Vegas and Boston

Hi everyone,

Here’s a shot of the Las Vegas Marathon while we were there. I heard that it involved 35,000 runners.
IMAG0767
At NCTE I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get any pictures but Linda Baie was kind enough to take one of Sandy and me Sandy and Davidand someone else took a picture of Georgia Heard and Laura Purdie Salas with me at breakfast.photo Do I know how to pick glamorous women or what!

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Found poems published

BULLETIN: I know about Veda Boyd Jones’s e-book. She and I talked at the Warrensburg Children’s Literature Festival and agreed that we seem to spend half our time these days checking the latest sales numbers of our e-books. Hi, Veda. Checked yet today? Anyway, Cheryl Harness has an e-book. So does Janet Wong. So do Sylvia Vardell and Janet together. My question is, who are we missing here? If you have a children’s e-book that we haven’t talked about, let me know with a comment. I’ll try to post a list of other brave souls who have taken the plunge so far.

Hi everyone,

Many of you will remember when I posted a challenge to try your luck with found poems. By taking words from everyday text and language, many of you refashioned them into poems and we had a lot of fun reading one another’s discoveries. What prompted me to post on the subject was a project of Georgia Heard’s to collect enough found poems to publish a book.

Georgia has now completed her work and the resulting collection of forty found poems, THE ARROW FINDS IT MARK, officially comes out next Tuesday, March 27. If you would like to learn more or order a copy, here’s the link.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Arrow-Finds-Its-Mark/dp/1596436654/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332415424&sr=8-1 .

I’m pleased to have a couple of poems in the group. One came from an American Airlines magazine Mensa Quiz and is called “Today’s Thought Problem.” The second, which is called “Hot-Dogging,” was found in a United Airlines magazine. How’s that for making good use of flying time?

You’ll find many of your favorite poets in this collection and I recommend it.

David

Thanks again to recent guests

Hi everyone,

Sometimes in my rush forward I forget to pause to really thank those who have done me the favor of appearing on my blog. Over the past couple of months I’ve had notable guests who have shared their wit and wisdom here and today feels like a good time to say once more that I’m grateful. To revisit their appearances, click on the links with their names and pictures.

JACKIE HUPPENTHAL

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/todays-guest-reader-julie-huppenthal/

KEN SLESARIK

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/guest-reader-k-thomas-slesarik-today/

ROBIN KOONTZ

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/robin-koontz-today-2/

GEORGIA HEARD

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/georgia-heard-tomorrow/

JIM BLASINGAME

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/james-blasingame-today/

BOBBI KATZ

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/what-are-the-pros-up-to-with-bobbi-katz/

GARY DULABAUM

https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/gary-dulabaum-today/

Georgia Heard today

UPDATE ON OUR WOZA WOZA POEM: Thanks everyone for the excellent ideas for the 4th line. I went with Sandy Asher’s idea because it keeps the mystery alive and introduces a new element. Are they squirrels? Who knows? We need another line!

Today I saw something I’ve never seen before,
A sea of cinnamon swirls surfing the forest floor.
Leaves you say? And well you may, but more it seemed to me,
Tiny brown-clad creatures surfed that swirling sea.

We’ve settled into a poem told in couplets. Who wants to add the first line of the next couplet?

Hello Everyone,

Today my Featured Guest is Georgia Heard. Many of you have probably read her work and/or sat in an audience where she spoke. I first met Georgia when we were both on the same preconference institute at a conference many years ago. I’m delighted to welcome Georgia today as my guest.

Q
What originally attracted you to poetry?

A
Every year I wrote a poem for my father, mother and sisters on their birthdays, and read them aloud during birthday parties. I remember one birthday, my grandmother and mother started to cry. It was then that I realized that words had the gift to make people feel. It was a powerful moment for me –that my feelings could be translated into words, and other people could feel how I felt. I decided then that I wanted to keep writing poems.

Q
Do you keep a journal? If so, when did you start? What sort of material do you write in your journal?

