The Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup! Wasn’t it thoughtful of April to begin on a Thursday this year, so we have five Fridays to celebrate National Poetry Month? There are number of amazing poetry projects happening at blogs around the Kidlitosphere. You can find a roundup of them at Susan Bruck’s lovely blog, Soul Blossom Living.

I’m taking a bit of a detour from my Writing Wild project, inspired by Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shaped How We See the Natural World, by Kathryn Aalto. Each day in April, I have written a poem inspired by one of the 25 trailblazing women profiled in Aalto’s book. Because there are 30 days in April, I chose another four authors recommended by Aalto. For today’s post, my inspiration comes from Padma Venkatraman, an author not included in Aalto’s book, but one who I think embodies the spirit of the other writers. I also wanted to diversify the list to include more writers of Asian descent.

Padma Venkatraman trained as an oceanographer and now writes middle-grade and YA fiction as well as poetry for young people. Her beautiful, inspiring 2019 middle-grade novel, The Bridge Home, won the Walter Dean Myers Award and two of her poems appeared in this month’s issue of Poetry Magazine. In addition, she just launched “Diverse Verse… a website and a resource for educators and diverse poets and verse novelists.”

Today’s poem is my response to Venkatraman’s poetry prompt recently posted on Ethical ELA. In her introduction to the prompt, she stated that “as a writer who cares about young people, I feel compelled to preserve hope in the face of [hate crimes against Asians]. She challenged poets to write “a short poem dedicated to hope in defiance of hate.” Here is a draft of my response.

Finding Our Way

Can we agree we’ve gone astray?
Lost sight of treasures untold.
Our map’s completely upside down
from chasing too much gold.

Some creatures are gone; they won’t return.
But we can change this course.
Protect each species; keep them safe
And learn from our remorse.

Recognize your neighbors.
Know and say their names.
They’re living beings, just like you,
treat everyone the same.

The world keeps changing bit by bit.
We all can do our part
to make the world a better place.
The change starts in your heart.

Draft © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Previous Writing Wild posts:

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper
Day 3: Gene Stratton-Porter
Day 4: Mary Austin
Day 5: Vita Sackville-West
Day 6: Nan Shepherd
Day 7: Rachel Carson
Day 8: Mary Oliver
Day 9: Carolyn Merchant
Day 10: Annie Dillard
Day 11: Gretel Ehrlich
Day 12: Leslie Marmon Silko
Day 13: Diane Ackerman
Day 14: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Day 15: Lauret Savoy
Day 16: Rebecca Solnit
Day 17: Kathleen Jamie
Day 18: Carolyn Finney
Day 19: Helen Macdonald
Day 20: Saci Lloyd
Day 21: Andrea Wulf

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48 thoughts on “The Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!

