Two favorite poems by Charles Ghigna

BULLETIN: Please see additional poems by Charles Ghigna, which he supplied and I added after this post went up this morning.

Hi everyone,

I’m glad you enjoyed getting better acquainted yesterday with Steven Withrow. My thanks again to Steven for his informative essay. I look forward to seeing more of his work.

charles ghigna
Today I continue the series of bringing you poems selected from the titles I bought at the recent Friends of the Library book sale in Springfield. ANIMAL TRACKS, WILD POEMS TO READ ALOUD was written by well known poet Charles Ghigna and published by Harry Abrams in 2004. I featured Charles waaaaay back on May 7, 2010 ( ).

I’ve chosen two brief poems to share, “The Snail,” and “Fly Swatter.” My thanks to my friend, “Father Goose,” for letting me share his work.

by Charles Ghigna

Though he has no hands,
Only a tail,
Do not pity the lowly snail.

Though he has no pencil,
Or pen,
He leaves a message wherever he’s been.

(c) by Charles Ghigna, all rights reserved

by Charles Ghigna

The house is full of flies again,
I swat them for a penny
Until there aren’t any.
Then I open the door — for more.

(c) by Charles Ghigna, all rights reserved

Hi again,

Charles answered the question concerning his total output of poems. He has now passed the 5,000 mark!!

He also asked if I would post the following three poems as examples of his more recent work. Gladly, Charles. Here they are:

My Tree House
by Charles Ghigna

Welcome to my tree house,
my free house,
my me house,

where I come to ponder,
to wonder,
to look up at the sky,

where I come to daydream,
to play dream,
to watch the clouds roll by,

where the air is fresher,
no pressure,
where treetops swish and sway,

where I come to look at
the books that
take me far away.

(c) by Charles Ghigna, all rights reserved

* * *

The Poet Tree
by Charles Ghigna

Among the tops of tulip trees
whose branches dance each spring,
there is a place of purple lace
where words like birds can sing.

Upon the breeze that stirs the leaves
in whispers made of air,
poems rise above the clouds
like songbirds singing there.

And if you listen close enough,
you can hear them too.
The trees are full of poetry
each time the wind blows through.

(c) by Charles Ghigna, all rights reserved
* * *

The Poet Tree House
by Charles Ghigna

Let’s build poems
made of rhyme
with words like ladders
we can climb,
with words that like
to take their time,

words that hammer,
words that nail,
words that saw,
words that sail,
words that whisper,
words that wail,

words that open
window door,
words that sing,
words that soar,
words that leave us
wanting more.

(c) by Charles Ghigna, all rights reserved


What Are The Pros Up To?

REMINDER: Vote by 10:00 CST tonight. That’s when the polls cut off!

Hi everyone,

Mondays are when I like to present past Featured Guests to give us an update on recent and current activities. As is often the case, busy people can’t always take time off when they might like to. Therefore, I’m giving you my own update today.

First, meet my wife Sandy. This was taken on a trip to Dogwood Canyon near Branson, Missouri.

Pretty classy gal. I’d share a trunk with her any day.

I’ve had some nice things happen to my work recently.


As I mentioned last Saturday, PIRATES is on next year’s Young Hoosier Book Award Master Reading List along with 19 others in the intermediate category.



Nominated for one of the two SAA 2010 book awards—“a book that is written for the general public and presents the results of archaeological research to a broader audience” . The nomination stated, “Harrison’s book targets 4th-7th graders (ca. 9-12 year olds), a most-important age group that rarely receives nonfiction attention in this medium from the archaeological community. It is this age group that experiences tremendous intellectual development, when children begin to read to learn (rather than learn to read), start to think critically, and display a burgeoning curiosity about everything. Mr. Harrison has done a tremendous service for our discipline by focusing on this age group and introducing an up-to-date story full of concepts, facts, and current issues.”

At Pittsburg University, Dr. Anthony Boldurian, Professor of Anthropology and Director, Archaeology Program, writes, “It may interest you to know that next semester I am teaching for the first time a newly-developed course, directed specifically for majors in the Science Teacher-Ed program. The course, Science + Prehistory →Archaeology, is designed as a pedagogical approach to teaching teachers-to-be about how to instruct archaeology in the Science classroom (elementary & secondary levels). One of the texts I have for required reading is your Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones.”



