#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.

1aa-mexican doll haibun and image 1-5-2019
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…



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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!


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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…

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Poetry Friday–Solstice Treasures…

1–Solstice stars-12-14-2018

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy Winter Solstice

I have a menagerie of treasures to share today. I’ve been star gazing for about the last week, late at night and have taken in an abundance of stars via my window. I’m starting with a winter solstice poem to welcome this new season…



Deep into the dark nights of December
lies our longest night and our shortest day,
a doldrum day too short to remember
but night worthy of star gazing away.

As weather forecasts may lead one awry,
you might start star-watching earlier on.
Gaze up into that cool cobalt blue sky
some clear wintery night you come upon.

Magical stars will leave you mesmerized–
Capture your embrace in a timeless gaze–
Fueling your senses, leaving you surprised,
totally transfixed, in a star struck haze.

When you’ve stair-stepped down from the boundless sky,
Soul-filled with celestial satisfies…
remember your winter solstice ally,
guard Mother Nature’s treasures for all eyes.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan


1-Flashlight night book 12-20-2018

Next I’m sharing Matt Forrest  Esenwine’s  wonderful book, FLASHLIGHT NIGHT, that I won from his website recently. His book’s about a magical adventure three children take in the evening  via a “flashlight.” The story Matt wove and the art images by Fred Koehler are a perfect marriage in this picture book. If you haven’t read it I would encourage you to find a copy–it sweeps you up and draws you in throughout their journey–resting you quietly down as the children drift off to sleep.

1-flashlight night bk spread-time forgotten tomb 12-20-2018

   One of the many sites the three children discover… I really like the contrast and play of light that Fred created when the flashlight illuminates an area.

1- flashlight night bk spread-guarding a peculiar door-12-20-18

I love the words here, as they beg us to turn the page and find out where 
the door will lead us…

Thanks Matt for writing this mysterious and enchanting “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT” adventure!

1a- Buffy Silverman Poetry SWap poem 12-20-2018

I’m also sharing my lovely winter poetry swap poem and gifts that I received from Buffy Silverman. In addition to the poem and gorgeous image, Buffy also sent me this  Karner Blue Butterfly which her daughter knitted, and that she found on my website. The Karner Blue in addition to be gorgeous is unfortunately  endangered, and for this reason I like to share it so more will become aware of its plight. Thanks for the poem and  gifts,  Buffy! Sending a Thank you also to Tabatha Yeatts who began and organizes this special holiday poetry swap!

1-Buffy Silverman Poetry Swap poem 12-20-2018


Her eyes hone in
on treasures–
feather, burrow, dew

Her pen considers
speckled, cozy, cool

Her brushstroke brims
with color–
yellow, umber, blue

Her canvas swirls
with wonder–
poem, painting, jewel

© Buffy Silverman, 2018

Serendipitously, Buffy Silverman is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her Blog, Buffy’s Blog–thanks for hosting Buffy, I’m looking forward to viewing what you are sharing.

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#PoetryFriday–Exhibit & #Haikuforhope

intimate poster.jpg

Happy Poetry Friday!

This week I’m sharing info on an art exhibit I’m in, and also haikus for December’s call for #haikuforhope.

I’m very happy to be a part of this rich-multilayered exhibit: intimate: small works by 9 artists that’s opening, Friday December 14th and running through the month of January. I thought this would fit in well with the #haikuforhope poetry that are circulating this month–as art often makes me very hopeful! If you are in the Chicago area and interested in attending either the opening or after, let me know and I’ll send you the exact location.

Here’s a blurb about the exhibit:

Art is a process. It’s not just the sweeping gesture and refined form of the grand finished work. It’s the sketch, the study, the drawing, the process of exploring an idea in various media such as graphite, gouache, watercolor, print and small canvas. In these works, the artist’s hand tends to be less disguised, and more discernible. The reduced scale enables a personal connection, pulling us into the work rather than projecting out. We gain insight into the artist’s process. We see decisions made and rescinded right there on the surface through erasure and pentimento. With every drip, slash and mark left visible, we trace the history of the work and reimagine its making. And for we the viewers, these small works inspire us to covet and care for them, like bundles of dog-eared love letters or precious family heirlooms. It’s something about their size, their immediacy, their intimacy—they contain a sense of humanity.

“Intimate: Small Works by 9 Artists” is an exhibition that recognizes the unique power that small works have to make a connection between artist and viewer. On exhibit will be the works of Chicago artists working in a variety of media, and with disparate concerns, but all of whom reveal to us the power of the small.

