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Poetry Friday: World Refugee Day

This week Monday (June 20th) was World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe.  Our poem for that day in the poetry anthology that we read from every night after dinner was this poem by Brian Bilston .  The poem and his masterful use of poetic technique to powerful effect is best appreciated without excerpting, so I encourage you to check it out on his website. On our lunchtime walks, we pass a low wall near a cul-de-sac. For months now, someone has been clearing out things and giving them away, so we are used to walking past the wall and seeing books, DVDs, dishes and more with signs saying they are free to take home.  But today we saw something different. Today we saw a note, weighted in place with a rock. Here is a translation of the note (with names and places redacted for privacy, and some corrections to capture the actual meaning of the words): I came with children from the Ukraine. From the first of July we've

Poetry Friday: Perspective & Pansies

 It's been a busy couple of months, with several writing deadlines. Now, with deadlines met, I'm embracing the pause that follows the busyness of this spring.  When I think of pauses, my mind immediately goes to music. In musical notation, the symbols for pauses are called are rests. To me, rests are the punctuation of music - periods at the ends of phrases, breaks that allow us to process what we've just heard and to anticipate what might be coming next.  Pauses - rests - are full of potential. Like neurons, even at rest we are full of potential energy. Ideas hums and buzz beneath the surface. In the pauses, we can hear our own voice more clearly, and we can adjust our focus - zooming out or in on our life for a change of perspective. As I'm enjoying this pause, I'm also enjoying the new anthology edited by Tabatha Yeatts : Imperfect II poems about perspective: an anthology for middle schoolers . I'm honored that my poem "To the Pansy by the Front Door&qu

Poetry Friday: The Trouble at Turtle Pond

Let's talk about turtles! Last month I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the wonderful new middle-grade novel, Trouble at Turtle Pond , by Diana Renn, which is out in the world this month!  If you took all the things I care about and rolled them up into one book, it would be The Trouble at Turtle Pond : nature, mysteries, and authentic, inclusive portrayals of neurodiverse characters (in this case, ADHD). This book is full of humor, heart, adventure - and lots of interesting facts about turtles!  When eleven-year-old Miles moves to Marsh Hollow, he’s desperate for a fresh start. At his last school, his ADHD-related challenges earned him a reputation as a troublemaker and cost him his friends, especially after he lost a beloved class pet. With just one chance to make a first impression, “Mayhem Miles” is determined to do something great in this town. Like solving a mystery. After witnessing people burying something in his neighbor’s backyard one night, he’s sure there’s tro

Poetry Friday: A Bit of This, A Bit of That

There's been a lot going on in my writing world lately, so today I thought I'd round up some of my latest news. I recently talked with Joy Bean, Lead Editor at Arctis Books, about bringing books for young readers in translation to the US market. You can get insights into that publishing process, including her thoughts on which books translate well across markets, in our interview over at  Cynsations . April is National Poetry Month in the US, which means the internet abounds with extra helpings of poetic goodness. Over at Ethical ELA, they are celebrating with Verselove . There's a new post every day to inspire you, including this one by Poetry Friday regular, Denise Krebs . If you're looking for interesting poetic forms and mentor poems, it's a great place to visit this month. I'm excited to have a poem in this new anthology for middle-graders, edited by Tabatha Yeatts . I love writing for middle graders, and I loved the first Imperfect anthology, so it was an

Poetry Friday: Daffodils

  Spring is here! Officially, on the calendar, and unofficially (or is it more officially?), in nature. Every day we see more blooms. photo © 2022, Elisabeth Norton Snowdrops were followed by crocuses, and now the daffodils are stealing the show.  photo © 2022, Elisabeth Norton This expanse of daffodils, which we see on our lunchtime walks, has been reminding me of William Wordsworth's classic poem about daffodils every time we pass it, so this week I decided to reread it and look for other poems about daffodils.  Daffodils by William Wordsworth I wander'd lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils, Beside the lake, beneath the trees Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.                             read the rest of the poem here .  Though we're not walking over hills and vales, Wordsworth's poem definitely captures the rush of joy I feel each time our path takes us past this gentle slope c

Poetry Friday: Things We Eat

My very first Poetry Friday poem was inspired by the fact that my mother taught English as a Foreign Language when I was growing up. Our church ran a free program which allowed my mother, whose dream of being a teacher had to be deferred when she left high school, to finally realize that dream.  As a teen, I assisted the teacher of the children's class, and one of the highlights of every semester was the potluck dinner. From Poland to Thailand, Guatemala to Vietnam, at every potluck the table was full of the culinary specialities of the many countries our students had come from - side by side in one delicious feast. I looked forward to my favorites, loading up my plate with delicious flavors and foods that I would never have encountered, were it not for the fact that we had been brought together from many countries to learn and eat. In food, we can celebrate and appreciate our differences, while at the same time being drawn together by the sharing of it. Food has been on my mind a

