Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thinking Like a Poet

Today, Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme talks about the benefits of thinking like a poet:
...Just that one lesson opened her eyes as to how a creative type such as a poet views the world: with imagination, curiosity, and an open-mindedness that allows us to believe anything can be more than it seems. Indeed, there is more to nearly everything than meets the eye – and if you are willing to take the time to observe long enough, you can begin to view life through a poet’s eyes.
Read the rest here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Collections, I and II

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.
~J.G. Ballard

Welcome! Glad you could make it. The Opposite of Indifference is hosting two collections today— one is a compilation of poems that take place in imaginary places and the other is the Poetry Friday round-up. Please leave your link in the comments!

Has anyone brought any historical poems? My son is taking part in the first annual U.S. History Bee on April 25th. It's the brainchild of David Madden, who was a 19-day champion on Jeopardy. Madden also founded the National History Bee and National History Bowl, which will be taking place this weekend (and my son is doing those as well!). Lots of poetry and history for us today.

A while back, I began writing poems about fictional lands using entries from The Dictionary of Imaginary Places as prompts. I collected those poems, plus ones by other poets in this collection:


* Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child by Darcy Cummings
* Alzuna by Alfred Noyes
* An Epilogue to the Above By Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish
* Atlantis by Tabatha Yeatts
* Atlas by Carol Ann Duffy
* Bibliotherapy by Linda Baie
* Eldorado By Edgar Allan Poe
* Fairy-Land By Edgar Allan Poe
* Geppetto in the Whale by Tabatha Yeatts
* Inside the Chocolate Factory by Irene Latham
* Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
* Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
* from Laon and Cythna; or The Revolution of the Golden City By Percy Bysshe Shelley
* Máel Dúin, Seafarer of the Atlantic by Diane Mayr
* Medusa by Louise Bogan
* Morte d'Arthur By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
* On the Island of the Fay by Tabatha Yeatts
* O.O.U. by Tabatha Yeatts
* Peter Rabbit by Laura Shovan
* Puff the Magic Dragon by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow
* The Agamemnon Rag By Jack Conway
* The Division of Poetic Licensing by Tabatha Yeatts
* The Gardener of Tanje Palace by Tabatha Yeatts
* The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
* The Sea of Frozen Words by Tabatha Yeatts
* The Sugar-Plum Tree by Eugene Field
* The Theater for Cloud Repair by Sandra J. Lindow
* The Valley of Unrest By Edgar Allan Poe
* The Well o’ the World’s End by Ethna Carbery (Anna MacManus)
* Waiting On Hogwarts by Tabatha Yeatts
* We Pay Our Fare in Apples Here by Megan Arkenberg

Some housekeeping notes:
I'll be running a Summer Poem Swap again -- let me know if you want in! Also, I am clearly technologically-challenged, based on what happened when I added a blog roll this week. I went through and got everyone's blog info, which then all got erased. It took me a while to figure out that I was only allowed to save one blog at a time, and by that point, I was pretty tired of doing it over again. If you aren't on the roll but would like to be, email me and I'll add you.


