Friday, December 13, 2019

the best of mhb 2017-2018

cover & interior art by Miranda Barnes
In my hands I hold the third volume of THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY, poems collected on the ambitious blog of Michelle Heidenrich Barnes from 2017-2018.  Many of our Poetry Friday regulars are represented in this book, including me, and we are all rhapsodizing over it, as well we should.

But today I'd just like to spotlight the creations of the creator of THE BEST OF 17-18, Michelle herself.  She has three poems in the book which serve to highlight her range of skills as a poet and the generosity that we have all experienced in working with her.

In this ode from March 2017 Michelle builds a beautiful mosaic of sensory images and then cements  them with a hanging, open question.

Ode to a Genocide Memorial | Michelle H. Barnes

The hammer sings the story
of ten thousand broken shards--
the stench of old bones
and hope's gritty aftertaste,
scrubbed clean by twenty thousand tears.
What question hasn't been asked
that has an answer?

Michelle's golden shovel poem is based on a line (the same one I chose!) from "blurred lines" by Lil Fijjii, shared in Nikki Grimes's post of March 2018.  In it Michelle deftly occupies the slippery brainspace of someone losing their memory but not their need for connection.

Forgetfully Yours | Michelle H. Barnes

There are only so many ways I can say I'm
sorry. I know that you're tired.
I am too.  Weary of
searching for words--names.
places, and all the everyday things I once
took for granted.  If only you
could read my mind! Say
what you will, I probably won't believe it.
Because unless you
can dip a net into my fishbowl world, you can't
imagine how slippery it is. Let them take
my memories, my dignity, my hope. None of it
matters as long as you come back.

And finally, Michelle playfully celebrates her fellow Floridian, our dear one Lee Bennett Hopkins, by casting him as a dino with a taste for poetry.  "Robust and unreserved" also describes Michelle's appetite for the work of sharing poetry, in which she always takes the lead. 

Don't Ask a Hopkinsaurus | Michelle H. Barnes
         for Lee Bennett Hopkins

The L.B. Hopkinsaurus
is a rare and noble breed--
a prince among the wordivores,
he always takes the lead.

At feasting "dino"ccasions
when poetry is served,
his taste for inky gobbling
is robust and unreserved.

He might appear well-mannered
but once he's on a roll,
he holds the Guinness record
for collections swallowed whole!

The L.B. Hopkinsaurus
wears a venerable crown.
Don't ask him to retire,
or even to slow down.

This Energizer Dino
with his charismatic roar
says when it comes to Poetry,
we all should eat much more!

I am so grateful to Michelle for relentlessly and graciously bringing us all together month after month to feed, learn from, be challenged by, and encourage each other. Raise your glass or mug or bowl...Here's to Michelle!

The roundup today is with Liz at Elizabeth SteinANDglass, who is appreciating duality this week.  See you there!


  1. Thank you, Heidi, for highlight Michelle, who is a marvel! She has brought so much ditty-love to the world and joined us in powerful ways... I'm grateful and inspired by this sampling featured here today. xo

  2. Yes, these are wonderful poems. I'm so glad you highlighted them here.

  3. I especially like "What question hasn't been asked/that has an answer?" and "Because unless you/can dip a net into my fishbowl world, you can't/imagine how slippery it is." Michelle is the best, isn't she? So appreciative of all she does.

  4. Thank you for featuring my poems today, Heidi. What a wonderful surprise! YOUR three poems in this volume are evidence of your incredible range and voice as well. From delightful to insightful, your poems are ones I return to again and again. I'm honored to share them! I also happen to love that our golden shovel poems appear together, showing how versatile that form is to show two entirely different interpretations of the same line. I'd share page space with you any day. :)

  5. All three of these are wonderful. Thank you for sharing them!

  6. Thought-filled, clever, that's Michelle, and you wrote a beautiful thankyou to her, Heidi. The Ditty books are very special to me because I know the poets in there!

  7. What a wonderful way to recognize and thank Michelle! I loved seeing all three of her poems together. Thank you to you and to Michelle!!

  8. What a wonderful idea, Heidi. Three cheers for your thoughtfulness - and three cheers for the talent, inspiration and heart of Michelle. 'Ode to a Genocide Memorial' is gritty, powerful and so very well written. The anthology is excellent!

  9. Three cheers for Michelle, for this marvelous anthology, and for ALL she does for poetry and Poetry Friday!!

  10. Hooray for this latest volume of fabulous poetry, hooray for these three poems, hooray for Michelle for all the ditty love she grows and shares, and hooray for you for highlighting it all this week!

  11. Heidi, this post is brilliant! Michelle always puts us front and center....but I love that she is highlighted here. I admire her poetry. She makes the writing part look easy. But, I know she puts a lot into each poem. Wonderful poems here and they do show her range. Thank you for such a smile this weekend.

  12. Ah, my friend Michelle ... who deserves to be highlighted every day for all she does for poets and the poet community! These poems are all lovely and inspired and thoughtful in different ways. Michelle is a gift. <3

  13. Hooray for Michelle, her poetry, and her generosity to inspire us all!

  14. I love the breath of these three poems, thanks for sharing them here Heidi and highlighting Michelle's latest edition!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!