Thursday, May 26, 2016

Poetry Friday Is Here Today!

Welcome to The Drift Record - It's Poetry Friday!

Today (a bit early, actually, it's Thursday night) I'm your host for 
the Poetry Friday Round-Up. 

Since I'm not using Mr. Linky, just doing it the old-fashioned way, please leave the name of your blog plus your URL links/descriptions in the Comments section and I'll gather them together here during the day (one early morning gathering, one mid-morning, one afternoon, and - if needed - a final evening gathering)  I'm hoping you'll check other links out over the next few days, and you'll let individuals know if you've enjoyed what they posted. 

I'm posting a strange little poem of mine (do I have any other kind lately?) It's a bit of fizz based on an article I read in The Smithsonian magazine about a "disappearing" river. Wonderful magazine, The Smithsonian, so support it and the important museum it represents, if you can. I've linked the title of the poem to the article this was based on, as a way to acknowledge that inspiration can come from unpredictable sources.  Hope you will read both poem and article.

 "The Mystery of Minnesota's Disappearing River" - The Smithsonian, July, 2015

Her family never realized that half of her was missing. 
Most likely, half of her was enough for them, most likely 
some thick knuckle of something had split her in two, 
that’s all, and before anyone knew it,  half of her
disappeared – it was right where her bed dropped out 
from underneath her. 
                         Half of her fell right into the hole there,
and half of her just kept on flowing, there was a rift 
she couldn’t handle, it was that simple on the surface of it, 
and down she went, at least the half of her drawn that direction, 
toward disappearing.
                         Those who noticed long suspected
that caves were to blame, a shift in the continent,
an underground channel where the Devil kept his kettles 
and cooked his meals, but the mystery remains. 
Few call for help, so no one quite knows how it happens, 
the long drop -- some say they heard a part of her 
shout goodbye but most say the roar was too loud that day.
Besides, half of her is still a river, which some say
is all that matters. 

Devil's Kettle Falls, Minnesota - Here, She Disappears

P.S. I've put up a new post over at Books Around the Table, all about the power of non-fiction. Check it out here. 

Now, on to Poetry Friday links, filled with Memorial Day reminders and creative poetry challenges:


1. At Friendly Fairy Tales, Brenda Harsham offers us two tanka about lilies of the valley and the memories they inspire.

2. Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink shares her responses to Laura Shovan's challenge to write a persona poem (the challenge appears on Michelle H. Barnes's Today's Little Ditty blog.) And don't miss Linda's invitation to contribute a poem to her Spring's Seeds Gallery.

3. Linda Baie posts a contribution to Michelle and Linda's persona poem challenge, too, at her blog, TeacherDance.

4. Robyn Hood Black helps us remember that Memorial Day is on Monday with her tender haiku at Life at the Deckle Edge.

5. Over at Sally Murphy's blog, you'll find a lovely David Attenborough video plus an original poem based on the song A Wonderful World. Sally challenges you to write a poem using a song's title, with individual words of the title opening each line of your poem. Go on, give it a try!

6. Fats (via Myra Garces Bacsal at Gathering Books) shares a poem titled "Looking Like Me," from a book of the same name by Walter Dean Myers (illustrated by his son Christopher.)

7. Tabatha Yeatts posts the poem "To a Child," by the 19th-century New York poet Sophie Jewett. You'll find it at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference.

8. I'm so excited to see that Mary Lee Hahn is sharing pre-publication news of the new verse novel by Skila Brown titled To Stay Alive.  I loved Skila's first book, Caminar, and I expect this next one will be equally good. Go to A Year of Reading for Mary Lee's review of it (paired with a review of Nathan Hales' Hazardous Tales:  Donner Dinner Party.)

9. Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme shares his poem, "Spring at Pond Meadow."

10. And Laura Shovan shares odes to shoes written by 3rd graders in her poetry workshop at Northfield Elementary. Go to her website at to read them.

11. Check out Laura Purdie Salas's sad haiku over at Writing the World for Kids - it's about standardized testing in schools today.

12. Irene Latham's new book, Fresh Delicious, has inspired a poem about blueberries by 10-year-old Rebekah. Read it at Live Your Poem today. 

MID-MORNING (on the Pacific Coast!)

13. Penny Parker Klosterman hosts author Brenda Harsham and her daughter, Anna, for a collaborative project (art by Anna and poetry - "Anna's Cats" - by Brenda.)