Poetry Friday: Present Continuous

This week my students will be taking a test that includes the present continuous verb form. We use the present continuous to talk about actions that have started, and are not yet finished. As I prepare my test for my students, I realize that I've been in a present continuous frame of mind all week. On lunchtime walks, we see signs of spring; in the news, we read about fighting near Europe's largest nuclear plant and wonder if we should start carrying our iodine tablets* with us when we go out.  We are living in a present continuous state of cognitive dissonance. *All residents of Switzerland living within a certain proximity of a nuclear plant are issued iodine tablets in case of an emergency. We never thought the emergency might come from fighting around a nuclear plant across the continent. In my poem I'm grappling with the cognitive dissonance of such tragedy unfolding, and yet my own daily life and those of my family have (to this point) not been impacted by it. We work

Poetry Friday: Darkness and Light

I'm processing the events of the past few days in poetic fragments.  My husband and I witnessed the Chernobyl disaster from two different continents. Last night, I lay in bed on the same continent as Chernobyl, talking with my husband in the darkness when we couldn't sleep, having the conversations we waited to have until our daughter was in bed. And in the wee hours of this Poetry Friday, I got up with her, as I do every day. Our wonderful Poetry Friday host today is Tricia at The Miss Rumphious Effect . She shares the results of her poetry sisters challenge and has links to all of today's Poetry Friday poets  here . _______ note: Radioactive material was washed out of the sky when it rained. Children were told not to splash in puddles to avoid playing in concentrated contaminated water, and potentially getting it on their clothes.

Poetry Friday: Neurodiversity Poems

In our family, we do a lot of thinking about thinking, because we are all neurodiverse (autism and ADHD). We're often engaged in discussions about how our neurodiversity influences the way we experience the world. From how we socialize to how we organize ourselves to complete tasks, our neurodiversity is a factor in everything we do and every experience we have. This week I decided to try to use poetry to express the experience of having ADHD. Although ADHD, like autism, can be characterized by the ability to hyperfocus on a topic or task for an extended period of time, the characteristic that is most commonly associated with ADHD is difficulty in sustaining attention .  In my attempt to express this latter aspect of the ADHD experience I ended up with two poems, both of which use the same metaphor. One is an almost-haiku (haiku-esque?) that's missing a syllable on the middle line, one is free verse. I'd love to know if you have a preference - let me know in the comments!

Poetry Friday: The Party is Here!

 Welcome everyone to Poetry Friday! If you're new to Poetry Friday, you can read more about it here . I've been chasing deadlines all week, but poetry always provides a welcome pause in the busiest of schedules. Perhaps because of the kind of writing I've been doing (which is not related to poetry at all) it was a bit hard to get started on a poem this week. I looked at a few of the poetic forms I've bookmarked over the past months, but in the end, turned to one of my favorite forms, the acrostic .  Thanks for joining the Poetry Friday party today! Add your link to the party below. You are invited to the Inlinkz link party! Click here to enter

Poetry Friday: An Egret Haiku

 How can it be the end of January already? Yet here we are, on another Poetry Friday, with February standing the wings, waiting to claim center stage. In the midst of busy home and work schedules, I'm always grateful for our lunchtime walks that pull me away from the keyboard, and out into nature. For the last year or so, we've been delighted by the periodic visits of an egret at the stream in the park. I love watching his slow, deliberate movements and the graceful glide of his flight. His patience and unhurried movements are a welcome reminder to me to slow down, and not let the busyness of life dictate the speed at which I move through my days. So I'm pausing in this busy day to post a haiku, inspired by this beautiful bird. Elegant egret, Striding slowly in the stream Fishing, disturbs ducks.     © Elisabeth Norton, 2022, All rights reserved Our host today is Irene Latham over at Live Your Poem . Glide on over to check out all the poetic goodness that is waiting for y

Poetry Friday: Thoughts for a New Year

I hope everyone has had, as we say here, a good "slide" into the new year!  I have so many thoughts at the beginning of this new year, the beginning of the third pandemic year that has so altered our lives: reflections about where I and my friends and loved ones are at in our lives personally as we start the year, and a patient curiosity to see what this next segment of time that we humans have arbitrarily defined will bring to all of us. Last week I read Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook. In her chapter on "Imitation," she talks about how other artistic disciplines imitate past works as part of their education. How often have we seen artists sitting in front of a painting at a museum, sketching or painting, in an effort to learn through imitation how the artist created their masterwork? Mary Oliver says: Before we can be poets, we must practice; imitation is a very good way of investigating the real thing. She goes on to say:  It demands finally, a thrust of our