#PoetryFriday–Voices for Climate & Justice

1-Polar Bear Protesting Kidlit4climate-11-14-2019

Happy Poetry Friday!

This has been quite a week between the frigid cold we’ve had here in Chicago, and the beginning of the Impeachment hearings… I found a post by artist/Illustrator Emma Reynolds, whose from across the pond, calling for illustrators to add a virtual poster to their their burgeoning collection of #ClimateStike signs promoting #Kidlit4Climate. I decided to repurpose my polar bear and his friend from an earlier March poster I created this year. Find out more about Emma and how you can be a part of this at her blog Emma Reynolds

My poem this week comes from all the brouhaha of the Impeachment hearings and my response to it.


When will seas of truth 
come together on banks of 
American soil

When will balance of justice 
outweigh hypocrisy 
across our land

When will political leaders 
regardless of their party 
lead for betterment of all

When will America’s betterment
for all again be held high and 
wash away advances for few


© 2019 Michelle Kogan

Here’s a poem by our US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo also on America and Justice.

by Joy Harjo

We were running out of breath, as we ran out to meet ourselves. We
were surfacing the edge of our ancestors’ fights, and ready to strike.
It was difficult to lose days in the Indian bar if you were straight.
Easy if you played pool and drank to remember to forget. We
made plans to be professional — and did. And some of us could sing
so we drummed a fire-lit pathway up to those starry stars. Sin
was invented by the Christians, as was the Devil, we sang. We
were the heathens, but needed to be saved from them — thin
Read the rest of the poem here


I’m also sharing some art from my current Picture Book, 1968 Tale of School Turmoil, that I’m seeking a home for, and that also has a strong political voice.
In my picture book 1968 Tale of School Turmoil, nine-year-old Toni is excited about going to a brand new school. But her bubble bursts as she steps off the school bus and sees angry, marching signs yelling, “BLACKS GO HOME!” Join Toni on this turbulent day as she confronts racial prejudice and figures out what tolerance means. My story is a historical, fictionalized account of an event that occurred in my own childhood, on Chicago’s far South Side. It’s written in tanka verse, as I wanted a fast paced feeling unfolding the events.


1-1968 Tale school turmoil -Toni-m-kogan-pg 18-19 11-14-2019


01- 1968 Tale School Turmoil Cover Color-8-27-2019

Our poetry connoisseur Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at her wonderful blog Today’s Little Ditty is our hostess this week for the Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting Michelle.  And…she has something very special to share with all this week…

Visit Renée LaTulippe’s site No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.


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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11 Responses to #PoetryFriday–Voices for Climate & Justice

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, I love your polar bear keeping up with the times. And, wow! Look at that picture book. I hope it finds a home. It’s beautiful.

  2. janicescully says:

    All I think about lately are these hearings and I share the feelings expressed in America Emerge. Thanks for sharing your poem and the Harjo poem.

  3. lindabaie says:

    I keep thinking in my heart, “We are still America”, am hopeful that so many of us are here to make it so! Beautiful polar bear, Michelle, & your poem is strong! Thank you!

  4. margaretsmn says:

    I feel so sad when I think of the climate change dilemma and impeachment. I want to scream we are better then this, people! Can’t we do better? Thanks for your creative responses. Good luck on finding a publisher for your book. Your illustrations are striking.

  5. cvarsalona says:

    We are still America will ring in my ears today, Michelle. Once again, thank you for your voice, illustration, and poetry that is consistently a cry to boost the American spirit.

  6. LOVE that poster, Michelle! One thing I admire about you and your work (art and poetry), is that that you aren’t one to duck the tough questions. Re: the environment, politics, and justice, you take a stand. I wish you all the best in finding a home for your picture book—it sounds like one that needs to be published!

  7. mbhmaine says:

    Michelle, your poem asks so many of the questions that whirl in my head, especially that third stanza. I don’t understand how some of our politicians are able to sleep at night. Where is their integrity? On the other hand, the illustrations you shared from your picture book are stunning. Good luck with finding it a home!

  8. jama says:

    Thanks so much for this post. LOVE your climate change poster (bears!) and your powerful poem as well as the link to Harjo’s. We are definitely on the same page this week. Didn’t know about your picture book — good luck finding a publisher for it!!

  9. haitiruth says:

    Wow, you’ve been busy! There’s lots to love here! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  10. Joyce Ray says:

    Michelle, your poem asks questions so many are asking. The lack of punctuation is just perfect. It emphasizes that these questions have gone unanswered for so long with no answers in sight! Piling question upon question gives the feeling that the pain is mounting, and it is, of course. The second poem highlights yet another injustice in America. And your new picture book adds another voice to civil rights injustices. I do hope it finds a home soon.

  11. Michelle, your polar bear and the illustrations for your book are stunning. Your poem about the impeachment hearings reveals what so many of us are feeling. I’m left with a feeling of- how long until we see a light? How long will it take to heal? Can we be healed?

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