Tag Archives: poetry

Free Verse Friday: June 2023

It’s hard to believe that it is already June! This past week has been scorching hot in contrast to the week before where we had frost warnings. What a wild weather ride we continue to be on.
This month the theme is Solstice. The summer solstice will arrive on June 21 this year, and in my time zone the exact time is 10:57 am.
I decided to write to this picture of some of my sunflowers from a couple of years ago. Although sunflowers typically don’t arrive until later in the summer, they remind me so much of the sun.

I decided to write an acrostic poem this month. Click here for a good explanation of an acrostic poem.


Summer beckons
On this day do something that brings you joy
Longest day of the year
Sunflowers aren’t blooming, but soon enough
Traditions to mark this day are often fiery
Intentions can be set—maybe I’ll invite more sunflowers into my life
Energy is vibrant

I think I will play around with this poem some more. It doesn’t flow as well as I would like it to. Any suggestions?
I discovered while I was researching that there is a focus on several concepts during the summer solstice, and one of them is Abundance, which is my word of the year. I’ll have to do something special this year to celebrate.
Did you write a poem? I’d love to read it.
Make sure to check out Bev’s poem too.

Here are the topics for the next three months:

See you next month!

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler


Free Verse Friday: May 2023

Well, you know what they say: “April showers bring May flowers”. I should add “May showers bring May flowers”, because it is rain, rain, and more rain here.

We are now in the season of tulips.

This month’s poem’s theme is “flowers”, and I have chosen to keep it short again, another haiku.

Spring flowers beckon
Come sit with me, they whisper
Enchanting embrace

I did sit with my violets, my favourite flower, for a while last month.

I am starting to feel a little better. On Thursday I joined a yoga class and the combination of laughter yoga, meditation, and yoga made me feel better. Last night was the first night I felt relaxed in weeks.

So how are you doing? I’d love it if you shared a flower poem with me.

Please also go and read Bev’s awesome poem.

See you the first Friday in June. The theme is “solstice”.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

Free Verse Friday, April 2023

Happy Poetry Month, and welcome to the fourth month of our Free Verse Friday. Today’s topic is change, which is something that many people are uncomfortable with. I know that in some areas of my life I am very resistant to change.
I like the following quote by Beth Kempton in “The Way of the Fearless Writer”. Kempton writes, “If something changes, a story is born. Everything changes, so there are stories everywhere.” Thinking that way makes me consider change a bit differently.
Today I am going to be writing a haiku using Kempton’s advice (e.g., write in the present tense; don’t focus on the poet so don’t use “I”) and based on this picture:

Spring blossoms blooming
with fall leaves, reminding of
overlapping change

I recently read about the concept of a tanka being written as a collaborative effort in the book “These Are Not the Words” by Amanda West Lewis, a book that I summarize briefly in this blog post. One person writes the first three lines, which is the haiku, and the second person responds to the haiku, writing the last two lines, seven syllables each, resulting in a tanka. So if you are feeling adventurous, I invite you to add two seven syllable lines as a response to my haiku.

I hope you leave a poem about change in the comments, or that you link to your blog post with a change poem. Otherwise, let me know what you are up to poetry wise. I entered a poetry contest at CommuterLit, which is still open to submissions until April 17.

Don’t forget to check out Bev’s poem.

I love that Cheriee has written a persona poem this month.

Happy Easter to all those who celebrate.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

Six Degrees April 2023: From “Born to Run” to “Old Babes in the Wood”

It’s time once again for the Six Degrees challenge, hosted by Kate at “Books are my Favourite and Best”.

This month we are starting our chains with “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. Although I love Springsteen’s music, I have not read his memoir.

From Goodreads:
“Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.”

“Run Towards the Danger” by Sarah Polley
Connecting with the word “Run” in a title. The title refers to Polley’s paradigm shift: when being treated for a concussion she was told to “greet and welcome the things” she had previously avoided. In the collection of essays, Polley writes about the trauma of being a child actor, Jian Ghomeshi’s assault case and why she didn’t testify, and a high risk pregnancy. It’s raw and it’s real, and I review it here.

