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1. A Pawful of Poem Quotes — Lee Wardlaw


“A dog…is prose; 
   a cat is a poem.”
– Jean Burden

I’m a poet – and a cat person. So in honor of National Poetry Month, here is a small pawful of my favorite poem quotes and cat pix.  Enjoy!  – L.W.

“A poet is… 
a person who is passionately in love with language.”
– W.H. Auden

“Poetry is life distilled.”
– Gwendolyn Brooks

“A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. 
Anything else is just a footnote.”
– Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“Poetry and I fit together. 
I can’t imagine being without it…
It is food and drink, it is all seasons, 
it is the stuff of all existence.” 
– Lee Bennett Hopkins


“Like a piece of ice on a hot stove
the poem must ride on its own melting.”
– Robert Frost

“Never let the mud puddle get lost in the poetry
 because, in many ways, the mud puddle is the poetry.” 
– Valerie Worth

“Poetry is a language 
in which man explores his own amazement.”
– Christopher Fry

“I am a revolutionary so my son can be a farmer 
so his son can be a poet.” 
– John Adams


“Poetry is like fish: 
if it’s fresh, it’s good; 
if it’s stale, it’s bad; 
and if you’re not certain, 
try it on the cat.”
– Osbert Sitwell

“A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer….
He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. 
A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.” 
– E.B. White

“If you can’t be a poet, be the poem.” 
– David Carradine

“Poems are the ‘daredevil’ of writing
because a poem will say what nobody else wants to say.”
– Ralph Fletcher


“A good poem leaves me with further questions about
what came before and what came after, 
just like a photograph.
Of course, I could make up my mind
 that poetry is like pond algae, too.
Or even ice cream.”
– Thalia Chaltas

“Writing a poem is making music with words and space.”
– Arnold Adoff

“Prose is words in their best order;
 Poetry is the best words in their best order.”
– Samuel Coleridge

Kid snack

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” 
– G.K. Chesterton

“Poetry is the tunnel at the end of the light.” 
– J. Patrick Lewis

“The distinction between historian and poet
is not in the one writing prose and the other verse…
the one describes the thing that has been,
and the other a kind of thing that might be. 
Hence, poetry is something more philosophical
 and of graver import than history,
 since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, 
whereas those of history are singulars.” 
– Aristotle

“We especially need imagination in science. 
It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, 
but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”
– Maria Montessori

“As poets we are archaeologists of the interior and external worlds.  
Our work builds bridges between the two.”
– Ellen Kelley

“I have no doubts that the Devil grins,
As seas of ink I spatter.
Ye gods, forgive my ‘literary’ sins –
The other kind don’t matter.”

– Robert W. Service


“I once found a pretty good poem in the ear of my cat.”
– Alice Schertle

Lee Wardlaw swears that her first spoken word was ‘kitty’. Since then, she’s shared her life with 30 cats (not all at the same time!) and published 30 books for young readers, including WON TON – A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU (illustrated by Eugene Yelchin), recipient of the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Children’s Poetry Award, the 2012 Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award, and the Beehive (Utah) Poetry Book Award.  WON TON AND CHOPSTICK, a companion title also illustrated by Yelchin, will be released by Holt in 2015.



The post A Pawful of Poem Quotes — Lee Wardlaw appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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2. Very short talks

vsi banner

By Chloe Foster

We have seen an abundance of Very Short Introductions (VSI) authors appearing at UK festivals this year. Appearances so far have included at Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Oxford Literary Festival, and Edinburgh Science festival. The versitility of the series and its subjects means our author talks are popular at a variety of different types of festivals. First up, Words by the Water:

Later this month, we’ll have talks from VSI authors at Chipping Norton Literary Festival on the 26th and 27th April. This is followed by a series of talks at Ways with Words festival in Devon on the 12th July, Kings Place festival in London on the 14th September, and Cheltenham Literature festival from 3rd -12th October.

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS., and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.

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The post Very short talks appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Bedouin Soundclash Frontman Releases First Chapter in Serial Multimedia Book Project

skullandbonesCanadian musician Jay Malinowski has signed a multimedia serialized eBook deal with book deal with HarperCollins Canada.