* At Today's Little Ditty, it's Michelle's turn to host the Progressive Poem.
* Joy shares an original rondelet and a poem for two voices.
* At TeachingAuthors, April is deconstructing her poem HOW TO READ A POEM ALOUD.
* On April's Poetry Month blog, she compares writing a book to taking a challenging walk.
* Laura Shovan is continuing her series on "Source Poems" with her friend Ann Bracken, a Maryland poet. This post is for grown-ups, as it deals with poetry's power to help heal depression.
* Matt is sharing two things: a short interview he posted earlier this week with crime poetry editor/poet Gerald So and a poem that arrived unexpectedly in the mail yesterday!
* At Random Noodling, Diane has a poem about Boston's swan boats.
* Kurious Kitty has a poem by Celia Thaxter.
* KK's Kwote is by Paul L. Thomas.
* Buffy offers two versions of a poem inspired by Laura Salas' 15-word-or-less prompt.
* At Hope is the Word, Amy reviews Tour America by Diane Siebert.
* Violet offers Magnolia haiku, a collection of three haiku.
* Donna is all about the letter V today with a villanelle called "the giVer riVer."
* At TeacherDance, Linda is sharing a children's book of poems and stories from a long while ago, and a spring poem in it from a Norwegian poet new to her.
* Robyn is in with a Happy 450th BDay to the Bard (it was Wed.), and his Sonnet 98.
* At NC Teacher Stuff, Jeff is talking about cinquains.
* Myra brings us Margarita Engle's "The Lightning Dreamer" which is based on the life story narrative of Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist.
* Julieanne reminds me of the Poetry Monster as she shares an adorable poem "of apology" for her first Poetry Friday post.
* Greg has poems by Julie Larios and George Ella Lyon. This week, he's also shared poetry by J. Patrick Lewis, Georgia Heard, Nikki Giovanni, Charles R. Smith, Jr., Janet Wong, Heidi Mordhorst, an original, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, Jane Yolen, Brod Bagert, Arnold Adoff, and David L. Harrison!
* Four of B.J. Lee's poems are being featured by artist Jaeda Renae.
* Mary Lee is visiting Victoria Falls for her Our Wonderful World National Poetry Month project.
* At The Poem Farm, Amy has Poem #25 in the Thrift Store series: "Duck and Doll" - a free verse poem about friendship.
* Renee is sharing her post on Sylvia Plath's "Daddy," which is part of Laura Shovan's source poem series.
* Tara offers The Evening is Tranquil, and Dawn is a Thousand Miles Away by Charles Wright.
* Irene reviews a new book of poems titled A POND FULL OF INK, which totally reminds her of Shel Silverstein. :)
* Heidi's National Poetry Month journey takes her close to home today, with poems by her kindergarteners!
* Anastasia brings us a STEM haiku.
* Liz is still working on her poem a day project for April. This week she's posted poems about the mailbox, the sidewalk, the earth, and one reason the outside world is a refuge for me.
* JoAnn has an original shape poem and tips for creating shape poems, and she is also giving away a copy of Write a Poem Step by Step.
* At POETRY TIME, Charles posts about a classroom visit he did and shares other nuggets of goodness.
* Ruth at There's No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town gives us a review of Irene Latham's book, plus a poem her daughter wrote about her a few years ago.
* Laura Purdie Salas shares a riddle-ku, which she's wriiting daily for Poetry Month.
* Becky is celebrating Jack Prelutsky.
* Margaret is in with a pantoum that took her in an unexpected direction.
* At Bildungsroman, we have PIGEON by Carl Sandburg.
* Birthday girl Karen Edmisten brings us Teaching Mavis to Ride a Bike by Faith Shearin.
* Janet Squires has Joyce Sidman's Meow Ruff at All About the Books.
* Tricia has what I didn't know I was missing: Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance To by Carl Sandburg.
* TeacherPoet Jen Ward brings us an original poem called Fallen.
* At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine shares an original poem about the Megalodon which she wrote as a definition of the prehistoric shark.
* MsMac has some haiku poems from second grade.
* From Deo Writer, NaPoWriMo Day 26: Making Up for Lost Time.

Mobile Libraries

I have always thought that librarians are a little bit like doctors, travel agents and professors all rolled into one. We all know that a great story can lift spirits, take you anywhere in the world you want to go and in any time period to boot, and the lessons you learn from a good book can buoy your own convictions and even change your life.
~Dorothea Benton Frank

I'm a week late, but this post is in honor of National Bookmobile Day (April 16).

photo by Musgo Dumio_Momio

Portable Hospital Library
photo by Musgo Dumio_Momio

Riverboat Library in Bangladesh
photo by the Gates Foundation

Bookmobile Cake
photo by paige eliz

Greensboro Public Library Bookmobile
photo by Brian https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncreedplayer/3308780247

