Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mary Lee Hahn

photo courtesy the Asian Carp RCC

Sometimes what seems like a good idea can go very wrong, like the introduction of Asian carp to the U.S. They were brought to control weeds and parasites but have ended up causing problems for native fish and the water quality. Currently people are trying to keep Asian carp from spreading other places in the U.S. IMPERFECT poet Mary Lee Hahn spotlights that mistake:

A Note From the Asian Carp

Don’t forget, you invited me.
I didn’t intend to be invasive –
the floods just carried me away

and now I’m on the loose
heading towards the Great Lakes to reproduce.
Will you be able to keep me at bay?

MARY LEE HAHN is a teacher-poet. She has taught fourth or fifth grades for over thirty years and is the author of Reconsidering Read-Aloud (Stenhouse). Mary Lee blogs about children's literature and teaching at A Year of Reading ( with Franki Sibberson. Her poems can be found in all of the volumes of the Pomelo Books Poetry Friday Anthology series (K-5, Middle School, Science, Celebrations), The Best of Today's Little Ditty (2014-2015 and 2016), Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems, and National Geographic Book of Nature Poems. She collects her poetry at Poetrepository (


  1. I'm in Illinois, and the Asian Carp get a lot of press around here. Yes- big mistake! However, the poem is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sounds a lot like our cane toads. Brought in by the experts... :\ Great poem, Mary Lee.

  3. Yay! Another note, this time from an unwitting mistake victim. Poor carp--we'll try not to blame you, even as we work to keep you at bay.

    Perhaps the largest mistake of this kind ever made is documented in this famous Australian film:

  4. Terrific to highlight this "mistake", wishing it weren't so! Well done, Mary Lee!

  5. Like the use of first person in this poem. And the Asian carp problem reminds me of starlings.

  6. Oh my, we've been dealing with that pesky carp! It also reminds me of kudzu--the vine that ate the South. It was brought over to control soil erosion. Well, it did its job a little too well.

  7. Brings to mind kudzu and air potatoes too! Oh, I just saw that Kay already mentioned kudzu... like she said, the vine that ate the South. I know it all too well!

  8. Hey there, instigator Mary Lee.
    Thinking you may have another poetry collection. This lively
    Asian carp point-of-view poem brings to mind walking catfish, pythons & Australian pines that are ruinous here in La Florida.
    Happy weekend without exotics to you!

    And embarrassed but how did I miss IMPERFECT.
    Plan to rectify that. It sounds lively & I love the cover already.

  9. As yes, the best laid plans of miss and men! Too many times we think we know better than nature and try to meddle with things, but she certainly asserts herself and proves us wrong!

  10. I love this line in your poem Mary Lee, "the floods just carried me away"

    But I do hope we can keep them "at bay!"