ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME: poem story

[nota bene: a give-away at the end.]

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IF your heart skips a beat at this Naomi Shihab Nye poet line ping: “A peony has been trying to get through to you” OR if your family knows to stop and appreciate a field blessed by the color purple, as Alice Walker beautifully wrote, THEN your picture book collection will cosy up to ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME, new contribution to poem stories, beautifully told. (Beaming Books, Minneapolis.)

            “Feel the wind/ upon your skin. Imagine where/ that wind has been.” poem lines copyright by Charles Ghigna and Matt Forrest Esenwine, allrightsreserved Once Upon Another Time, illustrated by Andres F. Landazabal.

This book of natural world, Past, contrasted with the world, Present, made me sing. The new-to-me multi-genre artist, Andres F. Landazabal, working in South America from Armenia, Columbia, creates moments on the page that inspired me to abandon my desk, grab family and meander at a meadow we love. Right now! Impossible at that moment, but it figured in why my hubby & I spent an uninterrupted three hours wandering on connected nature trails this past weekend. And ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME promises more. The artist’s exquisite pastel pages matched to the authors’ words help me ponder the ways Planet Earth has changed with human progress & intervention. The authors and artist prickle my sensibility to think of celebrations and help, to further preserve what’s at my part of the planet~~ gopher tortoise hills, manatee springs, turkey woods, anhinga roosting swamps, so they can’t be paved, glassed or picked over.  This Earth poem by Charles Ghigna [Father Goose to many!] and Matt Forrest Esenwine [author of my favorite evening hours p.b. FLASHLIGHT NIGHT] cues a love of what remains of Nature on Earth. The potent part of this is how the story prompts me to ask what good actions I can begin, or continue, without ever suggesting this in a didactic way. The scenes and imagery in words touch my heart to consider this on my own. This book will be an excellent compliment for many sweet areas of student interest including: animal friends, backyard, city/town, geography, sky, fields, forest, mountains, nature, lyrical language and poetry. Applause! Applause! JGAnnino/Bookseedstudio

Resources Charles Ghigna Matt Forrest Esenwine Beaming Books The Color Purple Naomi Shihab Nye Alice Walker

The mood of ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME lives at a nearby springs, where I snapped this image as if from another epoch. Question: What is your place to “imagine where/ that wind has been” as ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME evokes? Leave a comment below [moderated] that shares one place, or a few ~ by the end of MONDAY March 8. Beaming Books will provide a copy to one Bookseedstudio poster. Or you may comment but opt out for the give-away. Or leave a less-detailed comment and still opt-in. Provide contact info if I don’t know you. I”ll alert the lucky ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME recipient after March 8. This book launch began Feb. 25 with a blog from Ellen Leventhal. It’s a great interview! Go, enjoy.

Below please find the rest of the tour links. And keep going for the moderated comment box. Appreciations for your visit. And first ~~ links to our gracious #PoetryFriday host this week & all through March. Go see them soon.

March 2021#PoetryFriday Hosts

5 Kat at Kathryn Apel

12 Heidi at my juicy little universe

19 Linda at TeacherDance

26 Susan at Soul Blossom Living

photographcopyrightJanGodownAnninoallrightsreserved"WakullaSpringsOnceandNow"

“WakullaSprings, Once and Now”copyright JGAnnino allrightsreserved© ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME” BLOG TOUR:
2/25:      Ellen Leventhal:  https://www.ellenleventhal.com/#blog
2/26:      Michelle Knott: http://mrsknottsbooknook.blogspot.com/
3/1:        Maria Marshall: https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/2:        Matt Forrest Esenwine: https://mattforrest.wordpress.com 
3/3:        Jan Godown Annino at Bookseed Studio: https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/
3/4:        Celebrate Picture Books: https://celebratepicturebooks.com/ ( giveaway on 3/5)
3/5:        Maria Marshall #PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday): https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/5:        KidLit411 – Charles Ghigna interview http://www.kidlit411.com/
3/10:      Melissa Stoller: https://www.melissastoller.com/blog
3/16:      Kellee Moye at Unleashing Readers: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
5/5:        Andrew Hackett https://www.andrewhacket.com/blog

 

 

Lisa Desimini & Arnold Adolf in LOVE LETTERS + more

This is the perfect moment to flap wings & yodel-le-e-hoo! that February is a lovely season in so many ways that I haven’t already shared here in recent days.

