Thursday, August 22, 2019


This week the Poetry Friday community is celebrating the life of Lee Bennett Hopkins at Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's The Poem Farm. I am happy to join the celebration for Lee Bennett Hopkins. Lee has been our poetry champion, a grand anthologist, and talented poet throughout the years and will remain so in years to come.

I offer my humble septercet poem written for a poet extraordinaire who entered my life years ago when I was a young teacher.


poet extraordinaire
anthology creator
grower of poem gardens

you filled many children's minds
with imaginative thoughts,
leaving your heart-print on lives

we honor your legacy
as a beloved writer
who made space for poetry
©CVarsalona, 2019

Last year, Robyn Hood Black held a Poetry Friday celebration for Lee's birthday at her blog site. I created an invitation to the party and the short poem below.

To Lee,
You have been the consummate poetry champion.
poetry passer
pens crafted thoughts on pages-
master word packer
©CVarsalona, 2018


Jone MacCulloch suggested finding a line from one of Lee Bennett Hopkins' poems and writing a new poem based on the line chosen. I am using Lee's opening line from a poem in his anthology, I Am the Book, and answering my question, "How should we promote the back-to-school hashtag, #StartStrong, for elementary school children?"

It's poem o'clock
school starts strong-
poems belong!

Ready to rock
to the beat-
Poetry's our treat!
©CV, 2019


When should we highlight poetry in the curriculum? As Lee said in I Am the Book:
It's poem o'clock.
Time for a rhyme -
or chime.
Poems are
Unlock a minute
poetry time.

This afternoon, I added my #ditty #poemsong for Michelle H. Barnes' August Ditty of the Month. It was written for my granddaughter and is about waking up in the morning. You can read my poem below but please check out the ditty video I created here.

sweet darling
behind clouds of gray
comes the sun
you to greet another day
peek-a-boo hello
©CV, 2019


  1. Poem treats and poem gardens and a lucky little granddaughter! Passing on the love of poetry to a new generation is just what Lee's legacy is all about. Happy Poetry Friday, Carol! xx

  2. Beautiful tribute to Lee, Carol. Love what you did with your poem inspired by Lee, "t's poem o'clock!" And your poem-song-video for your granddaughter takes the cake, thanks for all!

  3. Carol... You are overflowing with creativity; my goodness! Thanks for this juicy post of deliciousness 💕

  4. What a rich post you've created, Carol! I especially love the tender poem for your grand-daughter and the delightful pairing of your poem and Lee's. When isn't it "poem o'clock"?

  5. I love "grower of poem gardens." That's really what anthologies are.

  6. I thank you all for the tributes to Lee. He will be missed forever. Lee was my whole life. I am still so very heartbroken.

    1. Charles, thank you for stopping by to reminisce with me. It is an unexpected honor to hear from you. Lee was an amazing man and poet with such a wonderful smile and personality. Each time I met him at a conference, he always took time to talk. I have been inspired by him since my early days as a teacher. May your memories bring you much joy in the years to come. I know that Lee's words and poetry will continue to influence my life.

    2. Charles, We all hold you close. You knew him best. His heart had more love than most. We who knew him benefitted, but he loved you most. Thinking of you. He was the best.
      Janet Clare F.

  7. It will not stop being "poem o'clock", Carol, because everyone will continue sharing Lee's poetry love from many, many books. You've given us a beautiful collection of words to remember him. Thank you!

  8. Thank you for you beautiful words, especially "grower of poem gardens." How true!

  9. Carol I love all your poems. I am working on one that is the same as you chose from I Am the Book. It's poem time! Always. Yours all sing! Heartfelt tribute to Lee.
    Janet Clare F.

  10. You have shared so many gorgeous poems here today Carol. I adore both versions of It's poem o'clock.
    Your little granddaughter is lucky to have you for a grandmother! Last week I took my two year old granddaughter out for the day and while we were driving she was singing songs to herself in the back seat. Moments like that are irreplaceable.

  11. A lovely group of poems and tribute, Carol! I especially love the line, "leaving your heart-print on lives." Isn't that what we all want our poems to do? And hurray that your granddaughter continues to inspire poetry!

  12. Lee certainly did leave an awfully large heart-print on the world. Today is going to be a round the clock Poem o'clock for sure!

  13. Your post is so full of joy and life, Carol, each poem. Thank you for sharing all and for the countless ways you connect youngsters - students and grand-girls alike - to wordplay and poetry. That's the heart of what Lee always did, after all. XO

  14. What a celebration! I adore, 'It's Poem O'clock.' We all can enjoy Lee forever because of his words in print. Isn't that amazing and wonderful?

  15. I love your first stanza of "Poem O'Clock!" What a wonderful tribute post!

  16. Carol, so much to love in all your lines today. I think my favorite is "...leaving your heart-print on lives..." But the peek-a-boo hello for sweet Sierra is a close second. I'll watch the ditty video later when I'm not in a public setting! The Poem O'Clock poems (yours and Lee's) remind me of the fun Jack and I have with rhyming words (real and nonsense).

  17. What a plenitude of poetry for Lee! I like the heart-print also, and your stay-strong poem is my favorite.

  18. Carol, there is so much love in this post! I love "Poem O'Clock" and the poem for your granddaughter (from one of my favorite Beatles songs) is so sweet. Thank you for sharing!

  19. What a lovely tribute bursting with creativity. Thank you for sharing all of it--from leaving heart-prints on the world to poem 9'clock to Sierra's peek-a-boo.

  20. I've always loved Lee's phrase, "poem o'clock," and I'm sure he'd love what you did with his words, Carol.

  21. I love "poem o-clock" and also "leaving your heart-print on lives." What lovely poems and a wonderful tribute. Your poem for your granddaughter is really sweet. Thanks for sharing all these wonders.

  22. Thank you for a wonderful tribute to Lee. "A grower of poem gardens..." swoon..

  23. I love seeing your take on "poem o'clock" alongside Lee's original poem. Yes, he was a grower of poem gardens and a tender of poets too.