Thursday, January 30, 2020

Postcard Collecting

Collecting postcards has been part of my practice for many years. Many of my  postcards are dated between 1904 and 1914, the time period when "postcard collecting caught the national eye." I am a postcard collector, a delitologist, who really enjoys the feel and look of antique and vintage ephemera. Over the past few years, I have added to my Victorian and vintage postcard collection with poetry postcards. 

Last week, after posting that I received more poetry postcards, some new ones were delivered by my friendly postman. The three that arrived were sent by Poetry Friday friends.

Diane Mayr created a Year of the Rat poetry postcard for both the calendar and lunar New Year's celebrations.

Molly Hogan offered this beautiful photograph and inspirational poem.  

Christie Wyman mailed this wonderful poem on waiting for the falling snow to come.

I wish to extend my thanks to all my poetry friends who sent me their original poetry postcards. Each was unique and beautifully rendered. I showcased all of them with my winter decorations in my foyer and living room. For those who did not receive my New Year poem on a digitized photograph postcard, I would like to share it.

Oh my, I found a typo too late!  
On this Thursday, February 5, 2020, I am hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday. My topic is "Seasonal Bliss". Stop by to enjoy reading the posts or join our small group of writers. at my #blogpost. I designed this piece of digital art for Spiritual Journey Thursday.  
It's Poetry Friday, hosted by the marvelous librarian poet, Jone MacCulloch, who created the Poetry Postcard Exchange. Jone shares some of the poetry postcards sent to her provides news of a giveaway, showcases a special, original haiku. Join me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

From Whence Joy Comes

“Joys come from simple and natural things; mist over meadows, sunlight on leaves, the path of the moon over water. Even rain and wind and stormy clouds bring joy.”
-Sigurd F. Olson

Even traveling to the beach on a winter day brings joy.

winter awakens
sun shines, ocean roars, gull swoon
peace surrounds
shadows play, birds
gather, waiting patiently-
ungloved hand reaches
pause time happening
staring into the expanse
listen, ocean calls
strumming guitar merges
uplifted voice to ocean-
melodic tune
Joyful winter walk
slight breeze sweeps across sand
awakening life
Joy comes from simple and natural things!
It's Slice of Life Tuesday. Join me at Two Writing Teachers for the weekly happening.

Monday, January 27, 2020


For years, we have discussed the importance of reading for children. Respected experts in literacy have provided guidance and tips for families, schools, and communities to encourage learners to become lifelong reading and writers. Historical figures, such as Frederick Douglass, have also voiced their opinion: "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." While Douglass' comment is particular to the time period, it has merit in today's society. Reading opens doors of knowledge, builds vocabulary, increases language and critical thinking skills, and sparks imagination and inquiry for all children. Through books and other reading materials, learners freely explore the wonders of the world.

We have heard and read other outstanding quotes about the importance of reading but I have never been so impressed than listening to the following amazing speech by a brilliant four-year-old. This youngster places emphasis on what reading can do and with an appealing style encourages others to discover the wonders of reading. 

Tonight, #NYEDChat will enlist educators, parents, students, and colleagues from all walks of life to join their voices with my fabulous creative guest moderators, Peter H. Reynolds, Paul Reynolds, and Susan Verde. We will discuss 2020, the Year of Reading. In a 21st Century world, "Literacy is mission-critical"-Paul Reynolds. We must problem solve the issues before us. Reading will bring clarity and resources to pressing topics.

Questions for Discussion
Q1 In a world where the global family must communicate and collaborate to solve the planet’s most challenging problems, Literacy is increasingly mission-critical. What do you think are the most essential things we can do to promote a culture of joyful reading?  #NYEDChat
Q2 Have you seen NYSED’s Lifelong Practices of Readers & Writers? Which of these 16 lifelong practices resonate most strongly with you? #NYEDChat
Q3 It is said that “Children are made readers on the lap of their parents.” Emilie Buchwald but sometimes home is not the or the only place where reading happens and it is teachers and mentors who also help “make” a reader. Recall a personal example of this statement. #NYEDChat
Call to action! What can we as parents, educators, or administrators do to make 2020 the Year of the Reader? What creative strategies will spark and accelerate this movement? (#Reflaction) #NYEDChat

William Faulkner's terse statement, "Read, read, read," is what lifelong readers do, but how about those who do not know the pleasures of reading a good book? We need to find strategies to encourage all students to read from toddler years on. 

Please consider joining our chat or scheduling answers to the above questions so that people across the world can engage in a positive call to action in 2020 as "the Year of Reading".

Thursday, January 23, 2020

More Poetry Postcards Arrive

For years, I have collected vintage postcards of all sorts but until today, I did not know that this hobby has a name: deltiology, the collection and study of postcards, usually as a hobby. Postcard collecting was a popular way of connecting with friends and family in the early 1900s, the time period that most of my postcards are dated. While tweeting is popular as a way to keep in touch with colleagues and friends, a handwritten or digitally composed postcard delivered by mail is a welcome surprise. 

