Friday, May 22, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Praise and Amazement

This week, I received a digital ARC of Irene Latham's September book, This Poem is a Nest.

At first, all I could say was, WOW. Over and over again. Wow. Wow. WOW. I said it to the publicist at Wordsong, and then I said it to Irene. She responded, "No project I’ve worked on has been more exhilarating than that one. Just me being me."

Irene being Irene means she wrote a poem...a "nest"....and then found ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-ONE other poems..."nestling poems"....inside that "nest!" I. Can't. Even. I'm still gobsmacked.

Here is a portion of her nest, and a few of the nestlings she wrote. These are used with permission of the publisher.

I gave it a try using a poem I wrote for my 2020 NPM project as my nest.

I Have a New Friend

I have a new friend.
We've never met.
She chalks art and exercise challenges on the sidewalk.
She leaves the chalk out.
I write and draw my thanks.
Her chalk sticks became a pile of chalk pebbles.
I left a package on her porch --
Highlights magazines and gently used sidewalk chalk.
She left a package on my porch --
coloring pages, crayons and markers, four Cra-Z-Loom bracelets.
And a note.
I have a new friend named Annie.
We've never met.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

Here are some nestlings. Titles don't have to be found inside the nest, but the words of the nestling have to all come from the nest and have to be used in the order they're found in the nest.

Art Exercise

Draw a porch
a package
a note
a new friend.

My Favorite Squirrel Leaves a Message

Pile of pebbles on porch and sidewalk.
A note:
we've met.

Setting Sun

On the leaves, 
the sticks,
a pile of pebbles--

Try it! It's addicting and not at all easy. But most of all, get excited for September when we can hold a copy of Irene's newest wonder in our hands!

Carol has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink, and next week, the roundup is here!


  1. Mary Lee, I received the ARC too...but haven't read it yet. I am amazed at the idea for this book and the final product. Irene is just doing amazing things with poetry. I love your nestling poems from I have a new friend. You make me want to run to my notebook. Alas, I have one more zoom meeting before I can.

  2. "My Favorite Squirrel Leaves a Message." LOVE!!! So much fun. And THANK YOU THANK YOU. I'm so attached to this book... it feels so so personal... which is why I guess your response leaves me misty eyed and breathless. That you've taken the idea and run with it to write your own poems (from your poems) is exactly the hope. xo

  3. I cannot wait to read this book. Thank you for the sneak peek. And keep going, ML, keep going! xxxx

  4. I am looking forward to this one very much. And now that you've given this 'taste', know it will be wonderful, Mary Lee. Love that you started your own 'nest', a new form from Irene?

  5. Wow, that does sound incredible! Can't wait to read it!

  6. I love this post!!!

  7. This idea is fascinating. What an interesting idea to play around with and I look forward to this book coming out.

  8. What an amazing concept! I'm definitely going to try this and I'll be purchasing Irene's book as well. It sounds like a wonderful mentor for students about how to mine their own stories for more ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. I. Just. Couldn't. Even. read all about it earlier this month (or was it last month?). The idea was too fabulous and overwhelming to dwell on! Now I can't wait to read, can't wait to try!

  10. Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow. I am missing out on so much, over here in Australia. You all have so many wonderful opportunities to play with your poetry for publication - and to revel in each others' endless creativity. I want to be there sharing it all with you! And I really want to have and hold this book, because it just speaks Irene. #yearning (And love how it has inspired you, too!)

  11. Your excitement in the review is palatable, Mary Lee. Anything by Irene is a gem, but this new title seems like the next level. I am SO looking forward to getting a chance to read it. :)

  12. You've wowed me with this post -- so I can only imagine how fabulous the entire book is! Thanks for the sample poems and for your own nestlings. Irene is on such a roll this year with new books!!

  13. Mary Lee, thank you for sharing Irene's new book. It looks fabulous-a book that we will all want to read. I also loved your poems and the nest you built for them. I think I should try nesting soon.

  14. Mmm, more wows for Irene and her wonderful nestling poem, new book, and the "blue gemstones precious as any long-buried pirate's plunder." And for Mary Lee's rich post and your own nestling poems. Love that nestling squirrel poem, thanks Mary Lee!

  15. Gobsmacked is right! Irene's new book looks and sounds amazing. I can't wait to get a copy. Thank you for giving us a peek, and for sharing your own "nestlings."

  16. Can't wait for this... thanks so much, Mary Lee, for showcasing & adding your own magic, and thank YOU, Irene, for building this poetry nest! XO

  17. When I read the announcement for this book, I was stunned at how brilliant the idea was--and I SO wished I had thought of it first. Brilliant! I can't wait to read Irene's book--this taste is awesome. I also enjoyed your nestlings. Thanks for sharing!

  18. I, too, am gobsmacked at this new book from Irene. I love how you have tried it out. Your little poems are just delightful. I am inspired to try it after reading your post.

  19. This looks amazing! Can't wait to get it in September. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Wow is right! Such a clever concept—seems Irene has upped her game yet again. I love how you took the ball and ran with it, Mary Lee. I also appreciated your comment on Tabatha's blog post about your latest exchange with Annie. What a special relationship you're nurturing together. :)


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