14. We get a breakfast buffet at Alphabet Soup, the ever-delicious blog of Jama Kim Rattigan.

15. Double the pleasure: Diane Mayr offers up an original poem about Marc Chagall over at Random Noodling,  plus posts a poem ("The Laughter of Women") which celebrates Amelia Bloomer over at Kurious Kitty.

16.  At Today's Little Ditty, Michelle Barnes posts a real treasure trove of persona poems written by Poetry Friday friends over the month of May in response to an earlier challenge sent out by Linda Shovan. Don't miss the giveaway of a signed copy of Linda's book, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary - you still have time to enter by posting a comment on Michelle's round-up.

17. Catherine is sharing a persona poem for Michelle and Laura's Ditty Challenge, "Through an Open Window," inspired by Winslow Homer's "Morning Glories." Read it at her blog, Reading to the Core.

18. You can read Emily Dickinson's poem, "Just lost when I was saved...." at Little Willow's live journal post today. I love Dickinson's line, "Next time, to stay!"

19. Doraine Bennett posts a poem about wandering by the ever graceful and passionate John Masefield over at Dori Reads.

20. Student poems honoring veterans on this Memorial Day weekend, posted by Jone MacCulloch at Check It Out. 

21. Karen Edmisten is sharing "In the Middle," a poem by Barbara Crooker ("Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach....")

22. Steven Withrow offers us an original poem, "Mosquito Season," over at Crackles of Speech. Well done, and welcome back to Poetry Friday, Steven!

23. Adelaide Crapsey's poem, "The Properly Scholarly Attitude," appears on Kelly Fineman's live journal, Writing and Ruminating.

24. At Carol's Corner, Carol has posted three poems by a very talented first grader.

25. Margaret Simon reflects on joy and the gift of touch in an original poem titled "the butterfly" at Reflections on the Teche.

26. At Pleasures from the Page, Ramona takes a look at Bob Raczka's fabulous new book of concrete poems, Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems.  

I think that's all for this week though I'll check again before bed for any late links.

THANKS everyone for your wonderful posts!  


  1. New Hampshire has a river that comes and goes in a gorge full of caves and sink holes -- the Mad River. My kids and I love to hike there. Your photo and poem bring it back to mind vividly. Thanks for sharing your delightful poem. We also like the Smithsonian and its mission.

    Thanks for posting early, as Fridays are very busy here. I was thinking of my grandmother with lily of the valley blooming, and I offer these two tanka:

    I do miss her this time of year. All the fragrances bring me straight back. Happy Poetry Friday!

  2. Julie, thank you for hosting Poetry Friday and for introducing me to a confounding mystery. The article and your poem prove that there is a marriage between content area studies and literacy. Your opening is intriguing and interesting presents the information of the article.

    Today, I am offering a collection of persona poems for Michelle Barnes Ditty Challenge. It can be accessed at I am also providing information on the deadline for my upcoming Spring's Seeds Gallery.

  3. I love the inspiration, that ending, Julie, "still a river". Much to think about there. I love Smithsonian too. The online links are terrific. Today I have a persona poem for the challenge from Today's Little Ditty, From Daughter To Mother: Thanks for hosting this final Friday in May.

  4. Hi and thanks for hosting, Julie - I will circle back to the Smithsonian link; your personalized poem is so intriguing!
    A Memorial Day haiku from me this week -

  5. Thanks for hosting Julie. I love your poem - and the mystery it explores. Fascinating. I'm in this week with a video and short poem pondering A Wonderful World:

  6. Hi Julie! Thank you so much for hosting this week. Fats is posting for Poetry Friday over at GatheringBooks from one of her “random book finds: "Looking Like Me" by Walter Dean Myers a beautiful book that celebrates every child, and every thing that a child can be. :) Here is the link:

  7. Love your poem, Julie. "Drawn toward disappearing" -- sounds like a river who needs a little private time.
    I have a poem by Sophie Jewett, "To A Child"
    Thanks for hosting!

  8. Thanks for hosting us!

    Love your poem! I vote for the "underground channel where the Devil kept his kettles" theory!

    I've got a pre-pub peek at Skila Brown's (Caminar) new verse novel about the Donners.

    1. Oops. Here:

  9. I like the poem, as it brings to mind two of the rivers here: Mad River, which Brenda alluded to, and Quechee Gorge, just over the border in VT. Amazing nature! Today I'm sharing something else from the world of nature, from just across our street:

    Thanks for hosting. Julie!

