An interview

Hi everyone,

I’m in Dallas and headed for bed after a long day. The highlight was seeing what April Halprin Wayland did with her interview of me, which she posted at http://www.teachingauthors.com/2012/06/interview-with-poet-david-harrison.html My sincere thanks to April. If you check out the interview and like it, I hope you’ll let April know.

David

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Home from IRA

BULLETIN: Poets, forgive me for being slow to post the May Word of the Month! Blame it on IRA. I’ll remove April’s poems and comments this morning. In the meantime, you can start thinking about your new poems. The word is WINDOW.

Hi everyone,

I’m back at my computer this morning, trying to decide how and where to begin playing catch up. IRA was a whirlwind and I loved it. Sunday at 5:30 I met Janet Wong, April Halprin Wayland, and Esther Hershenhorn for conversation at Mercat a La Planxa then attended a wonderful dinner party at Dee’s Mandarin Restaurant hosted by Highlights Foundation where I had a chance to greet my friend Kent Brown.

Monday began with breakfast at 8:00 with Tori Bachman from IRA followed by meeting Laurie Edmondson at the Phoenix Learning Resources booth to help introduce our new DVD series and kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. (More about that later).

From 11:00 – 1:45 I participated in a symposium called “Using Poetry for Word Study, Fluency, and Instruction.” The other presenters were Tim Rasinski, Brod Bagert, and Alicia McCartney. I divided the afternoon into signings at Boyds Mills Press, Scholastic, and Phoenix Learning Resources.

At 5:30 I attended the Scholastic Authors’ Reception at the Cage Restaurant, which was splendid, as always, and then caught a cab to join my friends and hosts, Dona Rice, Conni Medina, and Sharon Coan, at the Teacher Created Materials dinner at Gene & Georgetti Steakhouse. What a great evening. However, during dinner I received a phone call that the manufacturing plant on my property in Springfield, which was formerly my firm, Glenstone Block Company, was on fire. Sandy went to the scene, which was blocked by six firetrucks and three squad cars and had a hard time getting close. She finally spoke with the fire marshal and learned that the fire had been set by someone. It took hours to bring it under control and the building is a total loss.

There was nothing I could do, of course, except grind my teeth. I haven’t been to the scene yet but yesterday’s and today’s papers show pictures and explain more about the situation. The original plant was built on that spot in 1945 by my dad and his partner. Lots of memories went up with the flames and smoke.

Later in the evening I left the Teacher Created Materials dinner and barely made it to the Poetry Olio held in the Hilton in time to present a couple of poems and enjoy hearing a few by other poets. I was supposed to meet Mary Jo Fresch for a nightcap but it had been a long day and we both decided to put off getting together until Tuesday.

Tuesday began with breakfast with Ruth Culham and then I spent the rest of the day signing at Boyds Mills Press, Phoenix Learning Resources, Zaner-Bloser, and back to Boyds Mills Press. Mary Jo and I managed to squeeze in a brief meeting about the book project we’re doing together. I finished there at 4:00 as the exhibit hall was closing for the day, grabbed a cab to the airport, and made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare. For some reason I napped in the cab going out.

That’s my report. It is always stimulating to attend IRA and see so many old friends. Every year I meet new ones too. I’m already looking forward to next time.

David

April Halprin Wayland today

Hi everyone,

Again, congratulations to our poetry winners for July and best wishes to all who will participate in Word of the Month in August. The word is HOT. I wonder where I got that?

My Featured Guest today is April Halprin Wayland. She is, as always, busy writing. When I asked her permission to be re-posted today, she was happy to say yes and to add something about a current project, which she mentions below.

Hi David. I’m glad to be back. You asked about current activities. Here’s one. I’m one of 30 poets included in Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s terrific Poetry Tag Time, which sells for 99 cents. It’s the first poetry ebook anthology and is really amazing. My contribution is a poem called “World Wide Wag.” I’ve attached the press release for it. Below are some links. Coming soon: Poetry Tag for Teens! (In fact I’m working on my poem for it right now!)

