Winding down a good week

Hi everyone,

Two good days to go to wrap up a productive week. With a breeze at my back I should complete my tweaks by tomorrow evening. If not, I’ll be smiling on Monday.

Tomorrow afternoon I have a phone date with an editor to brainstorm for new projects. I hope something promising will come from that. Between now and then I need to start a list of ideas that interest me.

Tonight we’re attending the Springfield Cardinals game at Hammons’ Stadium as guests of our pal Herman Johansen. Herman is in the Kansas City area filming a movie that was written to star him. I’m eager to see the movie one day when it comes out!

Poetry Tips

Hi everyone,
(Of course I used to have more hair! Of course it had real color!)

Yesterday I noted that visitors to my blog had pulled up two of the poetry tips I first posted in 2010. This happens now and then, enough that I’ve decided to give the dates and topics of the original series. They are:

1/18/10: The Foot
1/27/10: The Line#1
2/10/10: The Line#2
3/30/10: Visual Elements
5/4/10: Accentual and Syllabic
5/19/10: Short Stanzas — Couplets and Triplets
5/26/10: The Quatrain

In addition, I occasionally post something such as these:

1/22/11: My approach to writing this month’s W.O.M. poem
7/12/14: Preparing for a villanelle
8/22/15: Sizing and Shaping for Impact
1/3/16: Putting Lines to Work

A clear week of work

Hi everyone,

Back to the desert story this week with visions of completing the third revision. Twenty-five chapters down, fourteen to go.

I only have one meeting scheduled all week so it’s a clear slate and even though it’s a four day week I can get a lot done. First one like this in quite a while.

Funniest quip I head last week. Our friend Beth Nickle posted on FB about finding a 12-inch garter snake in her washing machine. Several of her friends shrieked and eeked their responses. Beth’s dad, Ted Nickle, posted, “You have to hand wash garters. Otherwise they shrink.” My thanks to Ted for a great laugh.

Learning the patience of a tree

Hi everyone,

A few years ago a good friend of ours, Janine Sachs, gave guests at a party small sequoia trees, perhaps six inches tall. We brought ours home and put it in a pot.

We have not been good stewards I’m afraid. During the winter we move the pot into the garage and almost never remember to water it. In summer it comes out into the sun and rain and more consistent watering and it repays us with another few inches of growth, a reminder that inside the heart of this plant lies a giant that can reach 250 feet in its native environments.

I’m sure we need to provide more fertilizer and move our tree into a larger pot. It has been patient with us by continuing to prosper and grow in spite of conditions that sometimes work against it. A lesson to think about the next time I feel like whining.

Tracking Missouri children’s poets

Hi everyone,

A few days ago Marcus Cafagna and I began planning for a poetry reading event to be held in Springfield (tentatively) on Friday evening, September 8. Marcus is inviting two of his star MSU student poets and the three will read from their original work.

Taken at spring 2018 photo day. February 6-7, 2018. Kevin White/Missouri State University


As I have before when Marcus and I join forces, I’ll read some poems of my own. Marcus asked if I had any other children’s poets in mind to invite onto the program. In the Springfield area I couldn’t come up with anyone I know who has had at least one book of his/her own poetry published by a trade publisher.

I don’t pretend to know all the children’s writers in the state but the only other poet I know who fits the criterion is Constance (Connie) Levy, a wonderful poet and old friend in St. Louis.

I contacted Connie and put the question to her. She doesn’t know of anyone either and believes we are the only two established children’s poets in Missouri.

There are, of course, other talented poets. Cheryl Harness lives in Independence. Jody Jensen Shaffer lives in Liberty. There must be others scattered around the state. But as far as Connie and I know, poetry is not their focus and their publications of children’s poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Highlights. There may also be poets who have paid to have their work published through one of the vanity presses.

All this has fanned an interest on my part to learn if there are indeed other living poets in our fair state with one or more books of their own poems issued by a trade publisher. I’d love to be wrong about this so please correct me if you know about someone I don’t. At a time when more elementary school teachers and librarians are learning how to put poetry to work in the classroom, this is not a good time to be running low on Missouri poets!