Poetry Friday Roundup: Poetry Catch of the Day

Poetry Catch of the Day

Hello, worms and wormettes! 

I’ve missed you! Although I’m still on blogging hiatus until September, I just had to row the boat back in real quick to host your wonderful poetry today. Leave your bait in the comments and I’ll reel you all in throughout the day.

I have been a busy fish. A large project has consumed me for months, and I’ve barely written a line for myself. I hope my fins still work. Back in May, however, I was inspired to return to my free verse roots over on David Harrison’s blog, where he has monthly poetry themes. In May, that theme was fishing.

Now, I have written exactly two free verse poems in the last twenty-odd years, and both are about my father. The first I wrote upon his death from cancer in 2004, and the second is the one below, from David’s blog. I am attempting a revision today, so let’s see how it goes.

But first, I have to give a

shout out to my poetry critique group, Poets’ Garage!


This marvelous group of poets kindly but firmly steers all my gnarly, scaly, hook-in-mouth poems into gentler waters. I’ve been a member of Poet’s Garage since January, and the advice, critiques, and support I’ve received there have made my flippers flap like you wouldn’t believe. If you click the badge above, you’ll see all the current members, many of whom are familiar fish-faces from Poetry Friday and the kidlit world. I hope you’ll go visit some of their sites and get to know their work!

Now back to the poem!



My father was not a fisher,
though we went that one time
together in the boat
when I wouldn’t touch
worm nor fish.
Peaceful it was, bobbing
together in the boat
my father singing,
his tenor light as the tug
of the sunfish on my line.
Together in the boat
we floated through a day.

When we got a bigger boat,
we floated through more days
no lines or tugs now
just Willie Nelson
singing us into the lake
my father’s tenor
bringing down the sun
to join us
together in the boat.

Mom-and-Dad-in-the-boat 1985
The boat, 1985

My Garage friends baited me with numerous questions for me to tackle, among which:

  • How many boats are there, anyway? [a rowboat in stanza 1, the boat above in stanza 2. The reader wouldn’t know that, though, so I see the confusion.]
  • Why are you speaking like Yoda? [“Peaceful it was” – I am not familiar with Yoda, but I am miffed that he has ruined this construction for the rest of us]
  • Does the narrator age considerably between stanzas? [about ten years, but probably better to tighten the poem into a single moment]
  • Who is singing in stanza 2, Willie or your father? [both, but it’s not clear in the draft]
  • Will kids know who Willie Nelson is? [No, but they can look it up! Willie is integral to my memories of my father, and I’m not willing to give him up.]
  • This feels like two poems for two different age groups. What are you going for? [I don’t know! That’s why I’m here!]
  • What am I to understand about what’s changed between the first stanza and the second? [um…good question.]
  • Where’s the more lyrical language I’ve come to expect from you? [gauntlet thrown!]

Of course, the poets were more detailed and eloquent, but that’s the gist. I’m not sure I’m in any mindset to revise right now, especially regarding the last comment, but here goes!




My father was not a fisherman,
though we went one time,
together in the boat,
when I wouldn’t touch
worm or fish.
Lake water lapped,
bobbing us a lullaby,
my father singing along,
his tenor light as the tug
of the sunfish on my line.
Together in the boat,
we floated through a day,
a soft sort of silence
bringing down the sun.

Canoeing on the river, 1994

Looks like I had to cut Willie loose after all. But now I’m not happy with the first five lines…and some of the others, too. Well, that’s where I am with it for now! If I ever get it right, I’ll make a video.

