Friday, April 27, 2018

Catherine Flynn

a particular farmhouse
in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

IMPERFECT poet Catherine Flynn wrote this poem about a famous fictional mistake using many of the author's own words. Can you name the author or the character?

This is just to say

Forgive me,
I did not mean
to intoxicate
my bosom friend.

But in my joy
at the prospect
of serving her tea,
I mistook

currant wine
for raspberry cordial,
bright red
and so nice.

CATHERINE FLYNN is a literacy specialist from Connecticut who is passionate about sparking a love of poetry in children. When she’s not teaching, reading, or writing, Catherine likes to knit hats, scarves, and blankets for her friends and family. When the weather cooperates, she can be found in her garden or walking her dog, Lucy. Her poems have been included in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2014-2015 and The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016. She blogs at Reading to the Core and tweets as @flynn_catherine.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Student Poets

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

IMPERFECT features several talented student poets. We appreciate the support of their parents, and, in Andres and Reese's case, of their teacher Susanna Lang.

RYAN WU is a hardworking, fun-loving 12-year-old with a passion for soccer, violin, piano, and gaming. He lives with a family consisting of one mother, one father, and a younger brother. Ryan currently resides in Pleasanton, California, attending Thomas Hart Middle School. He is ecstatic that his poem was accepted for this book.

ANDRES CEJA is a sixth grader at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy. He lives in Chicago with his Mom and Dad and two brothers named Aaron and Alex. At Hawthorne, Andres is an editor of the school literary magazine. This poem is his first ever poem to be published. Other than writing, Andres likes to film sketches. He also swims competitively and competes in water polo.

REESE HOFFMAN is in seventh grade at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy. She lives in Chicago with her sister who also attends Hawthorne Scholastic Academy. At Hawthorne, Reese is an editor of the school literary magazine. This poem is her first publication ever. Outside of writing, Reese runs cross country and track for Hawthorne.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy BardDay

Today is William Shakespeare's death day and possibly his birthday, so here's a quote from the BardDay boy about taking risks:
Our doubts are traitors.
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.

~William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Although I'm not an Englishman, my feelings about Shakespeare are similar to Jane Austen's:
Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is a part of an Englishman's constitution. His thoughts and beauties are so spread abroad that one touches them every where, one is intimate with him by instinct.
Apparently the risks Shakespeare took paid off!


14 of the best Shakespeare film adaptations *

(* I saw "10 Things I Hate about You" recently and, although I know a lot of people love it, I didn't, for probably the same reasons I don't love "Taming of the Shrew." So, based on my enjoyment, I would put "Warm Bodies" on this list and take "10 Things" off. Would love to hear your additions and subtractions!)

Thursday, April 19, 2018


photo by Giuseppe Milo

Welcome! We're having a Mistake Party today!

Is that crazy? Are we celebrating messing up?

Well, sort of, in that inventions, creativity, science, and more can't thrive without trial and error. No risks, no reward!

Beyond that, mistakes are part of being alive. They're part of being human, although humans admittedly aren't the only ones who make mistakes. I know dogs who've eaten bananas with the peel, whole pans of dessert, and bars of soap. Let's hope we are better at learning from our mistakes than they were!

And still, even when we learn from our mistakes, it can be tough to avoid making new ones. We want to remember the names of people we meet, and not miss deadlines, or leave our homework at home, but we can't get everything right all the time. Sometimes it's not even obvious what the right thing to do is until afterwards! Considering we can't help making mistakes, we have to learn how to deal with them. How to make amends, how to forgive, how to laugh about it, how to move on.

That's why the book we're celebrating today was created. So we could spend a little time forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, moving on. You can find IMPERFECT online at Indiebound, Powell's, Amazon (in multiple countries), and Barnes and Noble.

the back cover of IMPERFECT

So glad you came to our little soiree! It's a little embarrassing that three of us are wearing the same dress, but what can you do? I spilled some cheese dip down my front, but I hope it kind of blends in with the pattern. Did you come for the froggy butter and bagels? Dig in!

In honor of making "golden repairs" to our mistakes, we're giving away a kintsugi kit here and at The Opposite of Indifference. (The one here is gold and the one at TOOI is can try for either or both.) The deadline for the giveaway is May 4.

Feel free to let us know what you brought with you/wore to the celebration! Did anybody bring any music? You can put your song on when "Nobody to Blame But Me" is over.

Hey, did somebody get into the cake already?
photo by Jenny

Today's Quote: Friedrich Nietzsche

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Poetic chaos will give birth to Imperfect: Poems About Mistakes, edited by Tabatha Yeatts (literary midwife). Available tomorrow!

Photo source: NASA.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Obstacles cannot crush me.
~Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci's birthday was this week (April 15th) and someone shared this silverpoint drawing he made, explaining that with silverpoint technique, mistakes are impossible to erase. Once you draw a line, it's staying. That makes me think of Bob Ross's habit of taking artistic accidents and making them part of the picture.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Donna JT Smith

Can you name IMPERFECT poet Donna JT Smith's mistake-maker?
I ran away from home,
I should have stayed right there;
I took my little dog
With wiry scruffy hair.
Too late we ran back home
Where a twister twisted us!
Somehow we came down safely,
No hair on me was mussed!
We landed somewhere on the East -
Who'd think I'd get new shoes?
That witch should not have been right there -
She made a mistake, too.

where troubles melt like lemon drops
photo by Doug Wilkowske

DONNA JT SMITH, a retired teacher, lives on the coast of Maine. She now spends her time writing and riding her motorcycle - a bright red Honda Aero. Donna doesn’t really mind making mistakes (though she would secretly prefer to get everything right on the first try), because mistakes often lead to some good learning and often require creative solutions! Donna has published poetry in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty anthologies volumes 1 and 2 edited by Michelle H. Barnes and in The Nancy Drew Anthology from Silver Birch Press.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Charles Ghigna

Poultry poet! IMPERFECT poet Charles Ghigna knows how to not take himself too seriously.

