Friday, October 21, 2011

Poetry Friday: Proud of P*Tag!!

I want to say, for the record, how proud I am to be included in P*Tag, the new e-book of poetry for teens, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Proud because I admire Vardell and Wong so much for their energetic work promoting poetry, proud to have been asked by them for a poem, proud to be included with poets whose work I admire, proud that some of them are my friends, and proud that I'm involved in something that is (for me at least!) so new and interesting.  Just look at the list of poets included:

Arnold Adoff, Jaime Adoff, Kathi Appelt, Jeannine Atkins, Jen Bryant, Margarita Engle, Betsy Franco, Helen Frost, Lorie Ann Grover, David L. Harrison, Stephanie Hemphill, Sara Holbrook, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Paul B. Janeczko, Michele Krueger, Julie Larios, JonArno Lawson, J. Patrick Lewis, Kimberly Marcus, Heidi Mordhorst, Naomi Shihab Nye, Michael Salinger, Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, Sonya Sones, Charles Waters, April Halprin Wayland, Steven Withrow, Allan Wolf, Janet Wong, and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. And photographs by Sylvia Vardell.

Here is how the tag played out:
     * a poet was "tagged"
     * the poet chose a photo from a photo library provided by Sylvia and Janet
     * the poet wrote a poem inspired by the photo
     * the poet incorporated 3 words from the poem prior to his or her poem to keep the poems connected
     * the poet wrote a short prose "connection" piece explaining how the poem came to be
     * the poet tagged another poet
     * the game continued

Picking favorite snippets is hard now, but who can resist the opening lines of Naomi Shihab Nye's "Blue Bucket":

What if, instead of war,
we shared our buckets
of wind and worry?
Said, tell me the story
you carry there...
...find me a spoon in one
of your pockets,
even if we don’t
speak the same language,
I’ll sip your dream,
and then, and then,
say this is what it looks like
to me....

I love the photo Steven Withrow chose of the wall and ceiling of an old basilica or mosque, and the lines from his poem "Cornered":

You are my shadowy catacomb
I am the crook of your thumb

You are a trap at the end of me
As I am a bend of you....

My good friend Kathi Appelt contributed a poem about a guitar (or is it about a guitar...?):

He held her flat against
his ribs, her smooth back
pressed into his belly,
just under his heart....

Can't close without mentioning these few lines from Jocye Sidman's contribution, dedicated to some lucky soul named Clara:

Her energy pours down stairs
in slow motion,
rippling like a golden slinky.
She yawns and orbits into view,
each amber ray uncoiling.
“What shall we do today?” she says,
and the space between us hums to life.....

If you want to download it, you can find P*Tag on Amazon for only $2.99 (and no, you don't have to own a Kindle. You can download the software for Kindle Books right on to your computer, free and easy as pie):

Janet and Sylvia made it all look easy but I know what a lot of work that must have been, to gather the poems and get them set up and published. Thanks to both of them!!!! 
You'll find the Poetry Friday round-up over at the wonderful Jama's Alphabet Soup - always delicious! Go there to see what other people are posting.


  1. And I'm so proud to know YOU! Thank you, Julie. (I know everyone will love your P*TAG poem, too.)

  2. If I needed any more convincing that I should get this e-book, this is it. Any chance of an actual hard copy???? (I am so oldschool that way, you see).

    Beautiful poetry you shared here.

  3. Dear Myra: Thanks for the wonderful words about our book. Sorry, there won't be a hard copy. Several people have told me that P*TAG was the book that finally pushed them over the edge and motivated them to download the free Kindle app to their computer or phone. I hope you join them!! Thank you, Janet

  4. I love this book and you picked the perfect poem. Nye's a favorite of mine.