produced a belly laugh.

And she giggled, too.

Lots of ways of plays brought out the laughs.

Giggle my world

Funny face
puppet paw pat
hide-and-seek-cat
in October, peek-a-book bat.

c.2018JGA

Best medicine for adults, too

I appreciated the experience of feeling that
laughter is the best medicine when
pain & discomfort involving kidney surgery would ease,
anxiety went poof! earlier this season, enjoying a simple joke.

One time, especially.
I felt bothered by the bag of blood
towering over my head. That unease ended
when the the nurse that afternoon threw a
towel over the blood transfusion bag
and then he lightly jiggled the pole, made a funny sound &
turned it into a flowing ghost. It was hilarious. I needed the
laugh/sneeze/cough heart-shaped pillow the hospital
provided, to swaddle my healing belly wounds, it was soooo funny.

c.2018allrightsreserved

I’m gratefully healed across the middle now
& can let the chortles
rip without hurting scar seams.

Top humor starters follow.
Are they similar to yours?

Cartoon collections
Humorist Roz Chast’s New Yorker cartoons & many cartoon books,
along with those of Gary Larson & others.

A few from our
Roz Chast shrine. Collect them all!

Nonsense verse

Spoken out loud. Better yet I read these
out loud from Illustrated versions
of the most nonsensical jollity. The best best best
for my LOL is Edward Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat,”
which I recently learned was voted the favorite children’s poem
in England.
When my poetry-loving mother
offered her liltingly dramatic rendition of the moon-lit journey
of the loveable avian/feline pair, including her finger-ring in
her own nose, in the wood, I fell over in laughter.

Today, I am agog over my discovery,
through the sweet blog Silvershoes and Rabbitholes,
of a Hilary Knight version of O & P! You know it? I didn’t.
Mr. Knight is beloved for ELOISE and also, by Lee Bennett Hopkins fans,
for his illustrations of the LBH poem collections, HAPPY BIRTHDAY and
also, SIDE BY SIDE, which I have gifted to young teachers.
His version features a set-up to the poem that melts my heart
with touches of whimsy that are equal to Lear’s nonsense genius.

Silly sings

ELLA JENKINS, a strummer, a singer is f-u-n-n-y.
Are there silly songs from your homestate or
where you live now? We enjoy the friendly quirks
of Florida where we have created our own family,
where my first family moved when I was in middle school,
so Ella Jenkins cracks me up with her original tune,

“I Know a City Called Okeechobee”

Puppets

Lambchop
I can’t be the only crazy person who loves to
prance & sing “This is the Song that Never Ends,”
made famous by Shari Lewis and her puppet pal, Lambchop.
I hummed this before and after surgery.
So cool that her daughter Mallory Lewis,
carries on the silly tradition.
http://blog.cmnonline.org/2017/03/09/the-song-that-doesnt-end-by-shari-lewis/

Costumes
Odd eyewear. Funny hats

c.2016allrightsreserved

In summary

Dour tastes sour.
Joy is a toy.

And when I create situations of joy
that produce laughter or full on smiles,
my psyche can more easily steamroll irritations,
so my human-imperfect nature
is more likely to react amiably, kindly,
when a roadblock, setback, disappointment
or that occasional huge challenge,
boulders onto the path.
I hope these thoughts make your spirit smile.

Me & a Monster
c.2017JanGodownAnnino
allrightsreserved

Four little weeks after Cle Clinic surgery

The Poetry Friday raft floats at
The Water’s Edge.

For now please join my
celebration of life, healing, faith
& the love of friends & family
& strangers, such as hospital teams,
a party that follows
Aug. 21, 2018 kidney surgery
to remove my diseased right
red bean,
leaving the left one
behind to do all the work.

Time for another sample!

Four weeks gone by!

I’ve ditched a lot of the fuzz brain,
am mobile in the AM,
without the walker &
often without my tall, Gandalf-type
walking stick,
a surprise hand-carved for me by a
Girl Scout parent long ago. We normally
we take it on our refuge hikes but it is
for me, now sturdier than a regular cane
for everyday get-abouts on neighborhood streets.

c.2018PetarTodorov
“Lefty” an original kidney cartoon delivered in the hospital by an honorary & beloved, family member.

My body folds up at mid-day. But
for the first time, on yesterday,
a smidge of energy returned in the PM.

One of my favorite heal tricks is
to re-read Get Wells & that includes
the funny cards & words (often in poem form)
about surgery, medicine, hospitals &
of course, kidneys.

My actual hospital sheet! I was sitting up in the adjoining lift chair when I went, “Eeek! Look-ee what Beautiful shape I see! Do you see it?

