Poetry Friday-IMPERFECT poems about mistakes: an anthology for middle schoolers


Happy Poetry Friday!

With September already here, and the school year underway, I thought what a better time to pause and focus on this wonderful poetry anthology by Tabatha Yeatts, IMPERFECT poems about mistakes: an anthology for middle schoolers.

In an imperfect world, I think this is the perfect book to offer and share with middle schoolers, and also the rest of us, especially in our current times. IMPERFECT reaffirms the idea that we don’t have to know everything all the time, it’s okay to make mistakes, and that we can learn, grow, and move forward from making a mistake.

The poems within the book’s pages cover a vast ground of all different kinds of mistakes from ones helping us to make discoveries, mavens a.k.a. know-it-alls, ones that allow us to laugh at ourselves, and also poems that fill us with regret or hurt.

In addition to the poems, Tabatha has also included some rich back matter including, Making Good Decisions: Brainstorming for Future You, where she offers suggestions on how to navigate situations before they occur and who will support us in our decision making. She also offers suggestions on Apologizing Effectively, and has a handful of Poetry Forms You Can Try.

The collection itself is comprised of a vast number of poets, many from the Poetry Friday community, and well known poets too. Although I had been planning to post on this book at this particular time, I unfortunately made the mistake of not allowing enough lead time. That said, I’m offering you a small flavor of poems and a few quotes from the book–and you’ll just have to get your hands on a copy to read more … p.s. there’s also a story behind the cover, so run out and get a copy. p.p.s. you can also stop by the Team Imperfect blog for lot’s of perfectly lovely anecdotes related to imperfect things. 



Mistakes flower
Every hour.

Ice cream, dropped.
Joke, flopped.

Tire, flatted.
Jump, splatted.

Directions, lost.
Guidance, tossed.

Trousers, muddied.
Quiz, unstudied.

Pencil, broken.
Truth, unspoken.

Team, beaten.
Homework, eaten.

Laundry, pink.
Armor, chink.

© 2018 Tabatha Yeatts. All rights reserved.


The web of our life is of a mingled yarn,
good and ill together.
William Shakespeare



This morning I looked at the map of the day
And said to myself, “This is the way! This is the way I will go;
Thus shall I range on the roads of achievement,
The way is so clear––it shall all be a joy on the lines marked out.”
And then as I went came a place that was strange,––
‘Twas a place not down on the map!
And I stumbled and fell and lay in the weeds,
And looked on the day with rue.

I am learning a little––never to be sure––
To be positive only with what is past,
And to peer sometimes at the things to come
As a wanderer treading the night
When the mazy stars neither point nor beckon,
And of all the roads, no road is sure.

I see those men with maps and talk
Who tell how to go and where and why;
I hear with my ears the words of their mouths,
As they finger with ease the marks on the maps;
And only as one looks robust, lonely, and querulous,
As if he had gone to a country far
And made for himself a map,
Do I cry to him, “I would see your map!
I would heed that map you have!”

© 2018  Carl Sandburg. All rights reserved.




I’m Temptation waiting to be released …
Come, sit a spell – I’m only half a beast.
I’d love your company,
We’ll bond wondrously.
Kiss honesty goodbye, a sad caprice.

Climb aboard – don’t think about your actions.
Mistakes are nil, only distractions.
Now, you can sneak that peek,
Mum’s the word, I won’t speak.
Almost there–you’ll never solve that fraction.

Awww Shucks, you didn’t cheat; want to change your mind?
There’s still some time–NO, stop, don’t be so blind!
Dash-it-all, we were close,
You and I, almost pros.
Wait, I’ll change my ways–Don’t leave me be-e-e-h-i-i-i-nd.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan. All rights reserved.


Perhaps it is our imperfections
that make us so perfect for one another.
Jane Austen

Thanks to Carol Varsalona for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Beyond Literacy Link!

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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23 Responses to Poetry Friday-IMPERFECT poems about mistakes: an anthology for middle schoolers

  1. Love these poems. This anthology is on my to-read list. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Tabatha says:

    Thanks for spotlighting IMPERFECT today, Michelle! The beginning of the school year is a super time to remind ourselves that mistakes are great teachers.

  3. Diane Mayr says:

    Nice post, Michelle! I’m glad you mentioned the extras found in the book, like the section on forms. Have a great weekend.

  4. Sally Murphy says:

    I do love this anthology (and not just because I have a poem in it). thanks for spreading the love. I love Tabatha’s closing pair: ‘Laundry, pink./Armor, chink’ and your own final: “Don’t leave me be-e-e-h-i-i-i-nd.” which makes me giggle.

  5. lindabaie says:

    This is one book that makes me wish I was back in the classroom. I students would have loved it & probably wanted to write their own poems, too. Love the tension & the arc in your poem, Michelle. It’s great.

  6. What a wonderful assortment of poems and a good and solid review of Mistakes! I do love being included in the company of so many people I admire and like. The simplicity of What Goes Wrong is wonderful….it crisply puts things into perspective. We all experience these things. And, we usually come out the other side with a laugh or two. Well done. Great post!

  7. Mistakes ARE wonderful teachers, though we don’t often love them enough. The world (*I*) needs these reminders! Your date with temptation is so rich and imaginative… and fun! Thank you! xo

  8. I love this collection, it’s got a little bit of wisdom for any situation. Your Temptation has great voice.

  9. jama says:

    Delightful reading these poems, Michelle. Kudos to Tabatha for putting together such a great collection!

  10. I think every middle school should start the year with a mistake pep rally, don’t you? It’s such a great anthology and I like that you shared three poems with such uniquely vibrant voices. I can tell you didn’t have any fun writing yours at all. ;o)

  11. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, thanks for shedding light on the topic of imperfection. Tabatha was right to direct her book to teenagers. Perfection is no longer the state we want children to attain & in the educational world it is not part of the growth mindset lingo. We need students who own their mistakes because as Tabatha says, “Mistakes flower/Every hour”. We want kids (& adults) to learn from their mistakes.

  12. All these poems offer such important truths – in different ways, from different POVs. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on being a part of Tabatha’s book!

  13. The beginning of the school year IS the perfect time to share Imperfect! Tabatha did an amazing job putting this collection together. I love the honesty in your poem; we have all been tempted! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Nice selections, Michelle! Favorite lines:

    “Armor, chink.”
    “When the mazy stars neither point nor beckon,”
    “Dash-it-all, we were close,
    You and I, almost pros.”

  15. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I can’t get enough of this book. I do need to get my own copy so I can enjoy the entire collectioin!

  16. Thanks for highlighting this anthology. I spend a lot of time in my classes focusing on mistakes as a valuable part of learning. These poems may just help kids to see that.

  17. mbhmaine says:

    You’re right! This is the perfect time to revisit and share this anthology. Love the selections you shared today!

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