This year, the postcards I received brightened the entry of a new decade. Sweet winter gifts arrived at the beginning of the month and right after I wrote about those a new grouping arrived in the mail. I thank Jone MacCulloch for starting the New Year Poetry Postcard exchange and the poetry community for bringing good cheer to my home at the beginning of the new year.

Welcome to this week's Mini-gallery of  Poetry Postcards 2020

Jone MacCulloch

Kay McGriff
Robert (Bob) Ertman
Margaret Simon
Michelle Kogan
New Years Light
Spilling light spreads over our new year
Like a baby's first cry begging to be heard...
I'm here-embrace me, nurture me.
watch me grow, explore, fall, flounder,
and pick myself up, to begin, all over again.
Thank you Matt Forrest Essenwine for introducing me to a new fun and challenging poetic format called the Scupham stanza that poet, David Harrison, is working on. Scupham stanzas are made up of a sextet (6-lines) utilizing a rhyme pattern of a-b-c-c-b-a, in which each line contains the same number of syllablesThank you to my poetry friends for brightening my days with your poetic gifts. Each of the above poetry postcards, plus the ones from Kimberly Hutmacher and Linda Mitchell, are showcased in my home decor of winter ornamentation along with the newest photo of my two-week-old granddaughter, Aurora (who is now up to 6 lbs. and 6 oz.).

When I received Michelle's poetry postcard, I immediately thought of my angelic little grandbaby.
Many thanks to our Poetry Friday host, Kat Apel, a wonderful Aussie poet and children's book author, whom I met face-to-face at NCTE19 after a long time of corresponding via poetry. She is commenting on everything down under to update us on the Aussie fires and the wonderful fundraising efforts by the Australian kidlit community who raised more thank #500,00 in the twitter-based #AuthorForFireys action.
Some Poetry Friday friends at the NCTE 19 dinner to meet Kat Apel 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Warming Winter Thoughts

Iridescent snow, light and airy, settled in on Saturday and then, said good-by with the morning sun. There was no snowman making, no shoveling, and little time to photograph nature's beauty. While the snow came as predicted, it silently departed during the night, leaving little to savor. To keep my thoughts of a whirlwind snowstorm fresh in my mind, I brought "outside in" with a winter scene by my fireplace.
I always decorate my home for each holiday or season. As vignettes are created, stories often emerge. Since Valentine's day is approaching I decided to focus on the beauty of a woodsy scene for my fireplace decor. Recalling a memory from the Northern Virginia nature trail, I recreated an encounter with a deer who stood quietly staring at the trees. Icy snow remnants crunched under his feet as he moved quickly away when I approached. Is he as cold as I? Am I frightened by him or he frightened by me?  
a story evolves
winter chill continues -
merging hearts needed
©CV, 2020

So, to add to my story, I added hearts around the house, many of which were handmade by mother.
winter peace fills my
house with reminders of love-
January warmth
©CV, 2020
There's  always room for a story that can transport people to another place."
It's Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers. Will you join me there?

Monday, January 20, 2020

Featuring "On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring"

Yesterday was a slip-sloppy, snow-melting day with bright sunshine on Long Island. 
Little children donned their boots to romp in snow-sloshing puddles while I choose to review a delightful new children's book. 
On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring, written by Buffy Silverman nature poet, photographer, and author of 90 nonfiction books for children, is a delightful book on nature preparing for spring's arrival. It debuts on February 4, 2020. 

Every page of the book is filled with bright, vivid nature photographs on a snow-melting, awaiting-spring day. Strong verbs and descriptive adjectives take on a playful nature as engaging rhyming brings to life a nature walk. Children eager to find out more about what they see on each page have access to back matter and a glossary at the end of the book. This coupled with a poetic, rhythmic flow of thoughts makes this book a power=packed opportunity to broaden content knowledge and vocabulary. 

While On a Snow-Melting Day is geared for children ages 3-8, I believe that my 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter will enjoy finger-pointing her way through the snow-melting day adventure. I can't wait to introduce her to this beautifully-designed story that has the feel of a poetic photo-journal for children. Whether you live in climates that share the wonders of late winter snow or not, this book encourages children to use their imagination to uncover the delights of nature and turnover of seasons. As Buffy says, "The world comes to life...on a snow-melting day."

Author's Thoughts:  
On a Snow-Melting Day started as an idea for StoryStorm 2018, in response to a blog post that encouraged writers to pay attention to what’s around them. Here’s what I wrote in my notebook:
                             It was a drip droppy  
                                   slip sloppy
                                          snow melting day 
Then, I wrote a couple more lines about mist rising, boots sinking in slush, puddles growing on the lake. My notes continued: Is there a story here or just a poem? Initially, I thought the image in my head was more of a poem than ta story idea, but I later decided to explore the idea more fully, I researched what different animals might be doing on a snow-melting day and tried to paint a picture of the landscape getting closer and closer to spring.             

Knowing that Buffy is a fabulous nature photographer, I was interested if she took all of the photos in the book. She replied:
Most of the photographs are stock photographs from professional photographers. But I did offer some of my own and was thrilled that they chose to include three of them.

