poetry friday roundup is here!

“The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

WELCOME TO POETRY FRIDAY AT ALPHABET SOUP!

Please help yourself to warm blueberry muffins and green tea. 🙂

Something I look forward to every Spring is spying that first flash of blue alighting on a bare branch outside my window. Bluebird!

If the sun’s out, the bluebird’s feathers dazzle. He must know how handsome he is. Before the trees have budded, this show of color offers hope and such joy. It’s amazing how just one little bird in a natty blue coat can transform a landscape.

The bluebird has been considered a harbinger of happiness by many world cultures for thousands of years. On this Mother’s Day weekend, here are bluebird poems by Emily Dickinson and Mary Oliver. I love the shared delight of these two poets, born 105 years apart.

Wishing you the gift of sweet birdsong amid the din, a spot of beauty to light the way, and many happy moments.

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by Deidre Wicks

 

THE BLUEBIRD
by Emily Dickinson

Before you thought of spring,
Except as a surmise,
You see, God bless his suddenness,
A fellow in the skies
Of independent hues,
A little weather-worn,
Inspiriting habiliments
Of indigo and brown.

With specimens of song,
As if for you to choose,
Discretion in the interval,
With gay delays he goes
To some superior tree
Without a single leaf,
And shouts for joy to nobody
But his seraphic self!

(1896)

 

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by Suren Nursisyen

 

WHAT GORGEOUS THING
by Mary Oliver

I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.

~ from Blue Horses (Penguin Press, 2014)

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Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. I hope you enjoy flitting from blog to blog, sampling all the poetry goodness laid out for the taking. Thank you for joining us this week!

 

 

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by EO Prints

 

“A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

DON’T FORGET TO THINK BLUE.

🐦 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!! 🦋


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**Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

kobayashi issa: a little haiku blues

Issa is probably my favorite of the four great haiku masters. I love the endearing humanity in his poems and seeing traces of his personality shining through. How could I not appreciate a poet whose pen name translates as “cup of tea,” or, “a single bubble in steeping tea”?

Recently, I was happy to stumble upon some of his “soup” haiku (many about pufferfish soup). While I’ll pass on pufferfish every time, I can certainly get behind this poem:

thin mist —
night after night
vegetable soup

Don’t you think Issa wrote it with me in mind, knowing its irresistible aroma would awaken my senses 213 years later? 🙂

Because May is the fifth month, today I’m serving up five of Issa’s “blue” haiku, paired with Japanese woodblock prints. Enjoy these lovely one-breath poems (all translated from the Japanese by David G. Lanoue). I hope their beauty will add a little joy, light, and the sweet fragrance of revelation to your day.

 

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[review] H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg and Sawsan Chalabi

#55 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

Children’s umbrellas glistening in the rain, roadside sunflowers turning their heads, a dreaming cat encircled by its furry tail.

These are a few of my favorite “small moments” from this charming new picture book, H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg and Sawsan Chalabi (Penny Candy Books, 2018).

According to her daughter Amy Losak, “Syd” (who passed away in 1996) had a “gift for life,” a unique ability to find joy in small everyday moments that the average person might overlook. A keen observer with an innate spirit of adventure, she was able to make the ordinary extraordinary through her haiku and senryū.

 

Syd and Amy

 

Syd started writing poetry as a child, and for decades while teaching in NYC public schools, she published both poetry and prose in various journals and anthologies. She was also a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968. But Syd was never able to fulfill her dream of publishing a book of haiku for children until now.

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an e.e. cummings poem for april

“Then it was spring; and in spring anything may happen. Absolutely anything.” ~ E. E. Cummings

“Bouquet in White Vase,” by E. E. Cummings (1947)

 

Spring, April, Poetry Month: a welcome trifecta of hope, beauty and possibilities. It’s a time of birdsong, thoughtful reading, invention, and above all, celebration. We celebrate and marvel at words, which, according to Wordsworth, can capture “the breathings of your heart.”

Nobody does Spring better than my favorite poet E. E. Cummings. It’s fitting that my first encounter with Cummings was his iconic “in-Just/spring” —  I remember meeting the “little lame balloonman” in high school and I haven’t been the same since.

In college, his “sweet spring” was on continuous loop as I read, read, read, wrote, wrote, wrote, and learned how to learn:

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

As a young teacher, I shared “Spring is like a perhaps hand” and “O sweet spontaneous” with my students. We discussed the inherent musicality of language, with Cummings the prime example of a poet who reveled in experimentation and innovation. Words are living, breathing entities, after all — why not make them sing?

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[review + giveaway] World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

 

On this, his 80th birthday, we are honored to feature Lee Bennett Hopkins’s most recent poetry book for young readers. Everyone in the world, make way for this stellar author, poet, educator, editor, and master anthologist!

 

 

We are first introduced to this beautiful collection of ekphrastic poetry with this perceptive quote and sketch by Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci:

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

“A Bear Walking” by Leonardo da Vinci (ca. 1482-85)

 

In his Foreword, Hopkins explains that the book’s title was inspired by da Vinci’s drawing:

Though rough, the sketch reveals sharp details of the animal’s strong facial features, powerful muscles, and grasping claws — a stance as if the bear forewarns: World make way!

In World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Abrams BYR, 2018), we are treated to 18 original poems written by contemporary poets in response to 18 visual masterpieces from the Met’s vast collection. The art represents a diverse world view, spotlighting different time periods, artists, and cultures, and it is rendered in a variety of media (oil, tempera, pencil, ink, watercolor, silver, gold, acrylic) on different bases (canvas, paper, wood, silk, PVC panels). The poets (who were specially commissioned for this project), are among the finest writing for children today. In short, an exquisite book — a heartful, soul nourishing feast for the eyes and ear.

Here are the poets (*swoon*):

Alma Flor Ada
Cynthia Cotten
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Julie Fogliano
Charles Ghigna
Joan Bransfield Graham
Lee Bennett Hopkins
Irene Latham
J. Patrick Lewis
Elaine Magliaro
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Marilyn Nelson
Naomi Shihab Nye
Ann Whitford Paul
Marilyn Singer
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Carole Boston Weatherford
Janet Wong

Art begetting art — what could be more life affirming or gratifying?

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