Everything is up! My mood, my blood pressure, my stress level. OK, that sounds bad. But we’ve got the big graduation open house for our younger daughter this weekend, and I’m told the attendee count could get as high as 200. Holy moly. But meanwhile, last week was lovely. Here’s what I’m happy about.
A Leaf Can Be… is on the NCTE Notables list! Whee! Attending NCTE last year and taking part in the Notables session for BookSpeak was one of the highlights of my year. That’s one to check off on my list of writing dreams for the year!
Check out the beautiful vase my daughter Annabelle painted for me for Mother’s Day!
I got to spend time revising A Rock Can Be…, which will be my third Can Be… book! (Water Can Be… comes out in 2014.)
Happy National Poetry Month! Thanks for dropping by my Poem Starter Video party. It’s the last day of April, and it’s been quite an adventure doing these Poem Starter Videos. I’ll share more about the process later, but I have to say it was very intimidating! I so appreciate all the fabulous poets who gave me permission to share their work, and it is with excitement and a bit of relief that I share the very last Poem Starter Video of the month.
Today’s poem comes from When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders (Chronicle, 2012), by J. Patrick Lewis. I’ve talked loads about J. Patrick Lewis here on my blog (just type his name into the Search box to read for yourself), so it feels fitting to end National Poetry Month with one of his poems. I’m sharing “The First” on the last (day of NPM)!
I run down
the line, eight feet,
nine…and feint to feel
the rush between the third
baseman’s brush back and home.
Whitey Ford stares through me, a sneak thief
playing on his disbelief, a phantom blackbird hopping
on and off
the dare, flinching,
inching along the ledge
to legend. I time the windup,
my pistons primed to shovel under
Yogi’s glove. Yankee Stadium is stunned!
But you can hear the cheering all the way from Harlem.
First African American baseball player in the modern era
Today’s poem comes from The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme
(Sterling, 2009), by Bobbi Katz. The premise of the collection is that a kid finds his uncle’s (shoot, I think it’s his uncle–I don’t have the book in front of me!) diaries. His uncle was a scientist studying monsters, i.e., a monsterologist. The poems in this book reflect all the scary, gross, funny things about monsters (I especially love Medusa’s bad hair day). I’m sharing “Werewolf Warning” today:
If the palm
of the hand
is sprouting hair,
It means you’ve just met a werewolf,
or maybe you’ve met a werebear.
The creature might be very charming,
suggesting a date to meet soon.
Don’t wait for the next full moon!
–copyright Bobbi Katz
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
USED WITH PERMISSION
Today’s poem comes from Gone Fishing: A novel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), by Tamera Will Wissinger. I love this novel in verse with a boy main character and aimed at second through fourth graders. And on top of that, it’s truly told in individual poems, not a mash-up of free verse and prose. It’s so much fun! I’m sharing a poem from Sam to his little sister, Lucy, who is really putting a damper on Sam’s fishing trip.
A Fishy Spell Curse Poem, Poem of Address
May a worm crawl up your nose, Leeches creep between your toes.
May your nails be caked with dirt. May a bug fly up your skirt.
May your birthday gifts be coal. May you smell like a dirty troll.
May you step in gooey muck And for days be frozen stuck.
May a seagull dive and swoop And drop a bombshell in your soup.
May you grow a knee-length beard So your friends all think you’re weird.
If you ever take my gear May your bones quake, SAM IS NEAR.
Today’s poem comes from M IS FOR MISCHIEF: An A to Z of Naughty Children(Dutton, 2008), by Linda Ashman. Linda is such a fun and creative rhymer. As
with Douglas Florian, one of my favorite rejections was when an editor compared my work to hers, saying it felt too similar to Linda’s for them to publish both of us. Yes, it was still a rejection, but I was flattered anyway.
According to Buster,
His bike came in first.
His bubble’s the biggest:
His blister’s the worst.
He belches the loudest:
He bowls like a pro.
He claims he’s so bright,
He’s beginning to glow.
He bragged he could fly
like a bird off the barn.
What bluster! Now Buster
has broken his arm.
–by Linda Ashman, all rights reserved
Happy National Poetry Month and Happy Poetry Friday! Thanks for dropping by my Poem Starter Video party. I’m making this post live Thursday evening fo all you early-birds. Please put your links in Mr. Linkyat the bottom of the post. I have been out of town most of the week, but I can’t wait to visit all of your posts!
Today’s poem comes from BookSpeak!: Poems About Books (Clarion, 2011), by me, Laura Purdie Salas. This is probably my favorite writing project I’ve ever done. Combining poems and books, two of my favorite things, into poems about books (or written by parts of books), was just the most fun ever! Here’s a poem that’s a bit nostalgic (something I usually try to avoid at all costs, actually) because it’s about a part of a book–or a book accessory–that many kids today might not ever have heard of.
I don’t need your napkin.
I’m not your soup bowl’s mate.
I don’t want your peas or bread.
I’m not that kind of plate!
Write your name upon me.
I’m a paper love tattoo.
Paste me in your book to show
that I belong to you.
For all you 15 Words or Less folks, your mission is to watch the Poem Starter Video and take on its challenge in, yes, 15 Words or Less. And I’m out doing school and library events today but will get back to read your poems tomorrow or over the weekend:>)
Today’s poem comes from Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems (Clarion, 2011), by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. Tracie does such a wonderful job of closely observing things, whether it’s animals or careers or anything else, and choosing fine details to bring the reader right there and make the reader see things in new ways. Today’s poem is “Adaptation,” about elephant ears.
Tattered sails of ears
flap in the savannah sun–
Happy National Poetry Month! Thanks for dropping by my Poem Starter Video party. We’re winding down into the last full week–I hope you’re having a great month!
Today’s poem comes from Water Sings Blue (Chronicle, 2012), by Kate Coombs. Kate is a magical writer–I hope you seek out both her poetry and her prose. It’s all fabulous. Water Sings Blueis a marriage of stunning art and dreamy poetry that takes me right to the ocean. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve featured other ocean-focused poetry collections here on the blog, and even this month. Nothing makes me happier than a beautiful ocean poem–so today’s poem makes me very happy indeed.
Song of the Boat
Push away from the stillness of the nut-brown land,
from the road that leads to the shore.
Push away from the town with its tight tree roots,
from its closed brown shutters and doors.
Push away—heave-ho—from the heavy brown pier,
from its pilings huddled and dull.
For the water sings blue and the sky does, too,
and the sea lets you fly like a gull.