Librarians, teachers, parents, enhance your personal or public library with this bright and vibrant story of a snow-melting day. You may also want to take your class outside with their notebooks to observe their natural surroundings with an option to write their thoughts on a winter-watching day. You can access the book on NetGallery and read reviews on Goodreads. 

Do you know that February 5th is World Read Aloud Day?
I  am looking forward to reading aloud On a Snow-Melting Day to my granddaughters. I hope you will join World Read Aloud Day, too, because Reading Matters! 

I also invite you to join me at #NYEDChat on January 27, 2020 from 8-8:30 pm EST for a Twitter chat on "the Year of Reading". My guest moderators, Peter H. Reynolds, Paul Reynolds, and Susan Verde, children book authors, are eager to chat with all interested. I plan on extending an invitation to librarians, educators, parents, students, and colleagues to celebrate the love of reading.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Sweet Winter Gifts

on sandcastle dreams
the muse rides across
new year's dawning day
winter thoughts arrive
poetry postcards,
fresh morning greetings
a story evolves
crackle, fizz, flash, bang
some days we dash to win the race

new hope springs forth with
friendship shipped by air-
heavenly winter gifts
©CV, 2020
Thank you Jone MacCollach for continuing the Poetry Postcard Exchange and Kimberly Hutmacher and Linda Mitchell for their gifts of song. (Listen to that song below.)

As I receive so let me give and live with joy my whole life through...

And now I turn to the Poetry Friday Roundup that brings a variety of poetry gifts. Catherine Flynn is the host this week and has beautiful, winter haikus for hope. Stay tuned to next week's blog to see more poetry gifts from friends.
My granddaughter Sierra gave me a gift of story when I traveled to Virginia for the birth of her little sister. She told us about her nature walk filled with wonder. I listened and wrote what transpired. Click here. You will also find poetry gifts from Kevin Hodgson and Margaret Simon, who were kind enough to send me a comment with a poem in response to my post and poem. As they said, "Poetry begets poetry." 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Sierra Listens Along the Path

Last week on a bright winter day, we waited patiently for a new life to arrive. Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Derek, and two and half-year-old Sierra walked in stride, noticing, wondering, and being filled with hope. A little sister was soon to come into the world.

"What sounds do you hear, Sierra? What animals will we see, today?" As we walked, we listened to the sounds of nature. 
I stepped on a wilted leaf that still had a puffy look to it even weeks after autumn passed on. "Crunch. Crunch." 
Sierra watched, listened, and copied.
"Crunch, crunch", she repeated the process until we saw another wonder of winter.

"Crack. Crack." We stepped on frozen snow.
Sticks lay on the ground. I chose a long one to break into two.
"Snap. Snap."
We continued to walk along the trail, looking and listening.
We watched the waves ripple in the brook; saw a dog enjoying his walk; listened to a bird chirping. But when we heard an interesting, new sound, we were amazed.
"Peck. Peck."
We looked all around but only heard the sound, not the singer.

It was then that Sierra called a halt to our walk. 
"Listen! Listen."

She looked up to the very tops of sky-climbing trees but the woodpecker was hiding.
Children who listen and learn, grow on the path to lifelong learning. On this winter day, Sierra stopped, looked, listened, and told her story of a walk filled with wonder. Grandma listened and wrote what transpired.
The leaves, the snow,
And the sticks,
The dog, the bird, 
And the brook!
I can hear winter's sounds
As I walk the path
As soon as I pause,
listen and look.
©CV, 2020, Virginia

The above poem is based on James Sterling Tippett's first of three stanzas' poem, Familiar Friends, from Crickety Cricket: The Best-Loved Poems of James S. Tippet by Mary Chalmers. (Thank you poet Janice Scully for introducing me to this poem at Poetry Friday last week.)

The horses, the pigs,
And the chickens,
The turkeys, the ducks
And the sheep!
I can see all my friends
From my window
As soon as I waken
from sleep.
©James Sterling Tippett

It's Slice of Life Tuesday and writers from around the world join at Two Writing Teachers' site to offer their slices. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Grandbaby Girl Arrives

Aurora, poetic name
soft as the dawn, fresh as dew
enters the world streaming light.

Painting the sky with color
and little joyful noises,
Finds rest against parent's chests.

As in princess tales, she drifts
Into sleep waiting for dawn
to greet a new world of love.
©CV, 2020

From months of expectant joy, we followed Little Baby's weekly growth. Today, she finally graced the world with a name beautifully crafted to represent the beauty of nature and the dreams of a fairytale princess. Aurora August will be greeted by my family full of love in about 10 hours. Although I have already seen her in photos and on Google Hangout, I am so excited to be in her presence.

I found William Blake's poem to commemorate the second day of Aurora's bith (even though she does have a name.) Joy will fill the room when we bring Aurora's big sister to meet her little one.
I have no name
I am but two days old.-
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name-
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee; 
Thou dost smile. 
I sing the while 
Sweet joy befall thee.  

I am offering this post to the Poetry Friday writing community
who have known about this glorious event. Sally Murphy,
an Aussie poet is hosting the roundup this week
and sharing her way to support the horrible Australian bushfire tragedy.