Saturday, April 22, 2023

Poetry Connections

Laura Shovan was featured this month in the magazine Baltimore's Child. She said:
When I visit schools in my work as a Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Education, I see the value of using poems to get students talking about their emotions. Here are some of my favorite children’s poetry books for starting those social-emotional conversations.
Laura Shovan is the award-winning author of “The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, Takedown,” and “A Place at the Table,” written with Saadia Faruqi. She will be celebrating her new book, “Welcome to Monsterville,” illustrated by Michael Rothenberg, April 29 at Catonsville’s Growing Minds Bookstore.

Monday, April 17, 2023

IMPERFECT II review from Publishers Weekly's BookLife

New review from Publishers Weekly's BookLife:
IMPERFECT II: poems about perspective: an anthology for middle schoolers
Tabatha Yeatts

The second installment of the Imperfect poetry anthologies edited by author and poet Tabatha Yeatts is a thought-provoking, accessible collection for middle-schoolers that features poems from around 50 different authors, including Paul Laurence Dunbar, Fran├žois Villon, and Carl Sandburg. What unites these disparate selections is the concept of perspective, which Yeatts represents with an image of Da Vinci’s perspectograph. Da Vinci created this singular tool to help artists more accurately represent reality in paintings. The anthology itself acts as a perspectograph for its young readers, offering a window into reality and its complexities through poetry, offering inviting verse connected to relatable quandaries: “When what you want/ leaves you high and dry/ what you DO have/ will just have to satisfy,” writes Mary Lee Hahn in the striking, direct “What You Want.”

Imperfect II, though, offers readers satisfaction and surprise that they may not yet know they want. Most of the featured poems are simple and lyrical, focusing primarily on the perception of self and the self’s perception of the outside world, with a particular emphasis on identity, as in Linda Kulp Trout’s “Questions,” where the speaker struggles with adults asking them what they want to be when they grow up: “How can I know/ what/ I want to be–/ I’m still trying/ to figure out/ ME!” Rochelle Burgess and Laura Mucha’s “Dropping the Ball,” which delves into issues related to racism and empathy among two students on a basketball team.

No two readers are alike, and Yeatts has the diversity of her readership in mind, offering selections with traditional structures, like Robert Schechter’s “Compared to What?”, but also some uncommon forms, like Alana Devito’s concrete poem “The Art Teacher Said,” which features her words in the shape of a lizard. Middle-schoolers looking for an introduction to the possibilities of poetry and adults seeking an inclusive, empowering collection for young ones will find this an inspired addition to their libraries.

Takeaway: Poems for young readers delving into perception, identity, and confidence.

Comparable Titles: Naomi Shihab Nye’s Honeybee, John Grandits’s Technically, It’s Not My Fault: Concrete Poems.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Inner World Map

Something to try!

From 100 Art Therapy Ideas, Inner World Map Art:

In the likeness of a geographic map, create a map of your inner world. To do this, think about what feelings, states prevail in you ("ocean of love", or "mountain of courage"). Leave the "undiscovered islands" to discover new qualities. This exercise forms an idea of yourself and helps to understand and express your feelings.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

I Opened a Book

Reading a book can change our perspective, as Scottish poet Julia Donaldson notes.

by Julia Donaldson

I opened a book and in I strode
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean...

read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


There is no end of original ways to look at things. We have an unexpected perspective from poet Laura Barkat today. Thank you for giving permission to share your poem here!

by L.L. Barkat

I am

so difficult—

the way a jar of honey
is difficult.

All that sweetness

       gets stuck under the rim,

makes your hands      shake

they have to work

Originally published in Every Day Poems.