Original kidney limericks are encouraged.
Take a look at those to date, at
the first limerick posts, visible near the story’s end.

A new poem contribution shared in a wee bit,
is a clever departure from limericks,
created by author, decades-long pal,
crackerjack crit. partner
& great soup-maker,
Ann Morrow.

It follows my poem heart pour,
Heal Song,
in gratitude to
the Cleveland Clinic surgical team.

Heal Song
by J.G. Annino

Unlike piercing a ragged Parma
or slicing Birdsong’s field of Georgia sedge

Unlike slivering an envelope’s lip
or eliciting cedar splinter from pinkie skin

Tiny cuts incised into the abdomen 21 Aug. 2018
are the kindest

In OR #6
under lights football field bright
host of healers
commence cutting edge labor
deploy tiny camera like Andromeda Strain
maneuver through induced bloat of carbon gas
surgeons find targets
retrieve dead bean
stop tendrils extruding to vena cava
excise imposter veins
withdraw tiny camera
smooth skin flaps
suture precise origami folds
kindest cuts swaddled
breathing tube out
anesthesia fades

patient awakens
singing singing *

c.2018 J.G. Annino
21 Sept. 2018

*The surgery notes are a deep dive into
nonfiction medical writing that have brought
my husband & me new vocabulary & an even greater
appreciation for what went on
up on the slab in the lab. Those notes report
that the patient (moi) was
“exhuberant” in the two-step
recovery rooms.

I sang, I sang, is what “exhuberant” means.

Thank you, pal Velma Lee Frye,
for the seasons of spirited song circle
I felt fortunate to attend. I did hum & sing to
keep my spirits up in the waiting times before
& after surgery – why not?

Rainbow from our room, Cleveland Clinic campus! By Paolo Annino. One of my hubby’s uncountable tender uplifts to me.

And now, something to hum about,
this very moment,
a delightful new poem from Scholastic
author Ann Morrow.

The Kidney Sisters
by Ann Morrow

Kidney 1 and Kidney 2 were such a healthy pair
“We’re small, but strong and mighty,” they often did declare.  
“We clean and filter all the blood, working every day.”
“Our nephrons never stop to rest or take the time to play.”

The years went by, the team worked hard, they rarely made a peep.
Until one year when Kidney 1 began to fall asleep.
“Too much work has worn me out. I’m sad and weak and weary.”
“I think I’ll go to Cleveland, I’d love to see Lake Erie.”

So Kidney 1 and Kidney 2 exchanged a sad adieu.
Each with an agenda, they started life anew.
Kidney 1 loved city life – museums, food and wine.
A river and a lakefront, suited her just fine.

Kidney 2 loved staying home, it fit her to a T.
With twice the work she found herself, as strong as she could be.
She misses Kidney 1, of course, and the special bond they had,
But thinks the single life she has, is not at all half bad!
c.2018 Ann Morrow, all rights reserved

Isn’t that lovely? Applause, Ann!

My solitary kidney & I
expect to be back Oct. 4 to guide the Poetry Friday
Spiritual Thursday Sisters in conversations about
ha!, humor.

Lately I’ve missed out on
book birthdays & other book cheers, but I can’t
leave without mentioning two worthy
launches of dear friends.

Laura Shovan
brought out her 2nd novel,TAKE DOWN<
the remarkable story
of a school girl, Mickey Delgado,
who competes at the highest level
on the wrestling team. You likely know it
but if not, < take a seat in the Laura Shovan gym.

My favorite lines include:

“Look out, Mickey Delgado is going to storm the state championships.”

“You got that right,” I say. “But Dad, can you call me Mikayla?”

And, my personal poetry pied piper
Irene Latham, is right nowbringing out her ba-zillionth creative book, this with bright
color illustrations I love by Thea Baker,
LOVE, AGNES, Postcards from an Octopus
much to my coast-loving delight.

My favorite Agnes/Irene lines include:

Agnes rolled her eyes. She still knew how
to do a thing or two.

p.s. for today’s host, The Water’s Edge. I know
your country is gi-normous but Thea Baker,
of above new book, LOVE, AGNES
is based in Australia, f.y.i.

Both books are must haves.

Finally, it always cheers me to catch up with Betsy Bird’s columns.
Try her 2019 Newberry/Caldecott noshing, where she tips me off to poems
by Richard Wright (with a cameo from Donald Crews) & artistry
in photo illustration by Nina Crews

And remember I would love to
see your limerick or other
funny words
about being sick, healing,
nurses, MDs, or the like.
If said words pop up on your site,
great, just
send a link!