“The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream” by Katharine Norbury
From running to walking. In this memoir/travelogue, Norbury poetically pens about her goal of following a river from the sea to its source. The author, who was abandoned as a baby, writes about rediscovering her roots, about nature and myths, and about health issues.

“A Ghost in the Throat” by Doireann Ní Ghríofa
More poetic writing. A cross genre blending of the author’s own story with the research (and reimagining) she does on an 18th century Irish poet who wrote a poem (a keen) after the death of her husband (she drinks his blood after finding his body!). Ní Ghríofa writes lyrically about her own struggles as student and mother, as well as about the poet and Gaelic poem she is researching.

“These Are Not the Words” by Amanda West Lewis.
A book centred around poems, music, and art. Twelve year old Missy’s dad speaks through his drumsticks and her mom makes sense of the world through art, but Missy’s jam is writing. Soon it becomes clear that all is not well in the household, and it is revealed that Missy’s dad is an addict. Set in the 1960s, this book is a semi-autobiographical retelling of West Lewis’ childhood. Poems are interwoven throughout the story. The author’s mother, Laurie Lewis, wrote a memoir called “Love, and All That Jazz” about her experience.

“I am Her Tribe” by Danielle Doby
A collection of poems. I found myself relating to many of Doby’s poems, such as,
“it is such a push + pull feeling
owning a heart
that wants to break open
and close off simultaneously.”

“Old Babes in the Wood” by Margaret Atwood
A scattering of poems. In this collection of short stories, there are a few poems, but only to inform the short stories. As is Atwood’s usual style, there is a lot of tongue in cheek humour in the collection, but I found myself more drawn to the stories at the end. The book begins with stories about Tig & Nell, but ends with stories about Nell & Tig after Tig’s death, and I found these to be touching, especially “Widows” when Nell writes the heartfelt letter she really wants to send about widowhood, and then writes the bland letter she actually sends. I must confess, I would rather receive the first one despite Nell’s comment: “You asked me how I was doing…No one wants an honest answer to that one.”

Did you do a chain this month? I love reading them! Everyone has such a unique take on them, and I always find many new books to put on my TBR list.

Next month the chain will start at “Hydra” by Adriane Howell.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

Free Verse Friday, March 2023

This month the theme of our Free Verse Friday is Green.
Here in my corner of southern Ontario it has been unusually green most of the winter. When the snow does come, it tends to come in very lion like, like it did a couple of weeks ago. Schools were closed on the next day, and when I ventured out later in the day, I could see why: I couldn’t even shovel the driveway or sidewalk, as it was pure ice! Buses were again cancelled on Tuesday this week. Today we are scheduled for yet another big snow dump.
This month I have decided to do a persona poem. I became intrigued with persona poems when I sat in on a webinar held by Vocamus Writers Community. Persona poems are poems written from the point of view of someone else or something else. I have been practicing them, always from the point of view from an object. A couple of good examples are “Katrina” by Patricia Smith, written from the point of view of a hurricane, and “The Hawthorn Tree” by Louise Glück, written from the point of view of the tree.
For my persona poem, I was inspired by these pictures to write from the point of view of grass.


Winter marches in, swishing a white cape over us
Lulling us into a long sleep
We are warm and cozy under this snowy blanket
Though the cover is chilly, we are protected from gusts and gales
Until the day when Spring tiptoes in with a green cape
Releasing us from our slumber to see the sun again
The white withdraws, the green advances
Securing the soil for another season

If you know of any good persona poem books, please do let me know.
I hope that you will join Bev and me by writing a green themed poem. Also, please do stop by Bev’s blog to read her poem.
The next three months we will be having these themes:
I hope to see at least one of your poems in the upcoming months.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour for “Hope and Fortune”: Book Review

In the fairy tale “Hope and Fortune” by Marissa Bãnez, Esperanza (Spanish for Hope) chases a beautiful butterfly into the Fabled Fairy Forest and gets lost. Golden Tree advises Esperanza to go deeper into the forest and ask the twelve fairies for advice. Esperanza visits each fairy, and they give the child some life advice in the form of rhyme.
Although the story does have an arc—child gets lost, finds help, then finds her way—the book is more a collection of poems with advice to help guide a child through life. Having said that, these poems are presented in a gentle and nonthreatening way.
There is much to love in this book. First of all, the fairies represent different genders, generations, and cultures. Second of all, the book is multilayered with lots of symbolism to unpack. For example, many of the fairies are accompanied by “spirit animals”, e.g., The Fortune Fairy of Confidence has a leopard. As well, the colours often are symbolic and some fairies have symbolic clothes. Finally, some Fairies give a nod to different cultural icons, such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Bãnez hopes that the layers in the book will springboard into further discussions.
The pictures are beautiful and a fantastic complement to the story. My favourite fairies are the Fortune Fairy of Strength and Courage, represented by an Asian warrior, the Fortune Fairy of Imagination, represented by a head scarf wearing Muslim, and The Fortune Fairy of Beauty, represented by a heart radiating energy.
Bãnez hopes that the book will grow with a child, and I can see that happening, as each reading would allow the child—and adult—to discover a different aspect, whether in the text or pictures. This book is one that invites you to read it many times.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Be sure to check out the other stops in this tour.

Purchase a copy of Hope and Fortune on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author

A first-generation immigrant to the U.S. from the Philippines, Marissa Bañez is a graduate of Princeton University and a lawyer licensed to practice in New York, California, and New Jersey. She has published legal articles for the prestigious New York Law Journal and the American Bar Association, but her true passion is in her children’s stories. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, whose childhood was filled with many original stories and puppet shows made up entirely by her mom. In her free time, Marissa likes to travel, design and make clothes, cook, binge-watch Star Trek shows and Korean dramas, and occasionally strum a guitar.

She is currently working on her second book, Hues and Harmony (How the Singing Rainbow Butterfly Got Her Colors), a story about mixed or multiracial children, self-discovery, and respect for others as told through the life and adventures of a caterpillar. It is scheduled for publication on July 20, 2023.

You can find her online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marissa.banez.7/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-banez/

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

One Word: February 2023 Update

One thing I have noticed is that I now am writing an Abundance of words; I am writing almost every day. Yay!

One project I have started is based on persona poems, which are poems written from the point of view of someone else or something else. I attended a free webinar held by a local writing group called Vocamus Writers Community, which introduced me to the form. The facilitator noted that you could write a “memoirish” book using these types of poems, and that got me thinking. I thought maybe that I could approach some of the traumas in my life—chronic illness, parental death, bullying—from the point of view of another eye looking at the scene. So far I find it’s been helping. I’ll have to try an Abundance poem from the point of view of something too.

This month, Lisa Notes had a few suggestions for what we could do to incorporate our word of the year into our lives. There are a couple that I really thought were a good idea, so I followed up on them.

  1. Listen for a song.

When I googled “songs for abundance”, surprisingly I came across the suggestion of “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles. Yes, it’s a good reminder that money cannot buy everything.

  1. Find a poem.

I really like the poem “Abundance” by Amy Schmidt, written in memory of Mary Oliver.

I also thought that I could write an acrostic poem, and I am working on that.

Finally, I came across this invitation to listen to a podcast called “How Your Ancestors Impact Your Abundance” with Linda Fitch. Recently I have been hearing about how much your ancestors can impact you and your life choices and directions. Epigenetics is fascinating!

So how’s it going with your word of the year?

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2022 Linda Schueler

Nonfiction Reader Challenge 2023: Book Review of “Keep Moving”

The second book I am reviewing for the Nonfiction Reader Challenge 2023 is “Keep Moving”, which is a book of quotes and essays written by Maggie Smith, an award winning poet who has written poems such as “Good Bones”. The book was written after her divorce and deals with her grief and beginnings in her new life. Smith also writes about her children, two surviving and two not.
The book is divided into three parts: Revision, Resilience, and Transformation. Every quote ends with the phrase “Keep Moving”. A lot of quotes resonated with me, but I will leave you with two:

“Ask yourself what part of you is holding on to pain because it is familiar, because letting go would require you to do something different, to fill that space…”

I’m trying to shift out of the same pain stories that I keep telling myself.