We celebrate, this week, the anniversary of our wonderful daughter’s marriage to her wonderful sweetheart. Happy Days Always! to our Beloved Anna & Petar, seen here in Boston at a New Year’s Eve[before Covid]

I always spend quality picture book time in February with the inventive love drawings of my pal Lisa Desimini, who created heartmelt individual art works for each poem of one of the best Valentine books on the planet. Her co-creator is the esteemed poet Arnold Adoff, & the modern classic book to know is LOVE LETTERS.

And, it’s also time to drum a big Ta, dah! with Lots of cheers & all that jazz for our dear pal Stan, who is an active 100 this week. Stan, You always put the jazz in jazztime! And I hope my oyster plaque shows our affection for you. Finally, My man & I snuggle extra [foto before Covid] all February ’cause at the top of the month his parents wed in their native Sicily. I am blessed big time in February connections of Love.

00-1Anna Petar Boston fireworks

IMG_2166

AnnaAnninoArtwork allrightsreserved

AmnaAnninoArtwork allrightsreserved

Pubbed! Fresh Fish book & MoSt Poetry Center chapbook

What do you know about your statewide poetry people? After my children’s picture book debuted I added nourishing connections in children’s literature, internationally, nationally & statewide which endure. Hey, that’s how I found you, wonderful nest, #PoetryFriday. In crazy 2020 I pursued an added path, answering writing prompts from poem makers in my area who aren’t necessarily involved with literature for children.

From a call for submissions shared by Florida State Poets Association, which I joined, first-time, two original poems found publication online with the Lake Cane Restoration Society in May 2020. This made me a Bard of the Lake, for “Meditation” and also, “Orlando Orilla de Lago”

Through exploring this long noodle of a state’s poetry community, one of my poems is fresh-pubbed in an art book from the Florida chapter of the Studio Art Quilt Associates. More on this in a second. Next, please know I expect to read a new poem online with a poetry community on Sunday, Feb. 21. I wrote it from a prompt-a-day poetry challenge that ran from mid-Dec. ’20 to mid-Jan.’21. [listening/link info is below] 

This newest prompt idea connected with me in two ways. It’s a wordpool. I first learned about (& silly me, forgot about) wordpool from Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge in her nourishing guide poemcrazy. Gary Thomas of MoSt Poetry Center in California brought me back to brilliant Susan by casting a wordpool. This was his Prompt #19/ January 2, 2021. His poem puzzle challenged us to conjure poetry to include: bleach, Blursdays, hellacious, levitate, salty & wig. Thought I: UGH! Didn’t do it.

But came the end of the prompts from MoSt/Gary. I didn’t feel a pull to other of the lines I had scribbled/doodled in response to the great ideas. But. Pinged in my heart by one word, I went back to that #19 Day wordpool. As someone with dear pals who have lost (& recovered) hair due to cancer treatments, and because I’m living/working post-treatment for stage 2+ kidney cancer that I appreciated receiving great surgery for in 2018, time-two around, with the prompt, I acknowledged the wicked word, wig. Dear people, it wigged me out. So, I knew that with my fear of this word, I should dig deeper. The result is my poem, “Shore good friday,” in the fresh-printed MoSt chapbook, which I expect to find in my traditional postal box any day. To listen to how I put wig & those unlikely companion wordpool words into “Shore good friday,” tune in this week, Feb. 21. It’s a MoSt Poetry Center two hour program & my spot is likely in the last hour because fortunately, two fabulous poets are keynotes of this Sunday’s event. I expect to share “Shore good friday” here in a post, later. **Time note** The MoSt link shows Pacific Time, as MoSt is in Modesto, Calif. I’m figuring on 5-7 p.m. EST. 

Back to FRESH FISH. I glom onto this book’s vibrant colors & forms. Rich, luxurious, playful,  delightfully fantastical, sometimes moody hand-made textile artworks ~~ all mesmerize me. International art contributors are from Canada, Sweden and the UK. It’s also a joy to blend with poets not only from my fabulous region of the universe – Florida – but also, who knew poets in Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana, Oregon & California would become colleagues in publication?

My favorite FF piece, shown here with bias admitted, is by Maggie Vanderweit, a renowned textile artist in Ontario.  FRESH FISH, Textile Artists and Poets Explore Underwater Life is expected to swim again, as part of a future event in a gallery setting, when traveling members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates convene their delayed in-person international conferencing. 

