More poetry in 2021

It has been a long time since I read a collection of poems–not a good thing since reading more poetry was one of my 2021 Reading Goals. However, recently I received from a free source a collection of poems, billed as “40 Poems of Learning About Life.”

The author examines what she has learned about life along the way of her journey through it.

This interesting collection of poems begins in Dunham’s “comforts and questions of childhood.” Perhaps the most interesting and most well-known and well-received in this section is “My Mother, Turning Heads,” a child’s response to her mother’s attractiveness to others. The poems continue through the “yearnings, uncertainties, and every day joys of young adulthood,” perhaps my favorite group of poems. A few poems near the end deal with the complexities of middle age and aging, also an important part of the collection. All of the poems deal with “forgiveness, heartbreak, and joy,” universal themes that appeal to all readers. The author’s “take” on these themes is unique and original. I was particularly intrigued by the “Invisible Girl,” who shows up in an early poem and later makes a repeat appearance.


Curled up in bed

in the dark of the room,

a heavy gray

weight, the

woolen blanket

pulled up to her chin.

From the kitchen

the nightly discord.

Through the window

a street light glows.

The invisible girl


wordlessly offers

to become a friend

…for life.

I like the think of the Invisible Girl as the author’s Authentic Self arriving as the young girl lies daydreaming in her comfortable bed. Hopefully, Dunham has stayed true to their friendship and celebrates her inner self, The Invisible Girl daily as an adult. I must confess I did not fully understand the Invisible Girl’s reappearance when the author is an adult. The Invisible Girl returns in “…another’s stone-faced stare.” Perhaps I have totally misinterpreted the entire concept of the poems. I would love to ask the author what she intended in introducing The Invisible Girl.

Poetry has many meanings for many different people. Sometimes we find in poems things the poet never intended to be there.

Pretty soon I will start reading some of the Cybils nominations for children’s and YA poetry. (I already have some books from the library.)

I will be a first round reader in the areas of children’s and YA poetry.

This will definitely accomplish reading more poetry in 2021.


Blogging friend, Ritu Bhathal, author of blog, But I Smile Anyway

brings today’s poem from her first publication, Poetic Rituals

An outstanding collection of poetry I turn to time and time again

“But I Smile Anyway”

“When a cloud appears

In my sky,

I ask and wonder,

I ask God why.

Still, I smile anyway.

It all happens

For a reason, they say.

And I think

We’ll find a way.

So I smile anyway.

Negative thoughts

Then try to push through,

Trying their hardest

To make me feel blue,

But I smile anyway

Then I think about

All that is mine.

Things are great,

I’m feeling fine

And I smile anyway.”

For a fun, fun read, get Ritu’s Marriage Unarranged, her first novel. You’ll love it. I did.

UNSAID by Asmita Rajiv: A Review

One of my 2021 reading goals was to read more poetry. This 2020 collection of poems was recommended by a fellow blogger, and it resulted in my copying several poems for future re-reading and for help in teaching my Advanced Writing class.

The slim volume contains paintings, prose, and poetry by a young poet who addresses us as “fellow travelers” in this life’s journey.

This collection of poems “spoke” to me.

To begin, Rajiv quotes one of my heroes, Maya Angelou, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” The poet goes on to add, “We are so preoccupied by the monotony of our daily existence, that often the moments that take our breath away are perhaps the ones where we are actually holding our breath owing to some anxiety. Where then, is the time to pause and smell the proverbial roses?”

Poems in this collection are not arranged thematically or any particular mode of organization, but jump from thought to thought. Rajiv explores “the subtleties of love, companionship, and self-discovery.” The title comes from the advice the poet gives to her readers, “By listening to our hearts, we can let the unsaid be said.”


Several blogging friends participate in First Line Fridays, a meme which asks the blogger to copy the first line of a current read to see if it “grabs” any other readers. My first liner today is from the inside cover of a collection of poetry I have barely begun, When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur, which was recommended and reviewed by a blogger friend.41hOQ67jpsL    Instead of the first line, let

me use the poem on the inside front cover:


so that one day

a hundred yers from now

another sister will not have to

dry her tears wondering

where in history

she lost her voice.”


I am killing two birds with one post this Wednesday morning, the third day of April, and mangling a metaphor as I do. Since I was too tired to post my usual Tuesday Teaser, I will do so now and also begin fulfilling a poetry goal for National Poetry Month. Reading a whole collection of poems is my wish, and I will choose my Tuesday Teaser from blogging friend, Jen Payne’s Evidence of Flossing.

Her introduction leads with a quote, “When we try to pick out anything by itself,

we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.-John Muir, July 27, 1869”

“In a dream once, I saw the fabric of the

Universe. It was clearly laid out in fine strands of

translucent white dots, as if one were standing

inside a room full of beaded curtains


In the first few moments after waking, I

understood clearly that everything is connected;

how, if I touched one of the rows of white dots,

that touch would reverberate along the whole

system of dots; if I breathed or sang or wept,

that too would make waves along those strands.


My understanding of all of that was as fleeting

as my ability to still my mind, as translucent as

my understanding of god.  And yet, the image

of those dots has remained for me a diverse

illustration of how it is.


Everything is connected.


Some of our basic tenets as humans remind us

of that: ‘for every action in nature there is an

equal and opposite reaction,’ and ‘as you did

it to the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me.’ ”


On the next page, the introduction continues with the Golden Rule and what the book is about: “Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is a book about starstuff…a series of poems…[that] ask the reader to deeply consider the effects of our actions and how they influence everything else in the Universe.  ”