© 2014 paulwhankins

It’s Poetry Friday Round-Up: And I Am the Host!


Coming out of NCTE and ALAN, I knew that hosting a Poetry Friday Roundup would be exciting. During my stay in Washington, D. C., I had the joy of being the room with Janet Wong, Sylvia Vardell, Irene Latham, Pat Mora, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, and Laura Purdie Salas and others (please forgive me, I am still coming down off of the awe if I didn’t list you specifically here).

But, I didn’t think I would be this excited about hosting Poetry Friday Roundup. I mean. . .I would get a little excited, to be sure, but then I took a look at some of the other Poetry Friday Roundup posts via Google.

And I found a HUGE community of poets doing this thing each week. Like. . .I knew. . .but I didn’t know. So, here I am. Hosting this thing YOU already do, and it is epic for me here in southern Indiana.

Of course, I’ll be the lead learner in Room 407 today, so I will try to round all of you up this afternoon or early this evening. Leave your poem’s title, a brief description of the poem, and the link to your blog and I will put it all in this post.

I don’t know that you need a writing invitation, but I can offer one. I’ve been thinking a lot about shapes lately. Or even the idea of something taking shape. Like this holiday season. It’s beginning to take shape. What is the shape of this season? December? Winter? The holidays and how you spend them. They are all taking shape. . .perhaps we could play with concrete poems or poems that naturally take a shape like a diamante.

Oh. . .you poets you. . .you already know what to do.

Here is my poem on the fly. . .

“Square Thirty-1”


these are rectangle days

seem wider in the middle

the sun knows a border

a morning from night.


the windows are still,

snug-square in frames,

reflecting a day’s passing

an end-of-year slideshow.


each panel’s numbered

and they stand in rows

waiting to be checked

for the coming season.


that they would be enough

to hold a memory-maybe two,

until we reach our thirty-one

and look with hope toward new.


…………………….and now the roundup……………………………………………………..

Joy Acey gives us our first poem today: “Lizard.” Joy also promises pictures from her safari trip in Kenya. Visit Joy’s blog site:


Tara Smith offers “How Is It That the Snow?” by Robert Haight at her blog, A Teaching Life:


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater shares a familiar scene with a familial connection. This poem reminds me of a friend who collects Nativity scenes of all types:


Mary Lee Hahn shares from her favorite Haiku-a-Day poems and sends an invitation to be a host for the Poetry Friday Roundup in the New Year!



Tabatha shares a favorite New Years poem by Oksana Lutshyshyna:


Heidi Mordhorst is a poet I met at NCTE (and I have been enjoying her books since returning from that trip).


And now I am off to do some lead learning in Room 407. . .I will be back at about 9:30 to capture some more of these wonderful poems.

At 9:30, I came back to see that so many had posted their comments with their links, so I added as I went along. Of course, with each posting, I was looking forward to a time when I could go and look at what was being offered to the community.

The end of the school day offered another chance to see just how many people participate in the round-up. What a joy this has been.

More than any of this, I was over-joyed to see so many positive responses to the poem I had to offer this morning. It was a quick-write for me, wanting to have something to offer to all of you on the day of the round-up. I’ve already gone back to do some revision. Perhaps looking at the way the piece might take shape upon the page.

Of course, my students in Room 407 are vetting out some cinquain formatted pieces as they work on their literary analysis piece. I have found that asking a student to move from the poetic form to the paragraph formal loses nothing in translation as the ideas remain intact and bring the poetic language with all of its figurative devices into the writing. You can find a post about this approach here at this blog.

It’s been a wonderful day of poetry and I look forward now to visiting all of the posts you have left today in the comments.

And now, I look forward to attending and offering some verse to the next poetry round-up.


The very best of the season to all of you. . .


Paul W. Hankins






  1. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:26 AM | #

    Oh, Paul…I love those waiting windows “square and snug in their frames” – so perfect.

    Thank you for rounding us all up today. I’m so glad you’re here, and over at The Poem Farm, you’ll find a free verse poem about a (our) Nativity set.


    Happy Poetry Friday!

  2. Mary Lee
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:34 AM | #

    Thanks for hosting Paul! Wishing you a fat rectangle day full of good memories today!

    I’m sharing my favorite of my Haiku-a-days this week:

    It’s also time to sign up to be a Poetry Friday Roundup host for Jan-June 2015.

