Thursday, October 20, 2022

pray we live long lives/seeking our futures out

 Greetings, poetry people! Did you know it's the Dodge Poetry Festival this year? I'm not in New Jersey, but I did buy a pretty affordable streaming-only ticket. I'm looking forward to Friday morning's session called

Poets Forum: Eco-Poetry and Environmental Justice
Featuring Ellen Bass, Forrest Gander, Joy Harjo

especially because it's the 3rd Friday of the month, and although I haven't been explicit about it for a while, that means it's Climate Friday at mjlu. How nice of Ellen, Forrest and Joy to drop in! 😉


This month I'm teaching one of the four sections of a Climate Reset Workshop at my congregation. It's focused on helping folks who are already doing the basics to learn how to reduce their household carbon emissions even further through "cool lifestyle" changes. (What are the basics?  Things like eating more meatless/plant-based meals each week, keeping thermostat at 68* in winter and 78* in summer, and replacing more car trips each week with more earth-friendly transportation.)

We're using the data-based CoolClimate Calculator devised by UCBerkeley and you might like to try it out also--I got a ton of surprises, even from the very first 3-item questionnaire. (Guess what?  My zip code is just shy of being among the greatest emitters in the US.  Turns out the wealthier you are, the larger your carbon footprint--even if you can afford to pay the higher cost of consuming responsibly--in many cases just due to heating and cooling the square footage of your likely larger home.)

The workshop is practical, but it's spiritual too. I opened the first session with this quote and my comment on how it salves climate grief. (The widely shared quote is from "Natural Resources" in The Dream of a Common Language (1978) but I can't find the whole poem online.)


Art is an action too. When we make poems, make music, make images, we are making change, inside us and around us. So along with a plant-based recipe that we've been loving, I have this poem which is actually lyrics to a song which is a small masterpiece by Jelani Aryeh, a young musician from San Diego. Definitely play the video to hear how the words and the music create a space for revival.



Playing your stereo loud
Flaunting your taste
Blazing the space around you
With love, light and marigold sounds
Pray we live long lives
Seeking our futures out

Solaris, young lion
Being of the sun
Come brighten

You're the talk of the town
Prince of the pride, Titan of mighty sound
My highness, will you come down?
Getting a hold of you is like clutching a cloud
But none do surround when you come around
This bearer of lights wearing beams for a crown
Bringing life to the biomes where beings are brown
Sending pockets of solace in equal amounts

You're freeing us from cold seasons
There wasn't even a hum round my place
I'm feeling a rush, a beating, a punch
The heat of the sun in my face

Good god
My head feels hella tall
With dilated awe
Watch all of you
With eight ball eyes
Your maple light

Playing your stereo loud
Flaunting your taste
Blazing the space around you
With love, light and marigold sounds
Pray we live long lives
Seeking our futures out

When the world is still hollow of sound
Permeate the sky, pilot your light
And lay it down where the landscape allows
Blanketing the forest, waking up the world around

You're freeing us from cold seasons
There wasn't even a hum round my place
I'm feeling a rush, a beating, a punch
The heat of the sun in my veins

Good god
What you be about?
What you be about?
What you be about?
What you be about?
Good god

Waking up the morning with this lucid feeling
Hold it in your heart before you lose it
Keep it moving in your solitude steadily breathing
Knowing who you are and what you're seeking
Meet me in the marigold garden shining
Sovereign in the head with your senses heightened
Yellow soul, you are so mellow-minded
Walking through and talking to these little lions

Playing your stereo loud
Flaunting your taste
Blazing the space around you
With love, light and marigold sounds
Pray we live long lives
Seeking our futures out

Playing your stereo loud
Flaunting your taste
Blazing the space around you 

"Getting a hold of you is like clutching a cloud"--what a line. Take a walk with that to blaze your space and move you to action!  Our host this week is Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones where the 10.10 Poetry Palooza is still going on. You know what else is action? (Thanks, Michelle K!)
 And now for the recipe...