The Bedouin Soundclash frontman’s new work is called Skull & Bones. The work is comprised of seven digital chapters published one at a a time. The first chapter is called El Ingles Goes Missing. The book includes text, drawings and original songs from his band Jay Malinowski and The Deadcoast. The tracks are embedded into the multimedia chapters.

“After finishing the recording of the album ‘Martel’ with my band The Deadcoast, I decided that I needed to walk The Camino, an 800km pilgrimage that starts in the foothills of France’s Pyrenees mountains and ends on the west coast of Spain, a coastline strangely enough called La Costa da Morte, or The Dead Coast,” Malinowski explained on his site. ”It was during those 40 days of walking alone that I began writing and roughly illustrating “Skulls & Bones” in the cafes at night and during breaks on the side of the seemingly endless path that led to the Atlantic Ocean. This was a personal labour of love.”

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4. David Lehman: ‘Enjoy being a poet. Take pleasure in the act of writing.’

LehmanHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with author David Lehman.

Lehman (pictured, via) has published several volumes of poetry throughout his career. He initiated The Best American Poetry series in 1988 and has continued to serve as the series editor. Check out the highlights from our interview below…


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5. Dave Eggers Has a New Book Coming Out in June

51S96mxB5CL-1._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_National Book Award nominated author Dave Eggers has a surprise book coming out June 17th. The new book from Knopf is called Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? 

Amazon already has the book available for presale. Check it out:

In a barracks on an abandoned military base, miles from the nearest road, Thomas watches as the man he has brought wakes up. Kev, a NASA astronaut, doesn’t recognize his captor, though Thomas remembers him. Kev cries for help. He pulls at his chain. But the ocean is close by, and nobody can hear him over the waves and wind. Thomas apologizes. He didn’t want to have to resort to this. But they really needed to have a conversation, and Kev didn’t answer his messages. And now, if Kev can just stop yelling, Thomas has a few questions.

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6. Sharing Ideas with Julia Jarman

Generally speaking, authors and illustrators don't get together to chat through new book projects. I get the text from the publisher, not the author and, as I work on my illustrations, I talk with the art director and designer, not the author, sending my ideas, roughs and eventually my artwork to the publisher, never once having had any contact with the author. It surprises people, but that's quite normal.

It's a bit different though with Julia Jarman. When an author and illustrator team up for several books, they can become friends and often start to work more closely, certainly at the start of a project. Julia and I have done 5 books together now and are a good match - we think alike and we laugh at the same things. Which is why we work so easily together and why we get on so well too.

Julia often emails me stories she is working on and would like me to illustrate, asking for my input. Julia's writing is very visual: as I read one of her texts, I can immediately see illustrations in my head. This gives me a slightly different perspective to Julia and my take on things can help her to fine-tune the wording, before she sends it to the publisher. 

We were working on a new story last week and several drafts of it went back and forth between us by email. I'm not actually drawing anything at this stage, but Julia knows my work so well, it only takes a few words for me to paint a picture for her of what's in my head. 

I can't tell you anything specific, but I think it's going to be a good one and am really crossing my fingers that the publisher takes it. 

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7. Tropical Rain Forest Sky Ponds — Margarita Engle

Here’s a poem by Margarita Engle from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science.

engle tropical jpg

Looking for more ways to connect science and poetry? Here’s a great place to start.

The post Tropical Rain Forest Sky Ponds — Margarita Engle appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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8. New Story from Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan photo

“The Staff of Serapis”

You might remember last year, Rick Riordan published “The Son of Sobek” as an extra crossover story in the The Serpent’s Shadow. The story featured both Percy Jackson and Carter Kane together in the same story. It’s crazy when characters jump out of their own series and into other characters’ series, right? Well, Riordan has done it again. He announced on his blog last week that the new U.S. paperback edition of The Mark of Athena in stores now features a story with Annabeth Chase and Sadie Kane! It has the awesome title “The Staff of Serapis.”

