WHISPERshout Writing Workshop is now OPEN for business!

WHISPERshout Writing Workshop is now open for business! Click here to learn more.

* college essay coaching * creative writing coaching for ages 4-8 * * small group classes coming soon!  *

Friday, September 30, 2022

poetry sisters challenge: definitos!

Greetings, Poetry Friday people! This week I'm blushing a bit because the seven Poetry Sisters are writing the definito, a form I devised...and so of course I must join in.

The definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines, aimed at readers 8-12 years old, that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. 

I developed this form kind of bit by bit starting in 2008 and I've written them here and there; I'm actually continuing to experiment with it, and I think I've figured out an approach to titling the poems that doesn't give everything away up top.

It's wonderful to think that others want to have some fun with it too. In fact I suppose it's rather crucial to the success of an innovation that others take it up! 

 


I can't wait to see what Laura, Mary Lee, Tricia , Tanita and Liz have done with it, and Kelly and Sara and Andi! Thanks to Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for hosting us today, and do click on the WHISPERshout Writing Workshop logo to see what I'm up to now.

Monday, September 19, 2022

WHISPERshout Writing Workshop is now open for business! Click here to learn more.

* college essay coaching * creative writing coaching for ages 4-8 *
* small group classes coming soon! *




Friday, September 2, 2022

grass loves: september inklings challenge

Greetings and Happy New School Year to those who observe! (All of us, I believe.) I'm dipping back in to participate in our critique group's monthly challenge, posed to us this month by Margaret Simon.  Her challenge to us was "Choose a photo from This Photo Wants to Be a Poem and share your poem and your process."

Margaret loved Laura Purdie Salas's weekly "15 Words or Less" write-to-an-image exercise so much that when Laura decided to end it at her blog, Margaret took it on at Reflections on the Teche, her own blog, as "This Photo Wants to Be a Poem."

I'm sorry to say that I have not been a regular respondent in either place, although I do love writing to an image. But I did drop in in early August, where I found not only this gorgeous close-up of a seed-head of grass, but Margaret's own beautiful and rich commentary:

 

"We have had a string of rainy days here in South Louisiana. It happens most summers and helps to regulate the rising temperatures. Some days you feel as though you will never dry out. The air is wet. The ground is wet. Your body is wet.

The grass loves all this moisture and it grows and grows. In a nearby empty lot, the grass is almost as tall as I am. On a recent walk I stopped to look at it. Even the weeds of nature that grow out of control are beautiful. Nature is ongoing, reliably replenishing, and ever growing. Maybe your area of the world is hot and dry. Wash yourself in the lushness of the bayou side."


Lovely, yes?  I can't explain what made me want to mess with it, but I did.

 

grass loves


a string of rainy days 

happens     helps the rising


some days 

air is wet ground is wet body is wet


grass loves all this

grows and grows

as tall as walk 

as tall as look 

as tall as beautiful


ongoing reliably 

replenishing lushness



And this is how I messed with it.  

We have had a string of rainy days here in South Louisiana. It happens most summers and helps to regulate the rising temperatures. Some days you feel as though you will never dry out. The air is wet. The ground is wet. Your body is wet.


The grass loves all this moisture and it grows and grows. In a nearby empty lot, the grass is almost as tall as I am. On a recent walk I stopped to look at it. Even the weeds of nature that grow out of control are beautiful. Nature is ongoing, reliably replenishing, and ever growing. Maybe your area of the world is hot and dry. Wash yourself in the lushness of the bayou side.

 

Luckily, Margaret not only did not take offense but liked it very much--thanks for your generosity, Margaret, both in permitting me to erase your words and in offering this gentle little opportunity each week for so long!

Thanks to our host today, Linda at TeacherDance, where there's a cheering new header, and here's where you can find the responses of the other Inklings to this challenge. (And here's a bonus song while you read. I'm not done drowning, myself.)

Linda Mitchell
Molly Hogan
Catherine Flynn
Mary Lee Hahn

Thursday, August 18, 2022

gotta dip: a brief blog hiatus

Greetings, Audience, whoever you may be! Thanks for popping by.

It's a time of transition for me, from "full-time classroom teacher who does poetry on the side" to "part-time poetry teacher who does essay coaching on the side." It's exciting and a bit daunting, and I'm diving right in!

I have a lot to organize in the next 6-8 weeks, so I'll be taking a break from weekly blogging except for one appearance on September 2nd, when the logo you see below should have become a clickable link, and I'll be joining my critique group, The Inklings, in our monthly poetry challenge.

See you back here on October 7, give or take, for further poetry musings for teachers, authors, kids and adults!


