Seeking pictures for Family Voices

Hi everyone,

I’ve talked in the past about one of my projects as poet laureate for Drury University — Family Voices — which I co-chaired with Laurie Edmondson, a professor in the School of Education and Early Childhood Development. For a number of years our committee steered a community-wide appeal to parents of children from birth to five to read to their kids on a regular basis. During those first sixty months of life the human brain is hungry for information and absorbs life’s lessons at a pace never to be matched during the rest of the lifetime.
When we eventually brought an end to the project, Laurie set up a site where we might continue to remind parents long after our major activities were over. https://www.facebook.com/ozarksfamilyvoices

Now and then I post something on the site. A number of people have discovered its presence and follow it. I don’t think of myself as a nag, exactly. I see myself as a friendly but passionate advocate for early childhood literacy. I’ve learned that a good photograph helps draw readers to the site so I often insert one from my own files of fans reading one of my books to their children. Altogether flattering, but I often feel awkward using them because it look too self serving.

I’m wondering if any of you might be willing to send me pictures of you or someone you know reading to a child in the 0-5 range with permission for me to post it on the Family Voices site. I would prefer that the books not be mine. There is no schedule for using these pictures. I sometimes go weeks between posting anything new. Other members of the committee are always encouraged to add thoughts of their own. There is only one purpose for this effort so anything that promotes it is appreciated.

A couple of things

Hi everyone,

This evening Drury University will hold its 66th Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner to recognize six individuals who have contributed in some significant way to the university, the community, or the world at large. Sandy and I will give the welcome and opening remarks. Sandy received one of these awards in 1979 and I received one in 1981. As usual she was about two years ahead of me.

On another front, I just received a copy of POEMS ARE TEACHERS, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new teaching anthology out from Heinemann. I’m very pleased to have a poem included. “Things We Prize” first appeared in CONNECTING DOTS from Boyds Mills Press, 2004. Way to go, Amy! It’s a handsome book and one that teachers are going to love. Thank you for including me.

The new hope

Hi everyone,

I attended the annual Student Awards Luncheon yesterday at Drury’s School of Education and Early Child Development. I had nothing to do with it but as adjunct faculty of that school and poet laureate for Drury I get invited to nice things. I watched as nine young graduating teachers received awards for outstanding work during their student careers. Several of the awards are named for friends of mine — Wanda Gray, Polly Copper, Sharon Price, Dan Beach.

On the way home I made my way through snarled traffic around another campus, Missouri State University, and was reminded that these special ceremonies to celebrate smart and dedicated college graduates are taking place all over America. It’s a good feeling. The media keeps us up to date on trivia, trash, and tragedy. But yesterday I sat in a room watching great representatives of the next generation being recognized for the marks they’ve already made, and I felt better about our world than I have in a while.

Plans underway for a new Celebration of Writing event

Hi everyone,

My responsibilities as poet laureate for Drury University include hosting events meant to stimulate interest in writing among students in elementary, middle, and high schools. One of our most successful ones was in 2008. It was billed as “A Celebration of Writing.” Partnering with Drury, MOREnet, and Springfield Public Libraries, we used videoconferencing and web streaming, plus live audiences of Springfield students from Boyd, Pipkin, and Central, to reach elementary, middle, and high school students in roughly 40 classes in four states.
David and Laurie
I stood on stage in Lay Hall on the Drury campus and talked to live audiences for each of the three groups. On each occasion there were classes of students on the screen above my head so I could look up at them; and other kids, who were attending via steaming, were could watch and send questions during the session. Dr. Lauren Edmondson, interim director of the School of Education and Child Development, assisted and handed me questions that were e-mailed or texted in. I hasten to point out that the picture shows us on a different occasion and that is NOT an alcoholic beverage in our glasses!

Laurie, by the way, was my writing partner for another Drury project, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. For that one we created twenty 4-minute videos of me giving writing tips (getting ready, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and making it better). To complete the kit we wrote a teacher’s guide and a student writing journal. http://www.phoenixlearningresources.com/Let_s_Write___This_Week_with_David_Harrison-details.aspx.

Laurie and I have decided the time has come to reprise “A Celebration of Writing” and are planning it for late April. If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more as we go, please let me know to add you to the list. At this point I don’t know how far we can reach with the streaming. On a previous occasion I think we had kids in eleven states tuned in, but I’m still in the stage of exploring what’s possible for this event.

Change of pace

Hi everyone,

I’ve had my 15 minutes and have loved all your warm and supportive comments. I’m grateful to all.
IMAG1485

Now let’s talk about beauty. Here are a few shots of plants around our yard. Back in 1958 or so I took a botony course from Dr. Laura Bond, who was also my biology advisor at Drury. IMAG1487

We followed Dr. Bond around the campus like so many ducklings as she pointed out the multitude of plants that flourished there. I paid scant attention. At the time I was far more interested in fauna than flora.IMAG1490 I still love animals but these days I wish I had paid more attention to plants. Today I think they are fascinating.IMAG1491