The Staff of Serapis book cover

If you don’t want to buy The Mark of Athena paperback, the story will be available in e-formats, with the cover above, on May 20. Or you could, you know, rush to the library and see if they have the new paperback edition with the story at the end. Tell the librarian it MUST be the 2014 paperback edition!

What do you think? Did you like “The Son of Sobek”

enough to want a second story? Do you think Riordan should write an entire series combining all his characters?? Leave a Comment.

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9. Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor’s New Book is Out

strongerJeff Bauman, a Boston Marathon runner that lost both of his legs during the bombing at last year’s race, has a new book out.

In Stronger, written with author Bret Witter, Bauman recounts his tale as both witness and survivor. Bauman helped identify the bombers, while going through his own personal recovery. The book, from Grand Central Publishing, is now available.

Here is more about the book from the Amazon listing:

Just thirty hours prior, Jeff was surrounded by revelry at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The first bomb went off at his feet as he awaited his girlfriend’s finish. When Jeff awoke days later from hours of surgery, rather than take stock of his now completely altered life, Jeff ripped out his breathing tube and tried to speak. He couldn’t. Jeff asked for a pad and paper and he wrote down seven words, ‘Saw the guy. Looked right at me,’ setting off one of the biggest manhunts in the country’s history and beginning his own brave road to recovery.

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10. Poems About Science — Margarita Engle

My passion for poetry is combined with a love of nature. As a children’s book author, botanist, and agronomist, I don’t see why I should have to choose. There was a time when many naturalists also wrote poetry. During the twentieth century, specialization became the norm, and most scientific writing was strictly technical.

science front cover jpeg

Now, with THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS FOR SCIENCE, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong offer teachers and students a chance to once again unite the two. Verses written in many styles help teach a wide variety of specialties, through the voices of an amazing array of poets.  I feel fortunate to have several botanical and ecological poems included. Even better, some of them are offered in a bilingual format.

The tropical island of Cuba has always been at the heart of my writing. As my mother’s homeland, it was the place where summer visits to relatives inspired my childhood love of nature. At the same time, I was an avid reader, and poetry books were my favorites, so any opportunity to combine nature and culture in my writing is treasured. My new verse novel, SILVER PEOPLE, is not only a historical tale about the laborers who dug the Panama Canal.  It is also a love letter to the tropical rain forest, using the voices of animals and plants to convey the astounding diversity of life forms.  In my middle grade chapter book in verse, MOUNTAIN DOG, I filled an adventure story with scientific facts.  Several of my picture books—currently in the illustration stage—combine poetry with science.

In short, one of the reasons I love writing for children is the freedom to experiment.  Unlike scientific works written at the specialized professional level, books for children can be filled with fascinating factual information, without sacrificing the beautiful mysteries of language.

Margarita Engle is a poet and novelist whose work has been published in many countries. Her books include THE SURRENDER TREE, a Newbery Honor book and winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Américas Award, and the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award; THE POET SLAVE OF CUBA, winner of the Pura Belpré Award and the Américas Award; and HURRICANE DANCERS, winner of the Pura Belpré Award. Her most recent book, SILVER PEOPLE: VOICES FROM PANAMA CANAL, released March 25.

The post Poems About Science — Margarita Engle appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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11. Author Sue Townsend Has Died

suetownsendBritish author Sue Townsend has passed away. She was 68 years old.

Townsend passed away after having been sick. She had health issues over the last few years. BBC has more: “Townsend, who was left blind after suffering from diabetes for many years, achieved worldwide success following the publication of the books about teenager Adrian Mole.”

Townsend was the author of the novel The Queen and I, as well as the Adrian Mole series of YA novels, a bestselling series based on a thirteen year old boy. The books were adopted into a popular television series in the UK. According to a report in The Telegraph, Townsend was working on a new book in the series when she died.

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12. Language and Imagination in Poetry — Robert Forbes

In my travels to schools and libraries doing readings of my poetry, I tell my listeners that word choice is the vehicle of writing, and imagination is its unlimited supply of energy.

For poetry, because it is such a distilled and precise form of writing, word choice is even more important. I tell them: find words with pizzazz, which say something about you, which are not expected and are not clichés. Be thoughtful, be playful, see where the words take you, let your words reflect who you are.

