#PoetryFriday–Healing Valentine’s

flower in valentine haiku-2-14-2019


Happy Poetry Friday


I’ve been writing Valentine haikus this week thinking about all the children and other individuals that have been lost this last year from gun violence. I heard a radio  interview from one of the survivors from the Parkland Shooting who inspired me with her unceasing activism since the incident last year. Although Valentine’s Day isn’t a day she wants to embrace as others may–hence my thoughts reflect her thoughts combined with some hope.

Jone Rush MacCulloch is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup, stop by her blog Check It Out for more poetry. Thanks for hosting Jone!

…And some music to accompany you…


1- Air kissed by wind watched by children haiku art valentine 2-14-2019


wishing you oceans
caressed by nature and 
cared for tenderly

© 2019 Michelle Kogan


1a-Bleeding heart valentine haiku-2-14-2019


And here’s a related poem by Emily Dickinson


It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—

Read the rest of her poem here

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#PoetryFriday: Early Spring

1- Belted kingfisher and tulips 2-7-2019

Belted Kingfisher and Tulips, WIP, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, Watercolor and watercolor pencil

Happy Poetry Friday! I have Spring on my mind, hence I’m focusing on Spring poems and Spring Art. To all my friends in colder climates, wouldn’t you love some of these tulips popping up in your yard or deck, (or your pond…) so come on let’s all think SPRING!

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week on her blog: Laura Purdie Salas Writing The World For Kids  Thanks for hosting Laura! Laura has asked us to write an equation poem–she has a spank’n new book out that’s all about writing equations called SNOWMAN-COLD=PUDDLE Spring Equations, stop by and check it out, looks like an intriguing book!


Get some tulips–any kind
 the ones that are in your grocery store. 
    Pick a color that you like 
       Bring them home 
         Put them in a spot that gets light, 
           but not blinding light–

               Now look at them
                  Reeeally look at them
                      Study their contour edges
                        their deep rich colors as they 
                          come together between petal segments.

                                Admire their long stems that hold them up
                               their leaves that wrap around 
                              them like blankets.

                             If you have one’s exposing their bulbs
                            study them too. 
                           perhaps they’re wrapped in deep,
                          purplish, burnt sienna (reddish brown)
                        highlighted with a splash of orange    
                      perhaps they’ve shed their paper skin 
                    and are a lovely shade of jaune brilliant (cream color).

                And now for the crème de la crème
               Look at those luscious tendril roots 
             shooting off of their bulbs, all that growth
           stretching out into the atmosphere…

              When you go to sleep tonight, 
                   you might just dream about your tulips, or some tulips.          
                     Maybe these dreams will touch a 
                       wavelength with nature and, 
                      maybe it’ll bring us just a bit closer to spring.
                    Even if you don’t dream about them, 
                   think about all that goodness these tulips bring.

                   © 2019 Michelle Kogan


by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows’ wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,
Read the rest of the poem here
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Poetry Friday–Groundhog & Paradise…


1-groundhog-movesomeplacewarmer-paradiceHappy Poetry Friday and Happy Groundhog Day!

The snow and cold is getting to be a bit much even for our friendly critter the groundhog. Last I heard he was ready to up and move his growing family to… somewhere in Paradise… I think I’ll follow him there, or wherever Birds of Paradise are congregating.


Above, Birds of Paradise, © 2019 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.


For Birds of Paradise, dancing on stems opens all possibilities–
for Bird’s possibilities, dancing on stems opens all of Paradise.

© 2019 Michelle Kogan

I was looking for another poem to share with you about paradise and I found this poem by Sam Hamill that sang true to me, I wish he was still with us, unfortunately he passed in 2018. Click on his name to read about him. This poem comes from his book, Habitation: Collected Poems, Sandpoint, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 2014. In the many volumes of poetry he wrote, one is called “Almost Paradise: Selected Poems & Translations (Shambhala, 2005)” which I’m going to check out.


by Sam Hamill

What the mouth sings, the soul must learn to forgive.
A rat’s as moral as a monk in the eyes of the real world.
Still, the heart is a river
pouring from itself, a river that cannot be crossed.

It opens on a bay
and turns back upon itself as the tide comes in,
it carries the cry of the loon and the salts
of the unutterably human.

A distant eagle enters the mouth of a river
salmon no longer run and his wide wings glide
upstream until he disappears
into the nothing from which he came. 

Read the rest of his poem here. Listen to the poet read his poem here.


Tabatha Yeatts at her blog Tabatha Yeatts: The opposite of Indifference is our host this week for the Poetry Friday Roundup! She has a fantastic tale about a “Belfast’s Big Fish” and images on her post for January 31st. She may be offering some additional post for the Roundup that you would’t want to miss, so drop by her blog. Thanks for hosting Tabatha!



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#PoetryFriday–Haiga & Valentine Cards

1-old brick column-haiga- image -haiku1-23-2019

Happy Poetry Friday! Coming in with a haiga poem, art, and–Shedding a little light and love with some of my Valentine’s Day Cards. Visit my Etsy Shop Michelle Kogan Fine Art for more cards. Tara Smith at her blog Going to Walden is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Tara!

Here’s a little music by one of my favorite singers…

1-Funny bunny valentine card and poem front and back- 1-24-2019 copy.jpgFunny Bunny Valentine Card

1a- mouse and flower valentine card front 1-12-2019 copy      1b-lovebirds red envelope-1-2019.jpg

         Mouse and Flowers Valentine Card            Lovebirds Valentine Card

1.-valentine-tea-card-2-6-2016-frontSparrow’s Valentine Tea Card

1-seal-penguin-card-front-1-12-2018           1--seal-and-penguin-limerick-for-card-1-12-2018

Seal and Penguin in Love, Valentine’s Card, also Bookmark 

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Groundhog and Bird Greeting Card.
This card wanted to sneak in as it’s coming before Valentine’s Day,

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For Martin Luther King Jr.–haiku & art

1a-haiku -watercolor justice soars over all barriers-1-21-2019 copy

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#PoetryFriday–Justice, Martin Luther King Jr., & Women’s March

My poster for the Young Women’s March Rally 2019 in Chicago

Happy Poetry Friday! I’m going to the Young Women’s March Rally 2019, this Saturday in Chicago. Our temps here are dropping rapidly and it’s going to be quite cold so I’m glad they are doing an hour and a half rally and not actually Marching. Though we were all invited to make and bring signs. There are so many problems today, it’s often difficult to decide what to focus on–Building bridges for the environment and humanitarian rights are both top on my list, hence my sign…

I carried this theme of Justice into a golden shovel poem that I wrote while thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. and all he was trying to achieve for Humanity and Justice.

 TRUE PEACE (for Martin Luther King Jr.)

Truth, show us what’s truly true– 
Come now Truth, emerge, and step into the light of peace. 
Focus us on what is 
truly important–Humanity–not 
on merely 
nimble minded distractions, like the 
many walls that oligarchs construct in the absence 
of better judgement, and lack of 
humility–Cease this destructive tension 
and erase the fissures it 
has caused. Divisiveness is 
unproductive for all humanity. The 
earth’s survival depends on the presence 
of cooperation, of working together, each of 
us, working for freedom and justice.

© 2019 Michelle Kogan 
From Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension it is the presence of justice.”

I sadly heard today that Mary Oliver has died, she was and always will be a favorite poet of mine–I thought of her as a kindred spirit. Here’s a stanza from her poem, WHEN DEATH COMES, that I heard when hearing about her passing on the radio.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

Read the rest of her poem here. 

 Visit Tricia at her blog The Miss Rumphius Effect for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks for hosting!


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Poetry Friday–12 Days of Christmas

Garfield Park Conservatory, Fern Room

Happy Poetry Friday

Last week I finished up Julie Hedlund’s 12 days of Christmas Challenge–it started on December 26th and ran through January 6, 2019. It’s a Facebook group that she’s been offering writer’s for the last four years, to get a jump start on their writing for the New Year! She focuses on reflecting over last year–reviewing your successes, achievements, and failures, and then turning them around into learning’s and growth. The 12 days build successively with different writing prompts. I really liked the focus of reflecting back on what we accomplished and bringing that forward, as apposed to setting resolutions.

One day we were given the challenge to write a story or poem from a list of prompts she supplied. As I was out playing with my family that day, I decided to deviate slightly from her prompt and wrote a haibun, on an event that unfolded while we were visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.

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Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago.


All eyes stopped and gazed as the cameras flashed. A lull fell over the quietly murmuring room. Her form appeared from a bygone time–Chiseled perfection from her gently wrapped curved shoulders, to her pinwheeled stylish sombrero, falling into her chic quinceanera-swing skirt. She stood poised, capturing us all in her trance. Her mirrored reflection transformed the room and nothing was ever the same…

mexican doll,
come-to-life, if only
© 2019 Michelle Kogan

I also continued writing haikus this week tagging them as #haikuforhope–from Mary Lee Hahn, and also #MoPoetry2019–which is a call from Kat Apel, to write Insta-Poetry. Here are two from this last week.

Bottle Tree at the Garfield Park Conservatory, © 2019 michellekogan.com.

As the one blow is a tanka I’ve tagged it, #tankaforhope

paradise moves in midwest
especially on dark,
dank, cold, overcast days…
© 2019 Michelle Kogan

Kat Apel at her blog Kathryn Apel is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup. Thanks for hosting Kat! She’s greeting us from Downunder where the summer sun is shining and a bevy of poetry is flying off her fingertips…

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Poetry Friday–one little word & #haikuforhope

ponder one little word and artichoke vine with bee-1-3-2019

Happy Poetry Friday And Happy New Year!

I found a word I’m going to embrace this year, as my #OLW (one little word…) Ponder… I came to it after discarding a couple other words. I tried on wait, though, even when used as a verb it doesn’t have enough action in it for me, and I wanted a word that would imply movement but of a slower more thought out kind. I think I moved from wait to pause–but moved away from it quickly as it still was lacking in forethought. I then looked up synonyms of both of these words, and didn’t find anything there that spoke to me. Sometime after I came upon ponder, and it seemed just right. I like the softness that it offers in the sound of the word itself, and that it takes you a little longer to say the word, it invites taking a breath. Ponder also made me remember a painting I did a while back of a hanging succulent vine, sage colored, I think it’s in the artichoke family, not sure.

PONDER… my one little word

I came upon ponder… But first…

Wait met me in the middle of the road,
Though, she scurried off to soon. Then came pause–

But she didn’t budge fast enough…
After searching through synonyms ponder meandered over,
She nestled by my side and then spun out across my page…

© 2019 Michelle Kogan

I’m also sharing a few more #haikuforhope, as I’ve been enjoying writing these. And as it’s a new year I thought I’d share a page from my notebook. The very top scribbled out sentence is from I Know Why A Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, the book I’m presently reading. I wanted to remember Chifforobe–a combination of a closet and drawers– I loved the sound of it and you don’t really hear it mentioned that often. The next two scribbled out poems are from Laura Purdie Salas‘ 15 words or less post, from today, I didn’t make it back to post but did write a poem from her photo prompt. The last poem and sketch is my #haikuforhope for today.

haiku picket fence shadows-notebook page-1-3-2019

picket fence shadowed
ice crystals, designing signs
on sun’s cold day…
© 1-3-2019 Michelle Kogan


15 words or less

Crackling skies disguise
growing discomfort,
as blood red encroaches
skies windowpane…

© 2019 Michelle Kogan


1-willow branches dance-art & haiku-1-1-2019 copy copy

willow’s branches dance,
gathers her skirt, and whispers
protect our children

winter dull-drums scoot,
leaves wiggle secret hellos
day wishes sunlight…

© Michelle Kogan

This weeks  Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by professor, author, poet, anthologist, and educator extraordinaire Sylvia Vardell at her blog Poetry for Children. Thanks for hosting Sylvia! Be sure to drop by her blog and see what she’s sharing with us…



Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Holidays, Home, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Pencil Drawing, Poem, Quick Sketches, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

2018 Successes/Accomplishments– Writing and Art


I’m participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas which she’s offering via emails and in a facebook group. The goal to get our creative writing juices flowing for the New Year. Today’s prompt is to focus on our successes. We were all challenged to come up with a list of our success from the last year–fill a page, focus on our accomplishments instead of New Years resolutions, and then… blog about them. So… I’m taking the plunge, haven’t done this before all in one place but here goes…

2018 Successes/Accomplishments for Writing and Art–

–Taught 3 Picture Book Illustration Classes at the Evanston Art Center, launching 12 plus students with their stories and picture book dummies.