Friday, August 5, 2022

inklings august challenge: sports poems

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends!  Here it is August, a different kind of August than I have had since 1969, perhaps with the exception of 2007 when the kids went off to their French school and I stayed home and wrote PUMPKIN BUTTERFLY; I type this to encourage myself to get going on that next book! Catherine  has suggested we take inspiration from Liz Steinglass's SOCCERVERSE and "Write a poem about any sport you have a connection to--one you participate(d) in or love to watch. Use any form you think works best."

Now, it is not required for poets to be unsporty, but I think it's likely that many of us would say that we were rather busy reading as kids, not sporting. Maybe the same goes now as adults--we may tend to be unsporty, at least not in the usual competitive-type activities that the word "sports" makes us think of. Maybe more of us dance or run or do yoga or ride our bikes for health and fun, rather than going hard at basketball or soccer or field hockey. (It would be fun to take an informal poll in the comments; let us know if you have or are now any kind of serious competitive sportster! We will honor all versions of sporty.)

Me, I learned early that my bod was not built to run at length--so my favorite activities involve anything that helps my muscles carry my weight. Give me wheels or water or music! But if I could choose to be accomplished at anything, it might be gymnastics.

 

High and Over

In second grade Frettra Miller 

can already do an aerial. 

She tumbles down the mat

with her long brown limbs,

gathering force, and then,

faster than I can see exactly how  

Frettra tucks her elbows and throws her legs high and over: brown lightning!

She lands lightly, easy in her leotard.

 

I stand at the end of the mat,

not yet having written this poem,

heavier than a cart wheel

in my shorts and tank top.

No part of my body has any idea 

how to begin.

 

draft ©HM 2022 

 

 

 

Our host today is fellow Inkling Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone, which I have never done sufficiently to "get my aerial," as the Youtube coaches say.  Now go see what the other Inklings have done with this wide-open challenge...

Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon
Catherine Flynn
MaryLee Hahn

 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

#haikutraveldiary 2

Never have I ever been away from home for so long without making the new place my home; yet home away from home, thrice, an extended travel, not exactly a vacation, being not rushing, sudden or slowcooked multiserendipitous layered plans to connect and reconnect, one afternoon or evening or drink at a time (lord, the English can drink!), enough, never enough, overenough, forestalling the future, calculating did my bus and train and walk offset the flights, can we be divided and connected at once?

 
garden's modest luxury
the billion bricks of industry
warmth of a small country
 
  haibun Instadraft™ ©HM 2022
 
*************    

We are four days away from our return to "ordinary" life, which won't be very much like the last 20 years of life, so let me not forget what this interlude begat. Here are the daily haikus, picking up from where I left off two weeks ago. (This is also where I figure out which days I missed.)


 Day 29

 
little fish in a big sea
I resist putting my face under
acclimation takes time 
 
 
Day 28 
"Arrogant in Victory, Sullen in Defeat" - The Grant Family Motto

granted you are well practiced granted I’m always a half pint behind but tonight I’m granted a win 

 


Day 27 

salt-sticky grips on
this solar-spurred cycle 
the right speed to see
 
 
 
 
 
Day 26
 
seven dials eight miles 
eleven women score four 
big windows brighton our day
 
 


 
Day 22 
 
blue light and beer 
a proper night out 
we were not reserved  
 
 
 

Day 21 
 
evening speed 
past the kittiwakes’ racket 
hair shrieks its joy
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 19
 
10 hours of driving
45 minutes of  Flowers for Algernon
worf it, bruv
 
 

Day 18 
 
copied cut and stitched 
on a plane 1996 
I recollect myself 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 17 
 
whenever they come to worship 
the church of eternal friendship 
is waiting 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 16
slow span of channel 
sun from end to end 
my only halo 
 
 

 
Day 15 
 
so much 
sheep shit 
we hardly notice 
 
 
 
**************************
 
I'm late posting but I appreciate the space that my blog and  Poetry Friday make for whatever each of us wants to share.  Thanks to Marcie Atkins (another haikuist) for rounding us up this week!
 


Friday, July 15, 2022

#haikutraveldiary

 

Greetings from Seaford, on the south coast of England!  Wherever I am, wherever you are, there is a climate crisis. Would you like some good news to go with your bad news?  Try THE FIX newsletter from grist.com.  Here's the "Joy Issue."

We have been in France and now will be in the UK for all of July, catching up with our family and friends here after two years apart. In a bid to keep writing, I set myself a "reasonable" goal to write one haiku each day...and then remembered how challenging it is to write a really effective haiku.  

As I reviewed the "rules" for modern haiku here and there, I found my way to this helpful overview.  I've tried to keep it in mind and I'm thoroughly happy with...about 20% of these.  They do make a nice album, though, combined with the photos I've taken. Here are the last handful; you can see the rest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/heidimordhorst

Day 14 

white sheep white swans white horse 

concentric greens 

we walk behind the cows


Day 13  (for Juliet Cox)

butterfly on my dinner plate 

goats in the gully 

a little mild peril