A
When I was a teenager and my father went to Vietnam to fly helicopters in the war my diary became an essential place for me to write down what I felt. I still keep a journal. A journal for me is a way to gather the seeds of new ideas. Now, my journals are usually project based. In other words, whatever book or poem I’m working on it’s a place for me to write and revise, and it helps me think more clearly and deeply about whatever I’m working on at the moment.

Q
You are a highly respected poet, teacher, and speaker. How do these activities connect and support one another?

A
Thank you, for those kind words. I find writing poetry a solitary experience that takes a lot of intense focus. When I’m writing, I find that hours can go by without me noticing time. It’s like I’m in a kind of trance. Teaching keeps me connected to the world. It forces me to snap out of myself. Writing, teaching and speaking are all connected. I couldn’t teach or speak about writing if I weren’t a writer. I would feel like a fraud. But it is difficult sometimes to keep a balance between writing and teaching because that solitary writing life is always beckoning. I am so lucky to teach children because they are so open to life, and they remind me to keep my heart open too.

Q
Do you have a preference between verse and free verse?

A
Free verse is an oxymoron — despite what Robert Frost said about free verse that it’s like playing tennis with the net down. I find that free verse does have a structure, and when I write free verse I’m still using poetic tools. I also love writing verse but sometimes my poems feels stilted and forced if I try too hard to make them rhyme. I admire poets who write in poetic forms like Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Frost. They make it seem so easy.

Q
What do you see happening to children’s poetry in the United States?

A
There are many wonderful poets writing for children now. I just hope that teachers and parents keep buying poetry books. I’m intrigued how poetry has morphed into novels – yet I’m not sure that every novel in verse is really verse — but I like the way poetry is expanding its boundaries. I hope children’s poets write more poems for children that express their feelings.

Q
What makes poetry for children relevant?

A
Children love poetry naturally. They love the rhythm, the rhyme and the music of poetry. Children see the world in a new ways just like many poems do. Poetry is as relevant to children as it ever was.

Q
Do you have advice for emerging children’s poets?

A
Write about what you’re passionate about; what about you love in the world; write from your truest feelings – and children will love your poems.

Georgia, many thanks. It was a pleasure.
David

Georgia Heard tomorrow

UPDATE: Our Woza Woza Poem needs more input please. Our first two lines were:

Today I saw something I’ve never seen before,
A sea of cinnamon swirls surfing the forest floor.

Mary Nida suggested “A bird of many colors beyond the rainbow door,”
and Liz Corba suggested turning this into a poem for two voices by rephrasing the second line as a third line (for the second voice) like this:
“A sea of cinnamon swirls surfing the forest floor?”

I love poems for two voices and agree we should try one after we get the hang of the Woza Woza Poem process. For this first time I suggest that we keep it a straight narrative with one voice to make it easier to maintain. I proposed that the poem unfold in free verse but we seem to be working in couplets. Therefore, I’m going to add a third line to make the poem read like this:

Today I saw something I’ve never seen before,
A sea of cinnamon swirls surfing the forest floor.
Leaves you say? And well you may, but more it seemed to me,

Who has a fourth line? Anyone? Don’t forget, you can offer as many suggestions as you want to. There’s no limit per person. The idea is to experiment with a group poem. Kids in school do this all the time with list poems. Surely we can do it too!

Greetings,

I’ve looked forward for some time to featuring Georgia Heard. Many of you became familiar with an example of her work a few months ago when she alerted me of her Found Poem project. You posted dozens of poems as a result and I know that Georgia frequented that link and enjoyed your work. Here’s that link. https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/announcing-a-new-challenge/
Don’t miss my interview with Georgia tomorrow. For now, here is a brief bio to get you started thinking about her.

Georgia Heard is a founding member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project where she worked as senior staff developer in the New York City schools for seven years. She is currently a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, and a consultant and visiting author in school districts throughout the U.S, Canada and around the world.

She is the author of numerous professional books on teaching writing including her most recent A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades (Stenhouse, 2009) and Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School (Heinemann) which was cited by Instructor Magazine as “One of the Ten Best Books Every Teacher Should Read.” She has also authored many children’s books including her most recent Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems (Roaring Brook Press, 2009).

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