The Bugs Concert

Hi everyone,

Today’s the day that maestro PATRICK REYNOLDS leads the Dayton Ohio Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in a reprisal of The “Bugs” Concert. For the second time since it came out in 2007, my book, BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS, hilariously illustrated by ROB SHEPPERSON, is featured throughout the performance. The orchestra’s pianist, MOLLIE STEEN, will recite three poems from the book. She and I will also read together two partner poems: FLEA and FLY. I won’t be there in person but my video will be shown on a huge screen hung above the orchestra.

Founded in 1937 by Paul Katz, the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra brings together the greater Dayton area’s most gifted young orchestral musicians, providing the opportunity to study and perform a broad range of orchestral repertoire. The DPYO performs three concerts each season. The orchestra regularly performs on the Dayton Philharmonic’s DP&L Family Concert Series, which has recently included collaborations with the Dayton Ballet II Senior Company, performance artist Dan Kamin, and the Magic Circle Mime Company.

I thought about combining a trip to New York City with a drop-in visit to Dayton but the timing wasn’t good. Patrick has promised to send me a recording of the whole concert so I’ll look forward to that.

Recording some bugs

Hi everyone,

Thanks to Nathan Papes, Springfield News-Leader, for the picture

Yesterday I had a note from PATRICK REYNOLDS, conductor of the Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Dayton, Ohio, inviting me to record some of my choices from bugs, poems about creeping things. that he might use to help promote the “Bugs” concert in March and perhaps include during the performance.

Don’t have the bugs worked out of the idea yet, or into it, but I’m so happy at the thought of participating in this way. I’m still considering the idea of attending the concert in person, but either way the fun factor just took a leap upward. The maestro asked about my favorite poems from the book and I sent him this list.

a tick’s friends
dumb beetles
bad beetles
other bugs

I wish I could show you the marvelous illustrations by ROB SHEPPERSON. No matter how funny I think I am, Rob always makes each poem better with his own puckish sense of humor. You can  guess just by seeing the cover alone. I'd love to do something else together one of these days. 

Dayton concert in March

Hi everyone,

I’ve just discovered the program has been posted for the March 20 “bugs” concert.

As they did at the first concert a number of years ago, several poems from my book, BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS, will be read throughout the performance, which will also be accompanied by the Dayton Youth Ballet. I believe the cover of the book, wittily illustrated by ROB SHEPPERSON, will be displayed in some way. I can’t make it to Ohio at that time and get home in time for my birthday party at David Harrison Elementary two days later on the 22nd. Wish I could!

Another bugs concert

Hi everyone,

In 2014, my book, BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS, illustrated hilariously by Rob Shepperson and published by Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, was featured in a Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra concert in Dayton, Ohio. The concert was dubbed, BUGS and a number of poems from the book were read and performed on stage during the concert, which also featured dancers from the Dayton Ballet II Senior Company. The conductor, PATRICK REYNOLDS, conducted the final number of the performance with a flyswatter. The evening’s sponsor was — wait for it — Extermital Termite & Pest Control.

A few days ago I had a note from Patrick saying that in March of 2022 he plans to reprise the BUGS performance! What I would love to do is make a video of me reading some of the poems and Rob could make one with some of his artwork to project onto screens during the concert. I know that probably won’t work, but it’s fun to think about. A different long shot would be to plan a trip to New York at that time and stop off in Dayton to be in the audience or perhaps do a reading or two live. All great fun to consider.

In March 2022, I’ll turn 85. Wouldn’t that be a great birthday gift to me? Hmmm.

The gift of Rob Shepperson

Hi everyone,

I’ve been blessed with the chance to work with a number of wonderful artists over the years such as Dan Burr, Betsy Lewin, Rob Shepperson, Kate Cosgrove, Julie Bayless, and numerous others. Rob Shepperson was my partner on two books: BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS and VACATION, WE’RE GOING TO THE OCEAN.
One reason it’s fun to work with Rob is that his sense of humor comes through in one drawing after another, each time taking my words and adding something more, something for the reader to smile or giggle over.

BUGS even made it onto the stage of a youth concert orchestra performance in Philadelphia when the evening was dedicated to bugs and poems were read from the book during the performance. In addition to his work on books, Rob’s witty art has appeared in major publications for years. I hope very much to work on another project with Rob one of these days.

But there’s still more to Shepperson’s work than his humorous drawings. He’s an artist with great range and from time to time he makes some of his paintings available on his website. He’s currently offering some discounts on selected pieces of his work, which you can find here: I can’t show you his work on my blog but you can click on his site and see for yourself. The holidays are coming up.