Here are a few of my poems that show this.

Dizzy Lizzie

A friend of mine, a giraffe named Lizzie
Also has the nickname Dizzy.

Her neck is very, very tall,
So tall she towers o’er us all.

She’s so tall it makes her proud,
For only she can eat a cloud.

Well of course giraffes have long necks, so how can you make a giraffe poem not be a cliché? So I made her different from the other giraffes. I think all of us at times have felt we were different from the other kids, so there is a lesson here. Lizzie likes her difference because it allows her to do something none of the other giraffes can do, and that is to eat a cloud. I then ask, What do you think a cloud tastes like? The answers usually start off with a scientific approach such as “water” and “fog” but then someone says “cotton candy!” Off we go! Imaginations kick in and soon we cover practically every food group!

Bitty and Bobby

Bitty the Bedbug bit Bobby the Bat
While he was tucked into his bed.
But he sleeps upside down
So she got turned around
And instead of his toe bit his head.

Ouch! This limerick form has a few elements going on. The ending is a bit unexpected and makes for a punchier poem. It is the first line, though, that I go back and reread and then have everyone repeat along with me. It’s a tongue twister, yes, but what is going on? I am having fun using the same letter, B, for most of the words. I am delighted when a 3rd Grader can tell me that this is a device called alliteration. (So is the teacher!) This is some of the fun found in writing a poem.

As you can see, I inhabit an imagined world where the animals are my friends, and sometimes they talk to me, but in certain ways they always maintain their natures. I let each poem take me – and the reader – to a new place, using language and word choice to define the situation and personalities. What joy when I find the right combinations! Try writing poetry yourself and see what happens. You will be amazed at what you discover.

“He spends a lot of time looking out the window,” read one of Robert Forbes’ 7th grade report cards. Even so, he managed to graduate from school and university, and had a full-time career in the family business, Forbes Media. After 25 years in New York City and six in London, he and his wife and new dog Luna now reside in South Florida. Luna is a Jack Russell Terrier mix and is full of beans. Robert is the author of three books of poetry for children, BEASTLY FEASTS! A Mischievous Menagerie in Rhyme, 2007; LET’S HAVE A BITE! A Beastly Banquet in Rhyme, 2010; and, BEAST FRIENDS FOREVER!, Animal Lovers in Rhyme, published in 2013.  All three are from Overlook Press and fully illustrated by master caricaturist Ronald Searle.  Visit him at his website robertlforbes.com.



The post Language and Imagination in Poetry — Robert Forbes appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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13. Brandon Mull: FIVE KINGDOMS

Brandon MullOn Brandon Mull’s third visit to Blue Willow Bookshop, the crowd was buzzing, waiting for the star to arrive. Everyone’s brought their favorite Brandon Mull books and rumors of sequels and spinoffs are flying around the room. All the kids are on the floor at the front to make room for the adults, but there still aren’t enough seats.

The guy knows how to make an entrance. One of the first things he said brought delighted gasps—there will be a sequel series to FABLEHAVEN, five more books called DRAGON WATCH. It starts just a few months after the last Fable Haven story ended, and the books will be released one per year: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, FIVE KINGDOMS: SKY RAIDERSand 2020. The last book in his CANDY WARS series will be released sometime after the final book in DRAGON WATCH.

His new book SKY RAIDERS is the first in a new five-book series, FIVE KINGDOMS. In this first installment, Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them–and ends up in The Outskirts.

The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds.

And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.

With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home…before his existence is forgotten.

The first three books in FIVE KINGDOMS will be released with six months between books. Brandon Mull has been keeping up a frantic writing pace for a long time, but plans to be slowing down soon. He said, “It’s not that it’s hard to write two books in a year. It’s hard to write two good books in a year.”

After his presentation, the audience got to ask questions, and after all these books, Brandon Mull knows what they are going to ask. I could write his answers here, but it will sound better and be a lot more fun if you go to his website page for Educators and Parents; it’s all there!