Liquid Books
photo by Linda

photo by Diana Arias

Taipei IT Month Fubon mobile library
photo by Solomon203

Pinterest Have Book, Will Travel board

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Gardener of Neither-this-nor-thats

Another entry for The Directory of Imaginary Poems, poetry inspired by The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

The entry that inspired this poem reads:
"TANJE, a place in ATVATABAR some fifty miles by pneumatic tube from CALNOGOR. Notable are the gardens, where the evolutionary link from plants to animals, the phytes, are preserved. There are more than two hundred species of phytes in the gardens of Tanje Palace, including the lilasure (a bird-like fern), the green gazzle of Glockett (a flying weed) and the yarphappy (an ape-like flower).

(William R. Bradshaw, The Goddess of Atvatabar, being the History of the Discovery of the Interior World and Conquest of Atvatabar, New York, 1892).

by Tabatha Yeatts

He began as a scientist,
this gardener of neither-this-nor-thats,

an explorer, peeling back the world
to prod at the layers underneath.

On one such expedition—
a trip sponsored by Tanje's Grand Vizier—

a search for drinking water
led the scientist to a fern

that made him question his sanity.
“Dehydration can cause hallucinations,”

he murmured
as he fingered the wing-shaped leaves.

At the sound of the bird-song
sweetly ringing from the fern's green beak,

he sat heavily on the grass.

There were more in-betweens
weeds that dove down on their prey from above,

blooms with gorilla-jowls and drooping petal-arms,
vines that braided their own leaves,

bushes that licked their thin, green lips.
Collecting the beast-plants

was delicate work. More than anything,
he meant them to live, to thrive,

to want for nothing,
though they were as alien to the scientist

as the Vizier, whose name he
unofficially assigned to the ape-faced flower.

The scientist's doting attentions
brought them home alive

and he set about building a garden.
He had taken care to record

the plants' locations related to each other,
aware that he was not the god of this world,

and that they had an order
he did not understand.

When the Grand Vizier ordered him
to move the bat-buds next to the fanged ivy,

told him to heighten the garden's appeal
by carving out a "dangerous" area in the back

and assembling a "beautiful" section
near the wooing bench,

the gardener planned their escape,
and the Vizier woke

to find a desolate yard,
with only one sagging plant

next to the wooing bench
with odd, simian flowers

that reminded him of something.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Of Rabbits and Hobbits

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.
~Beatrix Potter

More poetry that takes place in fictional locations today as part of my Directory of Imaginary Poems, inspired by The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Thank you, Laura and Linda, for giving me permission to share your poems!

A gift from P by Hideya Hamano

Peter Rabbit
by Laura Shovan

God, I loved him. Bad boy in a blue jacket.
Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail were such bores
picking berries like good little bunnies.
I wanted to squeeze under fences with Peter,
eat my fill of Mr. McGregor’s onions
and blow the stink of them into the old farmer’s face.
I wanted to run like Death himself was shaking his hoe
yelling, “Stop, Thief!”
           Had my sister lived,
we would have worn matching pink sweaters,
had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.
But I recognized a scythe when I saw one,
and as many times as I made my mother read it,
there’s only ever been one Thief in this story.


"Peter Rabbit" was first published at the online journal Switched-on Gutenberg.


Hobbiton by John Mundy

I am in fact a Hobbit in all but size.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

by Linda Baie

Bilbo’s love of home
poignant exasperation
Gandalf at the door

sleepy newest hero
Gandalf offers Thorin’s crew
as Bilbo butters bread

"Abandon books and maps!"
advice given, warily taken
the world is out there

heroes should be followed
I steal into the circle
hooded me, a mouse

heave the rucksack alone
what happens out the door
will change me

Smaug rules my kingdom too
Time to learn how to fight dragons
Bilbo shows me a way

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved


Today's Poetry Friday round-up host is Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge. I'm off visiting my parents, but I will make the rounds when I can!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


You CAN make an omelet without breaking eggs. It’s just a really bad omelet.
~Stephen Colbert

Easter eggs today. Want to try decorating your own? Martha Stewart has 40 ideas, ranging from lace to stamp-covered to silk-dyed.

