My Word for 2023 - Reflect

Sitting here in the early morning hours of the first day of 2023, I will begin by reflecting on last year's words - toast and savor. (This year, my word is "reflect!")  Last year when I hit the Word of the Year generator , I was not happy with my "inspirational" word - toast. For the first time, I hit the generator again. The second time, I got "hope." More like it, I thought. But then, as often happens when I need to pause and think about things, I was led to check the etymology of "toast," which I was thinking of in the noun form, not the verb form.    The etymology states, "toast - a call to drink to someone's health," 1690s (but said by Steele, 1709, to date to the reign of Charles II)." With the pandemic still raging, what better thing to do than to wish someone good health?    During 2022, I found that I "toasted" often and with great sincerity. Many family members and friends battled with health issues. I h

Poems, Immigrants, and Literacy

My granduncles and aunt - NYC 1925 at the base of the Statue of Liberty after immigrating from Kassabella in what  is now Slovakia. Looking back, I realized that I have been writing poetry for sixty plus years. I have been teaching the art of writing poetry for forty plus years. I can sincerely say that poetry is an intricate part of my life. But what has poetry done for me or those in my life? First, poetry gave me a voice when everything around me was telling me to be silent. Then, poetry took me to places I would have had difficulty getting to on my own. Finally, poetry became my art, the way I painted a world that was too confusing, too complex, so beautiful that mere words couldn't capture the emotions.  Today, as we near the end of the 30 Poems in November challenge, I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to teach my students the joy of writing poetry. Always, I am awed by their ability to use a language that is foreign to them to express such deep emotions in such a