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1. New York Poetry Festival Featured On Kickstarter

The Poetry Society of New York, the producers behind the 5th annual New York City Poetry Festival, have raised more than $12,000 on Kickstarter.

The funds will be used to cover the costs of hosting this year’s event. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “This year we will welcome back more than 75 New York City poetry groups, including venerable institutions, upstarts, small presses, local reading series, literary journals, high school poetry teams, and more to The Festival’s three stages. If year’s past are any indication, over 250 poets will present, and we’ve already booked some incredible headliners: Nick Flynn, Patricia Spears Jones, David Matlin, and Fran Quinn!”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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2. A Rock Can be – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: A Rock Can Be Written by: Laura Purdie Salas Illustrated by: Violeta Dabija Published by: Millbrook Press, 2015 Themes/Topics: rocks, nonfiction, poetry, rhyme Suitable for ages: 5-8 Opening: A rock is a rock.                       … Continue reading

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3. Melissa Lozada-Oliva Poetry Video Goes Viral

How do you respond in a name calling situation? Poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva has crafted a response message (complete with NSFW language).

The video embedded above features Lozada-Oliva’s performance at the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Follow this link to listen to another one of her pieces.

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4. Seeing Myself Through My Daughter’s Eyes

dreamstimefree_269702smMother’s Day was a couple weeks ago. Since that day also happens to correspond with my end of the semester grading frenzy, I didn’t get a chance before now to post this lovely poem that my 12-year-old daughter wrote for me:

MOM
a business teacher
a pitch perfect singer
a writer of astonishing books that I love to read
a cook of marvelous foods
AND she cleans like a pro

MOM
a helper with homework
a stay up late worker
She is head shopper for birthdays, Christmas presents and other stuff

MOM
is patient (ish)
stylish
and cool (ish)

But the best thing about my mom is that she loves me
and
that’s the best
I could get.

Irina
2015

Yeah, I cried.

Photograph © Mamz

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5. Keeping a Green Tree in your Heart: A Selection of Tree Poetry Books

Tree-Themed Multicultural Children's Poetry Books

To give the Chinese proverb in its entirety, ‘Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come’ – and to extend the metaphor (or revert it … Continue reading ...

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6. All the Wild Wonders – an interview about poetry with Wendy Cooling

wildwondersAll the Wild Wonders – Poems of our Earth, edited by Wendy Cooling and illustrated by Piet Grobler is a collection of poetry which poses interesting questions about the world we live in. The poems encourage reflection on the wonders and beauty around us on our planet, and provoke thought about what the future holds given the impact humans have on the natural environment. There are poems in many different styles from Benjamin Zephaniah to William Blake, via Ogden Nash and John Milton, each juxtaposed in ways that draw out new and sometimes surprising comparisons.

Rich and colourful watercolour illustrations throughout make this look more like a picture book than many a poetry anthology whilst the embossed, textured cover and luxuriously thick paper that have been used for this new edition make this book simply delightful to hold in your hands as well as to read silently or aloud.

To celebrate publication of All the Wild Wonders in its new and exceptionally beautiful format earlier this spring I put some questions to Wendy Cooling, the editor of the anthology, about the way she works, the state of children’s poetry and what we could look for in the library or bookshop if we wanted to offer more great poems to the kids in our lives.

Playing by the book: When I look at the poetry books you’ve worked on sometimes they are described as being “written” by you, other times “edited” or “selected”. So what is a poetry editor? I see you almost more as a curator – you choose poems to present and juxtapose, rather than (I imagine) editing their actual words or structure?

Wendy Cooling: Yes, a poetry editor is really more like a curator than a book editor as he/she cannot change the words in a poem, or amend in any way without the poet’s consent. Sometimes an extract from a poem is agreed to but otherwise the poem is as the poet wrote it. The editor chooses and arranges the poems to present a theme or an idea in a coherent way.