Now for the roundup! 

today's poetry catch

Look what’s on the hook today! 

fishicon3The glamorous Esther Hershenhorn at TeachingAuthors casts a line for her new baby board book, Txting Mama Txting Baby, in stores next week!

fishicon1One of my favorite fishing partners — and fellow Poets’ Garage member — Penny Klostermann takes us back to the madness (March Madness, that is) with one of her poems, “Swimming Toward the Light,” a fishy tale of woe.

fishicon2Yet another Poets’ Garage member, the insightful and all around good fish B.J. Lee, unveils her brand new blog and invites us to gaze through her “Blue Window” poems, lyrics, and haiku.

fishicon3A pensive Father Goose Charles Ghigna is the “Invisible Man” at Bald Ego today, which also features a moody illustration by Chip Ghigna. Speaking of illustrators, Charles is also giving a shout out to all the illustrious illustrators of his books on his Father Goose blog.

fishicon1Looky here, another Garage member! Gayle Krause is in with “Beware the Wild Rose,” a dark fantasy cleave poem — that’s three poems in one! She’s also celebrating the publication of her YA novel Ratgirl: Song of the Viper at her blog, The Storyteller’s Scroll.

fishicon2That big lug Matt Forrest pulls the heartstrings with his poem “Constancy,” a tribute to his lovely wife, over at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Sniff! And yes, Matt is also a member of Poets’ Garage. We’re everywhere!

fishicon1At Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle Barnes shares “Five Things I Learned on Summer Vacation,” a lovely and lyrical reflection on summer adventures!

fishicon3The exuberant Amy Ludwig VanDerwater also celebrates free verse today with “Mittens and Friends,” a poem about mittens and friends and free verse and metaphors! As always, you can find Amy writing odes to worms and kissing fish over at The Poem Farm.

fishicon2At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret Simon shares “Famous” by Naomi Shihab-Nye and an accompanying story to make you go Awwwwwww.

fishicon1At Wee Words for Wee Ones, rhymer Bridget Magee gives us “August June Bug,” a thug of a bug if ever I met one!

fishicon2The lovely Liz Steinglass — another Poets’ Garage member! — regales us today with two original limericks. She’s also featured at Today’s Little Ditty with another limerick!

fishicon1Mary Lee Hahn‘s thoughtful original poem “The Space Between the Breaths We Take” at A Year of Reading considers the moments of anticipation we experience every day.

fishicon3At Author Amok, Laura Shovan is “Leaving AuntieLand” with three poems about aunts, plus her own anecdotes about being the most awesome auntie on earth.

fishicon2If you’re up for a little science, head to The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha Yeatts has poems about elements, stars, black holes, and a Mother’s Day poem to HD179949, all courtesy of science-minded poets.

fishicon3Diane Mayr has lots of goodies to share today, including Haikube poems at Random Noodling; Carl Sandburg’s “North Atlantic” poem from the Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology Got Geography! at Kurious Kitty; and a Carl Sandburg quote at KK’s Kwotes.

fishicon1Good fish friend Catherine Johnson gives us some bopping wordplay with “Cogs in a Clog” — over on her blog. Pollywog.

fishicon2Beautiful skygazer Irene Latham lays out a smorgasbord of beach poems by Valerie Worth. If this doesn’t put you in a summer mood, nothing will!

fishicon2At Poet! Poet!, Anastasia Suen ponders the good and the bad of a number in her poem “100 Again”.

fishicon3I have a hunch you’ll like what’s in store for your at I Think in Poems, where Betsy shares her original poem “A Hunch”.

fishicon1An enthusiastic Linda Kulp shares a fabulous poetry exercise based on her poem “Silence” from one of my favorite books, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School!

fishicon2Check out the poetic form over at Tapestry of Words, where Becky Shillington gives us a recipe for and original samples of cinquain poems.

fishicon3Heidi Mordhorst‘s My Juicy Little Universe is the place to be if you like delightful, inventive poems. Today Heidi shares her dual look at “Laps” from a kid’s point of view.

fishicon1At Keri Recommends, Keri Collins Lewis gets squirrelly with her “Squirrel Antics,” a critter poem written for Buffy Silverman for the 2013 Summer Poetry Swap.

fishicon2There’s another Poets’ Garage-r among us, this time in the form of poet and critiquer extraordinaire Carrie Finison, who treats us to a father poem of her own with “On the Beach with Dad”, a truly lovely memory poem. She even got her kids into the beach poetry action while on vacation!

