Poetry Friday: Let’s Celebrate!

Welcome everyone! I am so pleased to host PF today. I started the summer hosting and am ending the summer hosting (as according to the school calendar).

First of all, have you considered becoming a CYBILs poetry panelist or judged? There is one week left to apply. You can find out more info about the Poetry Category HERE. To apply, go HERE. It’s fun to discuss the best poetry books of 2014. Join us.

This week has found me at school.

ending. School begins.
Square metal lunch boxes.
Yellow pencils and a new dress.

If you are ready to share your poem, please leave your link in the comments. I will round up throughout the day.

I just had an epic fail. I added a link and lost all the work I did on Friday.

At Beyond Literacy, Carol offers a close of summer.

At Todays’s Little Ditty, Michelle has the end-of-month wrap-up post for Lori Degman’s DMC challenge.

In honor of Monday’s holiday, Bridget has a poem with another perspective on Labor Day.

Linda shares one more swap poem, a bonus from Donna Smith!

Myra’s Poetry Friday post at Gathering Books is this amazing collection of letters, illustrations, folk tales, animal tales, short stories, fragments from longer novels, and most of all poetry that talk about war and peace: “Lines in the Sand: New Writing on War and Peace” edited by Mary Hoffman and Rhiannon Lassiter.

Last week Matt got stung and wrote a poem about it. This week, he got stung and wrote…three poems!

Over at The Drift Record today Julie has a link to my new post on Books Around the Table, where she shares some thoughts about using all six (yes, six) senses to write while she’s in Oaxaca this September. In honor of Poetry Friday, she’s added a previously-shared (by Jama Rattigan) poem of her own about Mexican markets.

Tabatha has two poems today (one is by the Buddha).

Mary Lee shares I have a retro post from 2011 — “I’m Your Mom.”

Margaret has a lesson on fingerprints and my own original fingerprint poem inspired by Eve Merriam.

Bookseedstudio thinks about charmed words.

Tara shares a poignant poem from one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye.

Jama features Irene Latham’s debut poetry book, Dear Wandering Wildebeest with a review and a giveaway.

Irene has a post and a poem by James Wright about beginnings.

From Laura, Her “Summer Reads: Chapter & Verse” continues today with guest blogger Kathy MacMillan. Kathy is a fellow 2016 debut author. Her summer read is ENTHUSIASM, by Polly Shulman, a YA romance which features an Austen-obsessed character. The poem is Sonnet 3 from Elizabeth Barrett Brownings’ Sonnets from the Portugese.

Heidi has some long ago and far away right now reflections on HVAC repair and fishing.

Today, at Random Noodling, Diane is celebrating Labor Day with a poem about a little Maine laborer.

And Kurious Kitty has “The Mockingbird” by Mary Oliver.

Linda has two back to school icebreakers at Write Time.

Keri shares one of my poetry swap poems and one by Joy today.

Karen has a new poetry collection from an author I much admire — Mike Aquilina writes a ton of non-fiction, but is a brilliant poet, too.

At the Florian Cafe, Doug has a poem on innocence by Billy Collins, America’s Poet Laureate Forever (in his eyes and ears), as well as a picture of me and a friend age six.

JoAnn at Teaching Authors answers to the question, Do you write on paper or computer?

Becky shares a poem about the “Dog Days” of summer.

Sylvia is in with a “poet to poet” interview between Julie Larios and Skila Brown.

Reading to the Core has Cid Corman’s “Headline. (I wonder if kids will get the reference to newspapers being delivered to the door?)

Donna has an original poem about fall.

At The Poem Farm, Amy offers a poem titled “She Sells Seashells” about a girl she met last week.

Little Willow posted Reality by Anna Wickham at my blog, Bildungsroman.

Violet’s post today is a continuation of the poems she found in a park we visited this summer. Today’s edition is, well, a bit chilly. It will help cool off those of you still in August heat, Dawson Trail tanka (2).

Janet shares “Monumental Verses” by J. Patrick

At On Point Lori has a haiku, Elle of Joy.

Ramona has Toasting Marshamallows, a favorite book of poems to spark summer memories and stories.

Ruth has some Shakespeare today in honor of the opportunity she had in Haiti had last night to attend a traveling production of Hamlet that is visiting every country in the world over the course of two years.

