Crackles of Speech by Steven Withrow

Hi everyone,

I just finished reading Steven Withrow’s newly released book of poetry, CRACKLES OF SPEECH. In his words, “This book is a gigantic milestone for me — more than a decade of work and play . . .”

These poems are for a general reading audience. His collection for younger readers (AVALANCHE AND OTHER POEMS) is also just coming out and I look forward to reading them. But back to CRACKLES. With this work Steven establishes himself as a voice to be heard, a gifted poet to read and reread. He has long been intrigued by rhyme and form and demonstrates it here with a delicious smorgasbord of poetic concoctions. Reading these poems is a lesson in variety that alone keeps you wondering what he’ll dish up next. He loves words and knows a lot of them so keep your references handy.

Skillfully blending colorful language with unique metaphors and similes, Steven tells us in WOOD THRUSH that two week old wood thrush chicks test their wings against the air, “…their tail feathers/bent out behind them, like fingers/clutching updrafts as a boy holds a book.” In BROKEN BRIDGE, “Between commutes, night workers/Houdini’d a two-lane overpass.” In SNOW IN APRIL he stands “…among a million moths.” When explaining to an arborist (RESCUING A SUGAR MAPLE) how he’s practiced the art of benign neglect regarding his yard, “He shrugs and starts to mark his pad –/a figure with a dollar sign./’Art,’ he says, and waits a moment/before handing over the bill,’is crabgrass, weeds, and dead shade trees.'” In describing the beheading of a snake in COPPERHEAD, “across an epic afternoon Dad demythologized/by chucking a tongueless S into the brush.”

Here’s how you can order your own copy.

Congratulations to Steven Withrow. Ten years well spent. On to the next!


Happy All Hallows’ Eve!

REMINDER: If you have a Halloween poem to share, please post it in the comments section. Bring ’em on!

Hi everyone,

I have two Halloween poems. The first one is an original and was inspired by that glowing bird feeder in my back yard.IMAG0667

Three Signs
David L. Harrison

As sunlight flashed across the lake
I, with coffee, half awake,
Rubbed my eyes and tried to make
Certain there was no mistake.

As morning erased away the night
A fairy lantern in the light
Adorned my tree, a brilliant sight,
A beacon blazing ruby bright

As though to light some stranger’s way.
For whom of course I could not say
But a mere bird feeder yesterday
Was now aflame with flashing ray.

A second sign then puzzled me.
Beneath the boughs where hard to see,
Shadows flickered along the tree
Toward the lantern. Could this be

Sun’s illusion to make leaves leap,
Or fairies summoned from their sleep?
Denizens of dark and deep
With secret rendezvous to keep?

The third sign made me believe —
As owls sobbed as if to grieve
And feathery silhouettes took leave —
Spirits were coming for All Hallow’s Eve.

This second poem was originally published in EASY POETRY LESSONS THAT DAZZLE AND DELIGHT, a Teaching Strategies book published in 1999 by Scholastic and co-authored with Bernice Cullinan.

I hope you and all the munchkins in your circle enjoy the day and evening. If you want to share a Halloween poem, please post it in the comment section. I look forward to reading them.

This One Night of the Year
David L. Harrison

I fight to overcome my fear
This one frightful night of the year,
When glowing skeletons appear . . .
“Trick or treat!”

Monsters stagger down the street,
Mummies wrap in tattered sheet,
Fairies dance on tennis-shoed feet . . .
“Trick or treat!”

Goblins lurch and witches scratch,
Pumpkins leave their pumpkin patch,
Eager fingers reach to snatch . . .
“Trick or treat!”

Muffled voices, rustling wings
Sniff me out, my doorbell rings.
“Boo! Shoo, you scary things!”
“Trick or treat!”

Steven Withrow sent me a poem to add to the fun today so here it is with a thank you to Steven.



What if
to you?


you’ve got
a few snakes
of your own?

© 2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

Looking for the next poetry challenge

Hi everyone,

Thanks again to J. Patrick Lewis for his latest poetry challenge. Here’s a recap of contributors so far.

Ionic a Minore

What If – Song Parodies

Haiku book reviews

Couplets about my ugly lake
Couplets to scold me for being in Florida

If you have a favorite verse form and/or subject with which to tease us into action, I look forward to your suggestion. And by the way, even now, months after some of the challenges were posted, I’m still receiving new contributions. Thanks and keep it up.

Word of the Month poems

Hi everyone,



Hi everyone,

My thanks to Mary Jo Fresch for sharing these recording session pictures from her camera. I’ve already talked about the purpose for being there but wanted to post these because they’re so much better.

Tomorrow is the last day to post your Word of the Month poems so be sure you don’t forget. Friday starts a new month with a new word. Thanks to Steven Withrow, it’s a dandy.

I think it’s about time for another J. Patrick Lewis challenge. Tomorrow I’ll ask him if he has something else up his sleeve. Jane? Steven? Anyone else have a challenge for us? Let’s hear from you.

It’s also high time for another round of CAPTION THAT CARTOON. So Rob Shepperson, if you’re reading this, be prepared for another of my whiny requests.

More anon,