fishicon3Speaking of The Poetry Friday Anthology, editor Sylvia Vardell has a new poetry postcard up for Terry Webb Harshman’s “Underwear Scare”, plus a terrific list of back-to-school poetry books!

fishicon1Ahhh. More beachy goodness awaits at Teacher Dance, where a refreshed Linda Baie shares her poetic thoughts on “Lingering at the Beach”, inspired by her summer family fun on Captiva Island.

fishicon2At The Drawer of M.M. Socks, Mr. Socks hosts a “Gorilla in a Kid Costume” who swears he’s just like me and yoo-ooh-ooh-aaah!

fishicon3Everyone’s favorite techie and March Madness guru Ed DeCaria has the video of MM2013 winner Dave Crawley putting a dismembered MM trophy back together again on live television! Oh, and he talks about the poetry tournament, too.

fishicon1At Reading to the Core, Catherine Flynn shares her original poem “The Sand Beneath Our Feet”, a response to a most astonishing photo of sand.

fishicon2Colette Bennett gives us “Thinking Aloud in the Cadence of Billy Collins”, a gorgeous tribute to Collins, who has been stuck in her head since she went to his reading last week. There are worse things! The post is FULL of Collins goodness.

fishicon3The always joyful Joy Acey is back with “Summer”, a gentle concrete poem also featuring Joy’s original artwork — and it’s about a boat!

fishicon1At Bildungsroman, Little Willow shares “Tangibles” by Carl Sandburg.

fishicon2Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts tugs the heartstrings with “Jump. Don’t Trip.” by 17-year-old Jessica C. Galente, from the anthology Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers, edited by Betsy Franco.

fishicon3Good things come to those who wait, and that is certainly true over at The Drift Record, where Julie Larios shares a truly delightful poem about a how the star-nosed mole got its star, from the book The Wishing Bone Cycle by Howard Norman.

fishicon3Who’s next on the line?


Thank you all for casting your lines and bringing in such a delectable poetry haul!


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All content copyright © 2013 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.
Fish illustrations copyright © Stephan van den Brink. All rights reserved.  





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  1. Hi Renee– actually this is my Poetry Friday post today: http://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/2013/08/five-for-friday-things-i-learned-on-my.html The whale limerick was from earlier in the week (my new post scheduled to post overnight). Thanks for making the correction for me. 🙂

    Really interesting to read your revision process. I’m not sure I agree 100% with some of the critique remarks and miss the shout out to Willie Nelson, but in general, I do agree that the second version is stronger. I also really like the new lines “bobbing us a lullaby” and “bringing down the sun.” Envious of the poet’s group company you’re keeping! Will have to submit my own application to join in the fun.

    Thanks for hosting today despite your busy schedule!

  2. I’ve got an original today, “The Space Between the Breaths We Take.”

    Thanks for rowing back to the dock to have a summer poetry picnic with us!

    And thanks for sharing your critique group’s comments and the two drafts of your poem. It’s always fascinating to get a peek into someone else’s process. Looking forward to the video/final draft!!

  3. Renee,
    You hang with a tough crowd. I’m sure they are pushing in you, though, to develop your craft. I do think the second one is stronger, but like Michelle, I miss the personal touch from the first. The memory is strong. Keep fishing for poems!

  4. I enjoyed reading the group’s comments. Two (or more) minds are better than one! I hope you will come to a version that you completely embrace.

    Today at Random Noodling I have Haikube poems.

    Kurious Kitty has a poem by Carl Sandburg from Got Geography!

    KK’s Kwotes P.F. quote is by Sandburg.

  5. Renee, I love both boat poems and the voice of both is so different, you could have two different versions. The second is rather like a calm water and the first a lively white water.