Easter eggs, Austria

Easter eggs, Czech Republic

Easter eggs, Belarus

Easter eggs, Ukraine

Straw-decorated Easter egg, Czech Republic

Easter eggs, Germany

Easter in Wonderland, USA
photo by Ludovic Bertron

More ways to decorate Easter eggs

Monday, April 14, 2014


If you were music
I would listen to you ceaselessly
And my low spirits would brighten up.
~Anna Akhmatova

London's Rudimental seems to specialize in striking videos. Some of them, such as Free, have scenes that are just mesmerizing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Atlantic Seafarers and Apple Stations

For most of human history, 'literature,' both fiction and poetry, has been narrated, not written — heard, not read. So fairy tales, folk tales, stories from the oral tradition, are all of them the most vital connection we have with the imaginations of the ordinary men and women whose labor created our world.
~Angela Carter

Today we are adding poems by Diane Mayr and Megan Arkenberg to the Directory. My thanks to Diane and Megan for giving me permission! If you'd like to read more about the Irish legend of Máel Dúin, go here, here, or here.

Máel Dúin, Seafarer of the Atlantic
by Diane Mayr

Part I

All you need know is this:
Máel sets forth to avenge
the death of his father, a
rapacious, godless, man.

It would seem a simple task
for a fit young knight. Along
with 17 companions Máel
discovers the island that

harbors the murderers,
and yet, unconquerable
winds prevent their exacting
revenge. Not to worry!

Part II

Máel Dúin puts his trust
in a god that will lead
them where they need
to go. Sail on! Sail on!

Island to island to island
to island. Isles of magic fruit...
spectral horses...intoxicants.
Isles with fences of gold

and crystal, or sheep that
switch from black to white.
Isles of enchanted cats.
Isles of raining fish.

Isles of uncontrollable
hilarity, lamentations, lust,
maidens, demons, and
creatures red with flames.

Part III

Seafaring men. Trusting in
a god to lead them to their goal.
Decade upon decade they sail.
Too many years to tally.

Thoughts of revenge forgotten.
They travel home again with
tales dictated by God, senility,
or simply, a fertile imagination.


Swan Feather by Amy Palko

We Pay Our Fare in Apples Here
by Megan Arkenberg

Everything in this station has a story, he said.
The walls are curved in such a way that the echo
of a penny dropped in the exact center of the tunnel
sounds like an apology from your late father.
If you crawl beneath the turnstiles in the wrong direction
the next train you board will take you
to every place you’ve ever forgotten,
and the ride will last for seven years.
One time, a woman fell off this platform
and touched the edge of a rail.
She turned into a swan.
Commuters find feathers in their briefcases,
sometimes. They always smell like summer.


Today's Little Ditty has Today's Little Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Stop on the Journey

The Opposite of Indifference is today's stop for the 2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem, spearheaded by Irene Latham.

Yesterday, Diane said, "What's needed before I go?" which sent me off to imagining a list that our narrator might make for this mysterious expedition. I wondered about starting a section with shorter lines, offsetting the first stanza, and perhaps providing a contrast to longer ones later. But my goal, when I stopped imagining and got down to business, was actually to complete a couplet so a shorter, list-y line was not what I wanted to do here. Without further ado, I give you the tenth line:

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let's get practical! What's needed before I go?
Time to be tactical—I'll ask my friends what I should stow.


What's next? Only Linda knows the answer to that question...