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14. Finding the Fountain of Youth and Stories

Aldo and family read through Abuelo

Aldo and family read through Abuelo

Where do stories come from? Sometimes we have to travel to find them, journeying within or experiencing what happens in our paths along the way. Recently I was taking a new book, Abuelo, to Argentina, to people who had inspired it.

People arrive, events occur, that later become essential stories in each of our lives. Clearly, what becomes important is not the same for each person. But often, the stories that happen while we are young stay with us, and can help carry us through the rest of our lives. For my friend Aldo, who is Argentinean, riding La Pampa, the wide plains and foothills of Argentina when he was a boy with his “Abuelo Gaucho”—Grandfather Cowboy—has given him stories, a relationship and a strong place to return to that have helped him ride free through the years.

Granddaughter Victoria and her father Ricardo read Abuelo for the first time.

Granddaughter Victoria and her father Ricardo read Abuelo for the first time.

Aldo’s great grandfather Redmond arrived from Ireland in the 1840′s to a land that “had a lot of beef.” Argentines come in all colors and with names from many cultural backgrounds–from English to Italian, Lebanese to northern European, not just the Hispanic surnames that many associate with Latin America. Aldo explained to me that the popular way to address someone in a friendly way, saying “Che”— something akin to “hello friend”— likely comes from a Guarani Indian word.Like the US, South America is a quilt built of many cultures, from Indian to European to African, and more. But back to Aldo and his young days riding the range with Abuelo Gaucho, that first inspired me to write Abuelo.

As a boy, Aldo lived in a small town in La Pampa where raising cattle was a major enterprise. Cowboys— called gauchos— rode through the streets and sometimes brought herds to load onto the nearby trains. Aldo’s father worked for the railroad. Aldo would see the gauchos in town, and one older gaucho who knew his family well would say to Aldo that he should learn to ride a horse and the ways of the gauchos, that he would teach him. With the permission of Aldo’s family, on Sundays, the gaucho’s day off, the old gaucho began to teach Aldo— first to ride, how to guide and talk to the horse, how to find his way securely on the pampas. Over the years they rode out, the old gaucho on his horse, and Aldo on his own. Grandfather, or Abuelo, Redmond had died before Aldo was born, and so the old gaucho became like a grandfather to Aldo.

Arthur gives Aldo a copy of Abuelo

Arthur gives Aldo a copy of Abuelo

When Aldo grew up, he moved away from the small town of Roberts and “Abuelo Gaucho” to the city of Rosario to find work at a newspaper, and eventually for a bank. Throughout many changes, Aldo could return to La Pampa and Abuelo Gaucho in his mind. At a bank meeting that was droning on for hours, Aldo, who had been very active and successful in his work, was silent for a time. When someone at the meeting looked at him being so quiet and asked “where is Aldo?” a friend who knew him well said, “he is on La Pampa.” Throughout his life, he has found strength there.

Now in his eighties, Aldo says that relationships between people are most important. His daughter and her family, his grandchildren live nearby. They know some of the great stories of their Abuelo Aldo, and his wife, Abuela Delia, who is a wonderful artist. Among the drawings I admired in their home was one of a gaucho, which thanks to Delia I now have with me. More tales there. I watched as Aldo saw and read Abuelo for the first time. He smiled at connections to places and relationships he has known so well. When I visited granddaughter Victoria’s school, the students, who see gauchos still, recognized the story and beautiful pictures drawn by Raúl Colón, cheered, and raced to tell new tales they found in their own lives— a fountain of youth and stories.

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Arthur Dorros views being a writer as like being a traveling detective. He finds ideas all around. He learned Spanish while living in Latin America, and many of his stories, such as Abuelo, grow from those experiences. Arthur is the author of many books for children, including Julio’s Magic, a CLASP Américas Award Commended Title; Papá and Me, a Pura Belpré Honor Book, and the popular Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book Ant Cities. He lives in Seattle, Washington.


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15. Naomi Shihab Nye: ‘Read it slowly, and more than once, if you love the poem.’

unnamedHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with author Naomi Shihab Nye.

Throughout her writing career, Nye has penned short stories, fiction books, and poetry collections. Some of the honors she has received include the the Jane Addams Children’s Book award, the Carity Randall Prize, and the The Pushcart Prize. Check out the highlights from our interview below…


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16. UK Army Tries to Block Book They Commissioned

CachedImage.axdThe Ministry of Defence in the UK is trying to block a book that it commissioned on the organization’s campaign in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The organization commissioned Mike Martin, a captain in the Territorial Army, to write the book entitled, An Intimate War – An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict 1978-2012. He has since quit over the dispute.

The Guardian has the scoop: “The MoD commissioned the book by Dr Mike Martin, but took exception to parts of the account. The dispute has gone on for more than a year. In a statement, the MoD said it ‘has a strong record of learning from previous campaigns and encourages its officers to challenge existing norms and conventional wisdom. However, the publication of books and articles by serving military personnel is governed by well-established policy and regulations. When these are breached, the MoD will withhold approval.’”

The book is slated for publication tomorrow.


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17. Growing — Theresa Milstein

A year ago, I wrote the little poem “Becoming”  on Caroline’s blog as a way to portray my evolving relationship with poetry. Over time, my confidence as both a poetry reader and writer has grown. Publishing poems in places like Vine Leaves Literary Journal  and Halcyon magazine  further boosted my belief in my ability.

While I don’t devote nearly us much time to poetry as I do to reading and writing children’s books, it has become a thread in my life’s fabric. In fact, I’ve included poems in my recent YA to lyrically reflect my main character’s challenges and growth. And during this snow-centric winter, I wrote a little haiku:

Hush of falling snow
Shovel scraping on pavement
Mars the quiet mood

Floating, fleeting flakes
Ethereal, crystalline
Cannot capture—free

Did you know the snow
watched waited swollen crested
upon smoky breath?

Thick flakes descending
Like tears running down mourning
Wintertime farewell

My passion for poetry has found a perfect outlet. Recently, I joined the Vine Leaves Literary Journal staff as Publishing Editor’s Assistant.  One of my tasks is to read and vote on the shortlisted submissions. While workshops have challenged me to analyze poetry and determine why a particular poem is praiseworthy, I’ve never had to determine which ones fit a specific journal. It’s been thrilling and humbling. There are many talented poets. I’m proud to have contributed to the April issue. 

While I wait for the next batch of shortlisted submissions, I continue to read and write poetry. After this seemingly endless winter, which inspired too much bleak haiku, I want to share a little bit of warmth:

Trellises cradle
Vine leaves’ ascent while splendid
Morning Glories soar

I’d love if you’d share a spring haiku in the comments, written either by you or a favorite poet.

Theresa Milstein has poetry and short stories published in various journals and anthologies. While her small pieces are for adults, she primarily writes middle grade and young adult novels, and is active in the New England chapter of SCBWI.  She works in the public school system, which gives her ample time to observe tweens and teens in their natural habitat.

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18. ‘The Killing’ Creator to Pen Crime Noir Version of Macbeth

jonesboNorwegian author Jo Nesbø, the creative force behind the television show “The Killing,” is working on a crime noir version of Macbeth.

The project is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, in which authors including Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson and Howard Jacobson, have been commissioned to adapt classic Shakespeare plays.

The Guardian has more:

‘A thriller about the struggle for power, set both in a gloomy, stormy crime noir-like setting and in a dark, paranoid human mind,’ said Nesbø of Macbeth. ‘A main character who has the moral code and the corrupted mind, the personal strength and the emotional weakness, the ambition and the doubts to go either way … No, it does not feel too far from home.’

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19. Anaphora — Margaret Simon

I am particularly fond of poets laureate.  In my experience, every one I have met has  a gentle, generous soul.  Ava Leavell Haymon is no exception.  She is the Poet Laureate of Louisiana for 2013-2014.  She recently came to my hometown for a poetry reading.  The best part of her visit was the personal time I was able to spend with her.

As a poet and teacher myself, much of our conversation turned to poetry and teaching.  She told me about the technique of using anaphora.  Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases for poetic effect.   In her latest collection, Eldest Daughter, Ava uses anaphora in a few of her poems.  She explained to me how this technique helps you focus on the details.  A simple test: Read this poem aloud and then list all the details that you remember.  There are probably quite a few.