"Marigold" Moroccan Stew

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, gently smashed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each paprika and cumin
  • ½ teaspoon each ground coriander, ground turmeric, and ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper
Saute all that in a large pot on medium low about 10 minutes while you work on the vegetables.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium acorn or butternut squash, peeled and cubed (pumpkin chunks would also work!)
Add in the sweet potato and squash and saute about 5 minutes more.  Deglaze the pot with the red wine, add the remaining ingredients except lemon juice, and bring to a simmer.  Cook until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes longer.
  • splash of red wine  
  • 2  15-ounce cans chickpeas, with liquid
  • 1  15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh cilantro & parsley plus more for garnish
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon 
Stir in the lemon juice off the heat before serving with chopped herbs on top, over couscous, of course. Good right away and even better the next day!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

14 on the 14th!

Fireworks! Fanfares! Flusterment!

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends.  It is my 14th bloggiversary, and I find that somehow last year I had time to write a rather comprehensive post looking back over my blogging history...and so, while I'm distracted by all the new things I'm trying to do (too many as usual, to be sure; but there IS a greater degree of evening spontaneity now possible in this rewired Empty Next, which keeps landing us at breweries where Trivia Nights are happening!: but that's another story), I'm just going to let hyperefficient Heidi of 2021 guide you to all the goodies, including this acrostic from 2016 which is still holding its own:

You can click here, should you be interested in this very personal history, to see

And now, time to start planning something good for next year's 15...

Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme is our host today, where he's celebrating too--a birthday, not an anniversary, for his new book A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN. It's just a typo, but I am amused by Matt's assertion that "It was written during the height of the pandemic back in 2022"--way back right now!  Congrats, Matt!

Friday, October 7, 2022

october inklings challenge and introducing...WHAT IS A FRIEND?

 Happy first Friday of October, poetry friends, and welcome to the virtual book birthday party of WHAT IS A FRIEND?, the next title in Pomelo Books's series of what might be called apprentice anthologies. Featuring the work of both well-known and emerging poets now writing for kids, this anthology (like THINGS WE EAT, THINGS WE DO and THINGS WE FEEL) is a collaboration. These books have grown out of the publishing workshops led by editors Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell with poets learning the ins and outs of building an anthology from scratch.  WHAT IS A FRIEND? is for an older audience, ages 8 and up, and is not alphabetical but ranges through a wide interpretation of friendship. As if that's not enough goodness, 100% of the profits from this book will be donated to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund ( I'm delighted to be a part of it!  Get your copy here! 

 Participating poets selected from a collection of photos sourced through Canva and wrote to friendship themes of their choice.  I love writing to an image, especially the challenge of making sure that the poem speaks to the image, if the two are presented side by side--but can also stand alone if presented without the image. I actually had this theme in mind and searched the available photos to find one that would lend itself to "Myself," and although I submitted two other poems for two other photos, this was the one that Janet selected.



And now, onto the monthly challenge for the Inklings critique group!  Do you do the daily Wordle puzzle?  It's mind-blowing how fast that became a habit for so many people!  Set by the devious but also very supportive Mary Lee, we are writing Wordy 30 Poems. A Wordy 30 is a poem using exactly 30 letters. Each line should have the same number of letters. Each line should use one word. You might have 6 lines with 5 letters in each line (like Wordle), or 5 x 6, 3 x 10, 10 x 3, 15 x 2, 2 x 15, 30 x 1, or (most unlikely) 1 x 30. She suggested that we "Have…fun???"

I did, but I can't say I spent a ton of time on this one.  Let me know if it shows! In fact, I think that's the title--"Does it show?"



Check out the Wordy 30s of the rest of the gang here...

Catherine at Reading to the Core
Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading 
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone 
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise 
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

And thanks to our host this week, Sarah Grace Tuttle, who's brilliantly and valiantly unveiling the mysteries of writing in meter...and now I must Engage My Network!  

If you know a college applicant who needs essay coaching and could work well on Zoom, please mention me! College essay coaching is one of the 4 items on my menu as the principal at WHISPERshout Writing Workshop, along with creative writing coaching for ages 4-8, early literacy tutoring, and small-group integrated arts enrichment classes. Most of those are best done in person, but essay coaching could work remotely. Here's my new website (not yet optimized for phone viewing).