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Booting Up

A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.
~James Callaghan

The boots I've been wearing look a bit like a footwear version of the Sorting Hat. Not very fancy, but I like them. All kinds of boots today:

King Gustav III of Sweden's Coronation Boot, 1771
made by Jacob Wagner, Christopher Sergell, and Mattias Brun

Boots in the Grass
by Andrew Taylor

Boots, Bass Guitar, Painting
by Dave Parker

by Max Jackson

Equestrian portrait of Carl Gustaf Wrangel (1613-1676)
by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl (1628–1698)

Legacy (the mud beneath our feet)
by Dave Hind, dedicated to A.P. Coleman (1852-1939), "geologist, educator, scientist, prospector, explorer, artist, lecturer"
photo by Mathew Ingram

Stalin's boots, the only thing that remains of a massive sculpture

At the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
photo by Bob Ramsak/piran cafe

Fallen American Soldiers' Boots, Grant Park Exhibit, Chicago, Eyes Wide Open
photo by Steve Weiss

Dalmation Boots
photo by John Morgan

Puss in Boots
by Walter Crane

Monday, April 7, 2014


Masquerade by Soviet-Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) today. The scenes in the video are from War and Peace.

Khachaturian's Sabre Dance has been used in *many* TV shows and movies.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Introducing Poetry Monster

Poetry Monster is pleased to make your acquaintance!

Today our dapper, devil-may-care monster has headed into poems by William Carlos Williams and e.e. cummings. In the first case, he's obviously repentant. In the second, why does the Poetry Monster fear no fate? Because "you are my fate,my sweet"!

by Tabatha and Elena Y.

by Tabatha and Elena Y.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chocolate Making and Cloud Repair

I've heard tell that what you imagine sometimes comes true.
~Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

It's National Poetry Month! Time for celebrating all things poetry. I'm adding to my collection of poems about fictional places.

Today, we have poems by Irene Latham and Sandra Lindow. Thank you very much, Irene and Sandy, for allowing me to share these!

Margaret River Chocolate Factory by Steel Wool

Inside the Chocolate Factory
by Irene Latham

While the Oompa-Loompas toil,
we chart every chocolate river
and sample each chocolate tree.

The squirrels sort their nuts,
and no one swells into a blueberry.
The mystery is no longer mysterious,

and we crave the days before
we stepped onto the glass elevator--
when everything was wonder,

and hunger gnawed our hearts
with its tiny milk teeth.
It took nothing more than the rattle

of a chocolate wrapper to bring us
to the street, before we learned
to count what we didn't have,

when all was feast, and our lips
smacked of a sweetness long since
swallowed by these hollow, golden pipes.


Silver Lining by Grant Montgomery

The Theater for Cloud Repair
by Sandra J. Lindow

is in a warehouse
down by the Red Cedar River,
a hangar with adiabatic racks
for stratifying stratus,
separating cirrus, stretching them out,
icing them down,
back stage steam machines
for accumulating cumulus,
mending the worn ones,
stuffing and fluffing,
puffing them up, bleaching them out.
There's lightning practice center stage
and sound-proofed practice rooms
where cumulonimbus
learn vigorous, squall lines
essential for bombastic rhetoric
and vocal techniques
for effective, long-lasting, rumbilious thunder.
Personal weather
is de rigueur for poets this year.
I dragged my cloud down to the shop this morning,
paid the extra hundred for priority service,
but it won't be done 'til Monday—
something about resilvering the lining.
That's why I'm wearing last year's
sunbeams, hemlines a bit uneven;
do you think anyone will notice?


I have a post about Poetry Friday up today at Savvy Verse and Wit. (I am sorry not to have been able to put something about *all* of the people I adore, respect, and learn from in the post!)

The Poem Farm is our Poetry Friday round-up host today.

The Theater for Cloud Repair was previously featured in Strange Horizons.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Andrea D'Aquino

Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible.
~Paul Klee

Art by Andrea D'Aquino today. Thank you for giving me permission to share your work, Andrea!

by Andrea D'Aquino

by Andrea D'Aquino

A Frog Is A Frog
by Andrea D'Aquino

The Secret Life of Books
by Andrea D'Aquino

by Andrea D'Aquino

The Moroccans
by Andrea D'Aquino

The Best Way To Have A Good Idea
by Andrea D'Aquino

Two Fish
by Andrea D'Aquino

by Andrea D'Aquino

One more quote:

In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn't creak.
~Tom Robbins