Poetry Friday: Poetry Angels

In my never-ending effort to reduce the stacks of New Yorkers and The Horn Book tucked away in various corners of my house, I’ve started purging. It’s a slow process. I can’t just toss these compact containers of wisdom and goodness. So I skim the table of contents, scan a review or two, succumb to Newbery acceptance speeches from years gone by. This is how I stumbled upon a short piece by Jane Yolen recalling her correspondence with Nancy Willard. Their collection of poetry, Among Angels, was the result of this “rather delicious correspondence.” (The Horn Book, March/April 2009, p. 162)

Willard’s Newbery winning book, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn (Harcourt Brace, 1981) was published the year my son was born. And although I read to him from the day we came home from the hospital, William Blake’s Inn didn’t capture my attention until several years later when I went back to school to get my teaching certificate. Of course I loved it immediately and have shared it with students ever since. (My favorite poem, “Two Sunflowers Move Into the Yellow Room,” seems particularly poignant today.) Still, I’m embarrassed to confess that I wasn’t aware of Willard’s poetry for adults until I read Yolen’s piece earlier this week. 

After spending just a few hours reading what Willard poems are available online, I’m in awe of her keen observation, metaphor, and wisdom. My favorite so far is “In the Salt Marsh.” Unfortunately, I can’t find the printed text to share, but here is a video version.

Jane’s reminiscence also inspired me to create this found poem:

send poems
holding light
watching shadows
like cascading rain
a tale
sublime love.

Let’s all send poems of sublime love to the people of Ukraine today. And then be sure to visit Tricia Stohr-Hunt for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: A LaMiPoFri* Golden Shovel

It’s been an interesting week and I don’t really have a good excuse not to have written a poem earlier. Still, here we are on Friday morning and I’m just pulling this together, so please be patient with my very drafty last minute Poetry Friday offering. I found the strike line for this Golden Shovel in The Birmingham Arts Journal, Vol. 17, Issue 2.

“Every one of us is an artist by default, reinventing the world each time we remember something.”

Ben Brantley

Each and every

day, I have at least one

thought that wants to become a poem. Of

course, only a small fraction of them actually make the journey from pen to page. Experts tell us

to write every day, that this is

 the only way to hone our craft, to become an


But I’m not sure. By

letting ideas simmer on a default

setting deep in my brain, ideas are morphing, reinventing

themselves into something new. When the 

time is right, they will alert me they’re ready to go out into the world.

I give each

possibility the time

it deserves. Some are compliant and yielding; others kick my butt. Yet we

always arrive at a solution that pleases us both. Whatever the outcome, I have to remember

this process always teaches me something.

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

Please be sure to visit Laura Purdie Salas for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Poetry Friday: Fractals, Fibonacci, and Beyond

It’s the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for another Inkling challenge. This month I challenged my fellow Inklings to “Write a mathematical poem, such as a fib, pi poem, nonet, etc. Feel free to interpret this challenge in any way that feels right for you. Have fun!”

There are a seemingly infinite number of types of mathematical poems, and an argument could be made that every poem that has a regular meter, rhyme scheme, or line count is a mathematical poem. I had every intention of stretching myself and trying a new form, but as January unfolded, it became clear that my mental capacity was limited to using a familiar form. Fib (short for Fibonacci) poems are my favorite math form to write, so I decided to stick with that form.

Still, wanting to push past the familiar, I searched for a math-related topic. I wasn’t having much luck until earlier this week when my son’s girlfriend posted images of sound waves. This sparked a memory of seeing a demonstration of a Chladni plate. Rather than try to explain this, here’s a demonstration.

This all took me down a rabbit hole of how the patterns created on the Chladni plate are related to fractals, and how both are related to the Fibonacci sequence. There are cool images of Chladni plate creations and similar images generated from sound waves all over the web. (Visit Resonantia to view just one of these amazing projects.) After just scratching the surface of all this math and science, this fib poem draft emerged. The second half of the poem is a reverse fib, working back to one syllable.

time and space
ripples radiate
expand in every direction
then shift, create a kaleidoscope of infinite
shapes, each small segment an echo
of the whole, repeating
on and on

Draft © Catherine Flynn, 2022

Find out how the other Inklings responded to this challenge by visiting them:

Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little Universe
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone

Then be sure to stop by Elisabeth Norton’s blog, Unexpected Intersections, for the Poetry Friday Roundup.