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Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.
Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources. These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.
Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.
When my adult writing students confess their struggles with self-doubt, they usually look panicked. I can’t possibly be a real writer, their eyes seem to say. I’m just never sure what I’m doing is right.
That’s when I explain that self-doubt is the fuel that drives us forward. Show me a writer with unshakable confidence, I tell them, and I’ll show you a lousy writer.
No one proves this more than Dorothy Parker. Though arguably the greatest literary wit of the twentieth century, she battled those demons of doubt every day.
In 1956, when interviewed by Paris Review and asked about the period in which she wrote poems, Parker replied, “My verses. I cannot say poems. Like everybody was then, I was following in the exquisite footsteps of Miss Millay, unhappily in my own horrible sneakers. My verses are no damn good. Let’s face it, honey, my verse is terribly dated—as anything once fashionable is dreadful now. I gave it up, knowing it wasn’t getting any better, but nobody seemed to notice my magnificent gesture.”
No damn good? I beg to differ. Dorothy Parker’s poetry still resonates with freshness and wit. Even her darkest verses, such as Resumé, have legions of modern fans.
But her self-deprecation didn’t stop there. In a 1945 telegram to her publisher at Viking she wrote: ALL I HAVE IS A PILE OF PAPER COVERED WITH WRONG WORDS. CAN ONLY KEEP AT IT AND HOPE TO HEAVEN TO GET IT DONE. DONT KNOW WHY IT IS SO TERRIBLY DIFFICULT OR I SO TERRIBLY INCOMPETENT.
The telegram referred to an introduction she had agreed to write for a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work. And it followed on the heels of an even more painful period of inertia, as she had been unable to fulfill her contract to write a novel. This was a lifelong thorn in her heart. Parker wanted desperately to write a novel, but couldn’t seem to get out of her own way. Her perfectionism may have been the culprit, as she was a relentless self-editor. In that same Paris Review interview she explained that it took her six months to write a short story, saying, “I can’t write five words but that I change seven.”
Clearly, she found the process more filled with despair than joy. It’s no wonder then, that she offered up the following advice: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
If that gives you pause, consider an even more famous quote from Parker: “I hate writing, I love having written.” Even if your feelings aren’t quite that extreme, the message is clear—the doubt isn’t going anywhere, so you may as well put away the panic and get to work.
Ellen Meister is a novelist, essayist, public speaker and creative writing instructor at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY). She runs a popular Dorothy Parker page on Facebook that has almost150,000 followers.
Now in their 39th year, the PROSE Awards honor “the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in over 40 categories,” as determined by a jury of peer publishers, librarians, and medical professionals.
Today is the annual Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10, hosted by Cathy Mere from Reflect and Refine, Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning, and Julie Balen of Write at the Edge.… Continue reading →
YOU ARE INVITED to the launch of my first-ever chapbook, THE UNIVERSE COMES KNOCKING: poems by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
When? One month from today, on March 13th at 7:00 p.m. Where? In Mount Holly, NJ, at the Daily Grind, located at 48 High Street. Cost of admission? Free. Plus I'll be reading, and there will be an open reading afterwards. Cost of chapbook if you're so inclined? Probably $6.00 or so.
I sure hope you will come. Or send someone you know.
Especially since my sweetheart just got scheduled for dental surgery that morning and will likely be unable to attend, and I really, truly don't want to be all by myself in a coffee shop for the launch of my first-ever chapbook (a small paperback collection of poems, which may or may not be sold by peddlers, but is indeed published by a local small press called Maverick Duck Press).
To see other Poetry Friday posts, click the box below:
The Letterbox Cat & Other Poems by Paula Green, illus. Myles Lawford, Scholastic NZ
Printed in striking black and red on white, this book of poems should appeal greatly to primary teachers planning a class called “Fun With Poetry”. Paula runs NZ Poetry Box, a useful blog for children and schools at www.nzpoetrybox.wordpress.com. The poems in this anthology are an intriguing mix of words, design and illustration, using shape to enhance meaning. For example, the poem about a kite is laid out in the shape of a kite with a long winding tail, while the words in Nice Ice are arranged in the shape of an icecream cone. The book offers perfect examples for children to follow with their own poetry and design. Myles Lawford’s illustrations are minimalist and quirky, befitting the light tone of the poems.
Could this book be used at home? Yes. If a parent was determined to introduce a pre-schooler or young primary-aged child to poetry, this would be an interesting place to start because of the extra visual elements. BTW, the poem about the Letterbox Cat is on page 24. I wonder why it wasn’t printed on the first page… ISBN 978 1 77543 223 4 RRP $12 Pb
Monday kicked off Random Acts of Kindness Week, a time when people are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and do something nice for others. Our picture book, Lend a Hand: Poems About Givingis a collection of poems about different ways to help others. From planting trees to tutoring students, Lend a Hand shows that there are lots of small things you can do to make a big difference in someone’s life.
Here’s what reviewers are saying about Lend a Hand:
“At once familiar and slightly out of the box, these giving scenes gently suggest that even the smallest acts can inspire and achieve great ends.” –Kirkus Reviews
“In conjunction with home or classroom discussions about social responsibilities, waging peace, or bullying, these instances of individual and collective giving may serve as inspiring models.“–Booklist
“It would be easy for a book with this title to hit readers over the head with its message. Instead, this is a gentle book that will add value to any classroom or library collection.” –School Library Journal
In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, we’re offering a 25% off coupon which you can use through February 15. When you’re checking out, use the code KINDNESS. Purchase the book here.
Struggling to think of some ways to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week? Here are ten ways to lend a hand:
We’d love to hear what you’ve been doing for Random Acts of Kindness Week – let us know in the comments below!
College studentRene Sharanya Verma has crafted a poem called to criticize the misogynistic ways of rapper Yo! Yo! Honey Singh. Verma sat for an interview with BBC News and revealed that her “aim was to challenge the culture that rationalises the narratives of sexual violence, misogyny, patriarchy and lack of women’s consent. And I wanted to do it in the same style as Honey Singh’s.”
Intro: This is my sixth book with Walker books Australia and all the books are either poetry collections or verse novels. They are written for children (and always adults too) What does it take to write a whole collection of poems about the word ‘Celebration’? Well it takes lots of research, remembering, collecting ideas, words, […]
How does one build a unconventional career creating poems?
Throughout this winter season, writer and musicianLynn Gentry has been making it a practice to set up a custom poetry stand. It’s located at the Union Square subway station in New York City. Gentry (pictured, via) requires his customers to follow three steps: (1) pick a subject (2) pick a price (3) get a poem.
Here’s more from Business Insider: “Gentry shares that his writing alone brings in an average of $700 per week, and he usually writes about 20 poems a day. He says he earns more in the summer, and estimates that most people pay $5-$10 per poem. The most he’s ever been given for a single poem is $122.”
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are a continued source of inspiration for me and the schools I serve. Each year, these awards are given to authors and illustrators for books that honor African American culture and universal human values. Today, I would like to share the winning books with you. As the award website states,
"The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood."
Firebird, illustrated by Christopher Myers and written by Misty Copeland. In this stirring, beautiful picture book, Copeland creates a conversation between a young girl who dreams of dancing and herself as a professional ballerina (my full review) Myers illustrations are full of vibrant, saturated colors and help children visualize a story as they listen to Copeland's poetic text.
I read Firebird today with 2nd graders -- Jeehyun said, "It's like it was showing the young girl's life cycle," as she grew up and followed her dreams. I smiled, as we thought back to Jeehyun in kindergarten and wondered what advice she would have to herself as she was just starting school. It was a magical moment to share. Inspiring, for ages 6-10.
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Joesphine Baker, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Patricia Hruby Powell. I adore this beautiful biography that Patricia Hruby Powell & Christian Robinson created celebrating Baker's life and work (see my full review). Christian Robinson captures Josephine's movement and playfulness with his gorgeous acrylic illustrations. Savor this long picture book biography over several sittings -- and notice how the pictures and words play off each other. For ages 8-12.
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Katheryn Russell-Brown. As Kirkus writes, "Bewitched by the rhythms of jazz all around her in Depression-era Kansas City, little Melba Doretta Liston longs to make music in this fictional account of a little-known jazz great." Kids love the exaggerated illustrations that brim with humor, sass and verve--just like I imagine Melba's trombone playing did. A great picture book biography, for ages 4-8.
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson, is a moving, evocative memoir in verse that paints a picture of what it was like to grow up black and female in the 1960s and 1970s (see my full review). This book was especially meaningful to several of my African American students, especially girls, who could relate to Jackie's experiences. This powerful book will now be decorated with four medals: the National Book Award, the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Sibert Award for nonfiction. Excellent and outstanding in so many ways, best suited for ages 10-14.
The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, was recognized for its portrayal of a close-knit African American family, loving and supportive but also rife with tension between the brothers. As you know, my students are **huge** fans of The Crossover. As I said to a friend when I first read it, I love how the characters' African American identity is an important part of the book, but not an issue in the story -- it's just part of who they are. Don't BOTH of those medals look fantastic on this cover? Fantastic for ages 9-14.
How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson, is memoir in verse that is based on Nelson's experiences growing up as a daughter of one of the first African-American career officers in the Air Force during the 1950s. Publisher's Weekly calls this "an intimate perspective on a tumultuous era and an homage to the power of language." To learn more, listen to this NPR interview with Nelson. I have not read this or shared it with students, so I'm not quite sure if it's best suited for ages 12 and up, or would be a good fit for our 5th graders.
How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon, is a gripping novel for teens that is undeniably relevant to issues our society is grappling with around the country. As Publisher Weekly writes, Magoon "offers multiple, contradictory perspectives on the shooting of an African-American youth. No one disputes that 16-year-old Tariq Johnson was shot on the street by Jack Franklin, a white gang member, but the motives of both killer and victim remain fuzzy, as do the circumstances surrounding the shooting." While I have not read this, I am a big fan of Magoon's previous work and know this will be an intense and full of raw emotions, for ages 14 and up.
When I Was the Greatest, by Jason Reynolds. I have not read this, but friends are raving about this engaging story of urban teens Ali, Noodles and Needles. As the award committee writes, "In an authentic contemporary voice, Reynolds focuses on the importance of family, the acceptance of responsibility and the obligations of friendship and portrays a likeable teenager learning how to be a good man." Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Please seek out and share these books with kids in your life. They are each truly special. Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Penguin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lee & Low, and Chronicle Books. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.
Can any Twitter user become a poet? The Brazil Contemporary Art center (b_arco) has created the Poetweet tool.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the website comes in two different versions for Portuguese and English speakers. Visitors will enter their Twitter handle, choose a poetic style (sonnet, rondel, indriso), and from there enjoy the finished poem.
The Huffington Post has posted three poems derived from the Twitter feeds of writers Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, and Emily Gould. What do you think?
This morning, the American Library Association announced the winners for 2015 distinguished books for children across many categories. This week, I'd like to share these with you along with my excitement and my students' reactions to these books. I am jumping with joy because all of these books speak to children so well. (read the full press release here)
“The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, won the 2015 Newbery Medal, for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. From the very first time I read this aloud to students, they have loved it. I'll never forget 5th grade boys nearly wrestling each other in the library to check out our copy first. This story captured their heart and the words conveyed power, rhythm and emotion that connected to students. (read my full review here)
Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:
“El Deafo” written and illustrated by Cece Bell. For the first time, a graphic novel has won a Newbery Honor, and my students adore this. They love graphic novels, and El Deafo soars to the top on every measure. Cece shares her memoir, growing up deaf after suffering meningitis. My students completely relate to Cece's character, even though they have not gone through exactly the same experiences. She brings them right into her world, conveying her thoughts and feelings so well through words and comics. Please seek out this outstanding, very special story.
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson. This memoir told in verse drew many of my students in, helping them see Jackie's experiences growing up in the 1960s and also showing them how some of her experiences were similar to their own. I'll never forget the way Elani and Aleecia came in after reading it together, just glowing and saying, "It's like WE were in the book."
Woodson crafts her verse so differently than Alexander and tells her memoir in such a different way from Bell -- I love that we're showing our children that there are so many different ways you can live in the world. Your goal is to be the best YOU that you can be.
I am also thrilled that these books are so accessible to children. Not only are they distinguished in their literary merit, they also are respectful of where children are developmentally, what they bring to the reading experience.
Kwame Alexander talked with us about how he knew some kids could enter a novel in verse more easily than dense text -- he wanted to write a book that invited kids into a the story, but once they were there provide them with a nuanced, layered, powerful story. And man, does he do that. Because his language is so accessible, kids can enter the conversation and then talk deeply about all sorts of literary devices the author used, the messages he's conveying, the journey his characters go through.
Check out some of Emerson students' discussions and thoughts on all our Mock Newbery books. I can't wait to share these titles with even more readers.
My heartfelt appreciation goes out today to all the authors who are writing books for kids. They put so much heart, soul and thought into their craft. It makes a tremendous difference in kids' lives, finding books that speak to them. My heartfelt thanks also goes out to the whole children's literature community, from librarians who spend countless hours on committees evaluating and discussing books, to publishers who take incredible risks to bring stories into our hands, to booksellers who help get books into the hands of as many readers as possible. This is a very special community.
Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ABRAMS, and Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Books for Young Readers. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.
This morning I am celebrating the range of diverse books (authors, illustrators, and subjects) and poetry present in the youth media award winners announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.
It's been an exciting journey with our students, reading and discussing what they think the most distinguished books for children have been in 2014. My students know their voices and opinions are valued--and that's made a huge difference to them. But even more than that, they've had a great time sharing their ideas with each other.
As a special celebration, I'm hosting a giveaway of one of these titles of your choosing. Please see below for full details!
The winner for the 2015 Mock Newbery at Emerson School is The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander.
Students passionately argued that The Crossover was not just a book they loved, but the writing distinguished and distinctive. They shared examples about the characters, the plot and the language. Students from all sorts of different backgrounds connected to the themes and language in The Crossover. This is not just a sports book, but rather a book that operates on a multitude of levels. I think most of all, they responded Kwame Alexander's voice, in the way he both riffed on rap style but also wove deeper issues that made kids pause and think.
We celebrated three honor books that all received more votes than the rest of the titles. The three honor books for 2015 Mock Newbery at Emerson are:
The Swap, by Megan Shull -- a book that resonated emotionally with many students, because it captured some of the inner and social pressures kids feel today. The followed the complex plot, and found the voices clear and consistent. I especially appreciated the nuanced gender roles -- some typical for boys and girls, some less expected.
The Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd -- students responded to the lovely language, the heartfelt themes and the magical fantasy in Lloyd's debut novel. They understood how hard it was for Felicity to move every time things started to get tough for her mom. They could feel how important words were to Felicity. And they could see Felicity growing throughout the story.
The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer L. Holm -- it was wonderful to see how students responded to the layers of science, fantasy and family. There was just the right amount of depth to draw students in, but never overwhelm them. That balance takes incredible skill; Holm creates thought-provoking situations without making readers feel like they're being led into a discussion. Our readers responded to the humor, the heart and the love in this story.
I'll be spending the weekend with my library "book friends", talking about favorite books we've read and new books we're looking forward reading this year. These four special books will certainly be ones I'll be sharing--because my students' excitement is contagious!
GIVEAWAY: As a special celebration, I would like to send one of these titles to a classroom or school library as a way to share a love of books. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway rulles are simple:
Giveaway ends Thursday 2/5 at 12am Pacific.
Winners must be to the United States shipping address.
Kids & parents may enter, and present the gift to a teacher or school library.
I want to give a special thanks to all the publishers who supported our book club by sending review copies. It made our small adventure possible. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.
Since its beginning in October 2013, Singapore Poetry has the goal of introducing the arts of Singapore to a general American audience. Operating out of New York City, it aims to cultivate dialogue and understanding between the two countries. To celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of political independence this year, Singapore Poetry will seek American perspectives on the island-state by holding a contest for the best poem in English about Singapore. The contest is open to anyone living in the USA who is not a Singaporean.
The poem may be about any aspect of Singapore — for instance, an OkCupid profile, an old black-and-white movie, Singapore noodles, a recurring nightmare, the orchid Vanda Miss Joaquim, a family heirloom — but it must have the word “Singapore” in it. It does not have to be celebratory in tone, but it must possess the qualities of a good poem, nicely defined by Dylan Thomas as “a contribution to reality.” For a good example, read Vijay Seshadri’s "Light Verse" from his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection 3 Sections.
Awards of USD100, 50 and 20 will go to the top three winners. The winning poems will be published on Singapore Poetry; non-winning poems will be considered for publication as well. The judge is the curator of Singapore Poetry, Jee Leong Koh. Friends and associates are welcomed to submit. Judging will be based solely on poetic merit. Singapore Poetry reserves the right not to make any or all awards, should the quality of entries not merit them.
Contest entry is free. Please submit a maximum of three poems. Only unpublished poems will be considered. Posting on weblog, Facebook and other social media does not constitute publication. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, provided you inform Singapore Poetry if your poem is accepted elsewhere. Please email your submission to:
riverSedge is a journal of art and literature with an understanding of its place in the nation in south Texas on the border . Its name reflects our specific river edge with an openness to publish writers who use English, Tex-Mex, and Spanish and also the edges shared by all the best contemporary writing and art.
