Tweetspeak Poetry: Top 10 Books that Inspired Me (and You)

Live! Today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

• a breathing in, as of air into the lungs
• an inspiring influence; any stimulus to creative thought or action
• a prompting of something to be written or said
• a divine influence upon human beings, as that resulting in the writing of scriptures

These definitions come from my go-to source, the Webster’s New World College Dictionary. But when talking about books that have inspired me, I seize Glynn Young’s definition

“Something that moved me to do something, change something, create something, recognize that I could go beyond where I was.” …


Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: August’s Pages

My last catch-up post! Thanks for bearing with me. 


published September 1, 2017

Reading in the Wild: August’s Pages

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston came with enthusiastic recommendations from my Two Bossy Dames newsletter. The title comes from a stage direction in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and focuses on the friendship between Hermione and Pauline (here, Polly). Nevertheless, I resisted. For months. I knew the subject matter would be difficult. Then one afternoon when I had a free hour while volunteering at our local theater, I downloaded the sample on my phone. By the end of that night, I’d finished it. The next day I wrote 2,470 words, just to process. …

Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: July’s Pages

Still catching up! 


August 3, 2017

Reading in the Wild: August’s pages

This is the third month I’ve shared my pages with you. I’m getting more intentional about my reading because I have the accountability of sharing my finds. Which makes me wonder if we all need a friend or two to help us read better. Our lists don’t need to be public — just trade recs or favorites with a friend. …

Tweetspeak Poetry: Children’s Book Club: ‘The Buffalo Storm’

You may have seen my post on Friday linking to the second installment of Tweetspeak Poetry’s children’s book club. Here is the first one:


published August 18, 2017

Children’s Book Club: ‘The Buffalo Storm’

“The rain is different in Tennessee,” said my friend. She and her husband, both Texans, lived in Nashville during his residency. “It just rains — it doesn’t storm. No thunder, no lightning,” she said.

I was shocked. How could there be rain without thunder and lightning? I live in a state where thunderstorms are more common than plain rain. When a storm’s a’comin’, we go outside to watch it. Sometimes we video it. Then we discuss it in detail.

So The Buffalo Storm was an interesting read for me because our hero, Hallie, is “not afraid of anything, except storms.” As she and her family travel the Oregon Trail, she encounters two kinds of storms — one she expects and one she doesn’t. …

Tweetspeak Poetry: Children’s Book Club: ‘One Grain of Rice’

This one went live today!



Math is my bugaboo. That’s why when a friend suggested One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale for our next children’s book club, I agreed.

At its most basic level, this is a story about how 1 grain of rice becomes more than 1 billion grains of rice. How? Math. If 1 grain of rice is doubled every day for 30 days, and all those amounts are added together, then you get 1,073,741,823 grains of rice. There’s a chart on the last page of the book that explains the arithmetic.

If someone handed me the chart, I would not care. But give me the math in a story — better yet, a folktale (this one comes from India) — and I’m all in. …



Tweetspeak Poetry: Literacy Never Melts: ‘The Snowy Day’ by Ezra Jack Keats

Back to catching up!


published July 20, 2017

Literacy Never Melts: ‘The Snowy Day’ by Ezra Jack Keats

In college I took a children’s literature class. I wasn’t thinking about literacy for life, but I learned something I remembered ever since: I learned that children’s books have their own immortality. …

Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: June’s Pages

Still catching up!


published July 7, 2017

Reading in the Wild: June’s Pages

This month has been a busy writing month, filled with interviewing. My reading brainpower felt diminished, so I’ve been reading at meals, especially at lunch and my afternoon snack. It’s a better use of that half-hour than scrolling through social media.

How do you change your reading when your brain is fried? …

Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading in the Wild: May’s Pages

I’m in the process of linking to my recent articles at Tweetspeak Poetry. If you missed it the first time, here’s some titles for your reading list.


published June 6, 2017

Reading in the Wild: May’s Pages

A good weekend means I’ve set aside a large chunk of time, usually an afternoon, to read a book. For reading emergencies, those unexpected moments of free time, I keep a book on Kindle (I use the app for my phone) and one on Audible (along with earbuds). I prefer to read poetry collections in an actual physical book, although I have read Every Day Poems, which comes to my inbox every weekday, while waiting in line at the grocery store. …


Tweetspeak Poetry: Reading ‘Thomas and Beulah’

I’ve been writing more at Tweetspeak Poetry lately, and I keep forgetting to share those posts. Today, I start playing catch-up. But don’t just go there to read my stuff — every weekday is filled with inspiration and delight. 


published January 4, 2017

Reading Together: Rita Dove’s ‘Thomas and Beulah’

“I think if Beulah was a star, she’d want to be the sun”

Sandra Heska King, commenting on “Daystar”

In May, I heard Rita Dove interviewed by Derek McGinty on The Diane Rehm Show, and she read her poem “Daystar.” From that moment I decided her collection Thomas and Beulah, in which that poem is featured, would be the secondary text for a class I was preparing to teach, The Joyful Partnership of Poetry and Memoir. …

6 September 2017

Birds & Bees

“The bees are stirring — birds are on the wing”
Samuel Coleridge, “Work without Hope”

You are not a Bee
and I am not a
Bird, so why do we
say they fall in love?

Not with each other,
they don’t. They don’t eat
the same things. It’s a
mixed metaphor, at
best, at worst, it’s a
cautionary tale.
(Some birds do eat bees.)

But if we want hope
and work and a spring
like Coleridge’s
then let’s let you be
a Hummingbird and
I then will be a
Butterfly. We’ll bump
into each other
as we sip nectar
in our own backyard.