An excerpt from All the Wild Wonders, illustrated by Piet Grobler

An excerpt from All the Wild Wonders, illustrated by Piet Grobler

Playing by the book: Where and how do you start when you’ve a new anthology to curate? With lots of books on the table? Innumerable post-it notes?….

Wendy Cooling: The beginnings of an anthology are pure joy to me. I sit somewhere comfortable, often under a tree in the garden, surrounded by mountains of poetry collections and anthologies I just read and read and read… and use lots of post-it notes. I visit the Poetry Library in London’s Festival Hall and indulge in more poetry reading and lots of photocopying. I have of course far more poems that I can ever use.

An area specially for families and children in the Poetry Library.

An area specially for families and children in the Poetry Library.

The next bit is the hard bit, weeding out poems I love but don’t quite work for the age-group or within the overall developing theme. I look for a mixture of forms as I want to move children away from the idea that poems must rhyme. I look for writing from many cultures to give a sense of the universality of poetry.

I have a budget to consider too as of course poets are paid for the inclusion of a poem. There are always one or two very eminent poets we just can’t afford.

Playing by the book: So just with the words, there are plenty of different considerations. What about when an anthology is accompanied by illustrations, as many of yours are. When you are working on an anthology to what extent do you liaise with the illustrator?

Wendy Cooling: It is quite unusual for editor and illustrator to liaise, often the two never meet. Luckily I do get to see and comment on Piet Grobler‘s very earliest roughs. We don’t always quite agree on the meaning of a poem and can talk this through, quite a fascinating process. I think I’m very fortunate and do hope to work with Piet in the future.

Playing by the book: I’d love to be able to eavesdrop on those conversations where it turns out your two interpretations don’t quite match. I bet they are very rich and interesting!

What sort of anthology would you like to curate next if you could have an entirely free say in it? Is there a theme you’d especially like to explore which you haven’t yet?

Wendy Cooling: I have three ideas that I’m working on at the moment but won’t reveal them here!

Playing by the book: Fair enough – but I will be keeping my eyes peeled for future collections!

What about this then: Is there something that poetry does better or differently than other genres in your opinion?

Wendy Cooling: Poetry is very special as it helps children to really taste words and to experiment with their own writing. To children who struggle as readers, a poetry book is very liberating – poems are quite short and there’s no rule that says you must read them all. Poetry well-introduced can be perfect to get some children into reading – they all love the ‘no rules’ bit.

Poetry is wonderful at expressing a very deep thought in few words and with great immediacy. Children don’t become good readers until they are able to hear words sing in their heads, poetry helps them to experience this magic. Too often children are asked to find similes, metaphors, examples of alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc and they couldn’t care less what the poem is about. Let’s leave all the analysis for later on and introduce poems as pleasure, fun and excitement, things to make you laugh, feel and think.

An excerpt from All the Wild Wonders, illustrated by Piet Grobler

An excerpt from All the Wild Wonders, illustrated by Piet Grobler

Playing by the book: What’s your opinion about the state of children’s poetry in the UK? Who are the up and coming children’s poets we should be looking out for?

Wendy Cooling: Children’s poetry is very strong at the moment but few publishers will publish it as they’re nervous of achieving the necessary sales. We need to be brave and to celebrate poetry. I’m very keen on James Carter and Rachel Rooney as well as more established poets like Michael Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard, Carol Ann Duffy, Roger McGough, Valerie Bloom, Judith Nicholls and many many more.

Playing by the book: This seems like an opportune moment to congratulate Rachel Rooney on making this year’s CLPE Poetry Award shortlist which was recently announced. And what about you? Do you write poetry yourself?

Wendy Cooling: I write myself but not for publication! It’s a great pleasure perhaps a personal indulgence in my case.

Playing by the book: Apart from All the Wild Wonders, what three other children’s poetry anthologies would you encourage us to seek out if we were looking at starting a home poetry library?

Wendy Cooling: There are many terrific anthologies to look at, one of my favourites is Adrian Mitchell‘s A Poem a Day, it’s a delight to dip into and perfect for families to look at together. A Caribbean Dozen edited by John Agard and Grace Nichols is special too. If you can’t go to the Caribbean this is the next best thing as it invites you to experience the rhythms and atmosphere of another land.