Reprinted as the featured poem to start Chapter Two: “Learning about Reading and Literature,” in the latest edition (7th) of Essentials of Children’s Literature. Poems by Charles Ghigna and Rebecca Dotlich also appear in this book.

Selected by a western city to be lettered around their new bookmobile. I hope to learn more about the final design soon.



Translatioin into Lithuanian is in the works. Previous translations include French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Afrikaans, Norwegian, and Danish.



Selected by Zaner-Bloser for their Voices in Reading Program. ( )


I just returned from NCTE in Orlando where I presented Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. We made new friends and, I hope, recruits to the monthly exercise in imagination. REMINDER: Voting ends tonight at 10:00 CST for the November poems.


On December 12-15 I’ll be in Paterson, New Jersey at three schools to provide professional development for teachers and work with their students. I’ll continue the work later on Skype.


I’m excited about the new program for Drury, to be called This Week with David Harrison. We have a team of four working out the details for a regular 7-8 minute program that teachers can bring into their classrooms nationwide. The central theme will be literacy and each week I’ll offer tips and ideas about writing and reading.


Yesterday was the kickoff for a book drive for preschool children, which is part of Family Voices (another project with Drury). We have recorded 17 well-known people reading 34 age appropriate books. This library of children’s literature will be given on a CD to parents who agree to record their own voices reading to their children. Families will also receive free books for their children five or under. More about that later.


On a closing note, I’m working on the final four poems to complete a new manuscript. The book will be published by Boyds Mills Press and illustrated by Dan Burr (who did PIRATES.)


VERY important announcement!

Hi Everyone,

Some time ago I asked you to tell me which features you liked most about this blog. Top choice was Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Near the bottom was the manner in which we select our monthly Hall of Fame Poets. Some love the excitement of the month-end race for votes while others are put off by it and would prefer a system that focuses more on the poetry. I promised to consider the situation. Now I have.Beginning this month, which is the first in our second year of W.O.M., we will have a dual system for recognizing our poets and their work. We will continue to post the familiar ballot boxes so you can vote for one adult and one young poet. Nothing will change in the way we select our Monthly Hall of Fame Poets.

Additionally, it’s my pleasure to introduce a panel of professional poets who have agreed to select the best poem in each group each month. I will send them the poems without names so they’ll judge strictly on merit. I’ll announce those winning poets each month at the same time we see who won the popular vote. These winners will be called Word of the Month Poet and Word of the Month Young Poet.

You may win once in each category during the twelve month period, from October 2010 through September 2011.

I hope you enjoy the new addition. I’m very excited to bring it to you. And now, meet our judges.

Charles Ghigna

Jane Yolen

Laura Purdie Salas

J. Patrick Lewis

Rebecca Dotlich

Sara Holbrook

How’s that for a lineup? If others join the panel over time, I’ll let you know. I’ve provided links to some background information about our judges. You’ve already met everyone but Sara as a Featured Guest, and Sara is on tap to appear shortly.

That’s it for now. If you plan to post a poem this month, remember that the word is CHANGE and the cutoff for submissions is next Monday, the 25th, at 10:00 CST.rubbermanDavid

WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? with Charles (Father Goose) Ghigna

REMINDERS: Don’t forget to vote for your choice of 2010 Hall of Fame Poets this week. The ballot boxes close Thursday night at 10:00 CST. Early leaders are Euleta Usrey (adult) and Taylor McGowan (young poet). You can also see my W.O.M. poems and let me know if you have a preference among them. Thanks to all.

Back today for an invited encore is none other than Father Goose, sometimes known as Charles Ghigna. To see Charles’s original appearance as my guest on May 7, 2010, here’s the link.

Hi, Charles. It’s good to hear from you again. What’s up with you these days?

Hi David!

