I’m featured today on Greg Pincus

Hi everyone,

Today is my turn on Greg Pincus’s 30 Poets/30 Days so if you would like to see my poem, here is the link. http://gottabook.blogspot.com/2011/04/david-l-harrison-chess.html

I also had the pleasure of participating in Greg’s list last year. Here’s that one. http://gottabook.blogspot.com/2010/04/david-l-harrison-lookit.html

My thanks to Greg for bringing us a month of new poetry. I am enjoying the work of others and am pleased to participate.

Last Thursday and Friday I was a guest at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio, thanks to the efforts of Jana Smith. I can tell you that it’s a great school.

Students are there prepared to learn and the teachers are top of the line. We’ve enjoyed many poems posted by Jana’s students as well as those of Nanette Valuck’s, and I look forward to many others in the future.

I’ll tell you more later about Maumee Valley and the good time I had there but wanted to get up a couple of early pictures today. Jana, my thanks again to you, Frank, Nan, Phyllis, and everyone else who made my stay so delightful. Special thanks, of course, go to your students!


Coming up: Annual Hall of Fame Poets!

BULLETIN: As of now I have no Guest Reader scheduled for this Wednesday. If you would like to share something about yourself and your journey as a writer, please let me know. If you are not into poetry but would like to share a brief sample (under 500 words) of your fiction or nonfiction for children, that’s just fine. It is NOT necessary to share any of your writing if you prefer not to do that. We’re pretty laid back around here.

Greetings all,

First I want to thank Greg Pincus for being my Featured Guest yesterday. Your comments and e-mails confirm that many readers found Greg’s remarks stimulating and informative. I’m grateful to Greg.

Some of you joined my blog after we started Word of the Month Poetry Challenge in October 2009 and may not be familiar with our original game plan. Each month we have voted for a Hall of Fame Poet and a Hall of Fame Young Poet. This month, September, concludes the first twelve month period.

During this period, no one could win a second time. Beginning next month — the start of a new cycle — everyone is once again eligible to win.

On Saturday, October 2, I will put up a ballot box to feature each of our twelve monthly winners. I’ll post all of their winning poems so we can enjoy them again, and we’ll vote to select the 2010 Hall of Fame Poet and Young Poet.

I’ve been looking forward to this event and I hope you will join me during the week of voting. I’ll close the poll on Saturday, October 9 and announce our winners on Sunday, October 10.

If any of our monthly Hall of Fame Poets want to revisit their winning entries to do a little tweaking, this is a good time to take care of it.

Meanwhile, if you still want to share a poem this month, you still have time. I won’t close submissions until Monday, September 24, at 10:00 p.m. CST. Remember, this month’s word is BOOK.

Greg Pincus today

When I first began slaving away on this blog, one of my first and most helpful visitors was Greg Pincus. He welcomed me to “the club” and offered all sorts of useful and practical advice. Even now I know that I haven’t finished taking advantage of everything that Greg explained how to do, but, if I’m lucky, I eventually will.

Yesterday you learned something about Greg. Now you can read some of his interesting thoughts about the web and its impact on publishing.

PoetrE – poetry in the e-book and online age

By Greg Pincus

There’s been a lot of hand wringing lately about the future of publishing and of books themselves. It’s hard to know how everything will play out, other than technology will be a part of it, but one thing I’m sure of: poetry will be fine. In fact, I think it will thrive.

The web has already shown that there’ a big audience looking for poetry: Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry for Kids (http://www.poetry4kids.com) site has had more than 122,000,000 page views since 2004; poet Taylor Mali (http://www.youtube.com/user/taylormali?blend=5&ob=4) has videos on YouTube (admittedly not for kids) with over one million views; in 2009, I had nearly 100,000 visitors come to my blog after they searched Google for some sort of poetry and found my site in their search results. Blogs, websites, and YouTube channels serve give poetry fans a place to hang out among the likeminded with no geographical restraints – like a virtual, 24/7 coffeehouse.

Social networks, in turn, can help poems spread to people who weren’t already looking for poetry. Don’t believe me? Update your Facebook status one day by typing in a short poem or a link to a favorite piece of poetry and see what type of response you get. Or I can give you links to threads of World of Warcraft players and actuaries and knitters sharing poetry. Online, we aren’t just one thing – a lawyer can be a poet, and vice versa – and this enables poetry to cross all sorts of borders.

Beyond the web, the possibilities are just as exciting. Poetry on the page or screen is a wonderful thing, but poetry well performed can be even more exciting. We’ve all heard the stories of children turned off of poetry because it seems lifeless and dull. With podcasts, e-books, and videos, we suddenly have a chance to have great performances captured and widely distributed. What a great option for parents and teachers (and everyone).