  10. Personification works do well in your poem, Julie. It's a fascinating story.

    I'm finishing up a school poetry residency this week. I hope you enjoy odes from the third grade poets.

  11. I love Smithsonian and subscribe--though I'm several issues behind on reading! Am teaching a YAC all week--will be back this w/e to enjoy your poem, Julie! I've got a brief poem about testing at Thanks for hosting!

  12. Wow, a disappearing river! Great fodder for poetry and thought. Thank you! I'm in with a poem about blueberries from 10 year old Rebekah:

  13. Thanks for hosting, Julie. Very interesting about The Devil's Kettle. And I love that you chose to write such a wonderful poem about the mystery.

    I have guests, Brenda Harsham and her daughter, Anna, collaborating on A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt today. Anna has drawn a picture and Brenda explores the picture with her poem, Anna's Cats.

  14. I'd never heard of half a river disappearing -- fascinating stuff! I used to subscribe to the Smithsonian Magazine and need to get back to it.

    At Alphabet Soup,I'm serving up a breakfast poetry buffet:

    Thanks for hosting this week. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!

  15. Those devils always keep us guessing, don't they? I have a poem about Marc Chagall today at Random Noodling:

    Kurious Kitty shares a poem by Lisel Mueller in honor of Amelia Bloomer's birthday.

    1. True, Diane - what would we poets do without those devils??

  16. Hi Julie, thanks for hosting today. What an interesting phenomenon– the river, not PF. ;) You immediately captured my sympathy with the personification in your first line. And then the thick knuckle. And the bed dropping out from underneath her. And then.... Call it strange if you want, but I love it!

    As you've already heard from others, on Today's Little Ditty, – not My Little Ditty :) – I'm sharing a month's end celebration of persona poems.

    1. Sorry I got the blog name wrong, Michelle - I've corrected it now.

  17. I recently picked up a copy of Smithsonian for my father-in-law to read while convalescing and kept it because there were so many interesting articles! We are a family of kayakers, so I love any poems about rivers.

    Today I'm sharing a persona poem for Michelle and Laura's Ditty Challenge, "Through an Open Window," inspired by Winslow Homer's "Morning Glories."
    Thanks for hosting today, Julie!

  18. Good morning! Thanks for hosting. I posted some Emily Dickinson at my blog, Bildungsroman.

  19. Thanks for hosting today, Julie. What a marvelous poem. It captures some unknown discord so honestly. Not just a river, more like a family. Lovely.
    My offering today is a John Masefield poem about wandering.

  20. Remembering a veteran for Memorial Day with student poems.

  21. Oh, Julie, I love your poem, with its many layers, and I loved the article, too. I just called my daughters over to share it with them. My 13 yr. old said, "That sounds like a story I need to write." :) Thank you for inspiration for the Ed household this Poetry Friday.

    1. You're so welcome, Karen. I'd love to read your daughter's story if she writes it!

    2. I mean WHEN she writes it!

  22. I was so caught up in your poem and the article that I forgot about my own link. :) I'm in with Barbara Crooker this week, and a poem of hers that dovetailed with a moment in my life yesterday. The link is here. Thanks for hosting today!

  23. Oh, my goodness--I love this: "the half of her drawn that direction,
    toward disappearing."
    Your poem does such a great job of talking about a specific thing and a universal thing all at the same time (at least the way I'm reading it). Lovely.

    1. Poetry is fun that way, right? Talking directly about one thing, indirectly about another. Thanks.

  24. Brilliant poem, Julie! I will read it again more slowly.

    Today I have a new poem about the mother mosquito at

  25. My blog is called Crackles of Speech.

  26. I'm in with a poem by Adelaide Crapsey entitled "The Properly Scholarly Attitude".

  27. I'm fascinated by your river, and the way you have brought her to life. Beautiful.
    I'm featuring a first grade guest poet on my blog today.

  28. At first there was a haunting element to your poem. (I hadn't scrolled far enough to see the image.) Then I realized, duh, that it was about a river. Such a cool way to treat the subject. I am late to link today, but here it is. Thanks for hosting.

  29. Love your poem, the article, and the You Tube video. I like how you mentioned that inspiration can come from unpredictable sources. It would be great to share the article, pic, poem, and video with students as an example that we never know how our next writing ideas will find us.
    I'm sharing Bob Raczka'a new book concrete poems discovered in April, but not read until May.

    1. book OF concrete poems. And here's my link: