Thursday, July 09, 2020

Poetry Friday: Welcome to the Poetry Party

Welcome, fellow poetry lovers! I'm excited to welcome you to my blog to share your links. I have been participating in Poetry Friday for thirteen years, and yet this is the first time I have hosted. It's not that I didn't want to invite all of you over, it's just that I have always feared technical difficulties. My internet here in Haiti is slow and often unreliable, so I offer that in advance as an explanation if it takes a little bit before you see your link here. Please leave it in the comments. Moderation is enabled, so you won't see your comment right away, but I will get to it as fast as I can, and round up everybody's contributions the old-fashioned way in the body of this post. I guess this is the Poetry Friday version of giving you instructions about the dish you brought to share at a real-life party, with food and music and conversation - remember those? Put it over there on the table. Do you have something to serve it with? Looks delicious! Thanks so much for coming! 

As I tried to decide what I myself would bring to the feast, I started looking for poems about parties, the analog kind. I found some fun ones, like Adrienne Su lamenting that her guests have thrown away her non-disposable chopsticks. (Please, don't do that at my house. Like Adrienne's, our chopsticks are reusable, and we do use them, several times a week. This year my daughter is living in a house where we've never been with people we've never met, and my husband and I contributed a couple of packages of reusable chopsticks to their kitchen because that's just civilized.)

After the Dinner Party
by Adrienne Su

Dropping napkins, corks, and non-compostables
into the trash, I see that friends have mistaken
my everyday chopsticks for disposables

helpfully discarding them alongside inedibles:
pork bones, shrimp shells, bitter melon.
Among napkins and corks, they do look compostable:

off-white, wooden, warped from continual
washing - no lacquer, no ornament. But anyone
who thinks these chopsticks are disposable

doesn't live with chopsticks in the comfortable
way of a favorite robe, oversized, a bit broken.

Here's the rest.

And here's one by Jason Shinder:

The Party
by Jason Shinder

And that's how it is; everyone standing up from the big silence

of the table with their glasses of certainty and plates of forgiveness
and walking into the purple kitchen; everyone leaning away from the gas stove

Marie blows on at the very edge of the breaking blue-orange-lunging-

forward flames to warm another pot of coffee...

Here's the rest.

I really miss hanging out with people. On Wednesday morning as my husband and I were perusing Facebook together before starting our day, I commented to him that a lot of our friends were saying (usually in anniversary paeans) that their spouse was the one person in all the world they would have chosen to be quarantined with. I assured him that I feel that way too, but that while he is great and all, and I'm so happy that I picked him and had kids with him and ultimately ended up with him in this Year of our Lord 2020 when we are all locked indoors for many a month, I am extremely ready for some hanging out time with others. So again I say, welcome, welcome! Stay a while and chat! Share your writing or that of others that you've been appreciating lately! Share lots of words; I am totally up for that. In fact, you may have trouble leaving, as I'm likely to step outside with you in the moonlight and detain you in the driveway for just a few more minutes of conversation.

I'm organizing your contributions on the buffet table according to when they show up, from Thursday afternoon when this post goes live (hi, friends from Australia, plus anyone else who just likes to get a head start) until Friday night.


Our first guest is all the way from Switzerland! Welcome, Bridget Magee! She has brought a whole platter of goodies, what she calls "Writer's Retreat Wee-Sources." No matter where you are, these are opportunities to write in community, and boy, do we need that right now!

April Halprin Wayland arrived next, and even though her link doesn't go live until tomorrow morning, I'm going to post it here on the appetizer table. I'll visit it in the morning and update you on it further - all I know now is that she's going to share a tip from anthologist and poet extraordinaire, Lee Bennett Hopkins. I'm sure it will be delicious! Here's the link, for tomorrow.  (I was right - it's a good one! Check it out!)

Every Thursday I see Margaret Simon's "This Photo Wants to be a Poem" feature as kind of an introduction to Poetry Friday. Here's today's beautiful inspiration - a Bedouin bride! 

Michelle Kogan stopped by with some James Baldwin to share. She's been reading his poem "Staggerlee Wonders," and then she wrote her response to it. This is challenging fare, but we need it. Here's Michelle's post.

Tabatha's sharing wonderful poetry swaps! Thanks, Tabatha! (She's also brought a pitcher of blueberry-chamomile lemonade after "accidentally" buying 17 lemons. Accidentally, Tabatha? You're not going to share the story after that intriguing hint?) Update: I begged Tabatha to explain further, and here's what she said in the comments: "Sorry, Ruth! I get a box of fruit and veg every week from a place that sells ugly produce, and when I opened the box yesterday, it had SO MANY LEMONS in it. They just kept coming. I thought I was ordering three lemons, but I actually ordered three sets of five. Ha ha?? (I also had two in my Whole Foods delivery order -- forgot that I had ordered some already -- and I already had one. So my total is 18.) Guess I'm starting a lemonade stand!"

What could be more delicious than a villanelle? That's what Janice Scully is sharing this week!


I woke up to an inbox full of poems! That sure is better than the scrolling of the news that often starts my day.  Welcome, friends!

Little Willow always brings intriguing dishes to the party, and this week is no exception, even though as always I have problems commenting on her blog.  Here's her contribution!

Matt's generosity to the potluck leaves me reeling - he's brought wild berry shortcake with homemade biscuits, plus homemade mac and cheese, plus a mac and cheese poem! Enjoy the bounty!

Linda has a bunch of what she calls "clunker lines," but let me tell you, folks, there are some with great potential! Take one of hers and leave one of your own! She also has a lovely poetry swap. Take a taste!

Myra's brought a whole buffet of her own, with links to ten favorite PF posts from the time Gathering Books has been participating - since 2011!

I'm running into Carol Varsalona everywhere this week! She sent me a poetry swap (which I'm going to be sharing next week), we both contributed to This Photo Wants to be a Poem (see the link on the Appetizer table), and now she's brought a dish to pass at my party! Here it is! 

Welcome to Kat, first to show up from the Australian contingent! She's sharing poetry swaps today, too!

Linda's in with a sad reflection on the gun violence that shattered the July 4th holiday weekend. We share your grief, Linda.

Laura's got more swaps - that seems to be a theme this week! She's receiving from Margaret Simon, and she's responding with a poem of her own.

Whew. I need to sit down for a moment after all those posts and all those exclamation marks in my roundup. Keep the links coming and I'll be back to add them!

Oops! Before I sit down, I just realized I almost overlooked Mary Lee's contribution to the buffet table. She wrote an In One Word poem with the word FALLIBILITY.  It's perfect as the teachers among us (and there are many) look forward to the coming school year with a mixture of fear and hope.

BRUNCH (Friday mid-morning)

Margaret Simon tried out Irene Latham's nestling technique shown in Irene's new book "This Poem is a Nest." I can't wait to get my hands on that book, and I love Margaret's take on the idea, too! See what you think here!

Tim Gels wrote about a hike, and I have to say I am a bit jealous. It sounds so beautiful and restorative! Thanks, Tim!

Amy's sharing a beautiful moment that broke through sadness for her this week. I can't agree more with her assessment that "This is the power of paying attention...and too, the power of writing." You can enjoy Amy's moment here.

(By the way, Tabatha reappeared in the comments, explaining more about how she "accidentally" bought so many lemons, which she then turned into lemonade. Read all about it in the comments, or up on the appetizer table, where I cut and pasted it.)

MAIN DISHES (Friday afternoon)

Karen Edmisten shares a haiku about parties and laments that she and her family weren't able to celebrate her daughter's home-school graduation with proper fanfare. So sorry, Karen! I hope you're able to make up for it in the future!

Carol has two original poems today at her site The Apples in My Orchard. Maybe she'll bring some apples too? Cider? Apple butter?

Jane is going funny and light-hearted today, with a poem that was a favorite of mine as a child, and she sort of sounds like she's apologizing for it at first. I've been there, Jane - but I agree with you that we need funny and light-hearted more now than ever! Thanks for the laugh!

Rose has an original poem today, based, like Margaret Simon's above, on Irene Latham's new book. So cool, and I can imagine doing this with students, too. Here it is.

DESSERTS (Friday evening)

I never ate green beans for dessert, but I may have to start, since the last post I got yesterday was this one from Susan Bruck praising green beans! Thanks, Susan!

And hey, I just visited Irene Latham's blog and saw that she posted yesterday too, and there are strawberries involved!

Thank you, everyone, for coming to the party! I hope you enjoy perusing all the poems and leave lots of encouraging comments wherever you go. Have a wonderful weekend!


Bridget Magee said...

Thank you for hosting the party, Ruth! I, too, very much love and adore my hubby and daughter, but I miss people - coffee talk, driveway talk, scraping the plates talk! (pay attention to those chopsticks!) I'd really like to actually see (and hug!) my family in the US again - not through a screen. *sigh*
Today I brought to the party a heaping dish of Writer's Retreat Wee-Sources.
Prost! (cheers in Deutsch)

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hello, Ruth ~ thank you for inviting all of us to your cozy home. I'm wondering if I should have brought an umbrella; I hear it's the rainy season in Haiti! I'm wearing shorts in sunny Manhattan Beach, CA [imagine a sun emoji here]

I love all these cool decorations! Jason Shindler's poem was the one that struck me, the one I immediately emailed to my friend. Thank you.

We at TeachingAuthors are starting a round sharing a favorite piece of writing advice. I'm sharing a tip Lee Bennett Hopkins told's short and sweet and it's served me well!
(link goes live on Friday morning in the USA)

Love to all!

My post goes live on Friday morning in the USA.

Michelle Kogan said...

Hi Ruth, thanks for throwing this lovely shin-dig and hosting the roundup today! Nice to have a summer party to drop in on with delicious poetry on the menu. As I've been busy teaching and advertising my summer classes I haven't had much downtime, but sure would enjoy more actual people as opposed to one's on screens. Though I'm happy to have work, family in my home, and health!

My post is all about James Baldwin, a poem of his, STAGGERLEE WONDERS, and a poem of mine that reflects his poem:

ps thanks for the lovely flowers too! xo

Tabatha said...

Hi Ruth! Thank you for that gracious welcome. I accidentally bought 17 lemons today (true story) so I brought some blueberry-chamomile lemonade. And apple butter muffins.
Oh yeah, and a post: Sharing some swaps.

Janice Scully said...

Hi Ruth! I enjoyed your party from the lovely poems-- to your discussion of missing friends, a feeling I share very deeply now. It's fortunate indeed when you like the person you are quarantined with, I feel lucky, but miss other family I can't see. Thank you for hosting. I am sharing a vilanelle about a haunted vacation at

Little Willow said...

Hi there! Thanks for hosting. I posted selected lines from Control by Rae Armantrout at my blog, Bildungsroman:

Linda Mitchell said...

Hello Ruth!

Thank you for such a lovely party. I'm afraid all I could bring today is a bunch of old clunker lines. Perhaps your guests will know what to do with them. They are on a heaping platter at:

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Thanks for hosting this lovely party, Ruth! I love the poems AND your generosity with the Menu! I was picking wild black raspberries today, so I brought some wild berry shortcake with homemade biscuits. Oh, and homemade Mac 'n Cheese, as well, since I'm celebrating National Macaroni and Cheese Day a little early:

author amok said...

Hi, Ruth. Thank you so much for hosting this week. I was just thinking about dinner parties -- all of the planning, the joy of conversation. I'm enjoying the poems you shared.

I am posting about the summer poetry swap. My first partner was Margaret Simon, who sent me a handmade book with two original poem treats inside. Did she know we have resident turtles in our yard?

Linda Kulp Trout said...

Hi Ruth! Thank you for hosting and for hosting this week. I'm in this week with and original poem about a sad reality.

KatApel - said...

How lovely to be made feel so welcome. And you've certainly made me hungry with all that talk of good food and conversation! I'm sharing a taste of Australian-America (or is that American-Australia?) on my blog, with a poem by Tricia Stohr-Hunt for the poetry swap, inspired by Dorothea Mackellar's 'My Country'. It's a treat! Thanks for hosting.:)

Carol Varsalona said...

Thanks for the party invitation, Ruth. I am glad that I sent you a hostess present early and so pleased that you appreciated the email surprise. This afternoon, I took part in Margaret Simon's challenge. Lo and behold you joined after me so I got three chances to greet you this week. One via email with my Summer Poetry Swap, one at Margaret's bog, and one at my Poetry Friday post. Balancing My Days:

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Ruth. Thank you for hosting this week. Here is my link:

Mary Lee said...

What a glorious buffet! The Jason Shinder poem hurts my heart. I miss our little kitchen crowded with people who would rather be standing in there than sitting in the living room, our kitchen table with friends elbow-to-elbow, passing bowls, laughing, talking...sigh.

Thank you for rounding us up. It's been so fun to have several weeks in a row of "old-school" roundups. They are time-consuming, but so much more personalized. I appreciate all the work/fun you will have today!

I tried one of April Halprin Wayland's IN ONE WORD poems this week, using the word FALLIBILITY.

Margaret Simon said...

Thanks for hosting this lovely party. I'll be sure to clean the chopsticks and not throw them away. I'm here with a review or Irene Latham's book "This Poem is a Nest" along with my own attempt at writing a nestling.

Tabatha said...

Sorry, Ruth! I get a box of fruit and veg every week from a place that sells ugly produce, and when I opened the box yesterday, it had SO MANY LEMONS in it. They just kept coming. I thought I was ordering three lemons, but I actually ordered three sets of five. Ha ha?? (I also had two in my Whole Foods delivery order -- forgot that I had ordered some already -- and I already had one. So my total is 18.) Guess I'm starting a lemonade stand!

Tim said...

Thank you, Ruth, for hosting and for sharing these wonderful works.

I'm sharing a poem about a walk I took yesterday. I've posted it at Yet There is Method.

Amy LV said...

Thank you for this gathering, Ruth. Jason Shinder's poem split me open a little. I am going to copy the words into my notebook. And I save all chopsticks, using them again and again. Thank you for inviting us to your place this week - it does feel like a party.

Over at The Poem Farm, I have a little poem about sadness and breaking through sadness.


Karen Edmisten said...

Ruth, thanks for hosting this lovely, day-long party. :) What a treat. I love what you've done with the place. :)

I'm in with a haiku from John Brandi. It has the same feeling as the Jason Shinder piece you shared, I think.

The link is here.

Carol said...

Thank you for hosting! Your post made me hungry! And, hopeful for gatherings in the future. Here is my contribution for Poetry Friday:
Thanks, again!

Jane @ said...

It's Friday afternoon here, so I guess my little ditty is a lunch time offering! I am such a people person, and oh my goodness have I been missing social interactions these past few months. I love my hubby to bits as well, but how I long to talk to someone else! :)

Rose Cappelli said...

Thanks for hosting, Ruth! I hope I'm not too late to the party. Here is the link to my post:

Susan Bruck said...

Thanks for hosting, Ruth! I enjoyed your party poems--and I miss other people,too. Although after being back at school for the past 2 weeks, I'm feeling much better in that regard.I also picked the first green bean from my garden--and ate it. So my green bean poems fit in with your dinner party theme (but there's not really enough to share just yet--in a few weeks, though....).

jan godown annino said...

Hello from a late arriving guest, Ruth.

I'm munching a bit of your thoughtful gather-poetry & a bit of images & slurping up the juicy check-ins from the Poetry Friday nourishers.
This slyly clever buffet set-up is not only delicious & nutritious, but, expeditious. I'm glad to see our sweet family of poem-readers & poem-writers together.

Alas, I don't have a 10 July post to share. I've been lazy regarding social media.
But at the same time I'm partying with family (#saferathome)
We cheer very important July birthdays on these days: 4,5,7, 11,20, 25,27.
So much wonderful. And soon, three upcoming family cake days in August, too.
I do expect to share a new poem this week at Bookseedstudio, with a photo.
Yes, I better do this ~~ I'm the 17 July Poetry Friday host.

Your first P.F. hosting has set a high standard & I love that.