Susan Goldsmith Woolrdidge        Florida State Poets Association            Studio Art Quilt Associates

 

Bookseedstudio is part of the #PoetryFriday community that visits around on line & when lucky, in person, to celebrate poetry. We are hosted  inventively this week from Haiti by Ruth who is stitching together a community poem! [I added yellow lion lines] & next week, please visit with our host, Karen E.

 

Chocolate news, 2nd edition.

 

c.allrightsrservedJGA/Jan GodownAnnino”LoveTypewriter”

Doodle~toodle:::: sending all my PF poet pals Valentine love! Hoopla abounds about Feb. 14 candy, yes?  So I hope you can spend time this month, or any time, with a NEW student video & radio interview, dear to my heart. Because of #FSU college students’ hard work, we have become fans of TONY’s anti-slavery chocolate, finding it with ease at online purveyors & walk-ins.

Below, my fresh d r a f t poem, “He said”

He said

He said “Get in Good Trouble”

and he meant it I know

reading about, seeing newsreels of

Rep. John Lewis, giant of civil

protest & action no longer

walking the Earth.

I feel what students are

doing about

child abuse in production

of our chocolate treats, fits.

“Get in Good Trouble”

© JGAnnino

Meet young friends advocating against the still-occurring in 2021 child abuse in the production of cocoa:

Just released! on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC0BtL6BwYE

Regional NPR on January 8, 2021   [students’ foto is from before the epidemic]

TONY’s very unusual chocolate bar story is here.

[PoEtrY Friday! I welcome poetry tips/news/links in the moderated comment box, below & I look forward to visiting your blog. I’m linking this post in Poetry Friday with marvelous Molly. Nix the Comfort Zone.] Next week be sure to stop by Ruth’s blog, from Haiti.

 

Poetry Friday is here :)

Poetry Friday is here :)

Appreciations for your visit! Until Feb. 5, Poetry Friday is based here. (more details below.) Please know I’ve been singing:

Down the wavy path

in the budding park

along the Miccosukee sidewalk

my jaunty footsteps hum

to

Here Comes the Sun

Amanda Gorman’s books
A song poem spoken-word book of Biden-Harris phenomenal inaugural poet, 
22-year-old Amanda Gorman, of Los Angeles, is due out late summer/early fall.
CHANGE SINGS, An American Anthem is illustrated by the children’s 
Pres. O’Bama book (of THEE I SING) artist Loren Long, of Ohio.
Ms. Gorman’s older ages book, of inaugural poem and more of her poetry is
THE HILL WE CLIMB and Other Poems. I expect to love all these, as
one of uncountable millions of 40 million watching, who teared up during her 
soaring performance at the U.S. Capitol on January 20th.

Bookshop is the independent bookstore community, online. It offers CHANGE SINGS + THE HILL WE CLIMB and OTHER POEMS.

Learn more about Amanda Gorman

ESSENCE online :::: Dr. Jill Biden-connection https://www.essence.com/articles/meet-amanda-gorman-the-youngest-inaugural-poet-in-u-s-history/ OZYMedia :::: 2017 Youth Genius winner https://www.ozy.com/true-and-stories/how-a-young-poet-is-nurturing-empathy-with-virtual-reality/77355/ COVEN :::: on not being “the black history voice” in class, 2036 presidency, her mother’s teaching in Watts. SESI magazine :::: #BlackGirlMagic, her One Pen One Page non-profit foundation.

” I remember all those people (particularly women) who have been rendered silent by illiteracy, and how lucky I am that I get to use this pen. I remember that, to me, nothing is funner than a little word play, and I return to that little kid who is excited to put pen to paper.” Poet Amanda Gorman in COVEN online magazine interview

Prediction: President Amanda Gorman

In year 2036

she will bring her nourishing fix

third woman President.

A shock. Not a precedent.

Thrilled she was prescient

when Biden-Harris won

in 2021,  their

democracy restoration begun.

©JG Annino, 2021 :::::

One Little Word

It’s a thing, to pick One Little Word at each new year as mojo for writing practice. My 2021One Little Word is Sing. In serendipity Sing called me before I knew about Amanda Gorman’s presenting at the inaugural or about her sure-to-be uplifting CHANGE SINGS picture book.