There’s nothing like a live poet though, listening to them read, or perform their own poems can be a great experience. Children love to perform their poems too but should only be encouraged to learn by heart poems they really want to remember for ever.

Playing by the book: I couldn’t agree more with you Wendy. Thank you.

An excerpt from All the Wild Wonders, illustrated by Piet Grobler

An excerpt from All the Wild Wonders, illustrated by Piet Grobler

3 Comments on All the Wild Wonders – an interview about poetry with Wendy Cooling, last added: 5/11/2015
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7. Poetry Friday -- A Kind of Poetry




A Kind of Poetry
by Chi Lingyun

To discover a tree's memories is impossible.

To seek a pebble's experience
is also impossible.
We spy on water's motion

but in the end we still can't touch its core.

The cloud has always been there, we exhaust our energy
to understand its will, yet there's no hope
it will reveal the sky's mysteries.

Poetry also has the will of clouds

with words like rain, to avoid madness

it creates more madness. Just as when love

is written down, it loses half of its sincerity.
When explained, there is only a layer of sticky
mist left. No one is quick or deft enough

to capture poetry for long. Everything perfect
contains a dark cave.

(the rest of the poem is here -- scroll down to the third poem)


My brother found this poem and shared it with me. I loved it in March, but I love it even more after poetry month. The line, "Just as when love/is written down, it loses half of its sincerity" seems to have been written just for me and my PO-EMotion collaborators! And I found so many dark caves last month...

For more Poetry Friday "spelunking," visit Michelle's roundup at Today's Little Ditty.


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8. ‘Dear Chief Keef’ Poetry Video Goes Viral

Do you enjoy hip hop music? Writer Kai Davis has crafted a message in the form of a poem for one rap artist; the piece is entitled “Dear Chief Keef.”

The Button Poetry YouTube channel posted a video (embedded above) featuring Davis’ performance at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Follow this link to listen to another one of Davis’ pieces.

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9. I would let in the moon (A Pantoum)


The last time I tried a pantoum, I was feeling mucky and complicated and my poem reflected that. This time, I resolved to write a small love song, and pare it down as much as possible.

A pantoum, it seems, can hold both moods---the rotating, repeating lines clarify the complicated and amplify the simple.



I would let in the moon
ere light floods
the room
and everything flies

ere light—flooding
fast the hole in my heart
where everything flies
into night; no keys lock

fast the hole in my heart
Dark as dusk, I swell
into night; no keys lock
you to me; only love,

dark as dusk. We swell
the room,
you to me, only. Love,
I would let in the moon.

           ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)


End notes:
Don't miss this magnificent post from Michael Rosen at Tricia's blog about form poetry.
And find all the Poetry Seven's pantoums here: Liz, Tricia, Andi, Tanita, Kelly, and Laura.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Ellen at Space City Scribes.


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10. Michael J. Rosen: ‘Use volume and tone…’

Michael J. Rosen PortraitHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with haiku specialist Michael J. Rosen.

Q: How did you publish your first book?
A: 50 Odd Jobs, sillier verses about unusual occupations, came out of my work as a visiting writer where I would prompt elementary students to start with something they didn’t know about, rather than just lazily ramble about something they knew. So they wrote from unfamiliar points of departure that required them to shift into gear, rather than just \"idle\": Imagine, Remember, Research, Puzzle, and so forth. The book sold in the mid-80s to a company that specialized in school book fairs. And this method of encouraging creativity—start with \"I don’t know…\" rather than \"Oh, I know!\"continues to be central to how I write and teach.

Q: Has the Internet changed the way you interact with readers?
A: Thirty-some years ago, when I first began publishing, writers hardly “interacted”—they were hardly seen! An especially interested reader might attend an event on a college campus; bookstores were just beginning to host authors. Aspiring writers met other writers at conferences and MFA programs—but there were only a few back then.

