Poetry Friday: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up today!

Before I get to today’s post, I just wanted to mention that – in case you missed it – I shared a few new peeks of my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press, 2017) this past Tuesday! The advance copy arrived in the mail while I was at the New England SCBWI conference, and what a welcome home gift it was.

So now I’m back from my conference, and have a few more poems to share as we wrap up this month-long writing challenge I call “Poetry…Cubed!” – based on the premise of the The Food Network show, “Chopped!

Writers were asked to use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem – any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. The only hitch was that a reference to all three images needed to be included in the poem.

Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky person would be chosen at random to receive a copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared a number of entries, and today, we have FIVE more poems!

But first…here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

                 

(All images courtesy of Katherine Esenwine

The first poem is by Brenda Davis Harsham, who saw all sorts of emotion within those pictures:

Van Gogh the Trickster

With his swirling strokes,
flowers unfold, stars twinkle,
Japanese screen images flirt,
couples lean in, sowers seed,
and your eye is tricked
into thinking
paint is real,
happiness lasts,
and youth is forever.

– © 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham, all rights reserved

.

Today’s second entry is a haiku from The Poetry Princess herself, Joy Acey:

Eye of the Tiger
on the silver movie screen
a white hibiscus

© 2017 Joy Acey,  all rights reserved

.
Third, we have a poem from Karen Eastlund, who was inspired to write this poem after she saw a billboard on the way to her aunt & uncle’s house:

Best Billboard

The billboard caught my eye immediately
Not for its bright colors
Or flowery words
But for the humor

PETRIFIED WATERMELONS
Take one home to your mother-in-law

We laughed our way to
My uncle’s house
And then we laughed some more

– © 2017 Karen Eastlund,  all rights reserved

.

Our fourth poem comes from Donna Smith, who took a break from packing (in advance of a big move), to write a poem for this challenge:

Vision

My vision clouded
Confounded
By these walls,
Surrounded;
But on the other side
The blossoms
Of sweeter times
Rebound;
Days of freedom
Behind and ahead
Resound;
In glory
Astound.

.
– © 2017 Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved
.

Last but certainly not least, is a poem by Kay Jernigan McGriff, who weaves all 3 images into a spring scene:

Focus

A clenched bud
unfurls its petals
one by one
as spring unspools
before my eyes.

Bees dance
across the petals
step by step
as spring writes a new
saga across earth’s screen.

– © 2017 Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved

.
And out of all the entries…who is our randomly-picked winner??

Brenda Davis Harsham!

Congratulations, Brenda! I’ll get your copy of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations to you as soon as possible!

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REMEMBER: Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem continues! Each day throughout April a different person adds a line – until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30.

added my line yesterday which means there are only a few days left, but if you’d like to follow along and see how it’s been progressing, here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

.

If you still can’t get enough poetry, head over to Teaching Authors, where JoAnn Early Macken and crew are celebrating today’s Poetry Friday roundup with April showers!

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Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 5, 2017!

Pre-orders are available now by clicking the image of the cover to the right, or if you prefer, you can wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local bookstore.

(Good grief, this is all really happening…)

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The 2017 Progressive Poem has arrived!

The day is finally here!

Irene Latham’s annual Progressive Poem has made its way to my little home on the web here, and it’s time for me to add my line to a poem that has been growing and developing for the past 26 days. And what better day to do this than today, Poem in Your Pocket Day. So find a poem you like, write it down or print it out, and hang onto it…and share it with someone who may enjoy it, as well!

If you don’t know, here’s how the Progressive Poem works: each day throughout April a different person adds a line until we have a complete, 30-poet poem on April 30!

Our heroine (or hero?) has been on adventure that we learned was actually a stage production – or at least, that’s how many of us perceived it – so my illustrious fellow blogger/writer, Renee LaTulippe assisted with our denouement with yesterday’s line.

Today, it’s up to me to continue the saga! As the poem has bounced between rhyming and non-rhyming lines, metered and unmetered, I tried not to worry too much about form, but did try to maintain the integrity of the previous lines and the movement of the poem itself:

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges–
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!
Shiver me. Look who’s here. Must I disappear?
By hook or by crook, I deserve a second look!
I cheer. Please, have no fear. Find the book.