I am a silly
poultry poet whose rhymes some
times break the gold egg

FATHER GOOSE® CHARLES GHIGNA lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 books from Random House, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Capstone, Charlesbridge, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems for children and adults in newspapers and magazines ranging from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Highlights and Cricket magazines. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, instructor of creative writing at Samford University, poetry editor of English Journal for the National Council of Teachers of English, and as a nationally syndicated poetry feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He speaks at schools, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, visit his website at

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Molly Hogan

photo by vgallova

Can you guess the mistake-makers in IMPERFECT poet Molly Hogan's minis?

She seems so friendly
The apple looks delicious
Perhaps just one bite...


I only dropped down
for company with breakfast...
Who knew she'd run off?


Entranced by the view
I balance atop the wall
Too often I fall

MOLLY HOGAN grew up with three sisters and a brother, and the older two delighted in leading her astray. “Bitter Chocolate,” which appears in IMPERFECT, is based on the enduring memory of one such mistake. Although many of these incidents resulted in humiliation or punishment, this one also eventually resulted in a poem. You never know what will inspire you! Molly is a fourth grade teacher who lives with her husband in rural Maine. Much of her free time is spent writing, reading, running, wandering, taking pictures, and procrastinating. Her personal essays have been published in the Portland Press Herald and her poems have appeared in online galleries.

Today's Quote: Nikki Giovanni

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.
~ Nikki Giovanni

Photo courtesy

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

F.J. Bergmann

IMPERFECT poet F.J. Bergmann today with "An Apology," which originally appeared in Billy Collins' second anthology for high-school students, 180 More:

An Apology

Forgive me
for backing over
and smashing
your red wheelbarrow.

It was raining
and the rear wiper
does not work on
my new plum-colored SUV.

I am also sorry
about the white

F.J. BERGMANN writes poetry and speculative fiction, often simultaneously, appearing in Analog, Asimov's, Polu Texni, Silver Blade, and elsewhere, and edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change ( A Catalogue of the Further Suns, a collection of dystopian first-contact reports, won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Margarita Engle

Today we have a mini mistake poem by IMPERFECT poet Margarita Engle, who was recently nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Award. We don't have any Pippi Longstocking mini mistake poems yet, but wouldn't those be cool?

Margarita's poem gets to the heart of not giving up:

Revision Blues
a tanka

the first draft
that flowed so easily
now needs
hard work, this painstaking
attention to details

MARGARITA ENGLE is the 2017-2019 national Young People’s Poet Laureate, and the first Latino to receive that honor. She is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Lightning Dreamer, a PEN USA Award recipient. Her verse memoir, Enchanted Air, received the Pura Belpré Award, Golden Kite Award, Walter Dean Myers Honor, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and Arnold Adoff Poetry Award, among others. Drum Dream Girl received the Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text.

Her newest verse novel about the island is Forest World, and her newest picture books are All the Way to Havana, and Miguel’s Brave Knight, Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote.

Books forthcoming in 2018 include The Flying Girl, How Aída de Acosta learned to Soar, and Jazz Owls, a Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots.

Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives. She was trained as an agronomist and botanist. She lives in central California with her husband. Follow her on Twitter at @YPPLaureate

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Accidental Impacts

Addressing something serious to forgive yourself when you make a mistake with horrible consequences, such as hitting a pedestrian with your car or unintentionally shooting someone. It's something that isn't written about a lot, but there are these links:

Accidental Impacts is for people who have caused accidental death or injury. They discuss:
* On Living After Accidentally Killing Someone by poet Gregory Orr
* The Sorrow and the Shame of the Accidental Killer
* Forgiving yourself
* Forgiving yourself, II
* Forgiving yourself, III

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Keri Collins Lewis

Here's a mini mistake-maker poem by IMPERFECT poet Keri Collins Lewis. Keri writes about a legendary mistake made by an emperor who was a bit too insecure and too easy to flatter:

A kingly walk,
the villagers gawk —
What fine clothes!?

KERI COLLINS LEWIS lives in Mississippi and is in her seventh year of working in media relations for the Extension Service after serving as an elementary school teacher, museum archivist, and curriculum developer. She practices writing haiku and values the Poetry Friday Community's expertise. In addition to writing, she enjoys travel, beekeeping, quilting, reading, gardening, and tending chickens and grandchildren.

Only the finest blog visitors
can see Keri's quilts

Friday, April 6, 2018

Mistake-Maker Minis

Mistakes can be tragic, useful, or anything in between. These mini riddle poems by editor Tabatha Yeatts contain famous mistakes...can you name them?

Fleming's neglected dish
turns a moldy blue-green --
bacteria killer!

I always run late...
maybe I should fix my watch
for important dates

Keys left back on shore,
binoculars stay locked up --
iceberg spotted too late.

These are cross-posted on The Opposite of Indifference (and the answers are in the comments there).

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


I am terribly clumsy, so there is a plethora of walking into lamp-posts, falling over, dropping things, and ruining sofas.
~Matt Smith

A mistake from 1898 today. He's worried about the bottle, but I'm nervous about that pastry on top!

by Nikolaos Gysis

Monday, April 2, 2018

Found II

Somebody asked me if I am looking for something. I am looking for everything.
~Sam Sheridan

IMPERFECT poet Brenda Davis Harsham found this poem in a post about Kat's found poem!