Some of the biggest names were certainly featured in interviews or stories that might coincide with a new book. But, I’d have to argue, at the start of my career, \"interacting\" with a writer meant sending a fan letter in care of the publisher. There was no social media. No Websites or Facebook fan sites. No giveaways on blogs and GoodReads. No book festivals. No audio books.

So it’s not just the Internet, but how we live—plugged in and commenting and rapidly, rabidly consuming media—that has changed everything. For better? For worse? The only point is to write books that are aware of this appetite, to create works that stand out—however briefly—on this reeling menu of options.

Q: What type of research process do you undergo for when you’re writing poems?
A: For my haiku practice, there’s rarely research; it’s mostly observation and revision. That said, for the three volumes published by Candlewick Press—including the just released The Maine Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers—I studied about the more unfamiliar felines because I tethered each poem to a different breed.

But many of my poems do involve the environment, earth science, and zoology, and I’d say that \"research\" for those poems is really the discovery of the poems themselves. It’s that closer study of almost anything—raccoon, wood duck, paw-paw tree, mourning cloak butterfly—that reveals the poetry itself…if, by poetry, we mean something that makes us gasp with awe at the everyday and the undervalued; that offers our emotions a chance to hone their edges dulled by overstimulation and haste; that surprises us into a vulnerability that can actually strengthen our resolve to be more empathic, aware, appreciative, hopeful.

Q: Do you have any tips for people who want to read and perform poetry in front of an audience?
A: Be loud enough, enunciate, read patiently, and also confidently so that your voices shows the audience what they can’t see on the page. Give a suggestion of how the lines break—poets start and end lines with intention. Use volume and tone and facial expression to reveal, not merely, recite, the poem. Some experience(s) prompted the poet to create the poem. The resulting language creates its own, different experience for someone reading the poem. Just so, reading aloud creates yet another experience—not just a repetition of words—for listeners.

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: Given that being published by a significant press isn’t a likelihood—and even that hardly ensures one’s livelihood—be certain that you can sustain the rewards of this art. How will you maintain the self-imposed discipline necessary to pursue a craft that’s difficult to monetize?

Q: What’s next for you?
A: Something entirely new for this fall. Illustrated with 24 watercolors by Stan Fellows, and designed with the look of a \"classic tale\"something that’s shared and treasured for generations—The Tale of Rescue, is the story of a working cattle dog who rescues a Florida family who has traveled to rural Ohio to experience a weekend of winter, and is caught in a blizzard.

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11. Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems, by Nick Cannon (ages 6-9)

What makes a great book for kids? I'd say it's a book that makes them want to read more, a book that makes them smile or wonder, a book that makes them think about it after they close the page. It's a book that inspires kids to create their own stories and feel the power of their own words. Neon Aliens Ate My Homework is a collection of poems from comedian, musician and actor Nick Cannon that did just that.
Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems
by Nick Cannon
illustrated by Nick Cannon, Art Mobb, and more
Scholastic, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 6-9
*best new book*
Cannon shares a collection of poems that range from giggle-inducing to gross, thought-provoking to full of bravado, and this variety was very appealing to my students. They loved how one minute they were laughing about neon aliens eating up Nick's backpack to the next minute thinking about how they can believe in themselves and stand up to bullies who spread hatred. 

Throughout, Cannon shows kids the power of words -- the words they read, and the words they write or say themselves. He starts by honoring Shel Silverstein, still a favorite among my students. This lets us talk about the power of books, both their staying power (their kids might read these same books!) but also the escape that they can provide during difficult times.
"He changed my life with just his words.
The utmost respect is what he deserves.
He made me smile in my tough times,
He encouraged me to live life through my rhymes."
We were able to dig into some of his imagery and characterization, whether Cannon used it to inspire us ("SuperMom" below) or entertain us ("Pink Lunch Lady"). His poems resonated with my students. They understand how a mom can be "soft yet tough" and could see how his examples helped show this.
"She can multitask with lightning-fast hands,
And the brightest of lights shines wherever she stands.
She goes to work in the morning, conquers school at night.
She can read minds and knows how to break up a fight."
Today, my students especially responded to the poem "Haters." We talked about Cannon's message and the power of his words. We talked about what the imagery meant, how hate can melt away. These are all skills that the Common Core is asking students to do -- but here, we are taking a modern poem that speaks to their experience to show how meaningful it can be.
'Haters like to bully, but I will not waver.
Haters think they're tough, but I'm the one who's braver.
Haters are doubters, and I'm a believer.
Haters are cowards, and I'm an achiever.
One day when I'm older, living my dream,
I'll let that hate melt away, just like ice cream."
Seek out this book and the audio recording. You can hear Nick Cannon reading his poems, which conveys how heartfelt so many of these poems are. My experience is that 2nd and 3rd graders respond best to this collection, hitting the same sweet spot as Shel Silverstein.

Illustrations ©2015 by Nick Cannon, Art Mobb, and Morf; used with permission from Scholastic. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Scholastic. The audiobook review copy was borrowed from our local library as a downloadable audio through Hoopla. 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.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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12. Way Back Wednesday Essential Classic: Spring Poetry!

The Springs of Joy

Tasha Tudor

 

 

As we close out April here at The Snuggery and, as it happens, National Poetry Month, I couldn’t let them slip past without highlighting a perfect salute to both, with an absolutely terrific classic picture book for celebrating the passing of spring, and its dual role as the harbinger of the summer to come.

It’s called “The Springs of Joy” by the renowned illustrator and author of iconic picture books, the redoubtable Tasha Tudor.

As I love to troll bookstores and scan picture book shelves, I recently asked a salesperson there, if they had any Tasha Tudor titles. The quizzical look I received, more than convinced me I was going to get a “No” to my question. And it also assured me of one other thing. And that is the importance of bringing these important classic authors of picture books forward to parents and readers of successive generations of readers to whom they may not be known.

Do classic paintings lose their relevance in the world of art because they were painted hundreds of years ago? I believe thousands of students in “The History of Art” classes in colleges are still studying and appreciating them. Why are our art museums filled with visitors that wonder and stare at their preserved beauty long after these painters’ demise?

So it is with these picture book classics. They are art on a very special and unique level, and their level of potential influence to beginning young readers, is immense.

Tasha Tudor, Caldecott Honor Book winner for “1 is One” has written prolifically during her years spent in, and writing of, her beloved New England countryside. And here, she continues that theme in the voice of writers as diverse as Mother Goose, Joseph Conrad, Edgar Allan Poe, John Donne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Shakespeare.

This may all seem a bit heady as I write of it, but trust me, when you juxtapose the art of Tasha Tudor with truisms from Emerson, such as “Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy,” it presents an opportunity for exposure to a triple play of art, great writers and the teachable moments for discussion with your young reader.

How about this simple quote that resonates all too clearly in a troubled world where children are fearful far too often?  “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy,” taken from Robert Louis Stevenson.

And there are pages of these gems filled with simple, yet sumptuous art, that refers by quote and picture, to the world of a child.

As Ms. Tudor states in her Foreword, “Joy and peace are a state of mind, easy for some to come by, difficult for others. This book pictures a few of the things that have brought, and still do bring, intense joy to me.

I’m for that any day of the week!

There is a wealth of wisdom in “The Springs of Joy,” and plenty to share what you rediscover with your young reader, or even gift to a child you may know.

This quote from George Bernard Shaw will probably resonate with the Greatest Generation of current great grandparents that may like reading this to their great grands. These people faced the Great Depression and World War II with the grit established from quotes like these:

 

           “People are always blaming their

           circumstances for what they are.

           I don’t believe in circumstances.

           The people who get on in this world

           are the people who get up and look

           for the circumstances they want, and

           if they can’t find them, make them.”

 

In a world where renewable resilience in our young is a harder value to find and model, this quote seems very timely and full of hope for challenging times that may perhaps come to them, during their young lives.

Please be a child again with a young reader, and rediscover where joy and hope may often be found – in a classic picture book!

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13. Calling Forth

lilypad

If your daily life seems of no account, don’t blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its treasures. For the creative artist there is no impoverishment and no worthless place.

— Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The post Calling Forth appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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14. Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems vt J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Michael Slack

J. Patrick Lewis, former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and author of Take Two! A Celebration of Twins and World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of, among many others, had written Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, illustrated by Michael Slack. In Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, not only does Lewis parody poems by greats like

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15. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Mihcael J. Rosen, illustrated by Lee White

I love cats and I love haiku, so it makes sense that I find The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Lee White absolutely charming and fascinating. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers consists of 20 poems, one each for a different breed of cat, divided into four sections that any cat owner will immediately recognize:

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16. ‘The Knife That Carves’ Poetry Video Goes Viral

How do you handle painful situations? Poet Cassidy Foust explores this question with her poem “The Knife That Carves.”

The Button Poetry YouTube channel posted a video (embedded above) featuring Foust’s performance at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Follow this link to listen to another one of her pieces.

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17. For the birds: Poetry that celebrates our fine feather friends (ages 4-9)

Every spring, I love hearing birds chirping outside as we wake in the morning--a sure sign that daylight is coming earlier each day. As we enjoy our last week of National Poetry Month, I would like to share two new books that celebrate the beauty of birds in nature, prompting us to marvel at birds in nature.

Sweep Up the Sun
by Helen Frost
illustrated by Rick Lieder
Candlewick, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-9
Poet Helen Frost reunites with photographer Rick Lieder to explore the wonders of the natural world. I adored their previous collaboration, Step Gently Out, and this new book is equally as delightful. Frost's poem encourages young readers to watch birds in flight playing in the sky, learning to fly and trusting the sky to hold them aloft. But she also encourages children to do the same: 
"Spread your feathers,
sweep up the sun,
ride the wind and explore."
We can read this as a direct encouragement for children to take off and soar on their own. Lieder's amazing photography captures birds in mid-flight, freezing a moment in time. The final two pages provide brief information about each of the species photographed, ranging from house sparrows to Northern Cardinals.
The Sky Painter:
Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist
by Margarita Engle
illustrated by Aliona Bereghici
Two Lions, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 6-9
Margarita Engle captivated me with her biography of Louis Fuertes, the artist who is known as the "father of modern bird art" because of the way he painted birds in flight in their natural environments. Fuertes loved watching birds as a young boy. As he began his career, he realized that revered artists such as James Audubon painted birds they had shot and killed, so that they could study their anatomy in detail.Fuertes decided that he wanted to let birds live, so he developed the skills to paint them, quickly capturing their flight and grace:
"painting quickly, while wings
swoop
and race
across
wild
blue
sky,
so swift,
and so alive!"
Pair these two books together and talk with children about the power of art and the call of nature. Why did these artists decide to focus on birds? What drew them to capture their flight? What do they want their audiences to think about? How do the poets words capture the birds' flight in a different way?

The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick Press and Two Lions. 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.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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18. Amber Tamblyn Performs Her Own Original Poem

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve dug up a video of actress Amber Tamblyn reading her original poem “Dear Demographic.” Throughout the performance, Tamblyn’s mother Bonnie plays the guitar.

The “Dear Demographic” piece can be found in Tamblyn’s 2009 collection, Bang Ditto. Harper Perennial released Tamblyn’s third poetry book, entitled Dark Sparkler, on April 7th.

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19. Celebrate Poetry All Year Long

Ideally, National Poetry Month encourages readers to incorporate poetry into their everyday lives. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations gives young readers a poetic glimpse into holidays big and small throughout the calendar year. Consider adding a copy to your classroom, library, or personal collection!