2014-01-13 17.03.55

Color of the Moon

Anyone can name a baby
Anyone can name the town, too, at least in theory
Anyone can name the color of the moon

Who can name the last time?
Who can see it coming far enough ahead?
Who can find the marigold bed?
Who can remember the smell?

Anyone can guess what happened
Anyone could forget the next day
Anyone could hear the conviction in her voice
Anyone could see she has it all mixed up
Who could forget a thing like that?

Who can see as far as the river?
Who can try any harder than she did?
Who could leave after that? Who could stay?
No one says the same thing any longer
No one remembers the last thing they said
No one quite remembers how they got there
No one wants to be outside alone

–Ava Leavell Haymon, used with permission by the author

Another poet-friend, Clare Martin, used this technique in a poem she had published in the Mad Hatters Review.


This morning the house empties its sugar.
This morning something good has gone to rot.
This morning fire catches the pillows under our heads.
This morning the ground quakes with your rising.
This morning the night no longer haunts the air.
This morning the mirror reflects another mirror. Who is there to see it?
This morning we feed ourselves silence after silence.
This morning the cup cracks.
This morning: a new sun.
This morning crooked lines right themselves.
This morning the cat reveals her throat in a yawn.
This morning we walk into spider webs.
T his morning grief sours on our tongues.
This morning is written on a blank sky.
This morning a woman becomes more herself.
This morning there are shards of china under our bare feet.
This morning we weep in our sewing.

–Clare L. Martin, all rights reserved

This method of writing a poem works for students in upper elementary through high school.  Much like the I am From poem form of George Ella Lyons, the repetition of a line helps focus the poem.  For my students in 6th grade, I gave them a list of possible beginning words to use, such as anyone, someone, today, yesterday, in time, when I knew you, this morning, everyone, everybody knows, for you, until, how often, etc.

Whenever I ask students to write to a prompt, I write too.


Something rustles the leaves.
Something steams on the stove—
beans, tomatoes, thyme.
Something sounds like the morning,
but the sun is low in the sky.
Something rocks the chair.
Something chimes in the distance—
a church bell? a neighbor’s wind chime?
Something enters this poem without
me knowing it’s there.
Something squirms in the window.
Something sparkles in her hand—
a crystal? glint of glitter?
Something feels as soft as my grandmother’s cheek
When I kissed her goodbye.

–Margaret Simon

Margaret Simon is a Mississippi native who married into a Louisiana life.  She lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana with her husband, Jeff.  Their now empty nest once housed three daughters, Maggie, Katherine, and Martha.  Margaret has been an elementary school teacher for over 20 years, most recently teaching gifted students in Iberia Parish.  She has published poems in the journal The Aurorean, and wrote a chapter about teaching poetry to young children for Women on Poetry published in 2012 by McFarland  & Company, Inc. Publishers.  Border Press published her collection of poems with her father’s Christmas card art, Illuminate in fall of 2013.  Blessen, a novel for young readers, was published in April 2012, also by Border Press. In her teaching profession, she has a Masters degree in Gifted Education and certification by the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards.  Margaret writes regularly about teaching, writing, and living athttp://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com.



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20. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is in the Hospital

3459Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has been admitted to a hospital in Mexico City. The One Hundred Years of Solitude is reportedly suffering from lung and urinary tract infections.

The Associated Press has the story: “The 87-year-old Nobel laureate entered the hospital Monday suffering from the infection and from dehydration, Mexico’s Secretary of Health said in a written statement. ‘The patient has responded to treatment. Once he’s completed his course of antibiotics his discharge from the hospital will be evaluated,’ the statement said.”

In 2012, the Nobel Literature Prize-winner was reportedly suffering from dementia. In October 2010, Random House Mondadori editor Cristobal Pera claimed that Márquez was writing on a not-yet-finished novel. 

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21. Do You Want Writers (Including Me) To Show Our Work?

I read this really intriguing book last night and this morning: Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.

Here’s his premise: Artists would do well to talk about their work as they work. It helps get their audience more involved and is basically just a friendly thing to do. Which sounds right to me–especially the second part.

