I have been the beneficiary of many touching acts of kindness and one of my most cherished was gifted me by today’s Friend Friday guest, Irene Latham. She has a stunning book, written with Charles Waters, entitled Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A to Z , illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini (Carolrhoda). This inspirational and thought provoking book of poetry includes a rondine inspired by a few lines from Hattie Big Sky. Her kindness was further in evidence when she forgave me for messing up the Friend Friday schedule; this lovely post below was to have been published back in September when her newest book, This Poem is a Nest, illustrated by Johanna Wright (Wordsong/Boyds Mills and Kane) celebrated its book birthday. Irene is an insightful, observant poet whose works invite us in. . .and invite us to create poems of our own!

Irene Latham

2020 has been a difficult year for all of, that’s for sure. We’ve been isolated, masked, and socially-distanced from our friends, family and other loved ones. I, like so many others, have become hyper-aware of all the the casual lunch dates and meet-ups and conferences I’ve taken for granted along the way. I miss my friends!

Zoom is something, at least, but it’s no way to get a hug. Which has made time with my pets more important, and time in nature essential. The birds go about their business whether I’m masked or not. And there’s comfort in that.

There’s comfort in my newest book of poems, too. THIS POEM IS A NEST (illus. By Johanna Wright, brought to us by Wordsong/Boyds Mills & Kane) is an adventure in found poetry – first I wrote a big poem titled “Nest,” and then I found 160 “nestlings” or smaller poems hiding inside. I challenged myself to use every single word in the original “Nest” at least once as I created the nestlings, and also to write about as many different things as possible. I wrote poems about colors and planets and animals and emotions and poetry – and friends. It is my hope that readers will find a friend in this book… its small trim size makes it intimate and oh so huggable! Mmmm….

Here’s a sampling of friend-ly poems from THIS POEM IS A NEST. May they speak to you today!

Best Friends

together

              snug –

they share

                 stars

Sometimes troubles arise with friends:

Resentment

a long-buried

nothing

Rejection

it’s got

winter

in it

… and sometimes happiness finds us when we least expect it.

When You’re Happy

poemsky

expands –

you climb

up and up,

settle

into sun

Wishing everyone bright poemskies today! So many thanks to my friend Kirby, for inviting me into this space. Mwah!

This Poem is a Nest by Irene Lathan Art by Johanna Wright

Irene Latham lives on a lake in rural Alabama. Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, she is the author of hundreds of poems and nearly twenty current and forthcoming poetry, fiction and picture books from publishers including Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Lerner, Charlesbridge, Boyd Mills and Kane. Her books have been recognized on state lists and honored by NEA, ALA, NCTE, SIBA, Junior Library Guild, Bank Street College and other organizations.

Attachments: Book cover promo with nest, author photo, Best Friends poem, When You’re Happy poem, Rosie photo