    Please can I join the Poet’s Garage, I don’t have a poetry critique group? :0)

  6. Hey, I recognize that last question! “soft sort of silence” is so touching. I definitely like the poem better with one stanza, and my favourite line is still “his tenor light as the tug of the sunfish on my line.” I do think you can still include Willie, perhaps right after the line “my father singing along” – so if you end up revising it any more, please let us see it!

  7. Hi Renee, thanks for hosting! I am in with a hunch…a poem about a hunch that is. Hunches can be dangerous when we let them “catch us on their hook,” (to go along with your fishy theme). I hope people will stick to their truth instead of their hunches. Have a great Poetry Friday, looking forward to all the good reading that is in store.

  8. Yoda is a weird (but cool) wrinkled & green alien guy from Star Wars. He said things like “Use the Force, You must” and “Do, or do not. There is no try” in a funny screechy voice. 🙂

    I LOVE your poems! And the changes in between them! So cool!

  9. Hi, Renee, thanks for hosting and for bravely sharing your process and your poem(s). You know I’m a huge fan already! At my blog, I’m featuring a brand new poem postcard and a list of back-to-school poetry books.

  10. Hi Renee, I loved all that people wrote for that ‘fishing’ prompt-amazing what it brought! Thanks for sharing your process, about your group & the two poems. I think both times you’ve captured the sweet laziness of the day & Willie Nelson puts it in time, although perhaps not for children. I love “we floated through the day”. My sharing today comes from a week at the beach with my family. It was a wonderful time, especially with the younger grandchildren who had never been to the ocean. http://www.teacherdance.blogspot.com/2013/08/lingering-at-beach.html

    1. 10 Q, Renee, for hosting Poetry Friday – and – sharing my TeachingAuthors post that celebrates my new baby board book.
      I’m honored to be in such rich and talented company.
      I learned so much from your honest sharing of your poem and process.
      The Metaphor Lover in me, not to mention the Writer in me, took your bait, hook, line and sinker.

  11. Thank you for hosting today and for sharing both versions of your poem. It’s so helpful to see other people’s revision process. I agree with Michelle and Margaret; each poem has its own strengths.

    Today I’m sharing an original poem that was inspired by a picture of sand (maybe the sand from the bottom of your boat!) magnified 250 times.

    Happy Friday, everyone!

  12. I love your poem about your father, Renee, and it was so interesting to see the first version, your critique group’s comments and your response with the second much better and really beautiful version of the poem.

  13. I am still on the island with lousy reception, but I hope this gets through…It would not load yesterday…
    I love the first version of your poem. It has beautiful rhythm and I did not object to the “Yoda” verse. I thought it was a lovely transition. They do have point about the boat confusion. As for Willie Nelson- that is hardly an obscure reference and I think you should leave it in if its important to you. You did a lovely job in the second poem, but forum two cents I preferred the rhythm in the first one. You are a wonderful poet
    Thanks for hosting!I look forward to reading the rest of the poems when I am back home monday.

  14. Fine revision, Renee!! Sounds like you have a good group of poetry friends, very insightful and direct (that can hurt sometimes, but listening to advice like that is so much better than trying to read between the lines when people are being too kind, don’t you think?)

    I missed Poetry Friday because I can’t seem to keep track of the days anymore. So I put a Poetry Saturday up: a poem from Howard Norman’s wonderful (and I mean fabulous) The Wishing Bone Cycle. If people are still looking around for Poetry Friday poems, they can catch it at The Drift Record : http://www.nowaterriver.com/poetry-friday-roundup-poetry-catch-of-the-day/

    1. Thanks, Julie! It seems I’m always in a time crunch, so I definitely prefer the direct approach in all things! 🙂 And it’s always done with kindness and respect, with the understanding that we can ignore each other completely. A great group, indeed!

      Thanks for the link – Friday, Saturday….it’s all the same!

  15. Love the first one better than the second. Does that mean I’m a poet misfit?? The rhythm feels easier in the first one. The Yoda speak added to it. I do like the second one. But the first is my favorite. I think you’ve shown a togetherness between the two of you that is beautiful.

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