Friday, April 27, 2012

Poetry Friday: No Water River, but Plenty of Poetry Splash

Renee LaTulippe * No Water River

Over at her blog No Water River,  Renee LaTulippe has been knocking herself poetry-silly all through April with readings-on-videos and interviews of people who write poetry for children: Laura Purdie Salas, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Kenn Nesbitt, Charles Waters, Irene Latham, Lee Wardlaw, Deborah Diesen, Greg Pincus, and J. Patrick Lewis (whose reading and interview will be posted next Monday.) I'm proud to have been included with this group of poets and to have my reading of an unpublished poem,  "No Strings Attached," be part of Renee's video archive now. The interview questions she sent me were special not the usual, and I had a lot of fun answering them.

You can also find Renee at her own No Water River You Tube channel,  at the All About Learning Press blog (where her alter ego, The Chipmunk of Doom, muses and rants) and at the WordSpark Editing site she maintains as part of her editorial work with writers. Busy lady!

Wish I could fly over to Italy, where Renee lives, and buy her a thank-you cappuccino, wish her a belated "Happy Birthday" (yesterday!) and talk about poetry. Or maybe just talk about rivers with no water and the Mediterranean Sea (with plenty of the same.)

Buon Compleanno, Renee!

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Head over there to see what other people have posted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Holding a Book in Your Hands

Isn't a well-made book just a beautiful thing? Practically intoxicating. Watch this!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Poetry Friday: Herrick's Brooks, Blossoms, Birds and Bowers

"I sing of brooks, of blossoms...."

It's blossom-time in Seattle. I'll just let the 17th-Century poet Robert Herrick speak for me this week.

The Argument of His Book
by Robert Herrick

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July flowers.
I sing of Maypoles, hock carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes.
I write of youth, of love, and have access
By these to sing of cleanly wantonness.
I sing of dews, of rains, and, piece by piece,
Of balm, of oil, of spice, and ambergris.
I sing of times trans-shifting, and I write
How roses first came red and lilies white.
I write of groves, of twilights, and I sing
The court of Mab and of the fairy king.
I write of hell; I sing (and ever shall)
Of heaven, and hope to have it after all.
Poetry Friday is being hosted this week by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling. Head over there to see what other people have posted. 

"I sing of Maypoles, hock carts, wassails, wakes...."


Friday, April 13, 2012

Poetry Friday: Happy Birthday, Seamus Heaney!

Seamus Heaney...

It's Seamus Heaney's birthday today. I once got to share a ham sandwich and a pint with this wonderful poet. He joined a half dozen students (me among them) at the College Inn Pub when he was in Seattle for a reading at the University  of Washington. It was quite a long time ago, but wow, I remember everything about it. The man was absolutely beautiful - relaxed, funny, generous-hearted, talented beyond belief - and that shock of white hair! And that Irish lilt! He didn't disappoint, that's for sure. 

Here's a poem of his that I love:


And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

                              - Seamus Heaney
                                 from The Spirit Level

And click here to hear the man himself, reading it.  
You'll see what I mean about that Irish lilt.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Heaney!

...and Seamus Heaney.

Poetry Friday today is being hosted by Anastasia Suen at her blog, Booktalking.  Head over there to see what other people are sharing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10th Line for the 2012 KidLit Progressive Poem!

Today, as part of the ongoing celebration of National Poetry Month, I'm contributing the tenth line in the 2012 KidLit Progressive Poem, dreamed up by Irene Latham. My friends and I used to do an "Exquisite Corpse" version of this at our annual retreats. We passed a single sheet of paper around and each person contributed a line, but as we did so we had to fold over all but the preceding line. By doing that, we couldn't really tell where the poem had started nor where anyone meant the poem to go - things got pretty wild with those rules. You ended up with odd poems, not exactly sensible - or, if one of the poems made sense, it thrilled us. Insensibility and unplanned sensibility have their  roller-coaster charms. We even created a fake poet to sign the poems and send them out to reviews to see if we could get them published. Never did.

In this incarnation of the game, we could actually see the cumulative growth when we wrote our own lines. We could see where the poem started, and the course it had taken,  but we didn't know what direction future poets would make it go.

Here's the poem as it stands right now, with my contribution. Tomorrow, it moves on to Kate at her blog, Book Aunt. She'll see what she thinks her job is - maybe to make it clearer or to calm it down, speed it up, throw a curve, make it sadder, make it sillier, make it more cerebral or more emotional  - we won't know until tomorrow. And who knows what will happen by the 30th of April??

If you want to see my thoughts about why I wrote the line I did, just read the P.S.

Thanks for setting it all up, Irene - fun!

If you are reading this
you must be hungry
Kick off your silver slippers
Come sit with us a spell
A hanky, here, now dry your tears
And fill your glass with wine
Now, pour. The parchment has secrets
Smells of a Morrocan market spillout.
You have come to the right place, just breathe in.
Honey, mint, cinnamon, sorrow. Now, breathe out


P.S. Here are my thoughts about adding a line: In a poem like this (actually, in all poems, but even more so for this kind) I think there should be a few surprises. Different voices contribute, with different tastes in choice of words, images, and rhythms. Shifts along those lines can be interesting. Predictability and accessibility are not the be-all nor the end-all when the structure is cumulative, with many poets contributing. For me, adding a line meant seeing how the poem was doing in terms of surprises, and throwing in a curve or two. When I saw tears and a hanky and wine, I figured it wasn't a poem for kids. I also got worried because oh-oh, a crying jag was coming on. My inclination at that point would have been to introduce a laugh and not let the poem get over-emotional. But looking at the additions in the last couple of days, I have to say I love where it's gone - the jump to the parchment, and to Morocco - both so mysterious! So I wanted those smells and that mystery in my line, and I wanted not only a metaphorical breath in, but a physical, cleansing breath out.

Can't wait to see where this thing goes.See the schedule, below.


Here's the Progressive Poem schedule - follow along and watch it grow!

2012 KidLit Progressive Poem:  watch a poem grow day-by-day as it travels across the Kidlitosphere! April 1-30

Dates in April: 

1  Irene at Live Your Poem 
2  Doraine at Dori Reads
3  Jeannine at View from a Window Seat
4  Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
5  Susan at Susan Taylor Brown
6  Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
8  Jone at Deo Writer
9  Gina at Swagger Writer's
10  Julie at The Drift Record
11  Kate at Book Aunt
12  Anastasia Suen at Booktalking
14  Diane at Random Noodling
16  Natalie at Wading Through Words 
17  Tara at A Teaching Life
18  Amy  at The Poem Farm
19  Lori at Habitual Rhymer
21  Myra at Gathering Books
22  Pat at Writer on a Horse
23  Miranda at Miranda Paul Books 
24  Linda at TeacherDance
25  Greg at Gotta Book
26  Renee at No Water River
27  Linda at Write Time
28  Caroline at Caroline by Line
29  Sheri at Sheri Doyle
30  Irene at Live Your Poem

Friday, April 6, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Photo Poem

Happy National Poetry Month! Christopher Fry, the British playwright, once said that poetry “is the language by which man explores his own amazement.” 

I think this photo/poem is amazing, and I write more about amazement today over at BOOKS AROUND THE TABLE.  

Just look at that frozen whistle. Hope you enjoy it. 
Photo by AP photography Robert F. Bukaty: "Maine Cold"
Poetry Friday today is being hosted by Robyn Hood Black over at READ, WRITE, HOWL. head over there to see what other people have posted.