“Revise the story you tell yourself about failure. Consider yourself an apprentice in the world. Learn all you can. Gain experience. KEEP MOVING.”

I like the thought of being an apprentice in this world.

This is a book you can pick up again and again for some inspiration.

The book is part memoir, part poetry (the arts).

What’s moving you these days?

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

Free Verse Friday—February 2023

Has it already been a month since our first Free Verse Friday? Wow!
This month’s theme is “Winter”. Winter started late here in my corner of southern Ontario, but now that winter is here, it’s come with a blast! This morning I took a walk in -18 degree Celsius weather! At least we are seeing more sun.
For this challenge I used this picture for inspiration. The decoration hangs in my front yard, usually only for Christmas, but this year I have left it out longer.

I have done three variations of my poem.


Winter, the time when
the whole world wears a toque
Trees, bushes, even
decorations take part
in this ritual, making
winter festive and thus more
bearable although…
Bears do hibernate…

This one I tried to use a syllable structure, loosely basing it on a tanka poem. I got the comment that it was choppy, so I tried the next structure to see if it improved anything.

Winter, the time when the whole world wears a toque
Trees, bushes, even decorations take part in this ritual,
Making winter festive and thus more bearable although…
Bears do hibernate…

Then it seemed that the funny twist at the end didn’t appeal to all, so I tried it without.

Winter, the time when the whole world wears a toque
Trees, bushes, even decorations take part in this ritual,
Making winter festive and thus more bearable

So what do you think? Which poem do you like best?

Don’t forget to head over to Bev’s blog to read her poem. And feel free to leave yours in the comment section.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour for “The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes”: Book Review

Those who have been following my blog know that I have been on a journey to improve my poetry. So I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to review a book called “The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes” by Raven Howell.
The poems are delightful on the tongue, and though the subject matter is geared towards children, adults will find the poems appealing enough to keep them interested, and the poems will potentially prompt further discussion. My favourite poem is called “Between the Sun and Moon”, all about quiet moments, something many of us are in search of these days. “Here, Kitty, Kitty!” made me laugh. Book lovers like me will recognize themselves in “Let’s Go!” “Red Robin’s Gift” got me thinking about gifts in general.
Illustrator Nazli Tarcan’s vibrant pictures are just as delightful on the eye as Howell’s poems are on the tongue.
I highly recommend “The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes”.
Note: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Check out a related post from last week: author Raven Howell’s guest post about “Why do we love gnomes so much?”
Don’t forget to also check out the other blog post stops on this WOW tour.

Book Summary

Discover the magic in simple moments when a child peers in the mirror to unintentionally come upon his smile, where kittens nap in boots, fairy hugs feel good, mice delight in reading books, and January snowflakes taste yummy.

Twenty whimsical poems warm the heart and inspire cheer; a collection enticing both the young and seasoned reader to explore the enchantment of the wonderful world of poetry.

About the Author

Raven Howell writes stories and poetry for children. Having published several award-winning picture books, she enjoys sharing her love of literature by visiting classrooms and libraries. Raven is Creative & Publishing Advisor for Red Clover Reader, served as Poetry Director for Monster Magnificent, and writes The Book Bug column for Story Monsters Ink magazine. Her poems are found in children’s magazines such as Ladybug, Spider, Highlights for Children, Humpty Dumpty, and Hello Magazine. She’s an editor, and collaborating author for Reading is Fundamental SoCal.

When not writing, Raven enjoys sunshine and the beach, spending time with her family, hiking, laughing, reading, goofing around with artwork, and inventing new recipes.

You can find her on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/atpearthkeeper
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/atpearthkeeper/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RavenHowellAuthorandPoetPage/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pickward/_saved/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raven-howell-5a813015b/
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ravenhowell22

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler