How to read THE POETRY OF US

Hi everyone,

As I mentioned on Facebook my copy of THE POETRY OF US arrived and I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s on my desk and from time to time I treat myself to reading another few poems. I’m up to “Science in North Dakota,” by Bill Holm. It’s tempting to sit down and devour these delicious efforts all at once but I don’t think that does justice to the poets who worked so hard to perfect their offerings. Better, I think, to read slowly, sometimes aloud, to savor the flavor of all these diverse voices.

One nice thing about reading 200+ poems is that I’m discovering many gifted poets I don’t know. Many of their poems leave me shaking my head in appreciation of the skill, sensitivity, and insight of the poet. It’s a wonderful reminder that there are many fine poets whose voices are not heard often enough and are well worth the search to read more of their writing. When I finish reading this book, I’m going to make a list of poets I want to know better and set out to find them.

The skill of the anthologist is evident in the selection of work represented to give a true taste of how we think and speak and sound across this great land. Bravo to J. Patrick Lewis for bringing together this important collection. As I said on my Facebook post, if there is anyone left who does not believe that children’s poetry deserves respect for its power to reach hearts and souls, then by all means buy them this book.

A poem from THE POETRY OF US

Hi everyone,

I haven’t received a copy yet of THE POETRY OF US but maybe it will still show up before much longer. Online it looks like another handsome effort by our friend J. Patrick Lewis and I’m pleased to have two poems in the collection. Today I thought I would share one of them with you in case you haven’t received or purchased your own copy yet. The poem is protected by copyright so I think it’s safe to post it here.

Mr. Twain

Missouri kids give thanks for Mr. Twain
For telling them the tales of Tom and Huck.
He said his words were truthful in the main.

Tom and Huck could sometimes be a pain
But none would say they ever lacked for pluck.
Missouri kids give thanks for Mr. Twain.

For Tom to sit in classes was a strain.
Aunt Polly heard excuses with a cluck.
She hoped his words were truthful in the main.

Huck’s drunken pappy was a bane
But Huck was quick and knew the time to duck.
Missouri kids give thanks for Mr. Twain.

Tom and Huck could never quite refrain
From trouble but they always got unstuck.
They swore their words were truthful in the main.

Children’s authors dream that they’ll attain
The Twain Award with writing skill and luck.
Each offers thanks for Mr. Twain.
Their words they say are truthful in the main.

(c) 2018 by David L. Harrison all rights reserved
Published in THE POETRY OF US, National Geographic

Children’s Literature in the Reading Program

Hi everyone,

I’m happy to say that my copy just arrived of the 5th edition of CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM. My chapter is titled, “Creating a Community of Poetry Enthusiasts.”

This standard is edited by Deb Wooten and Lauren Liang. Richard Allington wrote the foreword.

I’m very pleased to be included in this latest edition. I also wrote the poetry chapters for the 3rd and 4th editions. Before long I’ll have enough chapters for a whole book of my own! (:> This one was released in mid-June and is off to a good start. As of yesterday it ranked 151 in Curriculum and Instruction, 251 in Curricula, and 259 in Language Experience Approach.

Wrapping up the week

REMINDER: Don’t forget today is the big day when everyone is headed over to Matt Forrest’s house for a summer virtual blog party! Here’s the link. . See you there!

Hi everyone,

It has been a pleasant week. I didn’t get everything on my list done but progress was made. Mary Jo Fresch and I wrote a 1,500 word essay for Sam Bommarito’s blog. Sam is co-editor of The Missouri Reader, a publication of the Missouri ILA, and he’ll be the next state president. I’ve also committed to doing an article for this fall’s edition of The Missouri Reader.

I wrote 500 words about my work to enter for an opportunity to write a 1,000 word column for the November/December issue of Knowledge Quest, a collaborative effort by AASL and the CBC.

Mary Jo and I got word that our newest book proposal is going out for peer review soon, a necessary next step before a contract can be offered. It shouldn’t be more than a few weeks before we’ll know if it’s going to be a go.

The week also saw the official publication date for CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM. That was a huge highlight!

Early in the week I finished the 3rd telling of the desert middle grade novel. Please keep your fingers crossed that I finally got it right!

And I spent parts of the last two days getting back into the third middle grade story. I started it some time ago and had to set it aside so it took a while to settle back into the groove. I already see changes to make, the benefit of putting a story aside for a while and coming back with fresh eyes.

All in all, a super keeper!

I’m headed over to Matt’s blog party. See you there?

I’m in a new book

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: It’s time for a summer blog party over at Matt’s house. Look for more information tomorrow and start getting ready to join the fun. Here’s his link if you don’t already have it handy. Thanks to Matt for hosting his second party. Who will be the next host/hostess? It isn’t too early to volunteer!

Hi everyone,

I neglected to mention that Monday was the official publication date CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM, 5th Edition. I’ve told you about it before but now it’s official and I’m very happy to have my chapter on poetry included, pages 182-200. Here’s the blurb.

“This indispensable teacher resource and course text, now revised and updated, addresses the “whats,” “whys,” and “how-tos” of incorporating outstanding children’s literature into the K–8 reading program. A strong emphasis on diverse literature is woven throughout the fifth edition, with chapters emphasizing the need for books that reflect their readers and presenting dozens of carefully reviewed books that teachers will be eager to use in the classroom. Leading authorities provide advice on selecting texts, building core literacy and literary skills, supporting struggling readers, and maximizing engagement. The volume offers proven strategies for teaching specific genres and formats, such as fiction, nonfiction, picturebooks, graphic novels, biographies, and poetry. This title is a copublication with the International Literacy Association.”

This is the third straight edition for which I’ve been invited to write the chapter about poetry. In this one I’m grateful to Charles Ghigna, Jane Yolen, Kenn Nesbitt, Cheryl Harness, Steven Withrow, J. Patrick Lewis, and Joyce Sidman for contributing poems. Their collective genius does wonders for the chapter! Not only that, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have a special insert that adds even more spark and great information so I’m thankful to them too!

This one was a long time coming. I feel like celebrating!