Here’s my contribution to the anthology.

caroline starr rose december solstice

The post Celebrate Poetry All Year Long appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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20. How a Pantoum Starts

This month the poetry seven have been focused on writing a pantoum using the words certainties and flight. They will debut on May 1st. YIKES! Mine is not even close to written yet because I'm still tossing around ideas. Here's the work I did yesterday as I sat in two different meetings. This is not surprising, as words and poems seem to emerge in the most inconsiderate of moments.

Here's what emerged during the morning meeting.

When I got back to the office, I dumped my ideas into a form, playing a bit with the lines.
Unsure of the this idea, I tried something new at my second meeting.

The ideas I'm working with are fledgling birds (ducks!) and leaving rural life. I'm not sure if either one will work, but we will find out next week!

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21. Poetry Friday: Dreaming Up

April is National Poetry Month! All month long we’ll be celebrating by posting some of our favorite poems for Poetry Friday. For our final Poetry Friday post, we chose a poem from Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building, written and illustrated by Christy Hale.

One by one,

block by block,

plastic shapes

interlock.

 dreaming up

Yellow, red,

white, and black,

all connect

in a stack.

dreaming up 2
Habitat 67 in Montréal

 

Build a world

brick by brick.

Hold them close.

Hear the click.

What are you reading for National Poetry Month? Let us know in the comments!

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22. Erik Didriksen: ‘Be expressive!’

Pop Sonnet Tumblr (GalleyCat)Happy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with Tumblr poet Erik Didriksen.

Q: How did you begin to write Pop Sonnets?
A: I came across a Tumblr post where Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” was recast as a Shakespearean sonnet. I thought it was brilliant, and I was desperate to read more songs-turned-sonnets. When I couldn’t find any, I tried writing one myself. That ended up being so much fun, I just kept going. After a week or two, I had a small pile of sonnets! My girlfriend Becca told me I should turn them into a Tumblr, and eventually I relented.

Q: How did Tumblr become an outlet for you to write poetry?
A: I started using Tumblr simply as a place to put the sonnets, but it became a source of motivation very, very quickly. If I’d told myself I’d write a sonnet a week solely for my own amusement, I would’ve inevitably petered out. Knowing there are real people expecting to see my work, though, is incredibly motivating. The wonderful thing about Tumblr is that people actively seek out their interests; my work was first discovered by people who really wanted to read poetry or Shakespeare-related content.

Q: What type of research process do you undergo for when you’re writing poems?
A: A pop sonnet starts with me reading and re-reading lyrics. I’ll occasionally visit Rap Genius if anything’s unclear to me. I tend to lean pretty heavily on my rhyming dictionary, my thesaurus, and Shakespeare’s Compete Works as reference materials. I’ve also needed to do some extra research on Elizabethan grammar — “thees” and “thous” did not come naturally to me — and other historical elements here and there. On rare occasions, I’ll hunt around Wikipedia for things ranging from ancient scholars (Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World”) to different spices (The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”).

Q: Do you have any tips for people who want to read and perform poetry in front of an audience?
A: Be expressive! If something’s inspired you to write or perform a poem, don’t back away from sharing that emotion. Also — at least with sonnets — don’t feel beholden to the structure. If a phrase runs over two lines, you need not emphasize the line break if it doesn’t clarify the meaning. The rhyme and rhythm will take care of themselves; the meaning and emotion are up to you.

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: Don’t be shy; share your work with others. Write a lot. Be merciless in your editing. Ask for help when you need it. Be detail-oriented.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: These days, I’m finalizing the last details of the book (coming out this October!) and catching up on sonnets for the blog. I’m also working on a possible collaboration with my friend Ian Doescher, the author of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series. It’ll involve a lot of verse and a lot of fun!

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23. grinning in sun ~ and a howdy from Perspective

grinning in sun


Filed under: poetry

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24. Growing Students Who Love Poetry

  Back in March, I had the pleasure of attending the Michigan Reading Association conference in Grand Rapids, MI. I had been preparing my own presentation for the event and had neglected to… Continue reading

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25. On Poetry

To me the world of poetry is a house with a thousand glittering windows.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

The post On Poetry appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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