At Booktalking Ananstasia shares a board book poem that is also a song! Dinnertime for Chickies by

Happy Poetry.
Happy Friday.(Actually now Saturday)

Poetry Friday: Distracted and a Blog Break


Poetry Friday round up is hosted at The Opposite of Indifference.  Thanks, Tabatha.


I am
cleaning the refrigerator,
cleaning out photos,
watching the constant retelling of deadly
events on the news,
watching the birds flit
here and there
listening to the click, click, click, click,
of my dog’s nails on the wood floors,
listening for peace,

My writing
awaits me
in between the calls
to the doctor,
the pre-op hospital nurse,
and friends.

I am distracted
and writing
waits like
the smooth river stone
until I return.

So you might know that I am having left rotator cuff surgery on Monday.  It’s been five and a half months of dealing with shoulder pain.  And it’s been a huge distraction for me.  I have know idea about the recovery time.  I am left handed.  I need to be patient with myself during the next few weeks.

I will be taking a blog break until the last week in August when I host Poetry Friday. And start thinking about poetry books or serving on the CYBILS poetry panels…late August we will be ramping up again.


Happy Friday
Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday: Wrapping Up National Poetry Month


Well, it was almost thirty days of student poetry. I hate when days get ahead of me and I don’t get posts up. National Poetry Month is complete.

I want to thank those of you who have shared your poetry postcards on Facebook and your blogs such as Laura Salas and Liz Stenglass. I loved getting signed and personalized bookmarks for the students from Irene Latham. I have been sharing these with students.

Most of the postcards that were sent out have been accepted into the National Schools Writing Project’s Young Americans Poetry Project.
This digest is in its twentieth year and such a great place to send student work for publishing.

Here is more poetry for students:
I am a tiny humming bird.
My colors are as colorful as a bright rainbow.
You can barely see my wings flapping so hard.
I never stop beating my wings or I can die.
I am the fastest flier.

Kara M.
Grade 4
I am cerulean.
I am as swift as a whale.
I travel like a fish.
I have razor-sharp teeth I am big so look out for me.
I am a whale shark.

Malachai D.
Grade 4
I am a soft Tiger.
My tail wiggles like waves in the ocean.
I sneak up under the grass to stalk my prey.
I purr when I am happy.
I am a brave Tiger.

Melissa R.
Grade 4
I am a pink pig.
I am as fat as a bookshelf.
I wobble and tremble.
I don’t sweat.
I am a pig named Olga.

Nathan K.
Grade 4
I am a cute dog
Small as a Persian cat
I can go five miles per hour
I am a pug

Logan M.
Grade 4

If you signed up for a postcard and didn’t get one, please email me at macrush53-at-yahoo-dot-com. I will be getting a few final ones out(international next week).
Poetry Friday is at Katya’s Write.Sketch. Repeat.

Poetry Friday: Poetry Postcard Time

It’s time
Poetry postcards
in mailboxes
Handcrafted originals
Student creations
~Jone Rush MacCulloch

In another month, it will be National Poetry Month. And this marks the sixth year that students from my school will write poems and illustrate them on postcards. They arrive sometime in April in your snail mailbox. Here’s a couple of samples from the previous year.



So would you like a handcrafted poetry postcard? Please visit HERE to provide me with your snail mail details.

Poetry Friday is held at Poet! Poet! thanks, Anastasia.

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

It’s much more fun than getting a bill in the mail.

Poetry Friday: Snow Wishes


Snow Wishes

snowflakes fell all night.
Silent treasures,
one by one
stacking upon each other.
Winter wonderland.
~ Jone Rush MacCulloch, 2013

This poem was posted in December. Yesterday, my wish was granted. School let out early, I arrived home safely, and more snow is expected today and tomorrow.

20140207-093934.jpgOur Backyard. Hummingbirds can be heard. Am having to bring the feeders in at night. They are hungry!

If you look very close in the middle, you might see Mr. Jay.

Poetry Friday is held at No River Water.

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday: Threads


The month long celebration of the life and legacy of William Stafford continues. Last Sunday I attended the book launch for Ritual to Read to Each Other: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford. A Ritual to Read to Each Other: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford, published by Woodley Press. The collection doesn’t just offer poems in tribute but invites readers to write poems. This is a poem that I have worked on for several years based on a quote from Stafford.

“Only the golden string knows where it is going, the role for the writer or reader is one of following not imposing.”
 ~William Stafford


Discovered while cleaning out
at the remains of mother’s library.
One tucked in her yellowed yearbook pages.
A message jumped out-
describing a scene I did not know:
on the third floor of the dorm
telling ghost stories
until the wee morning hours.

Graduated as a nurse.
Ready to serve her country,
she married instead.
Dusky blue threads, remnants of her bridal gown
slipped in the pages of her Catholic Bible.
Six months later, Mom and Dad
climbed aboard the Greyhound bus
and traveled west.

Settled into the place of sunshine,
orange groves,
and opportunity.
Together, they worked out 
the ups and downs
of married life 
beyond the whispers of family.
She tucked 
a baptismal dress thread into my first Bible,
Easter Sunday, 1953.
The air perfumed by orange blossoms.

These threads and others
tucked away-
her life – a puzzle.
I sort them
wondering how to weave them together.

~Jone Rush MacCulloch, copyright, 2014

Poetry Friday is hosted by Tara at A Teaching Life.


Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday: Announcing the CYBILS Poetry Finalists


Winner announced Valentine’s Day

There were twenty-nine nominees for this year’s poetry category. Can I say that 2013 produced a fabulous crop of poetry titles? My first round judges whittle most of their lists to a top ten and then we came to consensus with the sensational seven finalists. They represent diversity and books for all ages. Here they are:

FOLLOW, FOLLOW: A BOOK OF REVSERSO POEMS by Marilyn Singer, illustrations by Josee Masse, companion to Mirror Mirror, Dial Publishing, Nominated by: Perogyo Review by Bridget Wilson, What is Bridget Reading?

Marilyn Singer returns to the reverso, a poetic form she created, in MIRROR, MIRROR. The reverso is quite clever. First you read the poem from top to bottom. Then you flip it and read it from the bottom up. The reverso proves the old adage ” there are two sides to every story.” Singer describes the collection best: “Imagine / fairy tales / upended.” And now reversed: Upended / fairy tales? / Imagine!”
In Follow Follow, Singer takes twelve tales and breathes new life into them. Too often people perceive fairy tales as unchanging. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In this collection readers will hear from Thumbelina and the mole, the tortoise and the hare, the twelve princesses and the soldier. At the end of the book Singer offers more information about the tales and the reverso form. Josee Masse’s beautifully bright illustrations offer readers a visual of both sides of each tale.

FOREST HAS A SONG: POEMS by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrations by Robbin Gourley, Clarion Books, Nominated by: Laura Purdie Salas. Review by Sylvia Vardell, Poetry for Children

This is a beautifully designed poetry picture book in which the gentle watercolor paintings (by Robbin Gourley), the layout of poem and painting on each page, and even the spidery font of the text work together to create a poetry collection that is both inviting and comforting. The natural world has long been the topic of poetry for young people– and for good reason– and VanDerwater taps into the child’s connection with the simplest details– pinecones and sticks, footprints and flying birds, with poetry that offers many tactile details that invite children to touch, smell, and see the world outside their iPads in tangible ways. She also offers a variety of poetic forms so children (and teachers) can see how poets use the words and space on the page. Her use of rhyme is particularly noteworthy– making it look so natural– as if we all spoke in lyrical language when captured by the beauty of the forest.

POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART edited by Caroline Kennedy, paintings by Jon J. Muth, Disney Hyperion, Nominated by: bevpdx. Review by April Halprin Wayland, Teaching Authors

The ambition of this beautiful collection of more than 100 poems is truly to encourage students to learn poems by heart. Editor Kennedy’s preface includes practical tips on memorization, ending with, “I hope that…once they learn them by heart, they won’t even need this book.” Classic, contemporary, nonsense poems and poems which challenge readers to think, are organized organically within each of ten sections (including sections about self, family, school, sports and war…and an extra credit section for those who want to memorize even longer poems). Every section begins with an engaging one-page introduction, often disclosing Kennedy’s personal connection with the poems that follow. Its premise, poetic choices and the editor’s enthusiasm throughout as well as the exquisite watercolor paintings by Jon J. Muth which, as Kennedy writes, “add meaning, depth and freshness to the poems” combine to make this an award-winning book.

PUG: AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS by Valerie Worth, illustrations by Steve Jenkins, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Nominated by: The Cath in the Hat. Review by Ed DeCaria, Think, Kid, Think!

In this follow-up to 2007’s ANIMAL POEMS (itself a Cybils finalist that year), Worth again brings her seemingly-simple subjects to life in a sophisticated yet accessible way. Readers will meet her “plug-ugly” pug, the bull who “would not melt”, a mouse “left as a gift on the step”, and sparrows and pigeons who “seem at home where there appears to be no home”, plus fourteen other inviting, inspiring, or sometimes intimidating creatures. Jenkins adds color and texture to each poem, from the silver sparkle of a wood thrush’s eye to the distressed look on a too-long dachshund’s face, making each two-page spread pop. Pug is a masterful book of free-verse poems and illustrations that will challenge readers to view animals from an entirely new perspective, and to admire the subtle behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics that make each one unique.

THE PET PROJECT: CUTE AND CUDDLY VICIOUS VERSES By Lisa Wheeler, Illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Atheneum, Nominated by: Bridget Wilson. Review by Jone MacCulloch, Check It Out

Any young reader longing for a pet will want to read this riotously funny research romp by a bespectacled young girl on a quest to find the perfect pet. Readers are forewarned that “Animals aren’t’ always charming.”

Notebook in hand to track observations, she visits a farm, zoo, and the woods as well as performing a “home study.” What she concludes from her research may surprise readers.

Wheeler’s tongue in cheek verses will provide laughs for all while introducing readers to a variety of pet possibilities. Combined with OHara’s use of strong lines yet whimsical acrylic illustrations this book will be read and reread.

What stood out in THE PET PROJECT was the author’s ability to weave words, poems, and a little bit of science into a fabulous collection.

WHAT THE HEART KNOWS: Chants, Charms & Blessings by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nominated by: Sylvia Vardell. Review by Kelly Fineman, Writing and Ruminating
Truly a miraculous little book. Hard to categorize in some ways, but it has four sections: 1. chants & charms – to bolster courage and guard against evil; 2. spells & invocations – to cause something to happen; 3. laments & remembrances – to remember, regret, or grieve; and 4. praise songs & blessings – to celebrate, thank, or express love. I love the idea of giving children both poems and permission to express and validate their emotional experiences.

WHEN THUNDER COMES: POEMS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS By J. Patrick Lewis, Chronicle Books, Nominated by: Becky L. Review by Anastasia Suen, Poet!Poet!

Written by 2011-2013 Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, this valuable book of poetry profiles seventeen civil rights leaders, the famous and the not-so-famous. Each poem has a two-page spread with gorgeous artwork by five different artists.

The title of the poem explains the person’s role. Mitsuye Endo is THE CAPTIVE. “I was a typist, nothing more. / I loved my life, I hated war.” A short biography in the back of the book explains how she fought for her civil rights after being held in a World War II Japanese internment camp.

When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders can be used year round to celebrate the heroes of civil rights. For children and teens who want to change the way things are, this smart and intriguing look at key civil rights figures can guide the way.

Thanks to Betsy I Think in Poems for hosting the first Poetry Friday of 2014.

Poetry Friday: The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. and Fog


This has been reading week in the library.  Once a month students in graders third through fifth spend the time reading and trying out new books.

This week, I got to read Greg Pincus’ book, The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.  Have you read it?  You should!  I could relate to the main character Greg who dislikes math yet loves poetry.  The themes of friendship, perseverance, and learning to stand up for what you believe in is woven into the book so naturally plus it is funny!

A fourth grade boy wasn’t happy with the choice of books in book boxes so I passed the book to  him to read today.  He checked it out after class.

I will be suggesting it for read aloud when school returns from winter break.

The book inspired me to write a fib about the fog which until yesterday was a fixture in the Pacific Northwest sky.

lingers in the mist.
He quivers, lighting one candle.

You can find out more about Greg HERE. Poetry Friday is at Buffy’s Blog. Thanks, Buffy!

Happy Friday! Winter break begins!


Poetry Friday: Orbweavers


1395806_10202169207335019_1693743537_nFrom my front yard last evening

abdomen crosses
silk spinners
autumn webs
invisible garden threads
the fabric of fall

~Jone Rush MacCulloch, 2013


Welcome to Merely Day by Day( http://merelydaybyday.blogspot.com/2013/10/dont-miss-it-poetry-friday-is-here.html) for hosting Poetry Friday. I have no clue why I can’t link.  Thank you, Cathy.

Happy Reading.

Happy Poetry.