Time to sell a few books

Hi everyone,

With thanks to the folks at Scholastic, LISA NADEL in particular, I’m posting one of several promotional pieces created to make more teachers and tutors aware of the pair of books that have been published this year. I know you’ve seen the covers already, but I hope you won’t mind the repetition and will consider sharing this post with anyone you know who might be interested in introducing the books where they work. Our dear friend SU HUTCHENS sent a video yesterday of her Colorado students reading some of the partner poems and also called from her classroom to say how much the kids were enjoying the book. You know I loved that!

As I’ve said many times, I am blessed to be working with two outstanding authorities in the field of early literacy. Decorated professors, widely recognized lecturers, authors of numerous articles and books in their fields of specific studies — TIM RASINSKI and MARY JO FRESCH take the poems I wrote for these books and turn them into word ladders and activities that will enhance and stimulate learning in any classroom in America.

SONY DSC

I wish you bright paint

Hi everyone,

Another day in National Poetry Month, another poem from the files. This one comes from CONNECTING DOTS, POEMS OF MY JOURNEY, my autobiographical collection published by Boyds Mills Press in 2004. It begins with one of my earliest memories, when I was four and got bitten by a dog, and ends with a poem about my parting wish for others.

The collection was an experiment in a couple of ways. At that time it was a bit unorthodox to place a brief description about each poem at the top of the page, and it was against traditional wisdom to write a book for young readers that spanned the life of the poet from age four to sixty-five. My editor for Connecting Dots, WENDY MURRAY, said then, and I think still believes, it’s the best book I’ve ever done. The cover photo is me at age four, the year I memorized the Gettysburg Address and recited it from memory on a stage at Grace Methodist Church, the place where I would marry SANDRA SUE KENNON eighteen years later.

Here's the final poem in the book, "I Wish You Bright Paint."

I’m 65. I sit here at my desk holding this poem -- the last dot in my picture -- and I wonder who will read it. To you, whoever you are, thank you. I wish you well.


WISHING YOU BRIGHT PAINT

Sometimes I feel --
I don’t know --
squeezed out
like a tube of toothpaste toward the end
rolled up tight against the cap
for a few last brushings.

But if I say the tube is paint
used in pictures of my life,
that makes me feel
I’ve accomplished something,
used the squeezes
to make things happen.
I like that better

So as we go on, you and I,
you to your life, me to mine,
I wish you tubes of bright paint
for all the pictures of your life.
Take off their caps,
squeeze them well,
keep painting.

(c) 2004 David L. Harrison
from CONNECTING DOTS, 2004

It’s still National Poetry Month

Hi everyone,

Here’s another poem to help celebrate the month. This one appeared originally in THE PURHASE OF SMALL SECRETS and was written with SANDY’S dad, RALPH KENNON, in mind. He was an avid gardener who loved to see his family enjoying the results of his labors. The growing season is approaching and one of these days gardens large and small all over America will once again produce their treasures to grace tables of those who toil in the earth and those lucky recipients of their efforts.

HOME-GROWN

Tenderly,
fingers lingering
over wondrous gifts,
peeling
paring
slicing,
he contemplates with satisfaction
the completed act.

“Nothing beats home-grown,”
he says.
“You won’t find corn this sweet
in any store.”

Another platter,
meaty red slabs
surprisingly heavy
on white china.
“Try these tomatoes,
tell me these aren’t
the best you ever tasted.”

Sweet onions
served with garden talk,
language of the soil,
wisdom of grandfathers.

Golden ears dripping butter,
spinach wrinkly tender,
delicately green,
cauliflower better than expected,
green beans
demanding to be bragged on . . . 

“You won’t find these
in any store,” he says
to heads bobbing
over full plates.

He nods,
agreeing with himself.
I smile and think,
“Nothing beats home-grown.”

© 1998 David L. Harrison,
from THE PURCHASE OF SMALL SECRETS

Curtain time!

Hi everyone,

Spring has come slowly to Goose Lake but hopefully we’ve had our last frost and plants are coming on fast now. Yesterday I counted one group of three pairs of geese with thirteen new goslings among them not bigger than chicks. Another pair, in a neighbor’s yard right over the fence from us, had five young of their own and were out walking with them when a Cooper’s Hawk divebombed them and narrowly missed one of the little fluff balls beside a parent. It happened so fast the parents seemed bewildered by the attack. The hawk kept going so no harm came from the event.

Yesterday evening Sandy and I sat by the lake with cheese and crackers and warmed ourselves by the firepit. I look forward to months to come of eating and relaxing out there, watching the endless show.

Poetry reading at Denver book store

Hi everyone,

Early this month LESLIE BULION and I recorded a video moderated by the store’s SOPHIE NOGAR, to be aired at a later date in Denver by the Second Star to the Right Books. That day was yesterday. I heard it go live and thought it went well. It was a pleasure to meet Leslie and partner with her on the presentation. She read from her book, SERENGETI, PLAINS OF GRASS, and I read from THE DIRT BOOK. After our readings, we talked about how we work and why we think poetry is important in the lives of young people. Here’s the video.