  1. Thanks for rounding us up! I’m so excited to hear about Diverse Verse — we need this SO much! There is so much truth in your poem, and it’s so accessible. Perfect for kids (of all ages). We each need to start with that internal work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for spotlighting Padma this week. Will look for The Bridge Home and visit the Diverse Verse website. Enjoyed your poem; third stanza is my favorite . Change starts one on one; we all have a role in fostering a sense of community. Thanks for hosting this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Catherine, Happy Earth Day! Yes, it was extraordinarily thoughtful of April to give us five Fridays. Padma Vekentramen is a wonderful choice to highlight today. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at Highlights and introducing her to my students. She has such an amazing knowledge the expertise to bring to her writing. I’m sure that’s why my students love her books so much. I look forward to her newest book. Thanks to much for hosting today! I’ve so enjoyed your project — even though I have a few days to catch up on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a lovely poem for today, for every day, Catherine. I am hopeful that our voices will be heard as we support President Biden’s plans for action. I just saw about Padma’s new “Diverse Verse” today. It’s a wonderful idea and program that all of us will benefit from and love. I loved The Bridge Home & many other of the books that are featured. Thanks very much for hosting. Happy Earth Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for hosting Catherine. I like the inspiration for your writing project.Those wonderful wild writers and their connection to nature. I have read Nan Shepherd’s book, The Living Mountain.’ She is indeed an inspiration. I have no doubt the other writers in your list have similar qualities. Annie Dillard for one, is a personal inspiration. Your poem having drawn its inspiration from the writing of Padma Venkatraman has universal appeal and much current applicability.Your words provoke thought and reflection. Your efforts are appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Catherine, thank you for introducing me to Padma and sharing the link to her website. It is important to emphasize that “We all can do our part/to make the world a better place.” Change is needed in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for hosting, Catherine and for the introduction to Padma and her book. I look forward to her perusing her website. Your poem resonates as a call to action for all of us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for hosting, Catherine. I had the pleasure of meeting Padma at the Highlights Foundation a few years ago. She is such a warm, inviting, and talented writer. Happy to see her highlighted here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good morning Catherine. I’m fond of Padma’s work, so thank you for highlighting it here. Your poem is an important reminder. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Catherine, thanks for hosting today, and for introducing me to Padma and her website. Your poem is thoughtful and thought-provoking.
    (I’m having trouble posting this comment. Hope you don’t get duplicates.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Catherine, Thank you for hosting. I appreciate knowing about Padma and her turn of careers (I can relate to that.) Your poem is a beautiful, utopic expression of how humans should behave. Thank you for sharing it. I’ve already started to wonder what I would write in response to Padma’s challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Catherine, thank you for hosting, for sharing Padma Venkatraman with us today, and for the poem you wrote in response to her prompt. As I read it, a quote from Aldo Leopold came to my mind. He said (and I paraphrase), “We cannot love that which we do not know.”

    “Recognize your neighbors. / Know and say their names.”

    Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Padma is such a powerful voice for change, in her books and through her activism. I love the opening line of your poem, “Can we agree we’ve gone astray.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks so much for hosting this week, Catherine, and for introducing me to so many amazing trailblazers this month! I was especially struck by the opening question in your poem: “Can we agree we’ve gone astray?”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Catherine! Thank you for hosting us so graciously. I especially like your couplet about the map being upside down! i just got my 2nd COVID shot and am feeling like lying down. Looking forward to reading everyone’s poems later!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lovely, Catherine. What a perfect poem for the times in which we live. I love the close:

    “to make the world a better place.
    The change starts in your heart.”

    I look forward to checking out the poems you mentioned by Venkatraman. You certainly have me learning a lot this month!!! Thank you for hosting today’s Poetry Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your poem hits just the right notes, Catherine. I love the specificity and directness of the third stanza especially. Thanks for hosting this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. That’s a wonderful prompt–and I love your response to it. And you’ve inspired me to write a poem from that prompt, too, although not today. I’m really enjoying your NPM project!
    Thanks for hosting this week, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for hosting, Catherine! I enjoyed meeting this wonderful writer, and your poem! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Like

  20. […] Day 1: Dorothy WordsworthDay 2: Susan Fenimore CooperDay 3: Gene Stratton-PorterDay 4: Mary AustinDay 5: Vita Sackville-WestDay 6: Nan ShepherdDay 7: Rachel CarsonDay 8: Mary OliverDay 9: Carolyn MerchantDay 10: Annie DillardDay 11: Gretel EhrlichDay 12: Leslie Marmon SilkoDay 13: Diane AckermanDay 14: Robin Wall KimmererDay 15: Lauret SavoyDay 16: Rebecca SolnitDay 17: Kathleen JamieDay 18: Carolyn FinneyDay 19: Helen MacdonaldDay 20: Saci LloydDay 21: Andrea WulfDay 22: Padma Venkatraman […]

    Like

  21. “Know and say their names.” Yes. It starts with each one of us. Thanks for this, Catherine, and I’m eager to check out Padma’s work and Diverse Verse, too. Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi, Catherine, and thanks from me also for hosting during this busy month. I love your choice to add Padma to your list of Writing Wild Women…and I too am excited to see how her new project unfolds. Your poem is heartfelt and straightforward. Love wins.

    Liked by 1 person

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