My Vacay, CleClinic Way

Wonder & Wander with Poetry Friday!

**********
short update: Home! to find an unexpected
baby banana tree sprouted in front yard, zinnias are abloom,
firebush attracting hummingbirds & both Myer
trees showing large lemons.
goal: by Oct. 7 post a
coherent poem/follow up column, on successful surgery.

******************************************
My Vacay, CleClinic Way

Aspirational Visits

Uppsala (home of The Friendly Swede)
Margate (home of Shell Grotto)
Toronto (home of House of Anansi)
Alexandria (home of The Bibliotheca)
Block Island (home of bar where my nephew sometimes performs)
Malmo (home of Raoul Wallenberg Institute)
Copenhagen (home of Hygge)
Prince Edward Island (home of College of Piping)
Fernandina (home of Fort Clinch)

Although I have personally owned, cared for &
several times have relocated during moves
between New England & Florida, a classic
large letter, linen, collectible CLEVELAND postcard,
I had never before considered
the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame City,
across shallow Lake Erie from Canada,
as a desired destination.

But now I add in CLEVELAND to my list of places rated.
Cleveland joins
3 months in Costa Rica
a season in Arizona
many US cities/states, including hikes up & down Mt. LeConte & Mt. Katahdin
some of the British Isles
Sicily, mainland Italy
Cayman Islands
Canada east (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia)
Canada central (Montreal, Toronto)
Canada West (Vancouver Island)
as top travel tickets that I recommend.

The deal with this unanticipated vacation is
I give Cleveland my kidney;
Cleveland gives me world class health care
in the taking out of it,
with the healing up of it
& so forth.

Kidney Limerick #1
There once was a kidney named Right
who tried with all of her might
to filter and function
at her grand junction
but still was not working right.

– c.2018 JGA

When my family & I realized I needed serious
up on the slab in the lab
surgery we selected Cleveland Clinic,
thought to be #1 in patient-rated trust/satisfaction
for reaching into those
urological netherlands.
We are pleased so far with the world-class
attention, education & care in pre-vacation,
er,
pre-operation events.There are a crew of Clinic
people to praise & also, a most accommodating
staff at the campus Holiday Inn in CLE,
as we who have come to appreciate the city
call it & also a most accommodating
car ride service recommended by the Clinic.
My chipper cheer squad is
my nurturing family, Paolo, Anna & Petar.
Although it may be a full moon before I post again,
please know that I welcome
a Cleveland Clinic experiences
b Cleveland experiences
c kidney humor (see friends’ limericks below)
d your private prayers, vibes, chants & spells

Han Nolan Kidney Limerick
There once was a kidney with a tumor
Who had a great sense of humor
when operated on
It was already gone
Its presence merely a rumor

c. Han Nolan, 2018

Hillary Homzie Kidney Limerick
There was once a kidney
Named Tim
Who really knew how to swim
When he jumped
In the bath
he made quite a splash
And now pools are named after him.

c.Hillary Homzie, 2018

Adrian Fogelin Kidney Limerick
There once was a kidney so lazy
it drove the other one crazy
said K2 to K1
your job here is done
I’m tired of your lounge-about way-z.

c. Adrian Fogelin, 2018

Carole Fiore Kidney Limericks #1 & #2

There once was a woman named Jan,
For doctors she wasn’t a fan
But her kidney revolted
The Doc said, “It bolted!”
Now Jan is ready to plan

c. 2018 Carole D. Fiore

There once was a surgical scar
That could be seen from close and afar
But the patient behaved
And now she is SAVED!
And the scar left the scene by a car.

c. 2018 Carole D. Fiore

Stephanie Salkin Kidney Limerick

There once was a kidney named Kate
who came to the party quite late.
She made a big splash
but then had to dash
for a surgical meeting with fate.

c.2018 Stephanie Salkin

Michelle H. Barnes Kidney Limerick

When faced with a surgery scare,
Jan met it with humor and prayer.
Her doctors were awed
and would wildly applaud
when she sang with “exhuberant” flair.


c.2018MichelleH.Barnes

Michelle Kogan Kidney Limerick

A trip to fair Cleveland ensued,
adieu lame kidney that brood.
I’ll sing a sweet hymn,
thwarting away grim–
join in dude success has pursued!

c.2018 MichelleKogan

Sally Murphy Kidney poem

I love to sing a kidney song
I love to sing it all day long
My kidney song is loud and clear
And I will sing it all the year
My kidney song’s exuberant
And I will sing it when I want!

c.2018SallyMurphy

 

c.ClevelandClinicNews