American Library Association Last year I sang of many books here at Bookseedstudio, with special glow for CAT MAN of ALEPPO, A PLACE AT THE TABLE and EIGHT KNIGHTS of HANUKKAH. This week these 3 great books’ various groovy honors were sung by the ALA. Congratulations to all involved in these stellar projects & special Love to those creators who I’m lucky to call Friend.\

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 Comments Bop and hum around the links listed below, in comments. (Later, I’ll bring them up here in this text.) You’ll find a sweet shelf of Poetry Friday blogger posts. If you have a poetry blog the URL details can be added ~~ keep going, below, find the word “Comments” in tiny type ~~ there!  Even just a “hey, howdy!” can introduce you to Poetry Friday. A blog is never needed to participate, just goodwill about sharing poetry, especially poems for young readers.

February comes singing next week! Find it hosted by dear poetry pal Jone. https://www.jonerushmacculloch.com/blog

  [This weekend I learn more of poet/author Zora Neal Hurston with historians here in Florida. On breaks I intend to bring your links here, pulled from where you left them in comments.]

 I appreciate your poem study very much. ~~ Jan

Some week of 1.29.2021 Poetry Friday goodness, from all around~~

Michelle Kogan Art shares artwork & her fresh poetry ponderings about hero, heroes & conversos.

Linda at A Word Edgewise shares poetry lines of others in a New Year Cento. The lines all came from New Year postcards but form one poem with Linda’s magic.  https://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/

At Alphabet Soup, I’m all about snow, with a poem by Richard Greene and a recipe for Snowball Cookies. https://jamarattigan.com/2021/01/29/snow-doubt-about-it-we-love-snow/(my link goes live Friday at 6 a.m.

This week I’m learning from a legend. It’s amazing how much we learn from reading the words of other poets Alan J. Wright Poetry Pizzazz

https://alanjwrightpoetrypizzazz.blogspot.com/2021/01/poets-must-read-learning-from-legends.html

Robyn’s report: I have a New Year poem postcard gift to share, and it fits perfectly with your theme! Also, info on an online haiku workshop I’m leading in February that just got finalized this week.
http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog/posts/38085

Teaching Authors guiding light Carmela talks the idea of “Indistractable,” and shares a found poem on a strategy for doing so.
https://www.teachingauthors.com/2021/01/becoming-indistractable-and-a-found-poem.html

Kay is thoughtful with a collection of poems by Madeleine L’Engle in Cry Like a Bell and a golden shovel poem using a line from one of her poems. https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/2021/01/28/poetry-friday-a-cry-like-a-bell-review/

Poetry Sisters poet Andromeda pens an original poem as part of the Poetry Sisters’ challenge for January: https://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/2021/01/Timetraveler.html 

Little Willow brings us lines from the poem 1938 by J. Patrick Lewis on her blog, Bildungsroman:
https://slayground.livejournal.com/915488.html

Find Tabatha at https://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/ featuring an auntie, some empathy, and letting meaning find YOU.

Laura shares a poem called “Forever Four” and asks for some help with names at https://laurasalas.com/poems-for-teachers/four-forever-poetry-friday/

Carol V. offers a post filled with creativity sparks and connections from this week at https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2021/01/creativity-sparks-and-connections.html. Poetry postcards and my Sanctuary of Thought slide share are the highlights of my post.

Tricia is in with a poem inspired by words from Merriam Webster’s Time Traveler site. https://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2021/01/its-new-year-with-my-poetry-sisters.html

Linda B.shares more lovely postcards, my hugs in the mail! And I have a ‘song’ for you! https://www.teacherdance.org/2021/01/poetryfriday-poems-and-songs.html

Matt Today, I’m continuing to celebrate my first board book – and my only one written in prose – and also sharing another of my late mother’s poems in memoriam: https://wp.me/p2DEY3-2DU

Janice is inspired with nesting poems, suggested by Irene. http://janicescully.com

Catherine I’m sharing a butterfly cinquain I wrote for our workshop with Georgia, “Resilience.” https://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2021/01/29/poetry-friday-resilience/

Carol of The Apples in my Orchardis at https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2021/01/29/poetry-friday-the-return/ 

Sara time-travels with poetry sisters today, writing poems with words from our birth years. Come join us!  http://saralewisholmes.blogspot.com/2021/01/poetry-friday-dictionary-time-travel.html

