Poetry Friday: Celebrating Janet Wong

In case you haven’t heard, Janet Wong received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry at NCTE’s virtual gathering last weekend! Hooray! Congratulations, Janet! As Poetry Friday regulars know, Janet is a champion of poetry for children. Along with Sylvia Vardell, she created Pomelo Books, and published the acclaimed Poetry Friday Anthology series, as well as many collections specifically designed to help teachers bring poetry into the lives of students. She has published countless volumes of her own poetry, including my favorite, A Suitcase of Seaweed. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.

I have had the good fortune to meet Janet on several occasions. She is the friendliest, most generous of humans, and I am forever grateful to her for the nurturing support she has given to me as poet.

Janet has written many incredible poems throughout her career, but I don’t think this one can be shared often enough.

Please be sure to visit Carol at Carol’s Corner for the Poetry Friday Roundup. Stay safe, everyone!

Poetry Friday: An Aubade

Every month, one member of my critique group poses a challenge for us to respond to. I love how these challenges push me, and am always astonished at where some of these poems lead. This month, Linda challenged us to write an aubade, “a poem or piece of music appropriate to the dawn or early morning.”

As I said, these challenges always lead in unexpected directions. I struggled to come up with a way into this poem. Then, while I was walking one morning, the phrase “brittle blue sky” came into my mind and became the key to this draft.

This painting, which I found through Google Arts & Culture, also helped this draft come together:

Two Women Bathing
Carl Holty1948/1950, Georgia Museum of Art

How long has it been 
since we last went to the lake?
Twenty years? More?
It feels like yesterday
when we woke to the cry of loons,
whispers of the water kissing the rocky beach,
patches of light filtering through wispy pines

The sky brightens,
and my dream dissolves
into a patchwork of green and gold pixels.

The lake recedes into memory,
scattered among my worries 
of today.

Outside, jays squawk and squabble,
and the maple is a shock of scarlet
Against a brittle blue sky.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2020

Please be sure to visit my fellow Sunday Night Swaggers to read their aubades:

Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little Universe
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone

Then stop by and say hello to Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living for the Poetry Friday Roundup.