• Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

First Five Fragments for Friday

First Five Fragments for Friday is your weekly offering of writing/art/conversation prompts.


It's National Poetry Month


I seldom re-read entire books, but this week I made an exception. Maxine Hong Kingston's To Be the Poet is an old favorite that I pulled off my bookshelf because it felt right. And it's perfect for National Poetry Month.



This book comforts me. Its Zen approach to writing poems feels just right. The book allows readers to observe Kingston as she figures out a new direction for herself: prose writer to poet. She is a marvelous teacher.


At a time when everything feels unsettled, this book helps me feel less so. This past week, I officially ended my time at Gyroscope Review so I, too, am heading in a new direction. But the new direction I planned for six months ago doesn't look anything like expected. None of us expected what we have before us now.


So, today's First Five Fragments for Friday is a little different. This offering contains pieces from To Be the Poet that I want to hold close. Maybe they'll work some magic for you, too. Happy National Poetry Month.


  1. The Poet alights in the right-now time, and stays in the special/ordinary moment. - p. 31

  2. Worries, ignoble thoughts, and petty feelings do not poetry make. - p. 35

  3. Everything reminds me of everything. / I am almost old. Each thing / has a life of associations. - p. 41

  4. Gary Snyder's advice: Stay put. Yes, the happy life is one in which I get to stay home. - p. 49 Also p. 49: Do not be so afraid.

  5. It was beautiful in Asia to be old and have long ears. Heavy earrings and hearing stories, calls, cries pull ears long. - p.89

Happy Friday, everybody.



My signed copy of the Fifth Book of Peace from when I heard Maxine Hong Kingston speak at the University of Minnesota in 2009. I purchased To Be the Poet later. Both books have a special place in my heart and on my shelf.


#firstfivefragmentsforfriday #writingprompts #artprompts #conversationprompts #maxinehongkingston #tobethepoet #nationalpoetrymonth



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