Friday, November 25, 2011

Poetry Friday: Gift Tag Poems!

I'm proud to have a poem in the third book of the PoetryTag eBook series edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Gift Tag is now available to download to your computer or your Kindle reader. The theme (or maybe I should say the jumping-off point) of the book is "gifts," either given or received. Here are the first four lines of my poem, just as a teaser (you have to download the eBook to get the rest...though you can see the photo which inspired it, below): 

 My mom gave me 
a black cat hat - 
Knitted it herself, 
she's smart like that....

The restrictions were interesting this time around - no more than 25 letters and spaces per line (harder than you think!) and no more than ten lines. Short and sweet. 

For Gift Tag, I join an incredible bunch of children's poets: Jeannine Atkins, Jen Bryant, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Margarita Engle, Douglas Florian, Helen Frost, Joan Bransfield Graham, Lorie Ann Grover, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Sara Holbrook, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Bobbi Katz, J. Patrick Lewis, Pat Mora, Ann Whitford Paul, Laura Purdie Salas, Michael Salinger, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Charles Waters, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Robert Weinstock, Steven Withrow, Allan Wolf, Janet Wong and Jane Yolen.

It's an honor to be in their company. And if you don't know the editors, you should check them out. 

Sylvia blogs at Poetry for Children, in addition to being "Professor at Texas Woman's University, author of POETRY ALOUD HERE, and POETRY PEOPLE, and CHILDREN'S LITERATURE IN ACTION, editor of the annual review guide, LIBRARIANS' CHOICES; avid reader, movie lover, and zealous traveller....")

Janet's has other eBooks in her repertoire besides the Poetry Tag series - look for Behind the Wheel: Poems about Driving and Good Luck Gold as well as Once Upon a Tiger: New Beginnings for Endangered Animals.

Sylvia and Janet are such energetic souls, and they love poetry for kids. Their own web page for Gift Tag shows all the photos that inspired our poems. Here's the photo that inspired mine:

I absolutely love that hat, but it was hard to choose. Here was my second choice, which actually inspired Laura Purdie Salas to write the poem she contributed:

My mother, who is 85 this year, still has a few potholders just like this (remember those metal frames???) which I made and gave to her for Christmas 50+ years ago!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and filled themselves up to bursting on turkey, gravy, stuffing, pickles, olives, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, apple & walnut salad, cranberry velvet, sweet pickles, dill pickles, cream-cheese-stuffed celery, herb rolls and butter, pumpkin and berry and apple pies, all with whipped cream. Yummmers. Hope you were all surrounded by good family and friends, as I was.
Poetry Friday today is being hosted by Heidi at my juicy little universe. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poetry Friday: Elevenses and A.A. Milne

Pooh Bear Gets Stuck and Is Used as a Towel Rack (Illus. by Ernest Shepard)

In honor of 11/11/11, I offer up this poem by A.A. Milne who once wrote: "“When late morning rolls around and you’re feeling a bit out of sorts, don’t worry; you’re probably just a little eleven o’clockish.” (He went on to tell us how Pooh Bear, while having some smackeral-ish treats for his elevenses at Rabbit's house, gets stuck trying to climb out the front door hole and is used, for a time, as a towel rack.)

Speaking of smackerals, here's one of my favorite poems by Milne:

The King's Breakfast
        The King asked
        The Queen, and
        The Queen asked
        The Dairymaid:
        "Could we have some butter for
        The Royal slice of bread?"
        The Queen asked the Dairymaid,
        The Dairymaid
        Said, "Certainly,
        I'll go and tell the cow
        Before she goes to bed."

        The Dairymaid
        She curtsied,

        And went and told the Alderney:
        "Don't forget the butter for
        The Royal slice of bread."
        The Alderney said sleepily:
        "You'd better tell
        His Majesty
        That many people nowadays
        Like marmalade

        The Dairymaid
        Said "Fancy!"
        And went to
        Her Majesty.
        She curtsied to the Queen, and
        She turned a little red:
        "Excuse me,
        Your Majesty,
        For taking of
        The liberty,
        But marmalade is tasty, if
        It's very
[picture]         The Queen said
        And went to his Majesty:
        "Talking of the butter for
        The royal slice of bread,
        Many people
        Think that
        Is nicer.
        Would you like to try a little

        The King said,
        And then he said,
        "Oh, deary me!"
        The King sobbed, "Oh, deary me!"
        And went back to bed.
        He whimpered,
        "Could call me
        A fussy man;
        I only want
        A little bit
        Of butter for
        My bread!"

        The Queen said,
        "There, there!"
        And went to
        The Dairymaid.
        The Dairymaid
        Said, "There, there!"
        And went to the shed.
        The cow said,
        "There, there!
        I didn't really
        Mean it;
        Here's milk for his porringer
        And butter for his bread."
        The queen took the butter
        And brought it to
        His Majesty.
        The King said
        "Butter, eh?"
        And bounced out of bed.
        "Nobody," he said,
        As he kissed her
        "Nobody," he said,
        As he slid down
        The banisters,
        My darling,
        Could call me
        A fussy man -
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!"

This week's Poetry Friday round-up  is being hosted by April Halprin Wayland over at Teaching Authors. Head  there to see what other people have posted. And Happy Elevenses, Everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Poetry Friday: Steven Withrow

Steven Withrow...and Company
 It's Poetry Friday and I'd like to point you in the direction of a very special, energetic, exciting young poet (and film producer - Library of the Early Mind!)  Steven Withrow.  In my opinion, he's going to make a big impact on the world of poetry for children. He's the electric impulse (in fact, you might call him the turbine!) behind the new organization called Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (of which I am a member of the Advisory Board, I'm proud to say)  and he writes the Poetry at Play blog for that organization. The best way to find out a bit about Steven today is to head over to Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast where Julie Danielson has posted the full interview she conducted with him for her weekly online column in Kirkus.Here's a snippet:

"Poetry, for me, is a highly physical art form not unlike composing and performing music, stage drama, dance, sculpture, gymnastics. The joy of poetry, for me, is the joy of arranging and vocalizing and surrendering to pleasurable and/or challenging patterns."

For The Drift Record today, I'll just go with one of his delightful poems, which he posted last spring on his own blog, Crackles of Speech (that's also the title of his eBook volume of poetry.) I love the attention Steven pays to the music of the words, along with his ability to both control language and play with it.  Pair those qualities with intelligence, a sense of purpose and a generous spirit, and you've got quite a poet. Definitely head over to Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast to read the interview.

By Steven Withrow

Night clouds hold no proper names.
Each and all, in their operatic crossings,
Also bear cubs, pearl beads, nesting dolls,
Arias of open vowels, steam engines,
Strange fish scaled with flashes of camphor,
Nacreous, anonymous, noctilucent
Under the yellow music of the moon.

Chris Guy, Photographer

 You'll also want to head over to laurasalas: writing the world for kids for the round-up today - see what other people have posted for Poetry Friday.