April 12, 2016

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Poetry Friday: Counting Down to 2016

Thanks to Diane Mayr
 at Random Noodling

for hosting this week's
Poetry Friday shenanigans.
Two weeks from today, we will be welcoming a new year. There are so many unexpected surprises ahead of us. But there are also events we are looking forward to. Maybe you have a wedding, a new baby in the family, or a long-planned trip that will finally happen in 2016.

For me, 2016 marks my debut as a middle grade author. It's been so much fun to share the journey from draft to final book with my Poetry Friday friends. You're all (almost) as excited as I am. How do I know that? This is what wonderful Irene Latham sent me for the Poetry Friday Holiday Swap.

A poetry collage!

The little finch card reminds me of a poem in my book where a girl is watching a cardinal and his mate prepare a nest in early spring. 

And wow -- this beautiful collage. Did Irene know there's a scene in my book where a character compares all the people in the hallways on International Night to a busy outdoor fruit and vegetable market? 

The steeple makes me think of my book's setting, in an aging school building. 

And I love how Irene used elements of THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY's cover in the collage. That's Brianna at the top right corner and Sloane near the bottom, by the button. 

I still haven't figured out what the mysterious writing says, but I'm intrigued.

Here is Irene's poem:

by Irene Latham

for Laura

Children march
through the streets
of this newly bound city,

offer their stories
like farmers at the market:
Pomegranate? Papaya?

Here a syllable, there a stanza,
soon words rise like steeples
across a white paper sky --

spring breeze tickles,
whispers, welcome,
we've been waiting for you.

Poem shared with permission of the author.

And here is an excerpt from a poem in my book, "Faces," in the voice of Norah Hassan:

... Tonight, our school
reminds me of shopping in the Old Jerusalem market.
... Fifty types of peppers to eat!
Pale green, yellow as a lemon, dark brown, red,
each with a different flavor.
On International Night,

the halls are as noisy as an outdoor market.

Thank you, Irene, for helping me celebrate my book's upcoming debut with such a beautiful poem of welcome. I'm honored!


Sally Murphy said...

at a beautiful, thoughtful gift of a poem. Lovely. And your extract makes me want more. I look forward to the book's release.

Tabatha said...

<3<3<3 What a great poem to herald your book's arrival! It's too hard to pick a favorite line, I can't. Love the serendipity of the market metaphor.

Diane Mayr said...

Irene sends such well-thought-out swap gifts! The best of luck with the debut, but from what I've been seeing on Facebook, you already have a number of fans! Happy Holidays!

Donna Smith said...

Beautiful poem - what a wonderful way to celebrate your exciting new vista in 2016!

Doraine said...

What a lovely, thoughtful gift. Just like Irene! Celebrating your gift for words and the new book's nearing arrival.

jama said...

What a special way to celebrate your new book, Laura. Love all the elements Irene pulled together for her poetry collage. :)

Buffy Silverman said...

What a delightful gift to help celebrate your new baby! Looking forward to reading the book...

Irene Latham said...

Brianna and Sloane! I was wondering what their names were. Can't wait to meet them, Laura! (I picked them because the artist's rendition reminded me of you & me!) As for the market, I love that! (The market is on my mind because one of my 2016 releases is FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market.) The mysterious writing is cut from an actual 1942 letter I picked up at a thrift shop... I love the old handwriting, how intimate and long-lasting it is -- just like poetry. So glad you like it! xo

Linda B said...

2015 has been quite a lovely year for you Laura, and now more to come. Irene's poem is a wonderful celebratory end, foretelling a new story for everyone in 2016. Loved seeing every bit.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

What a nice gift - and such a beautiful poem! I love "words rise like steeples" eloquent yet simple.

Mary Lee said...

I can't wait to read your book!!!

Carol said...

I'm on the CYBILS poetry committee this year (as is Irene)! Have been reading lots of novels in verse for the last two months. I bet the committee will be reading yours next year! Heartiest congratulations!

Violet N. said...

What a special gift! And thanks for taking us along with you on this journey!

Joyce Ray said...

Thank you for sharing this lovingly crafted poem collage, Laura. It's a treasure marking your book's debut.