But wait! I’ll share the lines I know by heart.
Mythical howls, fiery tones slip from my lip
Blue scales flash, claws rip, the prophecy begins
Dragonworld weaves webs that grip. I take a trip…

“Anchors aweigh!” Steadfast at helm on clipper ship,
a topsail schooner, with sails unfurled, speeds away
As, true-hearted dragon pirate, I sashay
with my wise parrot, Robyn, through the spray.

“Land Ho!” (“Land Ho!”) We’ve hooked the whole crowd.
So it’s true what they say: the play IS the thing.
Stepping back from my blocking, theatre grows loud…

.

Take it away, Michelle!

If you’d like, you can follow along and watch the progress – and catch up on how the poem has “progressed” up to this point! Here’s the schedule:

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at a penny and her jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: The 2016 Progressive Poem is here!

national-poetry-month 2016

Poet/blogger Irene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem has been rolling through
the kidlitosphere all month, and it has finally arrived at my little corner o’ the web! Each day, a different writer adds a line, and on April 30 we’ll see how it ends when Donna at Mainely Writes adds the final line!

2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemA structure began to take shape early on, and by and large the folks who have added to the poem have been keeping that form in place. When Jone MacCulloch added her line yesterday, she referenced a “divining seer” – which was the second mention of a person who is not the speaker.

So now we have the speaker, a child, and now a seer…for a wistful, dreamy sort of nature poem, there’s suddenly a lot of people around! So what is this seer doing? Who is he or she? Let’s find out…

Here is the poem, including my line:

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee

A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life— seen and unseen.

Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams;

So the seer is…?? Could be the child, could be someone else, could be an animal – who knows? I’m betting Violet Nesdoly can fill us in when she adds her line tomorrow! 

(Side note: I originally ended my line with the word ‘smiles,’ but then realized that Violet’s word choices would be very limited for a rhyme. So I changed it to ‘beams’ not only because it allows for more rhyming words, but the noun version can be used as a ‘perch’! Get it?? I love poetry!)

Want to follow along? Care to see the thought process of the lines that have come before? The 2016 Progressive Poem is making a stop at the following blogs:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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Poetry_Friday logoBy the way, if you have not had a chance to check out my post from this Tuesday, it’s a poem written by a teenage girl who falls under the autism spectrum, and it’s quite moving and insightful…I do hope you’ll take a look at it!

And for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup – along with a surprising poem about water and echoes – please visit Michelle H. Barnes’ blog, Today’s Little Ditty!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

National Poetry Month: Special 15-year-old Guest-poet!

national-poetry-month 2016As you may know, I’m keeping my posts shorter than normal this month, as I have a bunch of writing and submitting I’m trying to work on, as well as preparing for the upcoming New England SCBWI Conference at the end of the month.

So today, I simply wanted to share a poem written by the daughter of a friend of mine, who is under the autism spectrum.

When my friend and I first met, her daughter, Sara – who rarely spoke to anyone she didn’t know well – opened up quite a bit to me, as we traded cartoon quotes from Spongebob Squarepants and Catscratch (one of my favorites!). It’s amusing to recognize that a yellow sea sponge and three idiot feline brothers were able to start breaking down a wall.

Sara was very young at the time, not even in kindergarten, and her mother worried how school would affect Sara – and what effect Sara would have on the school.

Over the years, there has been joy, pain, elation, sadness, frustration, inspiration, and a million other things the two of them have dealt with. One day my friend would be arguing with school officials over how her daughter was being treated; the next, Sara would be amazing the family with miniature, intricately-detailed sculptures. Every day, every week, was a challenge and a revelation.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend shared the following poem, written by Sara, now 15:

Tears

They hide in everyone everyday.
They embarrass you if they stop hiding.
Mine are always out
Never joyful
They make you collapse
Tremble in your own failure
Nothing can make you better
People question you
What is wrong with you? Get back together
It is easy, they say
But I have tried for years
We want to help, they say
But they want me to shut up
Stop the tears, they say
We have our moments, they say
Well I always have my moment
And it never stops
The only time it stops is when I sleep
Then sleep, they say
If they want me to stay silent,
Then I will go to sleep
Night and day I shall sleep.

– by Sara 

When I read it, I asked my friend if she would mind me sharing it, to help provide a glimpse inside the mind of an incredible, blossoming young woman who happens to be under the spectrum. I encourage you to share this post, not for my sake, but for Sara’s and her mom’s.

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemDon’t forget: Irene Latham’s 2016 Progressive Poem continues today as Michelle H. Barnes adds her contribution, so be sure to stop by Michelle’s place and see how it’s coming along. (This Friday will be Yours Truly’s turn to add a line!)

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Sledding”

national-poetry-month 2016

For some, winter may be behind us, but this past weekend we ended up with nearly 3 inches of snow and temperatures in the low-teens – so it really didn’t feel like spring! I’ve been meaning to share this poem for a couple years now and keep forgetting…so before spring actually DOES arrive, I thought I’d share it today:

Sledding

I love to sled,
I love to slide.
I find the biggest hill around
then jump aboard
my plastic ride
and start my journey toward the ground.

Racing down
a sheet of snow,
frozen cheeks and icy hair –
faster, faster,
here I go,
snowflakes flying everywhere!

Carve a turn!
Get it straight!
Don’t think I can take much more!
Wonder how I’ll stop,
but wait! –

……I guess…that’s what…this…
……………rock…
……………    ………is for……

– © 2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Poetry_Friday logoIf you’re looking for more poetry, you’ll find the complete Poetry Friday roundup at Laura Purdie Salas’ home on the web, Writing the World for Kids, where she has some very putrid poetry! (not that her poetry is putrid – it’s really quite nice, actually – so you’ll just have to visit to see what I mean!)

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemIrene Latham‘s annual Progressive Poem continues all month long! A different writer adds a line each day, and on April 30 we’ll see how it ends. Today you can see how far we’ve come at Irene’s blog, Live Your Poem!

You can follow the 2015 Progressive Poem at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Finally! Marketing postcards!

national-poetry-month 2016

I’m in the process of resubmitting a couple of manuscripts to new publishing houses, but I wanted to at least take a moment to celebrate National Poetry Month by sharing a project I’ve been working on this PAST month…
.
It’s been a long time coming, but they’re finally here – with only a few weeks to spare, before I host a workshop at the New England SCBWI’s annual conference at the end of the month!

(click to enlarge)

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemDon’t forget: the 2016 Progressive Poem continues today at Penny Parker Klosterman’s little home on the web, so be sure to stop by for a few minutes and see how this year’s poem is…well, progressing!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: National Poetry Month begins!

national-poetry-month 2016

Yes, it’s National Poetry Month once again, and there’s so much going on, it’s hard to keep track of everything! There are poems and contests and interviews and all sorts of things…but first things first!

First, I’d like to share a new form I’ve been working on – which is actually an old form. A really old form…

You’ve very possibly heard of haiku, yes? If so, you probably know it consists of 3 lines with a 5-7-5 syllable count (although English-language syllables don’t exactly translate to the Japanese language, so many folks who write haiku in English eschew this rule).

Well, haiku is a relatively new Japanese form; what I’ve been practicing is a form that has been around since the 5th or 6th century AD: the sedoka.

poetryfridaybutton-fulllThe word sedoka means, roughly, “head-repeating,” and is made up of two tercets, or parts, known as katauta. Katauta – with a 5-7-7 syllable count – are rarely ever written by themselves; they are usually grouped in pairs, creating one sedoka.

The idea of “repeating” is not so much the words themselves, but the subject or feeling of the poem. In simple terms, each katauta describes the same subject, but from a different perspective; therefore, one sedoka presents two perspectives.

Here’s my example:
.

West wind whips fiercely
thin strands of branches atop
lonesome beechnut’s balding dome.

In younger days, green
leaves embraced each limb – now sweet
Zephyrus betrays my age.

– © 2016 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
.

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting my feet wet writing the Naani poetry form, and now I’m practicing ancient Japanese…you never know where, or how, inspiration will strike!

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemToday is also the first day of Irene Latham‘s annual progressive poem! A different writer adds a line each day, and on April 30 we’ll see how it culminates…and it all starts HERE, with Laura Purdie Salas!

You can follow the 2015 Progressive Poem at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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I tend to share a lot of special posts during National Poetry Month, but this year I’m so busy, I’m keeping things lean. I’ll still have my Poetry Friday posts – and am planning to share some very special poetry by some very special young people – but other than that, I need to focus on three new picture book manuscripts I’m working on, a new poetry collection I’ve barely started, and a New England SCBWI Conference workshop I’m leading at the end of the month!

(Oh, yeah – and I have two kids I need to take care of, as well!)

If you’re wondering what other kidlit bloggers and writers are doing for this month, please check out Jama Rattigan’s list HERE, and for all of today’s Poetry Friday posts, be sure to visit Amy at The Poem Farm!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!