It’s important to catch a smile when you can.
When you have a moment, what are your go-to smiles?
Good luck, wishes for healthy days and nights.
It’s important to catch a smile when you can.
When you have a moment, what are your go-to smiles?
Good luck, wishes for healthy days and nights.
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
To satisfy your Poetry Friday curiosity, it’s off to No Water River, for you!
Poetry Friday’s party is with poet Linda at TEACHER DANCE
Hello and please know I’m giddy to share three recent magics.
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.
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:
“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
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.
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
Bookseedstudio is part of Poetry Friday go-go juice, a super spot, if your reading or writing would like a boost.
this post is part of the Poetry Friday collection*
Dr. Carla D. Hayden photograph by JG Annino at FAMU, Tallahassee
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.
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:
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.
Find the book in many locations, including here.
And again, happy happy birthday, dear Rosa Louise McCauley Parks! We love you. We thank you.
Happy 2020 & all that jazz.
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 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.
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
Language is a sweet ponderable. I am living the idea in these current days that receiving comfort is not the same as being comfortable.
I find this to be true in the poem by Janet Wong, “The Ones They Loved the Most” found in her collection NIGHT GARDEN.
And I find this to be true in the poems of THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort, selected by Georgia Heard to comfort children who witnessed the World Trade Center tragedy and later, the soothing words becam bound and illustrated for a beautiful book.
Recently my dear sister through marriage, Angela, read in church from the sage poem of Ecclesiastes. And yes, “To every thing there is a season. . . ” always catches my breath, the idea that all the emotions, all the highs and lows have a place. This gentle chanting, familiar regularly at Bible lessons from kindergarden age through age thirteen. I knew I would take comfort from the line “. . . a time to live and a time to die . . .” and althoughI I needed to hear this line of Chapter Three, I felt at that moment & still feel at unexpected reminders, forlorn.
I agree deeply with Georgia Heard as she shares in her book that, “Poetry has always offered comfort and consolation during sorrowful times, and reminded us of the places in our lives, inside and out, that can help us heal.” If you are comfortable now, but in wisdom know that some day you will need comfort, perhaps you keep handy comfort-giver poems:
-Ch. three, Ecclesiastes.
-I KNOW THIS PLACE, Poems of Comfort.
Lines in this touchingly illustrated book such as from –
—“Stars” by Deborah Chandra: “I like the way they looked down from the sky /And didn’t seem to mind the way I cried.”
-lines from “Trouble, Fly” by Susan Marie Swanson:
Let our night
be a night of peace.”
– lines from “Holes” by Lillian Morrison:
-“Strangest of gaps
. . .
the hole is inside us
it brims over
is empty and full at once.”
Dad Annino is missed every day, in oh so many ways. Because my hubby’s parents have long selected winters in Florida rather the cold blanketing New England shores where more of our family lives, most of our Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter festivities, meals, prayer ceremonies, have centered on them, for at least 27 years.
Easter was a special Dad Annino holiday. He collected as many of the palm leaves handed out at church he could hold, to later sit outside in the sunshine near the lemon and kumquat trees and fold them in beautiful ways for gifts. Always always always his intricate folds included a sacred shape he learned in his child days on the island of Sicily. Although our opinions sat firm on “different sides of the olive grove wall” on many topics, I loved him with a fierceness that at first surprised me and then I accepted, not trying to puzzle it out.
Although he, Mom Annino and my hubby, with me, were all in Florida, the stretch of our state is such that it was an eight-to-ten-hour round trip to be with them depending upon holiday traffic.
In between visits, in more recent years I began warbling to Dad Annino over the telephone and lucked into finding that each time, I had picked a song he recognized and loved it that he either sang or hummed along with me.
Twenty-seven years ago when I was the family’s new Mom, Dad Annino told me a story. In a small Sicilian village a mother of many children woke up early in the morning to a ruckus among kids in her home. Ignoring the bickering, she got up, calmly washed, dressed and set about to make herself a cup of coffee. Only after she had sat as long as she wanted, clean, fresh, ready for the day, supping the sacred morning cafe and enjoying her morning pastry, did she tend to the squabbling children. “You see, la Mama must take care of herself, first, before she can take chare of la bambina,” he said, wrapping me up in a story hug. Good-bye, sweet good bye to Dad Annino, but to paraphrase St. Matthew, I will feel you with me, always, even unto my end.
More poem comfort-
lines from Janet Wong’s “The Ones They Loved the Most”
-“My mother says
the spirits of the dead
the ones they loved
Finally, if any of this appears garbled or out of place, please know I have a funny story about my laptop traveling to Kentucky, yet I never have. I’m temporarily working on my mobile phone, praise be to it. – jga
[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”
or speckled green
might be just right.”
c. Patricia Toht, all right reserved.
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.”
( 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? 🙂
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