Friday, April 1, 2011

National Poetry Month at the Meow Puff Cafe

Confession: I am a dog person. But I did have a stuffed white cat when I was little.
Happy National Poetry Month, everyone. For 30 days, America sanctions a full-frontal assault on Poetryphobia!

In honor of the occasion, especially since the first of the thirty days falls on Poetry Friday, I offer up this charming poem by a Seattle Public School second-grader named Romanette who is headed for great things. The poem makes me long for a little cafe with such a name (and shouldn't all poetry make you long for someone or something?)

White cat meowing in the house, sleeping
In its bed. White cat sleeping with its
Pink crown with red rubies. White cat talking
In its sleep. A girl leaving a gift.
White cat said, “Let’s go to the Meow
Puff CafĂ©.”

Romanette worked with writer Ann Teplick in the Writers in the Schools program here in Seattle - I was invited for one brief visit to talk about my book Yellow Elephant with them. What fun! Ann did a wonderful job of getting poems from three different second-grade classes, and you can read about her experience at the WITS website
The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted today by Amy over at The Poem Farm. Go there to check out what other people have posted. And for an extra treat, be sure to visit Gregory Pincus's blog, Gotta Book, every day this month for his annual 30 Poems/30 Days (Full disclosure: One of the days will feature one of my poems.) Also for a treat (many treats this month!) follow Jama Rattigan's 2nd Annual Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck for delicious food poems (and occasional recipes....) from 19 different poets.


  1. The secret of the little girl's gift draws me in too. What a magical poem! Thank you Julie, Ann, and poet Romanette, for sharing this! A.

  2. What a fabulous poem from a young poet! I especially love the line breaks. Hard to teach that art!

  3. That is a very strong poem. Ann Teplick must be a deft mind to help Romanette give voice to those surprising and wonderful things.

    "full-frontal assault on Poetryphobia"

  4. This poem, and the color-inspired poems of the other students, is wonderful! Happy Poetry Month!

  5. Wow. Kids can do ANYTHING in their fearless play with words.

  6. I love the color -- white cat, pink crown, red rubies. What a great job! And yes, the Meow Puff Cafe sounds intriguing. Milk and kitties!

  7. i'm actually more interested in what cats talk about in their sleep than the gift. you know, what their subconscious ramblings reveal...

    also just learned that the fear of poetry is called metrophobia, which sounds more like a fear of large cities that a fear of meter, but there you go.

  8. Excellent poem, and I love her name! And I have to echo Blythe's appreciation for your "assault on Poetryphobia" line.

  9. Metrophobia??? Now that is weird. Yes, it sounds like a fear of large cities, or maybe a fear of underground transportation systems. But metrophobia = fear of poetry?

    And whoa, think about being afraid of poetry - I mean, spiders, snakes, heights, tight spaces, needles, germs - all those can kill you, under the right circumstances (or wrong circumstances, depending on your perspective.) But poetry? Meter? I wonder if metrophobia applies to free verse - no meter there.....

  10. Julie,

    What a delightful poem! There are some things that I've really missed since I retired from teaching-- reading to children and sharing and writing poetry with them.

    What has disheartened me from time to time is when I've heard teachers and children's librarians say that they don't like poetry--and/or state that kids don't like it.

    I'm of the opinion that enthusiasm is infectious. Young children usually follow the lead of the adults in their lives. If the adults take joy in reading/reciting poetry to them--the children will usually take joy in hearing and reading it themselves.

  11. I agree completely, Elaine - so sad to hear a teacher/librarian say he or she doesn't like poetry. And with so many different kinds of poetry, too - how could you not like ANY of them??? I'm beginning to feel this is a 2nd-generation phenomena - they're teachers/librarians didn't like poetry, or didn't present it well, with enthusiasm and wonder, and so now they "don't like it." I'd love to see NCTE do some kind of intervention to break the cycle!

  12. Did I just type "they're" instead of "their"? What's going on with me lately - I'm homonym-challenged.

  13. Oh my gosh, that poem! As a fellow writer, I hereby bestow a pink crown with red rubies on the head of Romanette.