Tim ponders a reflection on letting go, or not, as the case might be. https://timgels.com/2021/01/28/marcescence/

Margaret retells a story of time with a new poet, student Kaia, who is taking off and realizing she can write. It’s amazing and fun to watch. https://reflectionsontheteche.com/2021/01/29/poetry-friday-doing-the-work-of-a-poet/

 Heidi has revisited her poetry shelf, looking for connections and inspirations. Today I’m reading Lucille Clifton and Janet Wong. Let the women sing! 

https://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2021/01/stps-slps-2-lucille-clifton-janet-wong.html

Find Ruth at https://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/2021/01/poetry-friday-shepherds-purse.html

Yvona has reviewed many poetry books on the My Reads section of http://www.yvonafst.com – check them out! 

Bridget hopes to tap into the ‘sparks of creativity’ of the PF folks with a call out for submissions for a poetry anthology!
http://www.weewordsforweeones.com/2021/01/looking-for-creative-outlet.html
Kat sings the praises of Janet Turner  – young illustrator for her recent picture book.  Visit

https://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/2021/01/29/introducing-janet-turner

Molly H. is inspired by two photos, including one from Poetry Friday’s Margaret,  to gift us with two short poems, from her time with beautiful images. 
https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2021/01/29/pf-two-short-poems/

Susan weaves some wonderfulness:  a song/poem performed by future president Amanda Gorman and MILCK. Also a Tolstoy thought about candlelight and heart light & much more. 
https://www.soulblossomliving.com/by-heart-light-and-candlelight-inspiration-for-tough-times/

Jone offers a poem from an important revision class: https://www.jonerushmacculloch.com/blog/poetry-friday-a-poem-from-georgia-heards-class And let’s all sing: Next week Poetry Friday is collected by Jone!

 

 

 

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Holocaust Remembrance 1/2021

 

Needed More Than Ever Is this a crucial year?  Yes. More than ever it’s necessary to remember the mass murders carried out in multiple European countries in World War 2, only to satisfy Adolf Hitler’s maniacal desire to annihilate children & families who were Jewish.

Symbols of hate, including Hitler’s swastika & a mocking T-shirt that bore the message “Camp Auschwitz” were as sickening to see as was the violence in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

I’m pleased to share that this month young writers in my big state (Florida) began thinking of what they will submit to the WHITE ROSE program by early March, 2021. This event engages students in grades 9-12 – traditional or home school settings – to express thoughts about the bold, brave & lesser-known German high school and college students who became Nazi-resistors. They worked against their narcissistic leader & his campaign of genocide that led to The Holocaust. WHITE ROSE was one crucial resistance campaign.

If you know of an educator or student or other learning community such as synagogue where the  essay project information is unknown (perhaps to start the essay effort in another area?) please pass idea of the project along. I’m delighted to know this is the inaugural year of the prize, which feels in keeping with the synergy of peace-teaching & kindness-spreading I felt Jan. 20 watching from home, the inaugural of Joseph Biden & Kamala Harris & that evening’s uplifting activities & events.

Click to access WR-educator-guide-1.pdf

 

Appreciations to both the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center and to the Holocaust Education Resource Council for the information.

Why is this a Holocaust Remembrance time? It was on January 27, 1945, that Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army. Another annual Holocaust Remembrance time is in April, a month WHITE ROSE students were executed in Germany for trying to create Peace.

More resources

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum https://www.ushmm.org

Kip Wilson, author of WHITE ROSE, an outstanding & award-winning Young Adult verse novel. The book’s poems follow German student Sophia Magdalena Scholl to her sacrifice, once she begins to understand the murders of children & others her country commits, following Hitler.  http://www.kipwilsonwrites.com

“Innocent children

killed

by this regime.

 

Yet what can anyone

                 do

to stop it?”

 c.KipWilson, WHITE ROSE lines from the poem, “Truth in Rumors”

 

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Martin Luther King Weekend, 2021

ZORA, SHIRLEY & ARETHA

Good wishes to you this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend. More needed insight will be my goal in this weekend’s re-reading of CASTE, by Isabelle Wilkerson, my book group’s conversation this month. I also expect to re-read MARTIN’s BIG WORDS from Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier, which I often shared as a volunteer in K-2nd grade. I’m fortunate that 3 books from my unread new book stack are also part of this MLK Holiday.

