Winter Solstice 2020

C. DAVPILKEY, illuminating Richard Blanco’s poem, ONE TODAY.

On night walks a sense of comforting smallness seeps into my soul. The Northern Hemisphere’s Dec. 21, 2020 extra longest-night shift of a super Saturn and meteor show, is a phenom noted by Florida’s Bishop Planetarium and Scientific American.

Headlines call for head’s up

See it seep out in south direction following crimped daylight of quickest sunset

Overhead, find deep field with no fence, a cyclorama banner 

Constellation-watcher or wayward wanderer can each behold quiet radiance.

 

Saturn, meet Jupiter, meet Saturn.

 

Find steady Polaris, North Star, Star of Judea, prick sky fabric

as key spree of Winter Solstice 2020.

poem “Headlines call for head’s up” © JGAnnino

It’s a calm world that visits in Richard Blanco’s love-to-all poem titled ONE TODAY, as interpreted in stunning sky-present scenes by children’s author/illustrator Dav Pilkey. This poet and artist created a beautiful book for any season but this week it feels especially like a hug, if you want it:

Lenita Joe

Luminous Library Lady Lenita Joe

Children’s authors in our area loved to learn how to lead kids to be lifelong learners through books, from Mrs. Lenita Joe, luminous Teaching Librarian Emeritus. We spoke on the phone during this pandemic time while her body reacted to a challenging condition not Covid-19 related, and I treasured those gift moments. At the top of this year, before the pandemic, when she needed a major medical trip, she & her husband sent my husband & me in their place to meet the Librarian of Congress. How typically generous of her & how chuffed we were! Please keep reading on for a way, regarding books, to honor this literature heroine.

I met Mrs. Joe during her Leon Reading Council volunteer work, when she hosted the wildly creative sister-authors of COOK-A-DOODLE-DO (Stevens and Crummel) at her school, Sealey E.S. Lenita’s parade of book events in the library-turned media center, such as annual Young Authors’ Day, were earned-invitations for aspiring student writers. Book Week, celebrations of the books of Dr. Seuss, kid fun on famous author birthdays, puppet events & other literacy parties were legendary. My husband & I have heartfelt empathy for her devoted Family, including U.S. Army Col. (retired) Ron Joe, steady uplifter of young Black Men, and for her many Beloved communities, including Sealey, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and 100 Black Men, among others. Book boosters are extending generosity to Sealey E.S. (memo: Lenita Joe Media Center) check/money order to Principal Demetria Clemons, 2815 Allen Road, Tallahassee Fl 32312. All the days of my life I will feel close to Mrs. Joe, grateful for the gift of her friendship, keeping faith with her lessons & remembering her joyful path, which ended on Earth surrounded by her Family at home, Dec. 13, 2020.  [my pizza party foto from a Book Week & my husband’s foto from the wider world.]

A Book Week Report is here.

c.allrightsreservedJGAnnino

 

Pine tree blessing

Night notes

In a Florida nighttime

Temperature plummets

 

In a tree’s lifetime 

Elder pine releases hold.

 

In a moment’s sleeptime

Aboral limb crash down.

 

In cosy blanket of down time 

Dreams continue to cocoon.

c. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

 

 

In sudden reaction to chill air (28 predicted, 30 F realized) our neighbor’s  graciously tall pine tree, in the middle of the night, dropped limbs upon us. They were long but not lumberjack wide and yet still pierced our usually  reliable reverse-air heat/cool unit – otherwise known as an air conditioner.  People here don’t have furnaces. Or baseboard heat or radiators. Or whatever else systems those in Iced Lands employ in homes and businesses.

Following one 30 F night, fabulous Harper-Revell repair folks assured us we could safely dial up heat. Fabulous Mr. Gilmore responded fast to check on the branch that settled on the roof. (In a previous year one pierced it.)

Glory be, we were lucky.

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.)