Harlem: A Poem by Walter Dean Myers

In honor of National Poetry Month and Perfect Picture Book Friday, I'm shining the spotlight on a brilliant Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from 1997: "They took to the road in Waycross, Georgia Skipped over the tracks in East St. Louis Took the bus from Holly Springs Hitched a ride from Gee's Bend … Continue reading Harlem: A Poem by Walter Dean Myers

Return from the Abyss

Summer slips away, leaving room for Fall. The first order of the day is to talk for a moment about a friend's book of poems, Selene by Michael Odom.  I see this book as a reflection of an obsession. A woman. A sorceress. A corpse. An eternal ambivalence, love and hate. The cover uncovers, revealing the … Continue reading Return from the Abyss

Spring Night (After Wang Wei via Robert Okaji)

Well, it seems I've been inspired by one of my favorite poets, Robert Okaji. Spring Night (after Wang Wei via Robert Okaji)   Dogwood petals sigh in spirals, blessing my recline. Spring darkness rests on hollow muted hills while moonlight strikes the owls awake, their hoots slipstreaming through ravines.   Unlike Robert, I named the … Continue reading Spring Night (After Wang Wei via Robert Okaji)

Surprise! Mother’s Day Gift!

I am NOT having an affair with my postman. He loves to ring and run, never waiting to see if I'm home. When I find the package on the doorstep, there's not even a telltale trail of exhaust from his vehicle on the street. I'm not sure if he's afraid of me or is an extreme … Continue reading Surprise! Mother’s Day Gift!

Setting Fire to the Origami Crane – For Sarah Briggs Hoffmann

A little over a year ago, we gathered family and friends on an island in Muscongus Bay in Maine to celebrate Peter Hoffmann's (my father-in-law) life and bury his ashes in the island cemetery. It was a glorious day—sunny and warm—for a picnic, wine, and shared memories. Sarah, my mother-in-law, asked the kids to craft … Continue reading Setting Fire to the Origami Crane – For Sarah Briggs Hoffmann

Rhythm and Margaret Wise Brown

Marcy Erb, a poet/illustrator turned me on to a poem this morning: In Memoriam John Coltrane by Michael Stillman "Listen to the coal rolling, rolling through the cold, steady rain, wheel on wheel, listen to the  turning of the wheels this night black as coal dust, steel on steel, listen to these cars carry coal, … Continue reading Rhythm and Margaret Wise Brown

Hitting the “Send” Key — Squaw Valley Community of Writers

Tick! Tick! Tick! Just sent my short story submission to the good people who direct the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. If you've got a story or a chapter (5,000 words or fewer) from a novel lying about the house, you've got until MIDNIGHT TODAY to apply for this summer's workshop. Hope to see you … Continue reading Hitting the “Send” Key — Squaw Valley Community of Writers

Everett Anderson – Perfect Picture Book Friday

It's time for Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday! Thanks to The Brown Bookshelf's feature on Lucille Clifton last month, I discovered her picture books. But it wasn't easy to find them on a library shelf in San Francisco. They were sidelined in the "historical children's" section of the Main San Francisco Public Library. Three … Continue reading Everett Anderson – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Poems for the Weak of Heart

Boredom Vice and Poverty arrived in my mailbox yesterday. And I mean that literally. It's the title (taken from Voltaire's Candide) of Michael Odom's most recent chapbook. Here's a stunning image from his poem titled "Boredom Poem #9:" "...in the chasm between life and life, philosophies breed and cannot help but swarm like bees with the queen on … Continue reading Poems for the Weak of Heart

Moby Dick, Robert Frost, and Einstein on the Appalachian Trail

I'd like to introduce you to the Kallin family, my husband's cousins who live in rural Maine. The father (trail name: All In) is an environmental lawyer and their mother (trail name: Mama Bear) is a biologist and farmer extraordinaire. They pulled their two kids, ages 7 (trail name: Cartwheel) and 9 (trail name: Robin … Continue reading Moby Dick, Robert Frost, and Einstein on the Appalachian Trail