First Paperless Poetry e-Book
Just in time for National Poetry Month, look for the first ever electronic-only poetry anthology of new poems by top poets for children (ages 0-8), PoetryTagTime, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong and available for only 99 cents at Amazon on April 1. This collection of 30 new, unpublished poems range from the humorous to serious, about tongues, turtles and toenails, in acrostics, quatrains, and free verse written by 30 of our best children’s poets: Children’s Poet Laureates Jack Prelutsky and Mary Ann Hoberman; Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman; NCTE Poetry Award winners X.J. Kennedy, J. Patrick Lewis, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Nikki Grimes; popular poets Douglas Florian, Betsy Franco, Jane Yolen, Alice Schertle, Helen Frost, Carole Boston Weatherford, Calef Brown, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, April Halprin Wayland, Leslie Bulion, Avis Harley, Joan Bransfield Graham, David L. Harrison, Julie Larios, Ann Whitford Paul, Bobbi Katz, Paul B. Janeczko, Laura Purdie Salas, Robert Weinstock, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, and Pat Mora. And the “connections” between poems as the poets voice how their poems are interconnected adds another layer of fun and meaning. You’ll be able to share brand-new poems and poetry tips with children all month long for pennies a day!

How do you play tag with poetry? In PoetryTagTime each poet has tagged the next poet and explained how her/his poem connects with the previous one, in a chain of poets, poems, and play. PoetryTagTime encourages appreciation of children’s poetry by making it an affordable 99-cent “impulse buy” that is easy to find, easy to own, and easy to read aloud (whenever the mood strikes and an e-reader, computer, or cell phone is handy). A teacher might read a poem aloud to start each morning. A family on a road trip might read poems aloud to pass the time. Some estimates say that 10 million Kindles have already been sold; there were over 10 million Kindle ebook sales last December alone. We bet that at least a tenth of those Kindles belong to adults who spend a significant amount of time each day with children. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring a million Kindle readers to children’s poetry?

Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app for a number of devices, including your Windows or Apple computer, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android-powered phone. Also, be sure to check out our web site (http://PoetryTagTime.com ) and companion blog (http://PoetryTagTime.Blogspot) for strategies for sharing each of the 30 poems in the book, rolling out one per day throughout the month of April.

For more information:
http://poetrytagtime.com
Contact:
Janet@janetwong.com
Svardell@twu.edu

To download the free app (for reading eBooks on most regular computers):
http://amzn.to/dKazMq

To buy this book for the Kindle, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, many other phones, or most regular computers:
http://amzn.to/e4wwxc

To buy this book for the Nook:
http://bit.ly/h0Il7Z

The blog, where Sylvia posted her amazing daily tips tied to the poems:
http://PoetryTagTime.blogspot.com   

The website:
www.PoetryTagTime.com

April, thanks for the information and update. I’m in both books too and agree that this is a wonderful new way for poets to reach their audience, thanks to Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell. My poem in the new book is called “Family Reunion at the Beach.”

David, I’m happy to send an autographed copy of GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING to one of your readers if you’d like.

April, absolutely! For anyone reading today’s blog who would like to be the recipient of April’s book, leave a comment in the box below. I’ll pick one and notify April of the winner!

April, how about a poem?

Glad to! Here’s a found poem.

I remember this one and like it very much. Georgia Heard liked it and urged April to send it my way to post. I know this will tickle a lot of you because since the post on Found Poems went up on July 12, 2010 (https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/announcing-a-new-challenge/ ), it has generated tons of responses and it ranked in the top two most popular dates in the first year of this blog. The other, posted on Januray 9, 2010 (https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/discussing-childrens-poetry/ ), is a discussion of children’s poetry.

IN THE WORD WOODS
by April Halprin Wayland

I’m sure there’s a found poem somewhere here.
There usually is this time of year.

Didn’t a red-haired boy lose words
that were found last May by a flightless bird?

And then that search and rescue hound
dug up sixteen poems he’d found.

Listen for falling bulletin boards,
and scowling poem-poaching hordes

who stomp all over this hallowed ground
until the hidden poems are found.

I’ll bring a flashlight, you bring a rake
we’ll get down on our knees and make

a poem from words that have trampolined
off an internet ad or a magazine

into the woods some starry night
waiting for searching kids who might

find a poem if they’re brave and follow
the hoot of an owl to the end of the hollow.