–Created over 221 poems throughout the year-not including ones that are still waiting to reach my computer…

–Wrote 17 poems for a children’s poetry book-and reviewed them with my critique group.

–Revised 3 picture books.

–Participated in April’s #NaPoWriMo, October’s #Inktober, December’s #Haikuforhope.

–Submitted poetry to Rattle, Hunger Mountain, Reader’s Digest, Haiku Society of America.

–Submitted picture book dummies and stories to two publishers and one agent.

–Submitted stories, poems and art to Highlights and Cricket Magazines.

–Submitted a chapbook to PSA Poetry Society of America- reviewed by my critique group.

–Made it through the first rounds of Madness Poetry.

–Began tagging my poetry with their respective poem form.

–Began organizing art and writing submissions by month.

–Participated in Poetry Friday all year, and Summer and Winter Poem Swaps.

–Art featured in: Frogpond, Haiku Society of America.

–Artwork featured on Irene Latham’s Live Your Poem postcard for April.

–Art Exhibits/Art Cards, bookmarks, prints at: Studio b. Gallery, Three Oaks MI; Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, IL; Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL; Gallery 1070, Chicago, IL; Glow Gallery, Chicago, IL; and Booked– Children’s book store in Evanston, IL.

–Art purchased by Biological Sciences Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

–Attended SCBWI-IL Prairie Writer’s Day Oct. 2018-receiving a strong critique on a picture book story; numerous poetry workshops at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, handful of Author and Illustrator book talks.

–Registered for Renée LaTulippe’s Writing Lyrical and Rhyming Picture Books-via Julie Hedlund’s site– which was excellent!

–Attended a few of the Chicago Sponsored online Kidlit Nation Webinars-many focusing on diversity.  

–Created art and a poem for Irene Latham’s call celebrating her new book Love, Agnes: Postcards from an Octopus.

–Created a poem and art in memory of Jamal Khashoggi in response to Tabatha Yeatts call for commemorating the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

–Poems included in two new poetry anthologies, Imperfect poems about mistakes: an anthology for middle schoolers, Tabatha Yeatts, editor; The Best of Today’s Little Ditty: 2016 (Volume 2),compiled by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.

Remembering Jamal Khashoggi- poem and dove -Golden Shovel -m-kogan-11-20-2018 copy

Thanks for your ear…
Happy New Year
Happy Writing and Creating Art!


Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Exhibits, Haiku, Holidays, Michelle's Art Classes, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Pencil Drawing, Picture Book, Picture Book Sketches, Plein Air Art, Poem, Quick Sketches, Sketchbooks, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Poetry Friday–#Haiku4hope, Art & Music

1-Female Cardinal-12-26-2018 copy copy


Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m wringing out the old year with a wintery montage of #haikuforhope poems,
and a wee bit of music to ease us all out of the year.
Thanks Mary Lee Hahn for offering us all this December haiku challenge!

Wishing  all a hopeful and peaceful end of 2018 and dreams to reach in 2019!

Be sure to stop by Donna JT Smith’s blog, Mainly Write for this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, and some extra that I’m sure Donna is offering. Thanks for hosting Donna!


winter’s creeping
inside, burrr it’s cold…
squirrel’s fattened up


winter soiree,
star dust dance wraps around our


trees provide
picture perfect window panes
in winter


winter flower waits
opening to bloom by the
light of the moon…


search for december’s
green marshmallow moss and
porcupine’s scotch pine 


female cardinal
brings warmth and light,
to winter’s worst days…

All haiku © 2018 Michelle Kogan

1-Mouse with winter flower-1haiku and art-2-27-2018

                                                           See you in 2019…

Posted in Children's Illustration & Writing, Haiku, Holidays, Nature, Painting, pen sketch, Picture Book, Poem, Quick Sketches, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments