Linda Kulp Trout

Thursday, August 29, 2019


I read a lot of novels in verse.  My favorites are character-driven stories with a lot of emotion like the one I just finished reading,  THE COLORS OF THE RAIN by R.L.Toalson.  It is everything I hoped it would be, heartbreaking, hopeful, and unforgettable. I didn’t want the story to end because I felt so connected to the main character's authentic and powerful voice. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, so I’ll just share just a bit of the blurb inside the book jacket.  

Ten-year-old Paulie Sanders hates his name because it also belonged to his daddy, who killed a man and crashed a car. With Mama unable to cope, Paulie and his sister, Charlie, move in with Aunt Bee and try to make a fresh start.  But it's 1972 and their new school puts them right in the middle of the Houston School District's war on desegregation. 

Here is an excerpt from the first poem:


Most nights
I sleep just fine
because most nights
it doesn't rain.

The last time it rained like this
we drove past that curve
Gran always called dangerous
and saw lights flashing red and blue
and people walking around
and a body covered
with a white sheet
that glowed in the dark.

Mama didn't slow down long enough
to look at the twisted car.
It was too dark to see, anyhow.
We didn't know who was
under the sheet, but Mama said
a prayer for their family
as we drove on by.

-R.L Toalson

Doesn't that just grab your heart and make you want to know more?  You can read a few more poems from the beginning of the book here.

Go here to read an interview with R.L.Toalson, and be sure to watch this inspiring video where the author shares her writing process.

I'm already looking forward to reading more from this very talented writer.  I really hope she writes a sequel to THE COLORS OF THE RAIN because I want to know more about the next chapter in Paulie's life.

A special thank you to Kat for hosting this week's Poetry Friday on her blog Kathryn Apel.

Friday, August 23, 2019


It has been such a sad summer around here. Within five weeks, we lost a beloved family member, our sweet kitty and now Lee.  So many good-byes.  So much grief.

Lately,  I've been doing a lot of wondering about why things happen the way they do.  I haven't written much lately except in my journal, but when I heard about the Poetry Friday tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins, I knew I wanted to be part of it. Lee played a huge role in my writing life through his anthologies, his poems, and encouragement.

Just imagine my excitement when way back in 1995 Lee called me to discuss using my poems in one of his anthologies.  Lee Bennett Hopkins on the phone with me!  I remember the two of us laughing a lot, but other than that, I don’t remember much about the conversation. I was in a daze and felt like I was dreaming. 

Not long after that, I started getting little handwritten notes from Lee about upcoming projects.  I kept every one of those notes. They are treasures! Years later,  we corresponded by email.  I kept those too and read them whenever I need a boost of encouragement.  Not all of the poems I submitted to Lee ended up in his books, but when one did, what a thrill!  

The last email I received from Lee said,  “Dear One:  I’m sorry that your poem had to be dropped from the collection. Please don’t fret too much over this. There will be other times I’ll get you into a collection. I have always loved working with you, Linda, and I look forward to new things coming up in the future. I write with love-ness, Lee”

Those were his last words to me. Lee always knew how to make someone feel like the most special person on the planet. He will forever live on in my heart.

For my tribute poem, I chose the lines ”I sit/alone/on the edge of the bed/wondering” from Lee’s poem “Once More” published in AMERICA AT WAR.  It's a poem I have loved since I first read it.

I wrote this poem not only for Lee, but also for all the loved ones I've lost. My poem is very simple, and but it comes from my heart.

Without You

     for Lee Bennett Hopkins

I sit
on the edge of the bed


How does the world
keep going
without you?

I see your face.
I hear your voice.
Your laughter—
fills the air.

So how can it be
that you are not here?

I sit


           Linda Kulp Trout

Amy is hosting today's Poetry Friday at The Poem Farm with more tributes to the amazing Lee Bennett Hopkins.