2011 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved

Thanks, April. For those who are interested in learning more, and maybe ordering a book, here’s a good link. http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780803732797

And now, here is April’s original Featured Guest interview. I know that everyone will enjoy it once again.

It is my privilege today to feature poet and author April Halprin Wayland from near Manhattan Beach, California. When I read some of her work ths past April (2010) as one of Tricia Stohr-Hunt’s Celebrate Poetry Month poets (http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2010/04/poetry-makers-april-halprin-wayland.html), I knew I wanted her as a guest on this blog. To see why, read on!

Q
When did you start writing poetry?
A
In the womb. I was comfortable and the lighting was good.

I started seriously when I was about twelve on my father’s old portable typewriter, writing under the pen name W. Sancington.

Q
So…how did you know you were a poet?

A
My 14-year-old sister had already taken the journalist spot. The obvious opposite spot was to write dreamy fiction and poetry. I typed pages and pages of poems on that old typewriter late at night about boys, war, my deepest fears and feelings…and more about those boys. I kept the poems in my bottom left desk drawer and never let anyone see them.

Then one day, my sister outted me. She found them, loved them, and was reading them aloud to my mother when I got home from school. I was mortified—as if she had gone into my underwear drawer. That’s when I first saw that the poems might be interesting to more than the dust mites in my bottom left desk drawer.

And the rest is history…

Q
What was your first poem published?

A
My mentor, Myra Cohn Livingston, was looking for poems for an anthology about mothers. I submitted this poem about my mother, who had been the pianist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Mom was always practicing for one concert or another and often played four-hand piano music with a man named Sidney:

WHEN MOM PLAYS JUST FOR ME
by April Halprin Wayland

My mom is playing piano with Sidney,
I like making my bed to the music
that bubbles under my bedroom door.

Mom and Sidney are still playing piano.
I like pouring milk over my cornflakes
trying to match the tinklings that spill into the kitchen.

Now Sidney’s gone home. Mom plays just for me
and I run around in circles in the living room
and collapse on the lambskin under the piano.

I look up. I see the hardwood and pedals
of the moving hammers and strings —
the piano’s heart — when Mom plays just for me.

© by April Halprin Wayland—all rights reserved.
Originally published in Poems For Mothers
selected by Myra Cohn Livingston (Holiday House, 1988)

Q
Which is easier to write, verse or free verse?

A
Both and neither! As much as I love the freedom of free verse, I love the order and challenge of creating scaffolding, too. (“The story is little more than scaffolding on which the poet hangs his music.” ~ Christopher Merrill)

Q
Which people or events have influenced your poetry most strongly?

A
Not in order:

• Studying with my mentor, poet Myra Cohn Livingston for twelve years.

• Joni Mitchell’s poetry

• Listening to my father read Sherlock Holmes to us

• Listening to my mother read Mark Twain, Ogden Nash, and Dorothy Parker to us

• My thirteenth birthday present: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind

• Roget’s Thesaurus and the Capricorn Rhyming Dictionary –(these days I use http://www.rhymezone.com)

• My mother playing piano solos, sonatas, trios and quartets throughout my childhood

• Music gatherings of the Santa Monica Traditional Folk Music Club…and all the songs I’ve heard and sung with them over many, many years

• Cricket Magazine continuing to publish my work when no one else was interested. I’ve published dozens of poems with Cricket and was commissioned to write a poem for their twenty-fifth anniversary issue.

Q
If we open your computer, what’s new?

A
I took the Poem-A-Day Challenge and wrote (and posted—ack!) a poem each day for the month of April. (http://www.aprilwayland.com/poetry/poetry-month/ )

That was so energizing that I have continued to write a poem a day since then. I didn’t want to post them, but unless I’m held accountable, my rock-solid-shiny-gold-absolutely-sure commitment would probably slowly sink into the mud. So I send a poem every day to one of my best friends, author Bruce Balan (http://www.brucebalan.com/ ), who sails around the world in his trimaran.

Three most amazing things have happened because of my poem-a-day commitment are:

1) Writing has become an absolute priority every single day, no days off for good behavior, no stockpiling poems, no excuses.