They are Victoria Bond’s ZORA & Me, The Summoner, spun from child days of Zora Neale Hurston. Katheryn Russell-Brown’s SHE WAS THE FIRST traveling in 1972 to “Follow the Chisholm Trail” lifetime of U.S. Presidential Candidate, U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, illustrated by Eric Velasquez and also, Katheryn Russell-Brown’s A VOICE NAMED ARETHA, celebrating the rhythm and blues icon whose hits can be sung from memory by me, my friends & likely you, too. This is illustrated by Laura Freeman.

Here are just brief riffs, from pre-reading skims. ZORA & ME, The Summoner. Together, the families of Carrie, who is Zora’s school days bestie in Florida, & Zora, elude white mobs descending upon Eatonville. The pair investigate skin-prickly stories of zombies & grave robbing, leavened by their keen interest in science.  Zora confronts bullies, including her rough and rude but town-respected, preacher Father, who in turn receives her brave spunk:

“You got it all wrong, Daddy.” Zora says. Often after that, there will be a slap.

Carrie says, “A faithfulness to mystery, to strange unknowable symmetries vibrated Zora.” 

This is part 3 of the richly researched ZORA & ME older middle grade novel series, ages 10-14.

SHE WAS THE FIRST, The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm. It is great to learn that U.S. Rep. Chisholm’s child days embraced Barbados in a deep way. I like this found poem from the book:

Shirley Anita

had a gift

people listened

and followed 

“the Chisholm Trail.”

c. Katheryn Russel-Brown

A VOICE NAMED ARETHA. Verses this musical genius wrote include a cheer from 1972:

In this whole world, you know


There are millions of boys and girls


Who are young, gifted and Black


With their souls intact, and that’s a fact!

c. Aretha Franklin Young Gifted and Black

[in lyrics I added a cap. for Black.]

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This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday, and Sylvia collected us in Week 2 for a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. Right now we travel to the bayou with Margaret for the Pres. O’Bama inaugural poem picture book by Richard Blanco and Dav Pilkey you won’t want to miss. After the historic inaugurations of Pres. Biden & V-P Harris, we meet up with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

Hopes holding & prayers outgoing, the U.S. reaches the other side of Jan. 20th, 2021 in peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”  

 

The U.S. Capitol 1/2021 & Higher Ground

It’s time to get up! /It’s time to get up! It’s time to get up!/ It is morning! ~ Revelry

Shortly after the first day of this New Year I picked out from my tempting tower of To-Reads, a book that immersed me in a fascinating part of a topic of my heart, World War Two. MARE’S WAR is an unusual novel of the 6888th Battalion of Black enlisted servicewomen, overseas. These volunteers offered all the hours of their days and nights to follow their orders in the unified effort to quash the narcissistic inflammatory demagogue leader Adolf Hitler & his vast campaign of murder of people he hated based on their religion or birth.

To read the story of Marey Lee Boylen, nicknamed Mare, born of poverty in Bay Slough Alabama, and her allegiance to the United States of America, to be paying through her invented 1940s based-on-history life in the same time of last week’s destructive, death-producing mob action in my own nation’s Capitol, is answer to a prayer. I appreciate that gifted author Tanita S. Davis researched her grandmother’s military history, which sparked an idea for the film-worthy character Mare of the ETO (European Theatre of Operations.) This book earned accolades including a Coretta Scott King honor, ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and Junior Library Guild Selection.

Here is real-life clip from the Black Women’s volunteer work unit, at the author’s website.

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Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

Lovers keep on lovin’
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

C. STEVIE WONDER, lines from the poem song “Higher Ground”

I’m also grateful in this same time for cultural enrichment & writing ideas I had already subscribed to in mid-December, from Gary Thomas with MoSt Poetry. His notes ~ ranging from introspective riffs to uplifts ~ helped me through each day. I gratefully took one respite suggested ~ with Stevie Wonder performing his classic “Higher Ground.” Listening to that modern classic soothed my soul more than once since Jan. 6. And you know how I learned about Gary Thomas? By reading around at the nourishing website/blog of Tanita S. Davis, the author of the just-mentioned, MARE’S WAR. Serendipity.

