Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop: WINNERS!

In the month of April and into May, a group of intrepid poets and I explored parenting through poetry. It was a glorious, inspirational time, and I was so pleased to share the journey with these writers:

Putting ourselves out there was a little nerve-racking, a bit scary, a lot vulnerable — but all these poets pulled through and wrote and published their poetry on the themes and prompts for all to see and enjoy.


Of course, this is only a small selection of my favorites, but I wanted to highlight at least one poem from each of our poets. These are excerpts, so I urge you to click through and read the poems in their entirety on the writers' sites!

Karen at MomAgain@40

Karen was phenomenal at visually creating her poems. It takes a clever poet to consider how a poem will look on paper and make it just as eye-catching as it is ear-catching. She also paired her later poems with drawings from her daughter that illustrated them perfectly. You'll have to visit her site to see them in their fullness.

My favorites to share here are "emerge" for this perfect representation of watching our children grow right before our eyes:
growing so quickly
showing us your big feet
and big hands
now four

so proud
of all your achievements




And the beauty of "Trust":
to believe
to know
to be thankful

you are your own person
on your own

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It

Julia really let us into her experiences with her poetry, which is such an honor. For instance, this is from her poem "Hope" in experiencing a water birth after a previous miscarriage:
Swimming up to me
Surprising and full of wonder
That moment
I met my daughter

So many of Julia's phrases feel like echoes of the ones in my head and heart, likely in the hearts of every mother. From "Birth":
I was waiting for you, you know.
I didn’t know it was you though.
You are here, and I didn’t even know it was you.

Or this from "Babyhood":
Oh the things I would have done differently
But oh the things I wouldn’t.

And this loveliness from "Play":
She plays with wild abandon.
She embraces it, submits to it completely with no worries, no cares.
Imagination is king, laughter the soundtrack.

siren of the plains

as the first cry is heard
growing in intensity
proof of life
proof of love
This poet submitted just this one poem, "radiant love," but I loved it for the play in the similar sounding words and phrases that brought out the deeper meanings of them all.

Teresa of Spirit Grooves

Teresa snagged me from her first day's poem:
go home
and bleed
she told me

go home and bleed

Her poetry is raw ("Dr. Sears / you are a bit / of a bastard"), regularly profound ("I was induced / into silence"), often hilarious ("Regular air? Are you insane? / You must sanitize it!!!"), and so very true to herself.

It's hard to quote her poem on naming since it's all of a sentence, but I want to tempt you to go read it:
she remained

until we could listen

to hear her whisper

And "Dreams":
I will ask her
perhaps not the content
of her dreams
(for that may be
too sacred
at first to share)

but what tools
do you need
my daughter?

And her insights into body image:
to feed my child
disregard for self

unable to hate
the body
that held her

And I love this truth about how our children re-teach us:
until she landed me
in my body
on this earth
in this life

and showed me
how to play.

And Tree ended on a high note of simplicity and enlightenment:
the secrets of the universe
played out
with a doll
a twig
and a bottle-cap.

So much to unpack in all her daily poems!

Kelly of

Kelly wrote beautiful poetic prose that I really enjoyed. She has such a gift for turns of phrase and descriptives that make you really see what she's describing. She clearly has a poet's eye! Like this phrase from "Boots": "my hair: one tangled dollop" and this from "Gardening": "A swallow - darting, just inches from the sun-warmed top of your head."

Kelly crafts these lines that stick with me the way a good poem should, like:

From the rough edges of my own childhood
That's just … perfect.

I think my favorite of her offerings is her incisive birth poem:
"You can't do this," doubt whispers with malice, climbing wretchedly up my arm to rest - cold - on my shoulder.

Could there be a better or more poetic description of a C-section than this?
And yet still you came to me, from me, through me. Oh perfect baby, wrenched from my pelvis where you'd wedged yourself.

Birthed through a clean slice, vibrantly belting out your disapproval, voice urgent: I AM HERE!

Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy

Everything we know
We learn again through your eyes
How time can change
This world we live in
How you can change
The lives we know
This poem titled "Learn" was such an inspiring reminder to let our children show us how new and exciting the world is. I also loved Jennifer's love poem, "Partners":

He loves me
For my eyes
My smile
My laugh
He loves me
For my hair
My body
My life

Jennifer skillfully uses repetition, giving her poems a rhythm and drive that's striking.


I thought I'd share some of my favorites from this workshop as well.

I was pleased with this poem on siblings:
Who knew a heart could stretch farther
than even the body around it
that housed you each in succession?
Who knew love could flow out and envelop
so big a group — bigger —
and never grow anything but thicker,
like the blood joining us all together?

I was happy to set down Alrik's unexpected unassisted birth in poetry:
You slipped out to our surprise,
a splash that we didn't catch — couldn't —

And I was glad for the imagery that came together in my poem "On thinking of having kids":
You can't know the dive down from the pool

It was so fun to participate alongside these other writers!


Our poets who posted one poem for each day of the challenge (phew! wow!) automatically earn a hard copy of Poetry of a Hobo Mama: The First Three Years, so huge congratulations to Tree and Julia!

The weekly posters got entered into a random drawing … and then I decided to send them each one, too. Because: They rock! So look for that coming your way, too, Kelly and Karen.

I'll pop an extra goodie into Julia and Tree's packages as a commendation of their work in posting daily, because that deserves a shout-out.

I think we all were especially inspired by Teresa's poetry, so I'm naming Teresa of Spirit Grooves as Poet Laureate of the Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop! There'll be an extra extra goodie in her package for the honor. It's kind of funny, because I think Tree was the most self-effacing of us all (direct quote: "I am not a poet. I have no idea *how* to write poetry.") and kept making comments about how her poems weren't so great this week … and then we all fell over each other complimenting her continued and obvious skill. So I think she's just a natural and has an obvious gift for this new-to-her art! Thank you so much for sharing your beauty and honesty with us, Tree!

If my prize winners are reading this, please email me your shipping address: mail {at} If I don't hear from you, I'll write to ask.


Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop: WINNERS! == Hobo MamaIf you want to write based on the daily or weekly prompts, they're all archived in the intro post.

You can also navigate from there to the linkies featuring the poems of all the fine poets above.

I hope to see you all next year for (inter)National Poetry Month and another immersion in parenting poetry!

Thank you ALL for writing or reading along! It was such an honor and pleasure to bring out parenting poetry, and I hope all our poets continue to share and inspire!

Explore your parenting through poetry == Hobo Mama{Clicks and purchases through the links in this postscript help a poet actually earn money!}

You can purchase my book,
Poetry of a Hobo Mama: The First Three Years, at Amazon in hard copy or as an e-book.

And for a limited time,
Poetry of a Hobo Mama is available as part of the Mindful Parenting eBundle, 20+ gentle parenting resources for one incredible price of $24.95, making my book only $1.13 instead of the ebook list price of $9.99.

Buy your copy today, because the bundle with my book and many others will be available only until June 10.


Tree Peters said...

gulp. wow, I did not expect that. I expected to be giddy with whatever kind thing you said in my segment, but you have me blushing and soooo excited. I do love to be loved.
Thank you. Truly.
I love the way you do this. I read all the poems as we went along but now I want to read them again. Plus, the bits of peoples poems you pulled out somehow allowed me to just savor them and I was moved by some even more than when I read the whole thing the first time.
I think I will read the whole thing again sometime.
I will definitely be continuing with my own.. I had a phrase come to me at bed time the other night. I didn't get up and it's almost too thin to retrieve. Pad and pen by the bed now.

Unknown said...


These women are absolutely amazing!

Thanks so much for the introduction!

Lyndsay said...

Thanks for sharing the words of these poets and pumping the interwebs up with inspiration to translate experience into poetry.

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