An evening with poets

Hi everyone,

I hope many of you can join us Friday evening at The Library Center on South Campbell in Springfield for “An Evening with Poets.” It will start at 7:00 in Room B.

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


My co-presenter is Marcus Cafagna, Poet and Professor in the English Department at MSU. Here’s a bit about Marcus.
Selected awards and honors
• Nominee and Finalist, Missouri Poet Laureate, 2010, 2012
• Nominee, Pushcart Prize in Poetry, 9 times
• Named, Notable Missouri Poet, 2008
• Recipient, College of Arts and Letters Research Award, 2001
• Nominee, Ruth Lily Poetry Fellowship, 1997
• Selection of First Book, National Poetry Series, 1995
Teaches
• Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program
• Teaches poetry
• Creative Writing Program
• Modern American Authors: Contemporary American Poetry
Marcus has invited two of his outstanding poetry students, Ali Geren and Brandon Henry, to join us. We’ve elected to read two poems each in rotation. I’ll go first followed by Marcus, Ali, Brandon, and then back to me. We’ll shoot for an hour but be prepared to extend somewhat if our audience wants us to. We’ll also allow for time to ask questions. Thanks in advance to everyone who can come.

What makes this evening unique is the mixture of poetry written for adults with that written for young readers. It probably isn’t a program that would entertain young children but if you are curious about how and were these two broad genres of poetry sometimes overlap and connect, this is a good opportunity to sit in and find out!

Upcoming events

Hi everyone,

As we start winding down August, I’m looking at what’s coming up in September. Three dates I like. On September 1, although I won’t be there at the National Book Fair in Washington D.C., my book will. CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS will be there representing Missouri. I’m delighted that Joan Arth will be attending the Missouri booth to hand out bookmarks from my book. Thanks, Joanie!

On September 7, I’m joining with Southwest Missouri State University professor and poet, Marcus Cafagna plus two of his outstanding poetry students — Brandon Henry and Ali Geren — to present an evening of poetry at The Library Center on South Campbell in Springfield. It starts at 7:00.

On September 11, I’ll be back at The Library Center on a three-person panel as part of a grant-funded Great American Read series. The panel will talk about why people love to read, what they get out of it, and why certain books leave indelible impressions. I’m looking forward to that one too.

There will be some travel in September, and writing. It looks like a month that’s going to go by in a hurry.

Not all play and no work

Hi everyone,

Although I’m on a limited schedule for now, there is still work to do. My first priority is to finish bringing my thoughts together for the ILA workshop Mary Jo Fresch and I are doing this month in Austin on the 22nd @InternationalLiteracyAssociation and @ILAToday

In case you will be attending and might like to sit in on our hands-on workshop, here’s the location and time:
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 22
Event: 0132 – 7 steps to writing success:
Changing how students research
Type: Hands-On Workshop
Location: Austin Convention Center
Meeting Room 3 – Banquet

From 10:00 – 11:00 that morning Mary Jo and will be signing our recent book, 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS, at the Scholastic booth.

For my part I have nine speaking slots about various topics relative to our theme of helping students learn how to prepare before they begin writing.

Most of my turns are set for six minutes, which is roughly the equivalent of three double-spaced pages. These are subjects I know but I don’t trust myself to stand before an audience and fill six minutes without knowing what I want to say. I don’t stand and read a script. I speak from notes. They just need to be good ones.

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!