Submit here. General Submissions/Contest Guidelines
Deadline to Submit is 3/1/15
$5 submission fee in all genres (except book reviews)
3 prizes of $300 will be awarded in poetry, prose, and art. All entries are eligible for contest prizes. Dramatic scripts and graphic literature will be judged as prose. Multiple submissions are welcome in all genres. Each submission should be submitted as a separate entry. In other words, do not send two or more entries as one document. Previously unpublished work only. Self-published work (in print and/or on the web) is not eligible. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us of acceptance elsewhere as soon as possible. Submissions in English, Spanish and anything in between are welcome. Current staff, faculty, and students affiliated with UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville, or South Texas College are not eligible to submit original work to riverSedge.
The Inflectionist Review is a small press publishing stark and distinctive contemporary poetry that fosters dialog between the reader and writer, between words and their meanings, between ambiguity and concept. Each issue gathers established and emerging voices together toward the shared aim of unique expression that resonates beyond the author’s world, beyond the page, and speaks to the universality of human language and experience.
The Freeman accepts poetry submissions year-round to be considered for publication. Poems appear online, and some are selected to appear in the quarterly print magazine as well. Payment is $50 per accepted poem. Recently published poems can be seen here.
Guidelines Submissions must be unpublished poems or translations only. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable if noted as such. Translations into English are accepted, but either the translator must have documented permission to publish the translations at the time of submission or the poems must be in the common domain per U.S. and international copyright law. Include copies of the poems in the original language with any translation submissions. Send up to 6 unpublished poems, up to 60 lines each (exceptions to the length restriction may be made in rare cases), in .pdf, .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to the Poetry Editor at:
First of all, it means we have an announcement to make!
And that is that Punxsutawney Phyllis, Sage of Sages, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinaire did set forth from her burrow on Blueberry Hill this Monday February 2, 2015 at 7:25 AM and declare [I'll have to add this in at 7:25 AM on 2/2/15 assuming I have internet... which is questionable due to our forecast... otherwise we'll have to let you know what happened on Tuesday or Wednesday :)]
Second, that means it's my little Phyllis's 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!!
"We're having a party! We're having a party!" [That's Phyllis. She's a little excited.] "We need CAKE!!!" [She's a girl after my own heart :)]
I said, "How about cupcakes?"
Phyllis said, "Something BIGGER!"
So I said, "How about this?"
Phyllis said, "But there's no ICING!"
So we settled on this:
and in case you are wondering, those little brown things are groundhog graham crackers... which makes this a Groundhog Day Cake :)
"Now we need festive balloons!" said Phyllis.
"Here!" said I.
"You're kidding, of course," said Phyllis.
"What? It's blue! It's pretty!"
"It's only ONE!" said Phyllis. "ONE is not festive!"
"Fine," I said, ever accommodating.
"I'm going to pretend I didn't see that," said Phyllis. "Otherwise I might regurgitate my recently ingested natal day pancakes. What do the words GROUNDHOG and BIRTHDAY mean to you?"
"You're being just a tad demanding, Phyllis," I said patiently. "But I'll humor you. Will these do?"
"At last!" said Phyllis. "And now, for the most important part... my POEM!"
"Uh, yeah, about that... I'm not quite done yet."
"I want it to be perfect," I explained. "After all, it's for you. It can't be just any old thrown together thing!"
"That's true," agreed Phyllis.
"But I've got to finish it quick. Everyone's going to be here soon."
"Also true," said Phyllis.
"So it would be helpful," I said pointedly, "if you would be quiet and let me concentrate."
"Okay," whispered Phyllis.
I tapped my pen against the table top.
AN ODE TO PHYLLIS
I wrote across the top of the paper.
"Good start!" said Phyllis.
I tapped some more.
There once was a groundhog named Phyllis
"Stop," said Phyllis.
"What do you mean, stop?"
"Nothing rhymes with Phyllis. Believe me. I know. That's a nonstarter."
"How about There once was a groundhog named Phyllis/Who made so much noise that her poem will never get written?"
"That doesn't rhyme," sniffed Phyllis. But she stopped talking.
tap tap tap tap tap
In the hollow of old Punxsutawney Lived Phyllis, whose fur was so . . .
"STOP!" said Phyllis.
"What is it with you and these impossible words? NOTHING rhymes with Punxsutawney! You're supposed to be writing me a poem! Poems are supposed to RHYME!"
"For your information, Miss Smarty Pants, I was going to say 'whose fur was so tawny', but forget it."
