Yesterday my buddy CHERYL HARNESS posted a poem about legs, using her pooch as her subject. If you missed it, look in the comments. She wrote two poems. Both quite fun, but considering who wrote them, why wouldn’t they be? This morning I decided to respond with a poem dedicated to Mr. Squirty. He’s quite the charmer.
A Happy He
I've four legs on the ground and looking
for a likely tree,
a bush or shrub, a rock, a leg --
they're all the same to me.
What I choose to pick and use
depends on what I see.
I sniff the news and leave my clues.
In dog talk this is, "Whee!"
Exploring on a sunny day,
what a pair are we!
"Please, Mistress, stop the walk
and wait while I'm on three."
"Oh what yippy, woofy joy.
I'm merrier than a flea.
Watch me do this three more times.
I'm such a happy he!"
(c) 2022, David L. Harrison
My pal CHERYL HARNESS wrote a pizza poem, too, which I loved and sent along to Tim for his own pleasure. He agreed so much he used both poems. I hope you’ll give his post a look and leave whatever comments you choose.
Last week my seven days of thinking turned out well. I worked on a revision with Sandy Asher of Jesse and Grace, the verse novel we wrote some time ago and which Sandy turned into an award-winning play. We’re polishing it a bit to prepare to enter it for a dramatic reading. If we make it, I’ll tell you more about that.
Cheryl Harness and I pulled a story from the file that she and I hatched a few years back over wine and chatter at a dinner somewhere; maybe at a Warrensburg Children’s Literature Festival? Correct me, Cheryl. Anyway, we couldn’t sell it because it’s about a princess and some editors who saw it informed us the world wasn’t much in need of another princess story. So to heck with ’em, we’ve embarked on a completely different story springing from the ashes of the dearly departed princess.
Also during the week, I got to thinking about an extremely unlikely subject for a science picture book, outlined it, shared it with my agent, he likes it, so as soon as I can I’ll start work on it.
What else? Got my new webcam installed (thanks Jeff) and a tripod ordered (thanks, Jeff). Posted a new picture on OZARKS FAMILY VOICES (with another plea for more pictures I can post there: https://www.facebook.com/ozarksfamilyvoices. Gave a ZOOM presentation to Springfield Writers’ Guild. Received two rejections. Wrote the first draft of my Word of the Month Poetry Challenge poem, which I’ll post soon. Agreed to meet virtually tomorrow with our moderator and eight other poets to rehearse for a program to be aired on October 15. Jane Yolen and I wrote our poems for the upcoming series of bloggers who will help us introduce our new picture book, RUM PUM PUM. Su Hutchens and I agree to give my agent another week or two to read our new collaboration before I start nudging.
I recommend a good thinking week now and then. It relieves pressures and allows the imagination to get out for a good romp.
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!
I haven’t had a chance to tell you what a fine time I had last Friday when dear friend Cheryl Harness came to town from Independence, Missouri to do a writing workshop for veterans hosted at Drury University. http://www.cherylharness.com/biography.htm What a talented lady! She paints, she writes, she sculpts, and she carries an encyclopedic amount of history in her brain.
Our last time together was when we were the two speakers at a conference at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas last year so we had tons of catching up to do. I took her to Big Whiskey’s where we whiled away the afternoon sipping milk and nibbling cookies. We had a fine time.
And as if that weren’t enough excitement in my life, another talented friend of many years, Bill Anderson, is coming to town next week — the very day I get back from Houston — and we’re already planning on a good visit. http://www.williamandersonbooks.com
Bill also knows how to make history come alive for young audiences and his fans flock to hear him talk about his books on Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain, The von Trapp Family, and many others. I took Cheryl to see “my” school and Bill is kind enough to ask to see it too. Oh twist my arm!