I’d be interested in hearing your opinions on this: Do you want to look behind the curtain of a writer’s process? Some of the time, at least? Or would you rather just see the finished product and never really know how a book and all its characters and plot came to be?

For me, if someone like JK Rowling wanted to tell me every week what she did to write that current volume of Harry Potter, I’d be ALL OVER IT. But she’s JK Rowling. There might be other writers whose process wouldn’t thrill me at all. Hard to say.

It’s also hard for me to say whether any of you would be interested in hearing about that process from me. My creative mind sucks up all sorts of influences from all over the place, including a lot of non-fiction sources that I enjoy bringing to new readers via my fiction. Would you be interested in seeing that trail of breadcrumbs from initial idea, through research and writing, to final production? Or would you, honestly, not?

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this! Thanks!

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22. Writing honestly from your true passions

The myth that publishers have stacks of manuscripts  and that writers have to line up in a long queue was deflated by Jennifer Bacia during her talk at the Gold Coast Writers Association meeting . ‘Actually, that is not the case’ she stated. According to Jennifer, publishers are always looking for something that will make […]

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23. Celebrating MISS EMILY — Jeannine Atkins

In April thoughts turn to poetry, and with poetry, thoughts often turn to Emily Dickinson whose life inspired this happy circus of a book. Almost every page of MISS EMILY by Burleigh Mutén gave me something to smile about as four children and the poet go on a small adventure. Ten-year-old Mac, a preacher’s son based on a real-life neighbor, narrates the verse novel aimed at children around his age. Characters easily shift the curtain of imagination as Miss Emily takes the role of Queen Prosperina and Mac becomes known as King Boaz the Brave. Queen Prosperina tells stories while leading the children through darkness to met night train carrying circus animals. The children feel safe with a trusted adult who follows the tradition of someone older and trustworthy, while not as dull and dependable as a parent, like Mary Poppins or the Professor in the house where children find a wardrobe that takes them to Narnia. Who’s child and who’s adult? What’s real and what’s pretend?


An invitation to imagine comes through both the beautifully-chosen words and Matt Phelan’s charming graphite illustrations. No answers are pounded, so readers can enjoy the wondering, which is heightened, not lessened, when a mishap that briefly changes the tone, but only deepens the joy, teaches Mac about when to pay attention to Consequences. This book offers both an invitation to meet a poet and a reminder to keep playing. Miss Emily tells Mac, something most of us ache to hear: “Please never improve – you are perfect now.”

Jeannine Atkins is the author of Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie and Their Daughters (Holt) and Views from a Window Seat: Thoughts on Writing and Life. You can learn more on her website at http://www.Jeannineatkins.com.




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24. Dr. Zhivago Used by CIA to Drive Dissent in Soviet Union

secretThe CIA used Boris Pasternak’s epic novel Doctor Zhivago as a force to spread dissent in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The Post has published declassified documents that reveled that the CIA circulated copies of the book, which was banned in the USSR, for its propaganda value. NPR has more:

The agency called the book “a passive but piercing exposition of the effect of the Soviet system on the life of a sensitive intelligent citizen.” The memo notes that the book is valuable “not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.” Careful not to show the “hand of the United States government,” the CIA had two Russian-language editions printed and passed them to Soviet citizens abroad.

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25. Walter Isaacson’s New Book is Coming in October

isaacsonSimon & Schuster will publish Walter Isaacson‘s new book The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, this October.

The latest work from the biographer of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin, explores how creativity, science and technology intersects. Here is an excerpt:

The computer and the internet are among the most important innovations of our era, but few people know who created them. They were not conjured up in a garret or garage by solo inventors suitable to be singled out on magazine covers or put into a pantheon with Edison, Bell, and Morse. Instead, most of the innovations of the digital age were done collaboratively. There were a lot of fascinating people involved, some ingenious and a few even geniuses. This is the story of these pioneers, hackers, inventors, and entrepreneurs—who they were, how their minds worked, and what made them so creative. It’s also a narrative of how they collaborated and why their ability to work as teams made them even more creative.”

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