Saturday, October 31, 2020

November 2020 Poetry Challenge: Babies



November is a time to be grateful—a feeling that is supposed to be the focal point Thanksgiving in the United States. Some people are having more trouble feeling grateful during this year of Pandemic. Many people around the world are discouraged or depressed, so it seemed good to focus on a subject that brings hope and joy to many people: babies. The following poem by Barbara Eaton (No, not the Barbara Eaton of “I Dream of Jeannie” fame), was written about her niece.


You are already loved

It was hard to love a sonogram at first.
In the early stages
you looked like snow on TV.

Then your body
started to take shape,
your shoulders, your head.
Fingers and toes.

But when I saw your cute little face
for the first time
on the sonogram,
you looked just like your mom
when she was a baby,


I felt a tiny flower
blossom in my heart

~ Barbara Eaton


Here are some poems about babies that you can read on-line:

*Betsy Sholl, “Lullaby in Blue” - 

*Don Paterson, “Waking with Russell” -

*Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song” -

*Mary Jo Salter, “Somebody Else’s Baby” -

*Sherman Alexie, “Dangerous Astronomy,” -

* William Blake, “Infant Sorrow” -

Neal Levine, “Baby Ate a Microchip” -

*Phillip Larkin, “Born Yesterday” -

*Alexander Posey, “Mother and Baby” -



Barbara L. Eaton, born and raised in the Chicagoland area, attended the University of Illinois and University of Maryland. She holds two master's degrees in English, and a Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Medieval Literature. An experienced PT Instructor, she has taught at Joliet Junior College, College of DuPage, and Morton College. Her second grade teacher, Miss Juliana Rotsko, published Barbara's first poem, "What Christmas Means to Me," in the Chicago Daily News. BTW, she says it was an awful poem. A member of the Illinois State Poetry Society, the National Federation of Poetry Societies, and the Academy of American Poets, Barbara facilitates the Lisle Chapter of ISPS. She edited a collection, Sacred Rivers, for poets Carolyn Sibr and Marvin R. Young. Barbara publishes in various literary journals, and also performs her poetry at local venues such as libraries, nursing homes, and coffeehouses. A former member of the Chicago-based group, Poets & Patrons, Barbara chaired their poetry contest for many years. Read her poems


The November Challenge:


ALSO, please follow the guidelines carefully. For example, if your name is at the top of the page or under the title instead of at the bottom, I might accidentally miss it when preparing to send the poems to the judge, and your poem could be disqualified as a result. If it isn’t under your poem, I might mistype it. Also, if you don’t follow the directions in how to write the subject line of your email, your poem might be missed.

Write a poem about a baby or babies. You may use free verse or a form. If you use a form, please include a note identifying the form.

Title your poem unless it is in a form that discourages titles. Single-space. Note that the blog format does not accommodate long lines; if they are used, they have to be broken in two, with the second part indented (as in the poem “Lilith,” one of the May 2018 winners), or the post has to use small print. Put your name and bio under your poem. Please keep the poem on the left margin (standard 1” margin). Do not put any part of your submission on a colored background. Do not use a fancy font and do not use a header or footer.

You may submit a published poem if you retain copyright, but please include publication data. This applies to poems published in books, journals, newspapers, or on the Internet. Poems already used on this blog are not eligible to win, but the poets may submit a different poem, unless the poet has been a winner the last three months.

The deadline is November 15. Poems submitted after the deadline will not be considered. There is no charge to enter, so there are no monetary rewards; however, winners are published on this blog. Please don’t stray too far from “family-friendly” language (some children and teens read this blog). No simultaneous submissions, please. You should know by the end of the month whether or not your poem will be published. Decision of the judge or judges is final.

The poet retains copyright on each poem. If a previously unpublished poem wins and is published elsewhere later, please give credit to this blog. I do not register copyright with the US copyright office, but by US law, the copyright belongs to the writer unless the writer assigns it to someone else.

If the same poet wins three months in a row (which has not happened thus far), he or she will be asked not to submit the following two months.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send one poem only to wildamorris4[at]gmail[dot]com (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for “dot”). Put “November Poetry Challenge Submission” FOLLOWED BY YOUR NAME in the subject line of your email. Include a brief bio that can be printed with your poem if you are a winner this month. Please put your name and bio UNDER THE POEM in your email and/or attachment. If the poem has been published before, please put that information UNDER the poem also. NOTE: If you sent your poem to my other email address, or do not use the correct subject line, the poem may get lost and not be considered for publication. Do not submit poems as PDF files. Pease excuse repetition in stating the rules. You might be surprised how many poets do not adhere carefully to the rules.

Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog if it is a winner, so be sure that you put your name (exactly as you would like it to appear if you do win) at the end of the poem.

Poems may be pasted into an email or sent as an attachment (Doc, Docx, rich text or plain text; no pdf files, please). or both. Please do not indent the poem or center it on the page. It helps if you submit the poem in the format used on the blog (Title and poem left-justified; title in bold (not all in capital letters); your name at the bottom of the poem). Also, please do not use multiple spaces instead of commas in the middle of lines. I have no problem with poets using that technique (I sometimes do it myself). However I have difficulty getting the blog to accept and maintain extra spaces.

Poems shorter than 40 lines are generally preferred but longer poems will be considered.


© Wilda Morris