2) I am present…I notice more things during the day…as I search for the subject of that day’s poem, I am forced to be aware, to be conscious, to be present.

3) I have become cyber-friends with Kim Stafford, the son of poet William Stafford, who told me that his father wrote a poem a day all his life. Kim sent me his beautiful, award-winning memoir of his father, EARLY MORNING, which I highly recommend.
(http://www.indiebound.org/hybrid?filter0=early+morning+stafford&x=0&y=0 )

Q
Tell us about your newest picture book!

A
It’s a picture book called NEW YEAR AT THE PIER—a Rosh Hashanah Story, beautifully illustrated by the most highly awarded illustrator in Canada, Stéphane Jorisch. Stéphane and I have been blown away by the response our book has gotten. It won the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Award Gold Medal, got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, was named Tablet Magazine Best Book of the Year and more.

It’s about a young boy named Izzy whose favorite part of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, a joyous waterside ceremony in which people apologize for their mistakes of the previous year, cleaning the slate for the new year. But there’s one mistake on Izzy’s “I’m sorry” list he’s finding especially hard to say out loud.

Tashlich (celebrated on September 9th this year) is one of my favorite traditions. We walk to a body of water, sing psalms, and toss pieces of stale bread into the water. Each piece of bread represents something we regret doing in the past year. Because I live near the sea, I get to toss my “mistakes” into the ocean. It’s a way of letting go, of creating a clean slate for the coming year.

The thing I love most about Tashlich is that I’m outside, where I feel especially spiritual. Though it involves community and singing, it’s also a very private time–just me and the end of the pier and the wind, thinking about what I’ve done wrong and how I can do better in the New Year, before I toss each piece of bread out to sea.

I’ve dragged numerous friends to our pier so they can taste the poetry of this ritual, to feel the wind, hear the gulls, experience moments of relief when they tossed each piece of bread. These moments changed me. How could I not share this in a picture book?

In writing this book, I wanted to say that Tashlich happens in the fall…without saying it directly. So this is how the book opens:

Izzy loves this changing time of year. Some days sunglasses, some days sweaters.

D
April, thank you very much for being my guest today. I loved having you with us.

A
I am thrilled to have been interviewed by you, David—thank you!

April Halprin Wayland on Monday

Hi everyone.

Monday I’ll feature as my guest, April Halprin Wayland. I love her work and, if you haven’t already met her, you’re in for a treat. Below is her bio. And here’s a link to the trailer for her latest book. http://www.aprilwayland.com/new-yearat-the-pier/book-trailer/ . Check her out and get ready for an energizing interview with April tomorrow.

April Halprin Wayland is a farmer turned folk musician turned author.

Her work has been called “dazzling”, “honest, heartfelt, poignant”, and “utterly fresh and winning”. Her critically acclaimed novel in poems, Girl Coming in for a Landing, her picture books, and her poetry have garnered numerous awards including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Award for Children’s Poetry, the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry, and MommyCare’s Book of the Year.

She’s been an instructor in UCLA Extension’s Writers Program for over a decade and teaches workshops in schools all over the world. She lives near in Manhattan Beach, California.

For photos of New Year on the Manhattan Beach pier and more information about Tashlich and related activities, visit April’s website: www.aprilwayland.com (click on New Year at the Pier).

April has teamed with five other children’s authors who also teach writing to create the blog, www.TeachingAuthors.com . Check it out for poetry, writing prompts, lesson plans, interviews and more.

Important reminders

ONE

Don’t forget that April Halprin Wayland will sign and send a book to the person whose name I draw from among those who leave comments by this Friday. It’s a good opportunity so don’t pass it by.

TWO

If you plan to post a Word of the Month poem, the deadline is also this Friday at 10:00 p.m. EST. The word this month is LOVE and we are receiving many excellent poems. Don’t be bashful. Now is a perfect time to jump in and share something!

THREE

School is beginning across the country. Teachers are busy getting their students into the routine of being back in class so naturally this is a hectic time for them. However, it’s also a good time to remind all teachers who have an interest in seeing their budding young writers become involved in writing poetry that Word of the Month is waiting and hoping to start seeing student poetry again right away.

Thanks everyone.
David

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