And these options aren’t replacements for what we already have. For example, imagine a poetry collection in an e-book form, with audio and video tracks available at the push of a button… or the poem alone on the page for the reader to devour. Or think of concrete poetry where movement can be part of the poetry as well. The possibilities go on and on, as long as we’re willing to take chances. And when have poets been afraid?

Now, I’m not saying it’s time to become a poet and gain riches. This is only technological change, not a new world order! But in terms of poets and poetry reaching fans and creating new ones… as far as I’m concerned, there’s never been a better time.

Greg Pincus tomorrow

ANNOUNCEMENT: Here’s an exciting challenge/opportunity from April Halprin Wayland. I thought you would want to know about it.

Thank you for helping us spread the word of our latest contest for teachers, librarians, and homeschool groups.

The prize? A choice of:

A) a 30-minute Skype author visit from one of the six TeachingAuthors
B) a prize package containing six autographed TeachingAuthor books.

To enter our contest, have your students write six-word memoirs. Then come back and post a comment about the experience to this blog entry by 11 pm (CST) Monday, Oct. 4, 2010.

Click on the link below for all the gory details!

April Halprin Wayland award-winning Jewish New Year children’s book
website: http://www.aprilwayland.com blog: www.teachingauthors.com  ~ six children’s authors who also teach writing…poetry, writing prompts, lesson plans and more.

Hi everyone,

My Featured Guest tomorrow will be Greg Pincus. Greg is one of those people who can keep a lot of projects going at the same time, and he does them all well. Take a look at this brief bio that Greg provided and you’ll see what I mean.

I was happy that Greg included me in his April 2010 Thirty Poets Thirty Days feature. Here’s the link to my day on his site. http://gottabook.blogspot.com/2010/04/david-l-harrison-lookit.html .

Greg Pincus is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, volunteer elementary school librarian, and social media consultant.

He’s also a blogger, writing about children’s literature and poetry at GottaBook (http://gottabook.blogspot.com ) and the social web at The Happy Accident (http://www.thehappyaccident.net ).

Through the wonders of social media, he’s sold poetry, helped himself land a book deal, ended up in the New York Times, the Washington Post, School Library Journal (multiple times), and many other interesting places… and also made friends and gotten free cookies on more than one occasion.He bats and throws righty.

JonArno Lawson tomorrow


Last month I read with pleasure the poems and interviews posted on the sites of Tricia Stohr-Hunt and Greg Pincus. Some of the poets I know and others were new to me. Now I have a list of those I would like to read and learn more about.

One of those poets is tomorrow’s guest, JonArno Lawson. JonArno was kind enough to agree to be my guest this week so you’ll meet him tomorrow. To help me become better acquainted with him, I asked questions and have posted our Q/A bio session here.

JonArno Lawson

When, where, how, and why did you go about becoming a published author/poet?
I was first published by Exile Editions in 1997 – my first book (a compilation of poetry and aphorisms) was called “Love is an Observant Traveler”
How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
I’m still failing every day! I was lucky in terms of my first publication though – I made a chap book just for fun, and sent a copy to an author I liked (Timothy Findley) and he liked it, so he sent it to Exile Editions, and they called me and asked if I had a manuscript they could look at. A real Cinderella story. But it’s gotten harder from there – I’ve had many manuscripts rejected since.
Were you always a writer or have you done other things too?
I do other things, but these days mostly I’m a Dad and a writer. I worked for a long time as a group home counselor in a home for Developmentally Disabled Elderly Jewish People. I also worked as a clerk in a law library. And I’ve taught now and then, mostly workshops.
Do you draw inspiration from your family?
They’re indispensible! My kids give me all sorts of ideas, first lines, and they help me edit too.
What did you study in school?
I studied English.
Has your work received any honors?
Twice I’ve received The Lion and the Unicorn Award. One of my books got a Bronze Moonbeam. All were nice to get, but the best thing of all is a note from an appreciative reader.
Are you a native Canadian?
I’m a dual Canadian/American citizen. I grew up in Canada, I live in Canada, but I’ve spent long stretches of time in the United States – in Schenectady, Annapolis, Chincoteague, and Miami.
How many other books have you had published?
I’ve got seven books out there right now, and two more due out next year.
What genre(s) do you like best?
Anything well-written, whatever the genre. I love to be surprised by someone’s point of view. I’ve read a lot of travel books over the past year – “The Danube” by Claudio Magris is a very surprising book. “The Baby in the Mirror” by Charles Fernyhough, who’s a Dad and a child psychologist, was very surprising. Marilyn Singer’s “Mirror Mirror” really surprised me too. . .
Do you have other books in the works that you can discuss?
I’m working on a number of things – which helps me a lot, because then I never feel stuck – but I’m not sure which are developing well and which aren’t, and I don’t want to jinx any of them. . .

As you can see from this exchange, JonArno is a straight shooter who answers candidly and shares the same dreams and frustrations that most writers face. You will enjoy his essay tomorrow so don’t forget to come by.