Poetry Friday: FALL CALLS –Reverso poems

Welcome fall, and Poetry Friday. I’ve had Marilyn Singer’s book, Echo, Echo, REVERSO POEMS about  GREEK MYTHS, out from the library for a long time. Finally ready to let it go and return it. The structure and ideas behind her reverso poems, unwinding backwards and telling a new story remind me of fall and how things change at this time of year. I first read about reverso poems at Michelle Heidenrich Barne’s blog Today’s Little Ditty, when she featured Marilyn Singer, and her book Echo, Echo.

I’ve written a fall reverso poem to share for Poetry Friday. I’m also sharing Icarus and Daedalus, from Marilyn Singers book, Echo, Echo. It took some work, finding  a reverso poem that I thought worked with the poem I wrote. Singer makes reference to the sun, and creates a pleading dialogue between Daedalus and his son Icarus. I also reference the sun and create a dialogue between the sun and Mother Nature.  



Fall calls,
breezes listen,
filling the air with
sailing sultry-colored
Sidewalk carpeted in golden-rust,
determined leaves
trapezing over streets.
Sun protests–
Blazing blasts,
spewing September’s final scorcher.
But, he begins setting earlier each day,
burning fire-engine red in disbelief.
While, Mother Nature’s
roulette spins,
Indian summer’s
spell, scolding:

Indian summer’s
roulette spins,
while Mother Nature’s
burning fire-engine red, in disbelief.
But he begins. Setting earlier each day,
spewing September’s final scorcher,
blazing blasts–
Sun protests
trapezing over streets.
Determined leaves
sidewalk, carpeted in golden-rust.
Sailing sultry-colored,
filling the air with
Fall calls.

Michelle Kogan
© 2017


by Marilyn Singer

Dark sea is below, 
bright heaven waits above.
I feel the sun’s great glow.
I hear him saying,
“By Apollo, no!
Not too high!
Take care,
my son!”
But, oh,
these precious waxen wings
so open up
the sky!

Read the rest of the poem, and more info on Marilyn Singer and her reverso poems at the New York Times book review.

Stop by Laura Purdie Salas’s blog,  Laura Purdie Salas, WRITING THE WORLD FOR KIDS, for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup. Thanks for hosting Laura!

P. S. My image above, Fall Leaves Cannon Drive, is available as a greeting card in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Fall!



About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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32 Responses to Poetry Friday: FALL CALLS –Reverso poems

  1. I like that you’ve given fall and summer their own voices. Singer’s book is truly marvelous. It’s not a form that comes easily to me. I tried recently to write one with a student and teacher as the opposing voices, but it just wouldn’t come. Perhaps it’s still stewing up there in my tumultuous, wrinkled gray matter. Happy Fall to you, too!

  2. lindabaie says:

    I love all Singer’s books. The voice she manages is quite wonderful with each reverso part. You’ve managed that too, Michelle, showing both sides of these competing seasons. It is happening!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Michelle! The push-pull of the seasons in your poems, and in Marilyn Singer’s enticing reversos, is irresistable. Love those colorful leaves, too. Happy Fall!

  4. Reversos are hard to write, so congratulations! Nicely done, Michelle.

  5. I loved Mirror Mirror, but have not kept up with Singer’s next books. I have something to look forward to! Your fall and summer reverso poems are amazing! I love the blazing colors in both.

  6. margaretsmn says:

    You’ve done a masterful thing here. I’ve tried and failed many times at writing a successful reverso. I’d love to know more about your process. It’s a trick to get the second verse to be a different voice. Awesome!

  7. Tabatha says:

    Reversos are just about the hardest thing I know. Congrats! (You know, your painting would be great as a notebook/blank journal cover…)

  8. Oh, I love this form so much! Thanks for sharing your response to Echo Echo! Fantastic work here. And, I especially love, By Apollo, no!

  9. mbhmaine says:

    Congrats on creating such a wonderful reverso. Anyone who’s ever tried one recognizes that accomplishment! I love your word choice, too: spewing, trapezing, blazing. Thanks for sharing!

  10. katswhiskers says:

    Clever you, Michelle. I haven’t yet taken the reverso challenge – but you’ve achieved it! (And I’m sure you’re eager for more. :P) Loving the colours and style of your artwork.

  11. Wow. Reversos are quite a feat! I love so many of your verbs here, especially! And your art. Sigh. I love looking at watercolors and am playing with them a little bit, too.

  12. Oh, how lovely! I can just seem summer bouncing all around, all bluster and noise and heat, while fall approaches elegantly, rolling her eyes. 😉

  13. Michelle, I applaud your work with this poem! It seems challenging, but you have given us such a great mentor to follow. I didn’t realize you had an Etsy shop…will be checking it out for sure! Thanks for introducing me to this interesting form!

  14. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, you did a fine job with the reverso. I heard Marilyn Singer speak at NCTE and was wowed. I got to meet her also and brought home some of her poetry books. I did try a reverso and realized how difficult it is to write so congratulations to you. I see that you are well on your way to writing autumn poetry and creating new drawings. The name of my next gallery is Autumn Ablaze. I am sure you are going to have fun with that theme. Send me poems/drawings for the gallery as you create them. This poem is wonderful but it will be too long for the gallery, unfortunately. I don’t know if you would want to use one stanza.

  15. I stumbled upon Echo Echo when one of my Kindergarteners received it in her Scholastic book order last spring. I confess I read her copy of the book before she did — from cover to cover! Mesmerized! Now “Sun, simmer down!” is so perfect in your poem, Michelle. I have been thinking a lot about how the sun, though still bright and strong, loses it’s heat in the fall. Fascinating!

  16. maryleehahn says:

    I love your painting! Fun colors! Great job on the reverso, too. They’re HARD!!

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