Monday, April 29, 2019

Smile's in the makin'

Those who are awake; write.
~Alan Maiccon

I got off Twitter a month or so ago because it felt like a toxic way to spend my time. I don't regret it!! So my finger is not on the pulse of politics anymore. That said, I'm still aware of it.

Heard this on the radio today and thought "There's our Music Monday song!"

The Isley Brothers:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Summer Swap and NSN

I trade musical favours like cattle. I can't remember the last time I did a remix for actual money. For me, I try and get a good swap.
~Calvin Harris

Logo by Elena (third year she's done the logo!)

We are swapping poems again this summer! Would you like to receive poems on real pieces of paper in your mailbox? You know you would. If you sign up, you'll send an original poem to up to five people depending on how many swaps you select. You can pick whichever swaps you want, and if you want to do one but you will be gone during that time period, you can send it beforehand. I will send out the info about who you are sending your poems to early enough that you can get a headstart if that works for you. Here are the swap dates:

Swap #1: Ends on June 21st (Send out a poem by then)
Swap #2: Ends on July 5th
Swap #3: Ends on July 19th
Swap #4: Ends on August 2nd
Swap #5: Ends on August 16th

If something happens and you can't do a swap you signed up for, please give me a heads-up so we can make sure the person you were assigned still gets a poem.

Email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com by May 10th if you'd like to join us.


The second thing is that I was wondering if anyone would be interested in participating in a Naomi Shihab Nye-themed round-up on May 31st. (Remember when we did the Billy Collins-themed round-up?) If you like the NSN idea, just share a poem inspired by her or a poem of hers on that day. Mary Lee will be our gracious host.

I guess what made me think about a Nye-themed round-up is some general thoughts I was having about poems about poets. I'd like to make a list of our poet poems -- have you written any? I don't know whether I've written any beyond the Billy Collins ones. I will have to root around and see what I can find. If you have, feel free to send me the links and I will compile them.


Beyond Literacy Link has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Waxworks at the Museo di storia naturale

We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.

Isn't it amazing that these are made of wax? For Art Thursday, models in the Botany section of the Museo di storia naturale in Florence, Italy. Photos by Sailko.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Line 24 of the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem is here!

That's what I love about songwriting - that you can write something about your own experiences and think it's completely specific to you, and then people can take away a completely different meaning for themselves. I really love that. I think you've been successful at writing a song when it has a larger life than yourself.
~Idina Menzel

I know adding a line to Irene's Progressive Poem has been daunting for folks who don't know many lyrics. My head is stuffed full of lyrics, and I hoped that would help me out. As I go about my days, usually lyrics just pop into my head. Kind of a soundtrack that goes with whatever is going on. Like if "I Can't Go For That" by Hall and Oates starts playing in my head, I apparently don't want to do something. Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head that doesn't have anything to do with anything and it just hangs around. Or the last song I heard in the car will stay on repeat.

So, I've got lots of songs to draw from, but I was seriously cowed by trying to come up with the next line for the Progressive Poem. I thought about children's songs, Beatles songs that appeal to kids, I had the urge for specificity, for an action, but that's not where we're at. If I suddenly had Freddy going for spaghetti or put us in an octopus' garden, that would be jarring.

I told Ariana what line 23 was and she asked "Would flananas work?" which made me laugh (I had mentioned that I wished I could use a line from SteveSongs' tune about a guy named Joe, maker of a delicious banana pie whose secret ingredient is...flananas. I fear there's no room for banana pies, even ones made with flananas, in this poem.)

I told Elena what line 23 was and she suggested What do we think we might see? for line 24 (and Someday we'll find it for line 25, etc.). Hmmm, okay!

Just kidding, I probably didn't use that. Elena and I agreed that I would use whatever the next line was on the song on the radio. It was Ooooooooo, which goes with anything, don't you think?

Okay, if that wasn't going to work, maybe I should circle back to my original idea (that I told Matt after he gave us the first line): I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand. I mean, werewolves go with stargazing, right? Who is more enthusiastic about night skies than them?

With that settled, I finally relaxed. I kid! No relaxing. I decided to cling to the stargazing line and do something related to that. Jamie Woon has a nice line: Feel that night air flowing through me, which kind of rhymes with "curiosity," but ultimately I decided to go with the Foo Fighters: Looking for a sign of life from "Learn to Fly."

2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today.

Gonna get me a piece o’ the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there’s a tiger in my veins Oh,
won’t you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?

It’s not easy to know
less than one minute old
we’re closer now than light years to go
To the land where the honey runs

…we can be anyone we want to be…
There’s no stopping curiosity.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
Looking for a sign of life


Found Lines:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carol King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea ” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M, “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by The Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson), “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, "Learn to Fly"


Jan has it next! Good luck, buddy! (Feel free to use my leftover lines if you want. Oooooo goes with anything!)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Where is Peace?

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions.
~Henri Nouwen

Today's printable was inspired by my month of peace poems in February. When you are writing one a day, you wind up thinking about peace from many angles.

Where is peace? What does peace feel like? Is it where we feel safe, is it helping others? Can we find it in nature? Can we make it ourselves? With this printable, I imagine that a class could take a few minutes to make the mini-book and then write their own peace poem. I'm hoping that the printable will free them to find peace in many places.

Where is peace? poetry printable

First, cut off the white spaces around the edges. Then, follow along with this video:

(You can also visit this video by Sylvia Vardell)

Previous printables:
* Grammar Fibs printable
* The Poetry Times template
* Student Poet interview form
* Favorite Poem interview form
* Potential Favorites List worksheet
* Poetry in the Halls


Where is peace? is my last printable for April. Next week, I'll be sharing information about a couple of things (including the Summer Poetry Swap!).

The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!


Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands.
~Nigerian Proverb

This Art Thursday, we're all a-quiver with arrow-holders.

Ottoman round shield, bow, and quiver (16th century)
photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Bågkoger från Turkiet 1620-tal

Bamboo quiver for blowpipe darts
Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures

Reconstruction of Sarmatian chieftain, detail. Araltobe mount, Kazakhstan, III-II cc. BC
photo by Аимаина хикари

Quiver of the Hausa people, West Africa

Quivers and hunting horns
by Wenceslas Hollar

A quiver made of a fox

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Low Histamine Tea

“Well, what did you have for lunch?” I snapped. “Surely that’s not top secret superhero information.”

“Steak with mashed potatoes and a side salad,” Striker replied. “And a piece of chocolate cheesecake for dessert.”

I gave up on conversation after that. I was too jealous of the cheesecake to continue.
~Jennifer Estep

photo by Deborah

People with mast cell disease eat low histamine diets, which can also be helpful for people with chronic allergies or hives. It can be pretty easy to feel deprived when there are a bunch of foods you have to avoid, including strawberries and chocolate. I have been doing my best to make eating on a low histamine diet more of a joy than a chore.

There's no one set of low histamine foods (for instance, my daughter has to avoid all vinegars, but I have read some low histamine recipes that include apple cider vinegar). The following set of tea items would work for my daughter, but tweak them whatever way works best for you.

The first consideration is what teas to offer. Consider mint, tulsi, rose, and chamomile.

For your scone course, some possibilities are maple oat scones with caramel and vanilla scones with blueberry jam.

For the sandwich/savory course:
* Squares of toast topped with arugula, scrambled egg and chive, and chicken
* Celery filled with white beans cooked with olive oil and rosemary
* Crackers topped with chunks of oregano- and garlic-roasted lamb (I tried to find a recipe, but most of them call for lemon, black pepper, olives, tomatoes...all no-no's. This one is okay except for black pepper.)
* Broccoli quiche (same problem with this, in that they all use cheese. I use this recipe, minus the cheese, milk, and black pepper. I add extra eggs.)

For the dessert course:
* Chamomile shortbread
* Ginger turmeric cookies (minus the cinnamon, and subbing coconut milk for almond milk)
* Zucchini blueberry bread (minus the cinnamon, and using half the sugar)
* Blackberry tarts (Basically, blackberries, sugar, pie crust, not sure a recipe is really needed)
* Red and green grapes on small skewers

photo by Bianca Moraes

Monday, April 15, 2019

Modern Love

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby: awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.
~Lemony Snicket

For Music Monday, Picture This:

Friday, April 12, 2019

Grammar Fibs printable

The Fibonacci Sequence turns out to be the key to understanding how nature designs... and is... a part of the same ubiquitous music of the spheres that builds harmony into atoms, molecules, crystals, shells, suns and galaxies and makes the Universe sing.
~Guy Murchie

photo by Jitze Couperus

Happy Poetry Friday! For this week's free printable, I have Grammar Fibs! Do you remember Greg Pincus's fibs?

In 2006, Greg popularized Fibonacci poems a.k.a. "Fibs": six-line poems which use the Fibonacci sequence to dictate the number of syllables in each line (1-1-2-3-5-8).

The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical pattern in which the first two numbers are zero and one. To figure out the next number in the sequence, you always add the two previous numbers. So it goes like this:

0+1= 1
1+1= 2
1+2= 3
2+3= 5
3+5= 8
5+8= 13
13+8= 21
and it just keeps going.

You don't have to stop at 6 lines -- you can have a 7th line with 13 syllables, an 8th line with 21 syllables, etc., or you can make your Fib longer by going back down (i.e. 1-1-2-3-5-8-5-3-2-1-1).

Here's this week's printable, which includes grammar-themed fibs and space to write your own:

Grammar Fibs printable

Previous printables:
* The Poetry Times template
* Student Poet interview form
* Favorite Poem interview form
* Potential Favorites List worksheet
* Poetry in the Halls


Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!

Thursday, April 11, 2019


[Muses'] gifts of song, dance, and joy helped the gods and mankind to forget their troubles and inspired musicians and writers to reach ever greater artistic and intellectual heights.
~Ancient History Encyclopedia

For Art Thursday, we have the heavenly muse Urania, goddess of astronomy. It's interesting, since the muses are the goddesses of the arts, that astronomy was considered one of the arts (and history was as well). Urania is generally shown looking up, sometimes shown with a halo of stars. I knew Apollo (the "Muse-leader") was the Sun God but I hadn't realized that he was also the god of Eloquence. You can see in the below painting what an effect he is having, not only on Urania but on the swans.

Apollo, God of Light, Eloquence, Poetry and the Fine Arts with Urania, Muse of Astronomy
by Charles Meynier

Urania, 1592
by Hendrik Goltzius

Urania from Apollo and the Muses on the Parnassus, circa 1750
by Johann Joachim Kaendler

Urania and Polyhymnia
photo by ManfredK (cropped)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Anna Kamieńska

I wasn't sure what to do for Wellness Wednesday this week because I'm recovering from a virus and I'm a bit tired. Then I discovered that I had already drafted this post. Thanks, past-Tabatha!

Writer, poet, translator, and literary critic Anna Kamieńska was born in 1920 in Krasnystaw, Poland. During the Nazi occupation during World War II, she taught in underground village schools. I tried to figure out what years she wrote the notebooks "A Nest of Quiet" and "In That Great River," but I didn't see them listed anywhere. She died in 1986 and her husband died at the end of 1967, so between those two dates.

Darning by Mandy Prowse

Anna Kamieńska
A Nest of Quiet : A Notebook

I’ve learned to value failed conversations, missed connections, confusions. What remains is what’s unsaid, what’s underneath. Understanding on another level of being.

I walk around disguised as an overweight old lady.

When I was little, I was always shocked when people said I was an orphan. Now I’m surprised when they call me a widow. He didn’t die, he grew so high alongside me that I can’t reach him.

I remembered the searchlights that the bombers used to illuminate the earth and people’s hearts—as targets. It wasn’t light. It was bright darkness. Bright darkness—in me. Bright darkness of death. Bright darkness of loneliness.

Misfortune, personal disaster stops our inner time short. Objective time moves on—but we spin in place like straws in water.

Splendid occupations: making jam, sewing, darning. Darning holes in nothingness, scrubbing up the abyss, stitching painful opposites together.
Women do this humming.

In That Great River: A Notebook

Akhmatova. A thick volume of her collected poems, as if they were written by one person. But after all there were so many—from youth to old age.

Music teaches us the passing of time. It teaches the value of a moment by giving that moment value. And it passes. It’s not afraid to go.

The sense of loneliness is an error. We are and move in a great crowd of those who are now, were, and will be.
In that great river.

Collecting pebbles for a new mosaic of a world that I could love.

So a little spring prays to the ocean, so the beating heart prays to the heart of the universe, so the little word prays to the great Logos, so a dust speck prays to the earth, so the earth prays to the cosmos, so the one prays to the billion, so human love prays to God’s love, so always prays to never, so the moment prays to eternity, so the snowflake prays to winter, so the frightened beast prays to the forest silence, so uncertainty prays to beauty itself.
And all these prayers are heard.


American Scholar encouraged people to write poems using Anna's lines as springboards -- I love Patricia Wallace's in particular.

Monday, April 8, 2019

It takes five to tango

The tango is the result of a combination of the German Waltz, Czech Polka, Polish Mazurka, and Bohemian Schottische with the Spanish-Cuban Habanera, African Candombe, and Argentinian Milonga.

Radek Baborak knows how to blow a horn. (And the others aren't so bad either, but you know I like horns.)


Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Poetry Times

If you have the words, there's always a chance that you'll find the way.
~Seamus Heaney

Today's National Poetry Month printables are for making poetry newsletters. When I was looking up what teachers' favorite printables are, "blank newsletter template" came up. I wondered how to make that poetry-related and came up with The Poetry Times.

My idea was that students could interview one another, either about their experience of being poets or about their favorite poems. There could also be guest interviewees, such as librarians, principals, P.E. teachers, etc. answering questions about their favorite poems.

If students have already been writing poetry in class, you're set. If they've already been reading poetry in class, same thing. If they haven't, you can take your class on a reading excursion to the school library or you can bring poetry books into your classroom. The students could explore the books, looking for potential favorite poems. I'm including a printable "favorites list" worksheet so they can take notes about their potential favorites as they are searching. (If you have poetry up in your halls, you could take the class on a "field trip" to read those!) After the students have lists, they can interview each other and write up their responses in their own newsletter.

Without further ado, here are this week's free printables:

* The Poetry Times template (The top section of the newsletter can include a poem, an illustration, and/or a drawing of a book cover. The other two sections are for interviews, but do what you like!)
* Student Poet interview form (Generally for students interviewing their fellow students about their experiences as poets, but they can also use the forms to interview the teacher.)
* Favorite Poem interview form (with figurative language info on the back)
* Potential Favorites List worksheet

Speaking of illustrations, if you would ever like to use Poetry Monster images for your projects, the gallery is here.

Here's the 1st printable for National Poetry Month: Poetry in the Halls

Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!

Portraits from the 1600s

I've never believed people are what they look like and think it's impossible to really know what people are.
~Duane Michals

For Art Thursday, a bunch of characters by 17th century Dutch painters (Gerard Terborch and Ferdinand Bol). I love how these folks all seem like they are caught mid-story, and their clothes are marvelous. Those fabrics! Some are intricate, some look sooo soft. (Who is the message from and is she happy to receive it? Is Rembrandt giving his wife a necklace? Why does he look so glum? Why is Ferdinand leaning on a sleeping Cupid? To me, the man with the fur-trimmed hat looks like he is trying to sell you something and he's pained that you think it's overpriced.) These are ripe for ekphrastic poetry, aren't they?

The Message, c.1660
by Gerard Terborch

An Astronomer, 1652
by Ferdinand Bol

Man with a Fur-Trimmed Hat
by Ferdinand Bol

Rembrandt and his Wife Saskia
by Ferdinand Bol

by Ferdinand Bol

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Path

Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world.
~Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes you can watch a thought passing from one person to the next. In this case, Cort Johnson was influenced by an article about dealing with adversity by Zen teacher Norman Fischer (called ‘Life is Tough: Six Ways to Deal With It”) and her response moved me, so I am passing this along to you.

For Wellness Wednesday, thinking about turning things we can't avoid into our path.

photo by Reading Tom

Cort Johnson:
Fischer points out that our attempts to avoid difficulties don’t work because a) they happen – all the time, and sometimes really big difficulties happen, and trying to push them away actually makes them worse. ..Our frustration and anger derive not from the difficulty itself but from the ‘expectation’ we had that life would turn differently. When it didn’t we were left in an upset about what should have been...

Fischer notes that we very naturally gravitate towards positive experiences and shirk from negative ones. Even if a negative experience (such as chronic fatigue syndrome) hangs on around long enough so that we have to confront it, the best most of us do is hang on and cope. The idea of transforming something negative so that it actually ends up being enriching is kind of mind-boggling. For one thing, we really have no idea how to do that plus we probably have the sneaking suspicion that trying to transform it might just enable it to hang around longer. Far better, we think to just get rid of it and move on…But what if it’s not ready to move on?

That means we have to deal with it and an effective way to do that, Fischer says, is to hold the intention to turn “All Mishaps Into the Path." When a mishap occurs Fischer suggests we take a break from our normal reaction to to – to push it away and get upset about it – to embrace it as being part of our path. In essence he’s going from declaring something is not part of his path to declaring that it is actually part of his path. Since it has just become part of his path that sounds like a pretty smart thing to do.

...When I started reminding myself to turn ‘All mishaps into the path’ I found something negative would happen -say somebody said something I didn’t like – and that turning it into my path made that thing my own instead of it being an unwanted intrusion. Once I was able to incorporate it into my path it lost much of its juice; it became something simply to deal with and sometimes, once I got over my personal reaction to it, it opened my eyes to something I hadn’t seen before.

"Turn All Mishaps into the Path" is an interesting thing to contemplate, don't you think?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Change on the Rise

Music is about bringing light to others.
~Avi Kaplan

Avi Kaplan for Music Monday: