HAPPY OCTOBER’S END!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s the time of vivid skies and shaded leaves and the sharpest fading of the light, leading to long-blooming mornings and gray blue twilight that snuffs out sharply into deepest dark. It’s the time of low fogs and high winds and swirling leaves caught up and crunching underfoot… and being tracked into the house… starting off the cycle of more vacuuming and dusting and sweeping and giant spiders from who knows where just SHOWING UP and taking over your house, and also, who invited all the earwigs this year!?!?
Right. Wonderful. We were focusing on WONDERFUL.
No matter the pumpkin spiced nonsense that comes with, Autumn is A Good Time, and it seems we Poetry Peeps decided, in our infinite 2019 wisdom, that October was going to be a good time to explore a new type of poetry – new to me, at least. The name naani is a word in a Dravidian language of the ethno-linguistic Indian people of Telugu, who live predominantly in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh. Naani sounds playful and brief, and I like the idea of a poem whose name is defined as, and which addresses “of one and all.” That means our random meanderings are welcome here – as long as we keep them from 20 to 25 syllables. This is an accessible form for most of my Poetry Peeps – check out what Liz did with it. Laura‘s is here. Tricia‘s is here, Michelle’s naani is here, and Sara’s is here, and here’s Elle’s Poetry Peeps debut. Stay tuned for more links here as other Poetry Peeps check in.
Unlike the haiku form, this poetry isn’t going to be necessarily nature-inspired, but it’s more a poetry form for what catch-all topics cross the mind – housekeeping. Earwigs. Moods. In my case this month it’s …mail. Specifically, junk mail. Political mail. I’m quite ready to be done with it.
pen pal’s promise
(longer letter later) keeps me
through ads, bills & junk
hope holds on
slick-bright pages loud
with entreaty: see me! believe me!
unheeding, I file.
(Yes, that title and last line work together to create a pun on “circular file.” You’re welcome.)
In this neighborhood we have teensy tiny porch mailboxes, the flat kind with the little lid, which means there’s limited space in there for nonsense, and each day this week the box has been simply crammed. Between the door-to-door candidates who just slip something under the door mat, and the newspaper inserts and the mail, there’s so much paper trash, all of it yammering at me for my attention and my vote. 100% of it goes into the recycle bin, 99% of it without even meeting my eyes. Surely there’s a better use of politicians’ time? I know there’s certainly a better use of MINE – not to mention our poor mail carrier’s!
But, we’re nearly there, my friends. In just days the time changes, the election will finally be over, and we’ll be free to actually enjoy these blustery autumn days – light our candles instead of just leaving them to look pretty on the hearth, drink our tea, instead of just getting it as gifts, to take the moment we’re in and fully inhabit it for joy, before the next round of minor irritations and major worries gather to bracket our days. Breathe. Be.
Even more poetry today is brought to you by Linda at Teacher Dance, who is helpfully hosting our Poetry Friday with memories of Halloween past.
Laurel Snyder ♦ Cynthia Leitich Smith ♦ Mitali Perkins ♦ Laurie Halse Anderson ♦ Jason Reynolds ♦ Alex Wheatle ♦ Meg Medina ♦ Eric Gansworth ♦ Linda Sue Park
The discussions were tough – passionate, emotional, and meaningful. There wasn’t a way we could have made a bad choice — and you’ll find out tonight where we ended up. I was gratified and moved to serve with such brilliant writers – and I’m thrilled with our recipient. Tune in to the Neustadt Lit Fest for closing ceremonies to hear the announcement, or check it out on LitHub. Make sure you pick up a book from any of these brilliant authors – especially those who may be new to you.
Now, excuse me while I lie down.
for the broken earthen pot.
The earth is preparing
to shape anew
– by N. Gopi, from Naaelu
Welcome to my running Author PSA to remind myself what’s going on this month, and drag you along for the ride:
- Interviews, essays, book club signings, and filmed appearances (including one for World Literature Today and the Digital Frankfurt Book Fair) that I’ll link as I find,
- CYBILS SEASON! Nominations your fave children’s and young adult books until October 15th: NOMINATE NOW!
- 10/6-11/30: SCBWI Bookstop goes live!
- 10/6 9:30-10:45 AM PST: CALIBA (California Independent Bookstore Alliance) Children’s Lit Virtual Speed Date,
- 10/19 5-6:30 PM CDT: NSK Neustadt Prize Jury reading & book giveaway
- 11/3: SERENA SAYS BOOK BIRTHDAY!
FYI: the naani poetry form was created by Indian poet and retired professor Dr. N Gopi. Naani is a short form, like haiku or senryu, with a set line- and syllable-count: 4-lines with 20 syllables total. Unlike haiku, naani poems are typically written about people, or on the human condition.