December 2, 2011
This weekend, our family is expanding to include a Newfoundland puppy! Yes, a lot of work, having a puppy under our care. Yes, we’re already a plenty-busy household. And yes, don’t I have a manuscript I’m working on, plus freelance work, too? The way I see it, no better time to bring some good dog energy into the mix.
And Newfs are fabulous. Large and fabulous. Nana, the Darlings’ nurse in Peter Pan, was a Newf said to have been modeled on J.M. Barrie’s own Landseer, Luath (pictured here). Boatswain, a Newfoundland, was the beloved pet memorialized in Lord Byron’s “Epitaph to a Dog” (though I’d rather not talk about a dog’s death here). Emily Dickinson had a Newf named Carlo (named after the pointer of St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre). All of this said NOT to put any pressure on our sweet pup. We’ll enjoy her even if she’s more about slobber than writerly inspiration (though, hey, if she’s able to channel, I’m open to it).
I considered posting today a Carlo-inspired Emily Dickinson poem, so I did a little searching. Came across this classroom fun instead, from the Emily Dickinson Museum’s website: Carlo’s Poem Quiz, where students of poetry can read from Dickinson’s riddle poems and guess what she’s describing. You’ll also find links to Dickinson’s poetry and other Dickinson-related reading on the museum’s site as well. I, for one, would like to make the trip out to Amherst to visit sometime soon. I wonder if dogs are allowed?
By the way, looks like Saturday, Dec. 10, is an Emily Dickinson birthday celebration and museum fund-raiser at Amherst College, for anyone else who might be out that way. (Emily’s 181st birthday.) More info here.
This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Carol’s Corner. Wag on over!
June 29, 2010
We recently had a wonderful visit with an old friend, Ted. We didn’t know it at the time, but that would be our last visit together. Ted died last week. We’ll treasure that visit, as well as the many conversations and great laughs we’ve had over the years.
At one point during our recent get-together, the conversation turned to children’s books, and Ted mentioned he recently reread The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. With thoughts of Ted this morning, here’s another bit of Silverstein, from the title poem of the collection Where the Sidewalk Ends:
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
You can read the full poem here.
And perhaps to wrap this post on a more Ted-like note, here’s another well-loved Silverstein poem (all the more appropriate given the character’s name):
Teddy said it was a hat,
So I put it on.
Now Dad is saying,
“Where the heck’s
the toilet plunger gone?”
—by Shel Silverstein
April 5, 2010
Trooping with pails and nets
Boots or whatever sandals grabbed from the back of the closet
Then sloshing in the shallows, in search of tails in the slime
Springtime adventures hatching
*This poem actually started out as a list poem, inspired by some terrific list poems over at Elaine Magliaro’s site Wild Rose Reader and Elaine’s invitation to readers to try their hand at the form. My poem went in another direction, as writing often goes, and I started seeing this poem in the form of a tadpole, a draft of a concrete or shape poem, inspired by the girls’ adventures. Tough using blog layout for this, so I’ll work it some more off this page, but I had fun playing around with the idea (though not as much fun as the girls had at the pond!). A list poem remains on my list this month!
**No tadpoles were harmed in the making of these weekend adventures.
January 8, 2010
Difficult to start a new year without at least a quick trip to the library, so off I went the other evening. Found myself, as usual, in the childen’s poetry section. Sometimes I’ll go with a specific title in mind. Other times, like this week, the joy is in not knowing exactly what I’m looking for, but finding it anyway.
Among several books brought home: Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art, in which 20 poems by noted writers are paired with 20 works of art by acclaimed artists (selected by Belinda Rochelle, HarperCollins/Amistad, 2001). Slavery, racism, and black pride are explored through the poetry and images, though the selections transcend those specific themes. It’s a beautiful picture book.
Included is Alice Walker’s “How Poems Are Made: A Discredited View,” the poem I’m carrying around with me this week. Thought I’d share it for Poetry Friday. (In Words with Wings, it’s paired with the 1946 painting Can Fire in the Park by Beauford Delaney. I believe the poem originally appeared in Walker’s 1986 collection Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful; someone please jump in if I’m off on this):
HOW POEMS ARE MADE: A DISCREDITED VIEW
by Alice Walker
in order to hold on
I gradually understand
how poems are made.
There is a place the fear must go.
There is a place the choice must go.
There is a place the loss must go.
The leftover love.
The love that spills out
of the too full cup
and runs and hides
its too full self
I gradually comprehend
how poems are made.
To the upbeat flight of memories.
The flagged beats of the running
Read the rest of the poem here.
The progression from “I gradually understand” and “comprehend” to “I understand” and “I know” resonated even more strongly as I wrote out the poem longhand, something I like to do with poems I’m studying. In my own writing, I’ve been contemplating why it is poetry feels like the right fit, and what is poetry anyway? What is poetry to you? How did you come to it as a writer? And, while we’re talking, thoughts on Walker’s subtitle “A Discredited View” I’d love to discuss.
Happy Poetry Friday! With thanks to Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for hosting today. Go check out the roundup!
December 21, 2009
I’m thrilled to announce that I have signed with Ronnie Ann Herman of the Herman Agency. Yay!
Ronnie has been very supportive this year of a humorous, high-energy PB collection of poems I’ve written. I’m excited that you are now my agent, Ronnie!
A shout-out, too, to Jill Corcoran, whom I “met” via Poetry Friday. Big thanks to my awesome critique-group members, who have given me extremely helpful feedback on these poems, and to Nandini Bajpai, who is right about good fortune spreading!
It’s winter solstice today, a turning point. Best wishes to everyone in my writing community!
Image by fotolia.
April 6, 2009
I’m heading over to Laura Purdie Salas’ site today for an online launch party for her new book, Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School (Clarion Books; ages 4 to 8 ). Looking forward to checking out the party and the new book! p.s. When I first typed the suggested age range for the book, placing the end parenthesis immediately after the number 8, my computer/this blog template automatically converted to a smiley: ages 4 to 8) . I’ll take that to mean the book is enjoyable for anyone ages 4 and up!
In other April news, today is Opening Day for the Red Sox! Unfortunately, I’m not heading over to Fenway Park for the game. For those who are, bring your rain gear!
January 21, 2009
“In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.”
Love that line of Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem. Thanks, Scott, for sending along a link to the full text.
In other poetry news, my friend Michael sent along a very fun poem for kids, found here. Michael is also an ace Web editor at Childen’s Hospital Boston. He and I have worked on a bunch of projects together, though I just learned yesterday about our shared interest in children’s poetry! Whadyaknow? Thanks, Michael, for adding to the poetry conversation!