Wishes for your best way forward during this fraught time, with faith that our new President & administration, the addition of two progressives in the U.S. Senate (from my next-door neighbor state, Georgia) will be served & joined by moderate Republicans to tend to the health, housing, food, jobs, safety & education needs of those who are suffering. I read in the Wall Street Journal “Law Enforcement Braces for More Violence” that Jan. 17 & Jan. 20, specifically, (others days possible) may be rough times at our state capitols & the U.S. Capitol. Again. These dates are targeted for massive actions by angry right-wing travelers who may be armed. Remember how in 2016 when Democrats lost a Presidential election, they joined/supported social service non-profits in higher numbers than before & knitted pink hats they wore in peaceful, singing, marches? [thanks to my AZ cousin for sharing that memory running around social media.]

Were I in charge I would have Mr. Biden & Ms. Harris celebrate after the C-19 jabs are widely given & because we are numb from the injuries & the loss of life Jan. 6, 2021 & just general shock of mayhem by our own people in the U.S. Capitol riot. Why would I want a motorcade & outdoor ceremony at the Capitol in January 2021? A tightly controlled space, via video to the World, gets my vote. Our next Commander-in-Chief is already leading in a sorely needed Presidential fashion. Ms. Harris is already leading in Vice-Presidential fashion. Please stay safe and I hope you find the words & resources you need to speak to students, your conservative BeLoveds or yourself, as I have, from veteran educator Mary Lee Hahn.

Mr. Stevie Wonder & HIGHER GROUND

The full lyrics are here

Peaceful wishes for you at this fraught time. This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday , with Sylvia collecting us in Week Two with a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. This Friday 1/15 we travel with Margaret & then 2 days after the historic inauguration, we meet up with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

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FRESH FISH art & poetry

A watery & welcome distraction arrived Jan. 7th’s nite, in email. Allow me to share this cover of a new art & poetry collection I’m pleased to be associated with.

Cover Artists: Jerri Penney, Sally Maxwell, Michele Dowdel, Gabriele DiTota, Diana Bennet

If you love visiting a salt coast, or have a friend who is enchanted by a sea urchin, squid, starfish, seahorse and others of the sandy depths, please consider buying this gift book, a non-profit project of the international Studio Art Quilt Association

The accomplished artists featured in FRESH FISH enjoy layering their works in hand or machine stitching or a combo. Some textile artists begin a creation with blank fabric or even papers, and then add dye, paint, embellishment, printmaking technique, drawing, photo transfer, embroidery, beading or buttons, among the many features of fine art quilting. Some pieces are collages or assemblages. I’m thrilled my poem in this juried art collection, “Fish Fandangle” is paired with the talented visual artist Maggie Vanderweit. 

While poets write about an individual work of art in what we call ekphrastic poetry, inspired after spending time with a sculpture, painting or other work of visual art, we weren’t writing poetry in that method. The process here followed a serendipitous difference to create an undersea world of joy. Literary & visual artists arrived separately at their contributions ~ working from the same sea theme ~ an unexpected process I found organic, scary & a bit magical. I hope you do, also. The 90-page book features 97 works of visual art & 39 selected poems. Although I haven’t yet held the book in my hands, my understanding is that it’s a book for both adults and school students who are enraptured by encountering all sorts of life in the sea. (Mermaid alert!) And, it’s especially for readers whose eyes love to linger over textile arts.

Until Feb. 1, FRESH FISH can be purchased & shipped postage-paid via the Studio Art Quilt Association, through this link. After, it can be found at a different price on Amazon. I’m eager to put up another post on this book at a later date, when I expect to share colleagues’ poetry from it, with a line or two of mine. But of course, I hope you will be holding the poems in your own hands.

:::: Peaceful wishes for you at this fraught time. This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday & now Sylvia handles collecting us this current week with a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. The following two Fridays, we travel with Margaret & then with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

to buy, to read: Everywhere Blue

In June 2021, the story of Strum and his sister Madrigal, an oboe player, debuts from verse novelist Joanne R. Fritz, who I am entirely biased about. But, you should pay attention anyway, despite my tilt in favor of this book. For more details than I can reveal, please visit MG BOOK VILLAGE’s recent interview with Joanne. Madrigal is known as Maddie & I feel we will all love how she is revealed in verse. I must tell you that Joanne is enamored of the magic that unfolds during Highlights Foundation workshops. Hoping EVERYWHERE BLUE becomes part of your favored reading. ARTIST of the epic cover is Elena Megalos.