Dan Oliver, 12/03/2018

Talking milkweed pods haiku 12-13-2018


Haiku week of December 9-2018

sun’s helping
the  cold day that’s waiting
for a sparrow.

windsor blue-green and
rose doré sky, viewed through pines
and bare branches.

mid-morn waiting break–
too much planned, december leaves
shiver and agree.

pink pelicans marched
across december’s
cerulean blue sky

paint paints patience,
unending ideas, and
full breaths for thought

afternoon post line
not too long, allows time
for short reflection

talking milkweed pods
braving chicago’s winter,
dream of spring sprouts…

©2018 Michelle Kogan

Laura Shovan is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Laura! She has a dynamic new book out Takedown, which I’m reading presently and she’s definitely taken me into the web of her two MC’s Mikayla and Lev, a girl and boy who are paired up as wrestling partners.

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Poetry Friday–Origin Poem WIP

Happy Poetry Friday!

01–Origin Story Michelle Kogan-Story beginnngs 12-7-2018


I’m sharing my first Origin poem. It came out of a poetry workshop I was at a few weeks ago at the Poetry Foundation, here in Chicago. The workshop was on research and how poets incorporate it into their poems. Our prompt was to write an origin poem. I’m not sure if this is finished yet–it may be and perhaps I’ll do another one. Time has been sparse. The process has given me lots of ideas for additional areas I’d like to spend time with and write on.

Liz Steinglass is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Elizabeth Steinglass. Be sure to stop by she’s celebrating Hanukkah with her poem THE MENORAH that’s included in “J. Patrick Lewis’ anthology The Poetry of Us.” Thanks for hosting Liz and spreading your poem’s beautiful light!


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Poetry Friday-Giving flowers of Hope

Happy Poetry Friday!

I have been consumed with the unchanging situation of the teens being held, and continuously brought to the Tornillo, TX detention camp, near El Paso. At last count there were 2400 teens between the age of 13 and 17 years that are being held there–some since June. They all came into the US on their own and anticipated being reunited with family already here. They are being kept, hidden away, in a tent city that’s surrounded by a barbed wire fence. They are dressed in a uniform, fed  but allowed hardly any social interaction. I read this as a crime against children, against humanity–I wanted to do something. 

A man named Joshua Rubin has temporarily left his job to hold vigil there outside the detention camp on behalf of these teens. He has a Facebook page that he’s set up with some images of the camp, a couple of things we can do, and lots more info. The Facebook page is Witness Tornillo. 

1 Flowers of hope tornillo tx detention camp 11-2018

december flowers
bring hope and remembrance
to fill your heart.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

I originally wrote a heart wrenching anaphora poem that I thought I would share–But when I found out that a group is going to be at the internment camp at Christmas, and they are looking to receive 2400 flowers  to represent the 2400 teens that are interned at this camp– I decided to offer you this haiku instead and save my other poem for another platform. Making these flowers is a very small act but sometimes small actions plant seeds and multiply, I’m hoping this will blossom and happen. Perhaps some of the flowers will reach the hands and hearts of the teens inside. Here’s the direct link for Flowers for Children in Tornillo.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted this week by Carol at her blog Carol’s Corner, thanks for hosting Carol!

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Poetry Friday– “Thankful for the Moon”

1- thankful for the Moon- m kogan- art shape poem-11-21-2018

Happy Poetry Friday! I’ve thought over this last week about a few things I’m very thankful for, and here they are in my shape-poem-painting. I did a little hunting around for more info on my dear friend Moon, and here are a few interesting things that “we’d miss if we didn’t have a Moon,” from Science Blogs. Hope all my friends in the US are having a peaceful and thankful Thanks Giving Holiday and weekend amongst friends and family–and I’m sending these peaceful, thankful thoughts out into the air… 

Here’s some sweet moon music to fill your soul with


The poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted this week by the lovely poet and author extraordinaire Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem. Be sure to drop by her site for some wonderful poetry and more… Thanks for hosting Irene!


I’m thankful for the moon
that keeps our tides a timely size
and provides our ocean waves.

I’m thankful for the water
that finds it’s way out of the clouds
and feeds flora, fauna, and friends.

I’m thankful for our ocean waves
that splash upon our prairie shores
bringing water to drink, bathe, and play in.

I’m thankful for friends and family,
that hear my voice and hold my heart
wrapped around in love.

© 2018 Michelle Kogan

Thinking about and sending thoughts out to all those in California that have been affected by the wildfires.

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