Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for the support and encouragement that abounds in the kidlit community, and especially among children’s poets. One of the blogs that exemplifies community support is Today’s Little Ditty, where Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has created a place for poets to play, learn, and grow. Each month a guest writer or editor inspires us with a challenge, leading to the creation of new poems–over 500 of them in 2017-2018! From those poems, Michelle has put together her third anthology: The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2017-2018.
I was delighted when this little gem arrived in my mailbox on Wednesday and eagerly began to read. Ninety-six poems in response to twelve challenges–so much poetic goodness! I started bookmarking some favorites to share, but soon realized that I could not include the entire feast. I decided instead to focus on one challenge. In May, 2017 Melissa Manlove asked us to write a poem that explores how writing (or a book) is like something else.
With the permission of the poets, I’m reprinting responses to Melissa’s challenge that are included in the anthology. Most of these extended metaphors include a nature theme, which resonates with me. I planned to showcase just a few, but really–what was I going to omit? Read these poems, and you’ll understand my predicament!
First off is one of Jane Baskwill’s quartet of poems comparing poems to seasons. The winter retreat from shivering storm to warmth of hearth also works for Snowvember!
Poems in Winter
Poems in winter are
slow to rise–
when storms rattle the window panes
and wind whistles through cracks,
they shiver and shake and hide undercover,
not wanting to come out,
not willing to leave their nest
until lured by the snap-crackling of a promise,
drawn to the warming intoxication of the hearth.
They curl up by the fire momentarily–
cold hearts melt as icy fingers thaw.
Poems in winter
make good kindling.
Renée LaTulippe internalizes the stormy metaphor–right into a writer’s eyes, brain, and derriere, until finally the weather lifts.
Writing’s a tempest
a squeezing of eyes
it’s hours and hours
in the seat
a roundabout repeat
of type and
a chaser of muses
an exhale of storm clouds
–©Renée M. LaTulippe
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater brings the reader into a science classroom to observe the parallels between a scientific and writerly phenomenon.
Science Is Like Writing
In science I held up a prism.
The sun made a rainbow
on my book.
Our teacher explained
about bending light.
My friends all came to look.
Science is like writing.
A poem takes white light in me
and breaks it into colors
for everyone to see.
–©Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Irene Latham takes us on a fishing trip, and lets the reader reel in the secrets to a good book.
Fishing for a Reader
A good book
with a sharp first line.
Its plot wiggles
and pulls and surprises.
Its characters are bait
for you to bite.
A good book
reels you in
with glistening language
and a splash
It soaks you with memories
and new discoveries.
A good book
through The End–
it lures you in again.
The huge spider web that often hangs outside my kitchen window inspired my poem:
A spider spins
her silken strands
to trap and tie
a buzzing fly
that stumbles in her net.
A writer spins
her skein of words
to hook and bind
a reader’s mind
until her tale is spent.
Mary Lee Hahn turned to a garden to show the growth of a poem. I love the details of ants and flamboyant flower, and the unexpected ending.
like red peony shoots
the first color in a spring garden
too much green, but with buds
sweet enough to attract ants
overly showy, flamboyant, glorious
cut for a vase or for a grave
–©Mary Lee Hahn
And finally, Rebecca Herzog’s poem goes in a fun and completely different direction–slurpees! I can imagine the writer, her brain freeze, and her delight as she powers through.
Grab a cup
Top it off
Great big sip
Big brain freeze
Wince in pain
Shake it off
All doubt blighted
Push on through
One last swig
And there you have it–one inspiring chapter of twelve in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2017-2018. To read more about the making of this anthology, visit Michelle’s blog. Or head over to Amazon, and grab your own copy!
Be sure to stop by Wee Words for Wee Ones where Bridget is hosting Poetry Friday from Switzerland today. There you can read about Dot, the poor poultry who found her way into Bridget’s Swiss celebration, and find links to all of the Poetry Friday posts.
30 thoughts on “Grateful for You!”
Fun to have all these nature poems paired up with writing and presented to us here, thanks for sharing them all Buffy!
There is so much to be thankful for in this generous and giving community of poets and readers and writers. I love all of the poems you share here (I completely understand your predicament at not being able to pick just a few). I’m enjoying my copy of these poems.
Thankful to be reading your post today, Buffy and for your spotlight on TLD3. The poems you chose to showcase are some of the best. Looking forward to participating in this inspirational community more often. Missed you! =)
I am thankful for you as well, and for Michelle, her blog and her books, and the whole Poetry Friday community!
I’ve been curled up with my copy of TLD this chilly holiday weekend. So much to love and learn from. Cheers!
All these posts reviewing/featuring from the newest Today’s Little Ditty anthology make me SO eager to dig in and read my copy! Thanks for including my poem!
Glad to include it, Mary Lee, and happy reading!
I’ve read them once,
I’ve read them twice,
such entries from this book are nice,
I bow to you for sharing here
these samples from the poetic sphere.
If I were clever and had time
I’d answer you in perfect rhyme.
Every day I’m reading a few, and understand why you chose these ditties, Buffy, Each one brings an image that lets us see the poet’s eye. Lovely post for a treasure of a book.
It is a treasure–and I love your windy ode!
Wow, Buffy–that was delightful! I haven’t received my copy just yet, and I’m looking so forward to reading all the “chapters.” I do love your spinning, weaving metaphor–such economy of words. Happy to share the pages with you!
Something to look forward to, Heidi! You’ll enjoy a quaquaversal delight (okay, I didn’t use that quite right, but thanks for sending me to the dictionary!)
Thanks, Buffy. This was such a treat. Enjoyed all the poems — and yes, it would be difficult to select just a few from the anthology to feature. So many talented poets to inspire and delight us.
Lots of talent on display in this anthology!
I’m trying to figure out how to get this book. Here in Canada I can only get it as an ebook, but I like to hold the hardcopy in my hands. Thanks for sharing these delightful poems from it.
Cheriee, email me at TodaysLittleDitty@gmail.com and I can help you to get a copy in your hands.
What a lovely surprise, Buffy! Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing all of these comparison poems! The variety of metaphors was incredible for this particular challenge and so difficult to narrow down to just a few. I love seeing your real-life inspiration for “Web Weavers.” 🙂 I’m grateful that you were on the Ditty Committee this year and for your other two wonderful poems in this volume as well!
My pleasure, Michelle–and of course, thanks to you for running the whole shebang!
You’re welcome, Cheriee–I was going to suggest that you ask Michelle, but I see she beat me to it!
It was such fun to enjoy this group of poems here. Each one delights in its unique way, and it’s impossible to choose a favorite. I fully understand why you included them all! I received my copy of the book, but haven’t yet found the time to browse and enjoy. Today might just be perfect for that!
Hope you get some browsing time, Molly. I enjoyed your three poems!
Thank you for sharing these lovely poems!
Glad you enjoyed them, Ruth!
So much fun!
They are fun, aren’t they Ann?!
I’m inspired by the variety of forms and directions the poets took the challenge! Wow! No wonder you wanted to include the whole chapter.
I think that’s true throughout the anthology–one challenge leads in many directions. I enjoyed your poems, Tabatha!
A great selection from so many talented poets. Thank you!
Glad you stopped by to read, Janice!