"Yeah, well, that's pretty much cheating. Punxsutawney and tawny - it's practically rhyming the same word with itself."
"Aren't you supposed to be outside looking for your shadow or something?"
"It's too early," said Phyllis.
tap tap tap tap tap tap tap
Oh, Phyllis, you forecasting marmot
"Er. Ahem. I don't mean to interrupt, but seriously, marmot? Where can you possibly go with that?"
"Harm it?!" I suggested.
"No..." said Phyllis, oblivious. "I don't think so. And I don't think you're quite getting the sense of an ode. You're supposed to be praising me. You have to set the mood."
"I'll set a mood all right."
Phyllis ignored me and gazed out the window. "Maybe something like:
Phyllis, your fur is so fine Your eyes sparkle like finest wine..."
"Hacksputtercough! I'm sorry. I just had to gag a little there."
"It's better than yours!"
"How do you know? You won't let me get past the first line!"
"Here's what we'll do," said Phyllis. "I'LL write a poem and YOU write a poem and then we'll see whose is better."
tap tap tap tap tap tap tap
"Stop tapping your pen!"
* * * * * denotes passage of time * * * * *
"I've got one," said Phyllis. She cleared her throat and read,
Roses are red Violets are blue I can write poems Way better than you!
"Well in that case," I shot back,
Two poems diverged in a snowy wood And I, I chose the better one... Which was not yours!
"Hmm..." Phyllis said primly. "I don't think we're there yet. Ready, set, write another one!"
* * * * * denotes passage of time * * * * *
"How about this?" said Phyllis.
So much depends
a brown groundhog
Beside a green
"Hey, that's not bad!" I said.
"Let's hear yours," said Phyllis.
Phyllis is the thing without feathers (I began)
"What kind of thing is that to say?" demanded Phyllis. "I'm a groundhog! Of COURSE I don't have FEATHERS!"
"You're interrupting!" I grumped. "Are you going to let me read it or not?"
"Fine. Read. But I don't think there's much hope for this one." She snickered.
I glared, and started again:
Phyllis is the thing without feathers
That perches in the burrow
And searches the air with her nose
for signs of spring.
Phyllis patted my hand. "It's okay that you're not very good at this. You're trying. That's what's important." She stuffed a strawberry in my mouth. "Let's keep practicing. Maybe you'll get better."
* * * * * denotes passage of time * * * * *
"Done!" I said.
"I was done first three times in a row," said Phyllis. "That means you have to read first."
Really, it is hard to follow groundhog logic. Actually, groundhog logic is probably an oxymoron.
I sighed. "Okay. But let me read the whole thing. Don't interrupt."
"I would never do that," said Phyllis sweetly. She sat up on her haunches and prepared to listen attentively.
AN ODE TO PHYLLIS by Susanna
Beauty, wit, charm, grace Fuzzy little marmot face Unsurpassed intelligence Never-equaled weather sense Even though you're not a boy You're Punxsutawney's pride and joy My furry friend, you know it's true There's no one else on earth like you!
Phyllis jumped in my lap and gave me a hug. "See? I KNEW you could do it! Now I'll read mine."
ODE TO PHYLLIS by Phyllis
Lavender's blue dilly dilly lavender's green It's really true dilly dilly I should be queen Lavender's green dilly dilly lavender's blue I'm a Punxsutawney dream-come-true.
"Yeah," I said. "You should have quite while you were ahead."
"Yeah, probably," said Phyllis. "But never mind. Happy birthday to me!"
Happy Birthday, dear Phyllis, Happy Birthday to you!!!
And now, Phyllis and I are looking forward with GREAT anticipation to reading YOUR poems for Phyllis, and hopefully seeing some videos too (no pressure, Erik) since we totally failed on that score!
If you wrote a poem for Phyllis, and or have photographs, drawings, videos, or other fun feature accompaniments, please add your post-specific blog link to the list below, or post your poem etc in the comments, or Email it to me and I'll post it for you so that we can all enjoy everyone's creativity!
Maybe Phyllis and I will pick some top finishers, or maybe we'll have a vote later in the week, but either way, some people will win a signed copy of PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (if there's anyone left on earth who doesn't already have one or who wants another for someone), a signed copy of Pat Miller's wonderful SUBSTITUTE GROUNDHOG along with audio CD!, and there will be some other non-groundhog-day-related picture books up for grabs too.
Happy Groundhog Day to everyone! May spring come early in your hearts, even if the weather outside fails to comply! :)