Friday, November 26, 2021

ode to the small things of autumn

Greetings, Poetry Friday folk, and if you are Emeka Barclay, you are especially welcome! Emeka's one of the many new and interesting poetry people that I met online at the #NCTE21 National Convention last weekend, and I do hope some of them will join us here on Poetry Fridays to bring us new, diverse voices in the children's poetry community.

I attended the virtual NCTE this year largely because of my participation on the NCTE Committee for Excellence in Poetry for Children.  I don't think I would have done another virtual convention again otherwise.  I found it REALLY hard to commit and be present in the way you can do intensely where you're there in person, with the group energy carrying you along.  Still, I'm glad for what sessions I did attend, and the one our committee did was presenting our list of Notable Poetry Books for Children.  Please do check it out by clicking the link below!

During the same event, NCTE unveiled its 2022 list of Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels, selected by the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry Committee. The list can be downloaded here.

“We are the only committee in the country that focuses on selecting notable books of poetry and verse novels for children, ages three to thirteen. We are proud of the wide range of themes in this year’s notable poetry books, including new anthologies, advocacy, social and emotional well-being, history, nature, social justice, and science. Our verse novel selections include themes of fitting in, dystopian adventure, refugees, coming of age, and language extinction,” said Ted Kesler, chair of the NCTE Children’s Poetry Awards Committee.

And of course we celebrated the 2021 Awardee for Excellence in Poetry for Children, JANET WONG! Read more here and here.

I had also promised to do my monthly Climate Friday post on the results of  COP26 last week, but I don't know what I was thinking...especially since now my school district schedules parent conferences on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week!  For the moment I'll just link to this explainer of the main takeways.  I hope it gives both hope and a reality check. 

Now for the poetry!  This month the Seven Poetry Sisters invited us all to play along with their "Ode to Autumn"  challenge. Two weeks ago I was kind of mad at autumn and I posted this no/de. This one, however, I bashed out yesterday morning once the stuffing was made and the turkey in the oven (and about a hundred other things done, in concert with the rest of the family).


thanks & gratitude

too many mornings we wake to 

how did I get here?


no matter how hard I try

knowing that the day will be

strained, slippery, sloppy

& we

get up anyway.  who are we to

resist the riot of minor miracles (this pecan)


tiny blessings (this parsley) orbiting us like

iridescent insects, mithering us with

their background buzz?  if they bite

us, if they sting, it’s just to

demand our attention, to denounce our

ennui.  get up.  get up & bare your skin.

draft ©HM 2021


Did you notice it's an acrostic? I definitely used to think that falling back on an acrostic was a cheater-pants 2nd-grader move, but no more:  it really does always lead to something real for me.  Well, it feels real to me, and I hope to you too! I also can't help but link to a lot of songs that bubbled up as I was writing.

Our host today is our dear Ruth at There Is No Such Thing As a Godforsaken Town. We are sending all our love, compassion and hope to Haiti and Ruth is sending us back months and years worth of gratitude, which is a feat on her part.  I am #grateful for her and all of you here in the Poetry Friday community!



  1. DEFINITELY not a "cheater-pants 2nd-grader move." Thank you for turning tiny blessings into "iridescent insects, mithering us." Bring on the stings! Wake us up!

  2. I echo Mary way is this cheater-pants. And, I did not notice the acrostic! Look at you cooking and poeming all together like the super mom-wife-educator-verse panelist that you are. Wonderful post Heidi. It felt like a real visit with you. And, I'm partial to "mithering." What a great word!

  3. The art of acrostic is when the art of the poem shines rather than the acrostic-ness. I did not even notice until you pointed it out. I love the links to songs. My kitchen is full of a cooking husband, a decorating daughter, and a testy toddler, a few I can't indulge at the moment. But definitely coming back at a quieter time.

  4. You are a busy and productive woman! I love that your poem incorporates the appreciation for tiny miracles like pecans and parsley that we take for granted as we are trying to get dinner prepared. Thanks for sharing the Notable Poetry Books list.

  5. Whoa. Get up and bare your skin is a clarion call to -- feeling the real.
    No cheater-pants moves here, WOW, Heidi. I am blown away.

  6. Consider me bitten. And I will never again see a pecan or sprig of parsley without thinking: oh, is there some mithering I'm missing here?? Mostly excellently made.

  7. Baring skin with others this time in our politics is something needed. You've made an acrostic worth more than the ABCs, Heidi. "How did I get here?" is found in my thoughts many days.

  8. An acrostic. Very nice! The Notable Books list looks really good. I am especially looking forward to checking out the Nikki Grimes book about women of the Harlem Renaissance. And Susan Hood's Last Straw, too.

  9. Oh, that last line. Oh. I just love acrostics. Like any form, they're only as cheater-y as the poet makes them. Yours is the real deal. I love the riot of minor miracles here. Big miracles are great, but you can't count on 'em. But those minor miracles--man, those are cause for thanks and gratitude every single day. Thanks for this reminder, Heidi!

  10. I love that the acrostic (that has been such a wasted form for so many years) can bring such muscle and creativity to our writing. This is wonderful. Those mithering iridescent insects with the sting in their tail... or proboscis. Juicy bites of words!

  11. Yes to getting up–that's the first step. And I here those Talking Heads moving through your poem, in the background. I like your "iridescent insects" and their sting, cause then we know we're still here, thanks Heidi!

  12. Heidi,I am here after days of cooking and "doing" but I am so glad that I read your post in the morning hours when the house is asleep. Thanks for letting me stand in your shoes for a wake-up call, a catch-up on NCTE news and your amazing committee who brought much poetic joy into the world. Your acrostic was touched with a playlist of songs-very cool idea intertwining songs that fully woke me up. Also, thanks for reminding me to find minor miracles and tiny blessings in the ordinary. Have a wonderful back-to-school week with your little ones.

  13. Wow, I love that acrostic. I am glad you pointed it out too. I have thought the way I do acrostics seem second gradish too. So, to be surprised with this acrostic, and the place it went was a great inspiration today. It definitely does feel real to me too.
    So much power in thanks and gratitude to do this...
    "if they sting, it’s just to

    demand our attention, to denounce our

    ennui. get up. get up & bare your skin"

  14. Oh my word!! How did I miss this page and lovely shoutout. While it has been moment since this was posted, please know that I am honored for the mention and I definitely have enjoyed reading what you have posted. I would be honored to join you on Fridays!! A day filled with poetry and good people is almost as beautiful as morning sunshine, peace, and a great cup of coffee. Message me on IG at @emekawrites so we can connect! Believe it or not, this morning, I was reading through some of Janet's books that she sent me.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!