Always good to hear from you! You have an amazing blog and are so kind to promote your fellow authors! I look forward to hearing what’s new with YOU! 🙂

My latest book project is a beginning reader that I wrote with my wife, Debra, titled BARN STORM. It was released from Random House last week on Sept. 28. The book is illustrated by the wonderful Diane Greenseid. BTW, I love your SiRs too! 🙂


Charles Ghigna • Father Goose
204 West Linwood Drive
Homewood, AL 35209

“You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

Brenda Seabrooke today

Hi Everyone,

I’m pleased to tell you that my Monday segment, which I’m calling WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? is coming along well. In it I re-feature professional writers, agents, illustrators, editors, and teachers who have appeared previously as Featured Guests on Friday. Now that I can finally post pictures, I’m inviting each of them back to tell us in a nutshell what they’re up to these days. Next Monday we’ll hear from Sandy Asher. The week following, Charles (Father Goose) Ghigna will repay us a visit.

My Wednesday segment, called Guest Readers, could use more support from you. I have a great poem to share with you ths coming Wednesday when I reintroduce Silindile (Souldose) Ntuli. But I have no one scheduled after that. If you, or another writer you know, would like to share something about his or her journey as a writer, please contact me so we can set up a time for you. This is a very popular spot that draws a lot of readers and supportive comments. Thanks!

Today I’m honored to introduce another good friend and author, Brenda Seabrooke. I asked Brenda a series of questions and she provided honest, insightful answers. I continue to be impressed by the quality of thoughtful responses we’ve seen from my Featured Guests. Now, here’s Brenda.

What originally attracted you to writing?

I loved stories – who doesn’t? Stories are magic, conjured out of air, memory, imagination, life. I made picture stories before I could write and when I learned to write kept going first with poems, then stories and later books.

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

Yes, I try to write something in it every day. I started at 7 when I received a diary for Christmas. I never reread what I had written and thought I had filled the early ones with boring stuff such as got up, went to school, went to music, rode my horse, went to bed. I looked at them a few years ago and discovered a world of fascinating details! I recorded the day when my father bought our first TV and the account of that life-changing event was published in a book by Dr. Ray Barfield, Clemson University professor.

Your books speak to the hearts of young fans everywhere. How would you describe your approach to creating such strong stories?

I’m essentially a storyteller. The stories find me. Then the work begins. With few exceptions, it is a layered process. I go over and over the story, shading, enlivening (punching up verbs!), sharpening, deepening, defining, enriching. Each time something new is revealed to me about the characters. It’s a magical process.

A number of books have been written about the three pigs and the big bad wolf. What prompted you to write another one?

My cousins and I made up a game in which one cousin was a wolf and the rest were pigs. When the wolf blew down a house, we all had to run to the next one, etc. Years later I was reminded of the game when I saw a pig race at the VA State Fair. I wrote what became the first chapter of Wolf Pie (Clarion,2010). Then I wondered what happened after that and wrote another chapter and kept going!

Who is your audience? Who is reading over your shoulder while you write?

I think about readers but I don’t write down to them. I read my stories aloud and try to pretend I’m the audience. Usually I can hear when something isn’t working. Reading aloud takes a long time when I’m writing a novel but it is a necessary part of my work process.

How do you write? At the keyboard? Longhand? In an office? At regular times?

I write almost every day usually on my office computer but sometimes longhand. I write on car trips, airplanes, at dental appointments. I think it’s important to write in longhand, to connect pen to paper and I try to do it every day if only in my journal.

Are there and methods you utilize to stay current with today’s young readers?

I watch TV shows such as Pawn Stars and Dirty Jobs that my grandson likes. My daughter and her husband work in the gaming world so I pick up info from them. And I read current books and watch current movies.

What do you see happening in the world of children’s book publishing these days?

It’s more open than it has ever been. Few subjects are taboo today if they’re handled in a meaningful way. Quirky and cheeky are now the norm where once they were considered daring and innovative. I see this continuing but I hope there is always room for the old-fashioned story as well.

Do you have advice for emerging children’s authors?

Read! That sounds simplistic but I‘m always amazed at people who want to write for children but don’t read books published for them. To write in a particular genre, it is paramount to read what is being published in it.

Brenda, many thanks for allowing me to feature you on today’s blog. My best wishes for your continued success with those wonderful stories you write.

To learn more about Brenda, here’s a link.