  3. Tabatha
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:44 AM | #

    I love New Year’s poems! Thanks for yours, Paul, and for hosting the round-up! I have a poem by Oksana Lutsyshyna:

  4. Heidi Mordhorst
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:49 AM | #

    Hey, Paul–

    It was great to meet you at NCTE, and you seem to be all over this hosting gig! Coincidentally, we both have calendar poems today–mine from the kindergarten point of view. I like “seem/a little wider in the middle” (the perfect description of school days, for sure–too thin on either end of that bulging busy middle”–and your last stanza is a gem!

    Here’s my link, and thanks for rounding up!

  5. jama
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:13 AM | #

    Nice to “meet” you, Paul, and visit your blog for the first time. 🙂

    Enjoyed your perfect end-of-year poem.

    At Alphabet Soup, I have a review of A Cookie for Santa with the author’s favorite Gingerbread Man cookie recipe:


    Thanks so much for hosting today!

  6. Laura Shovan @AuthorAmok
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:14 AM | #

    Hi, Paul. Thanks for hosting. I love the slideshow in your winter windows — what a beautiful image.

    As 2014 winds down, I’m thinking about gift-giving. Today, I’m starting a series called “The Gift Shift,” highlighting the literary organizations on my holiday list. I’m featuring two non-profits this week, both committed to social justice in literature. Poems, too!


  7. Carol Wilcox
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:30 AM | #

    Welcome Paul, to hosting Poetry Friday. I love this vision of December. I think my favorite line is how the sun “knows the borders between morning and night.” Such a perfect description of these ever shortening days. I’ve been writing haiku all month with Mary Lee, so I’m sharing a couple of those today. http://carolwscorner.blogspot.com/2014/12/poetry-friday_12.html

  8. Charles Waters
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:46 AM | #
  9. Catherine
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:46 AM | #

    Thanks for hosting today, Paul! We met briefly at the Wonderopolis breakfast, and I agree, the energy from NCTE is still going strong! I love your windows, “looking toward the new.” I’ve been thinking about snow this week and have two original poems to share.


  10. Margaret Simon
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 6:47 AM | #

    I like the idea of using a shape to frame a poem. Each of your stanzas create a nice shape as well. This may be easier than trying terza rima with elementary gifted kids which is what I am presenting on my blog today. Thanks for hosting.


  11. Tara
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM | #

    What a lovely poem to share on Poetry Friday – perfect! NCTE seems so long ago now, but what a grand time it was. I’m in with a poem about winter…since it has arrived at last!

  12. Robyn Hood Black
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:11 AM | #

    Happy Poetry Friday, Paul – Thanks for rounding up! I’m in with my “Student Haiku Poet of the Month” for December, Carson Race:

  13. Mandy Robek
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:13 AM | #

    Paul, I love the thinking about math and time passing while capturing memories! Today I am trying some Haiku out myself. I didn’t know you had this little blog and I’m happy to discover it. Thanks for hosting.


  14. Irene Latham
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:26 AM | #

    Paul! It was SO GREAT to see you at NCTE! And your poem!! You had me at “rectangle days.” Wonderful. I also love how you refer to yourself as “lead learner.” You teachers inspire me every day.
    I’m in with a post about ON THE WING by David Elliott — poems about birds! Happy day to you, and thank you so much for joining in the PF fun.

  15. Robyn Hood Black
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:40 AM | #

    And thanks for giving “shape” to Poetry Friday today! Love the idea of a rectangle day. No profound offerings from me at the moment, though I’m eyeing our portly old dachshund mix; my son just home on college break has been calling him “the sphere”….

  16. Diame Mayr
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:47 AM | #

    Hi Paul! I love the calendar aspects to your poem. Well done!

    Today I have some ekphrasis at Random Noodling. http://randomnoodling.blogspot.com/2014/12/poetry-friday-double-shot-of-ekphrasis.html

    And at Kurious Kitty we’re celebrating ugly Christmas sweater day! http://kuriouskitty.blogspot.com/2014/12/poetry-friday-its-sweater-poetry-day.html

    KK’s Kwotes has a quote by Douglas Florian. http://www.kkskwotes.blogspot.com/2014/12/poetry-friday_12.html

  17. Linda
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:59 AM | #

    Hi Paul, it was so nice to meet you at the poetry party. Thanks for hosting today. I’m in with a post about getting into the holiday spirit at http://lindakulp.blogspot.com

    Happy Friday!

  18. Linda
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:01 AM | #

    Hi Paul, it was so nice to meet you at the poetry party. Thanks for hosting today. I’m in with a post about getting into the holiday spirit at http://lindakulp.blogspot.com

    Happy Friday!

  19. Linda Baie
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:04 AM | #

    I met you in Indiana at the All-Write Conference, Paul-lovely to see you hosting on Poetry Friday. When I drive to work, I see the sun reflecting in quite a few windows, just that perfect time as the sun rises. Your poem reminded me of that, those squares holding memories–the slide show. Love the ending too. I am newly back in the classroom, & today sharing a poem I wrote with my new class in our workshop: http://www.teacherdance.org/2014/12/poetry-friday-appreciating.html
    Thanks again for hosting!

  20. Penny Parker Klostermann
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:07 AM | #

    I love your excitement! And your poem is a geometrical goodie!

    For today, I have Episode 8 of A Great Nephew & A Great Aunt. My 5th grade nephew illustrates my poem Crumbled.

  21. Becky Shillington
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 9:47 AM | #

    Thanks so much for hosting this week, Paul! The language and “shape” of your poem is wonderful! This week I am celebrating Emily Dickinson at my blog: http://beckyshillington.blogspot.com/2014/12/poetry-friday-celebrating-emily.html

  22. Keri Collins Lewis
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 10:46 AM | #

    Thanks for hosting, Paul! It’s exciting to have you join the party. I like all of the metaphors in your poem. Nicely done. I’ve been away for a while and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I’ve posted a poem I wrote, “Opening Night,” at http://kerirecommends.com/2014/12/poetry-friday-and-opening-night/

  23. Karen Edmisten
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 11:16 AM | #

    Thanks so much for hosting! I have a poem by Gary Johnson this week, and it’s here.

  24. Little Willow
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM | #

    I posted A Zoo of Human Emotion by Caitlin Siehl at my blog, Bildungsroman: http://slayground.livejournal.com/797464.html

  25. Matt Forrest Esenwine
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM | #

    I like the poem, Paul – very well done. The first 2 lines set the whole thing up nicely, and the rhymes at the end wrap it up beautifully. Today I have a winter haiku and some news about why the poem I wrote last week is wrong, wrong, wrong! http://mattforrest.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/poetry-friday-a-correction-a-poem-and-a-nice-problem-to-have/

  26. Ramona
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM | #

    Paul, thank you for hosting today. I think I was in a session or two with you at NCTE. What a treat to meet and learn from so many poets. I love your poem of numbered boxes holding a memory or two as we march toward “Square Thirty-1.”
    I’m continuing my nativity love from Tuesday’s SOL with a haiku for today

  27. Julie Larios
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 1:57 PM | #

    Thanks for hosting, Paul. I love the fact that you challenged yourself to write a poem this week that “fit the shape” of things you’ve been thinking of. Nicely done. I have a little Cottleston Pie for people over at The Drift Record today, to go with some musings of mine about unanswerable questions (the best kind, of course.) Here’s the link: http://julielarios.blogspot.com/2014/12/why-does-chicken.html

  28. Ruth
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 3:21 PM | #
  29. Holly Mueller
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:54 PM | #

    Sorry I’m coming here a little late. I tried to finish this morning, but it just didn’t happen. I’m featuring a beautiful 2014 NYT Best Illustrated book of poetry…http://hollymueller.blogspot.com/2014/12/poetry-friday_12.html

  30. Tricia
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM | #

    Hi Paul!
    It was so good to meet you at NCTE. I’m so happy to see you here at Poetry Friday. Today I’m sharing a poem in honor of Owl Count 2014.

    Thanks for hosting!

  31. Jone
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 11:44 PM | #
  32. Sylvia Vardell
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 12:41 AM | #

    Thank you for hosting! I’m late to the party, but I hope not TOO late. I have a post about the new NCTE Poetry Award Winner, Marilyn Singer.

  33. Carol Varsalona
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM | #

    Paul, thank you for leaving a spot for me and for hosting Poetry Friday. My offering is at


    I captured a scene in Albany that marks the end of the fall season and then penned a poem to accompany it. I am contrasting my poem with Chanson de l’Automne by Paul Verlaine, written in French with an English translation by Arthur Symons in Poems. Accompanying this is a reading by Marlene Dietrich in French.

    I wanted everyone to know that I am not ready to showcase the Finding Fall Gallery yet, my hope is to offer an unveiling of the collection as my Christmas gift.

  34. jone
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 2:46 PM | #

    Thank you for hosting. I love the first line, ‘these are rectangle days.”

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