How to read THE POETRY OF US

Hi everyone,

As I mentioned on Facebook my copy of THE POETRY OF US arrived and I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s on my desk and from time to time I treat myself to reading another few poems. I’m up to “Science in North Dakota,” by Bill Holm. It’s tempting to sit down and devour these delicious efforts all at once but I don’t think that does justice to the poets who worked so hard to perfect their offerings. Better, I think, to read slowly, sometimes aloud, to savor the flavor of all these diverse voices.

One nice thing about reading 200+ poems is that I’m discovering many gifted poets I don’t know. Many of their poems leave me shaking my head in appreciation of the skill, sensitivity, and insight of the poet. It’s a wonderful reminder that there are many fine poets whose voices are not heard often enough and are well worth the search to read more of their writing. When I finish reading this book, I’m going to make a list of poets I want to know better and set out to find them.

The skill of the anthologist is evident in the selection of work represented to give a true taste of how we think and speak and sound across this great land. Bravo to J. Patrick Lewis for bringing together this important collection. As I said on my Facebook post, if there is anyone left who does not believe that children’s poetry deserves respect for its power to reach hearts and souls, then by all means buy them this book.

A poem from THE POETRY OF US

Hi everyone,

I haven’t received a copy yet of THE POETRY OF US but maybe it will still show up before much longer. Online it looks like another handsome effort by our friend J. Patrick Lewis and I’m pleased to have two poems in the collection. Today I thought I would share one of them with you in case you haven’t received or purchased your own copy yet. The poem is protected by copyright so I think it’s safe to post it here.

Mr. Twain

Missouri kids give thanks for Mr. Twain
For telling them the tales of Tom and Huck.
He said his words were truthful in the main.

Tom and Huck could sometimes be a pain
But none would say they ever lacked for pluck.
Missouri kids give thanks for Mr. Twain.

For Tom to sit in classes was a strain.
Aunt Polly heard excuses with a cluck.
She hoped his words were truthful in the main.

Huck’s drunken pappy was a bane
But Huck was quick and knew the time to duck.
Missouri kids give thanks for Mr. Twain.

Tom and Huck could never quite refrain
From trouble but they always got unstuck.
They swore their words were truthful in the main.

Children’s authors dream that they’ll attain
The Twain Award with writing skill and luck.
Each offers thanks for Mr. Twain.
Their words they say are truthful in the main.

(c) 2018 by David L. Harrison all rights reserved
Published in THE POETRY OF US, National Geographic

I’m in a new book

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: It’s time for a summer blog party over at Matt’s house. Look for more information tomorrow and start getting ready to join the fun. Here’s his link if you don’t already have it handy. Thanks to Matt for hosting his second party. Who will be the next host/hostess? It isn’t too early to volunteer!

Hi everyone,

I neglected to mention that Monday was the official publication date CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM, 5th Edition. I’ve told you about it before but now it’s official and I’m very happy to have my chapter on poetry included, pages 182-200. Here’s the blurb.

“This indispensable teacher resource and course text, now revised and updated, addresses the “whats,” “whys,” and “how-tos” of incorporating outstanding children’s literature into the K–8 reading program. A strong emphasis on diverse literature is woven throughout the fifth edition, with chapters emphasizing the need for books that reflect their readers and presenting dozens of carefully reviewed books that teachers will be eager to use in the classroom. Leading authorities provide advice on selecting texts, building core literacy and literary skills, supporting struggling readers, and maximizing engagement. The volume offers proven strategies for teaching specific genres and formats, such as fiction, nonfiction, picturebooks, graphic novels, biographies, and poetry. This title is a copublication with the International Literacy Association.”

This is the third straight edition for which I’ve been invited to write the chapter about poetry. In this one I’m grateful to Charles Ghigna, Jane Yolen, Kenn Nesbitt, Cheryl Harness, Steven Withrow, J. Patrick Lewis, and Joyce Sidman for contributing poems. Their collective genius does wonders for the chapter! Not only that, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have a special insert that adds even more spark and great information so I’m thankful to them too!

This one was a long time coming. I feel like celebrating!

Winding down

Hi everyone,

Two days left of goo foffing. It has been lovely. The turtles don’t want to see us go. I’ve promised them I’ll be back but I don’t think they understand. They’re beginning to gather in small groups to whisper among themselves. I hate to leave them, but what can I do? I’ve even caught a couple messing around my keyboard and one managed to pull up my flight schedule.

Today I hope to finish revising the last of a set of poems for a collaborative effort with Pat Lewis and Steve Withrow. If I don’t finish before we leave, it will be difficult to find the time I need come Monday. Wish me luck.


Hi everyone,
J. Patrick Lewis
J. Patrick Lewis’s latest anthology is out. It’s called NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF NATURE POETRY: MORE THEN 200 POEMS WITH PHOTOGRAPHS THAT FLOAT, ZOOM, AND BLOOM! Publishers Weekly says, “Few books make it clearer why nature inspires so many poets to reach for the pen.” It’s a highly entertaining and inspirational book and I recommend it. The poets who are in it have been sending high-fives to one another. It’s that kind of book. Pat Lewis and Book of Nature Poetry

My contribution reflects on the act of union between a stalagmite and stalactite that touch at last and join as one after eons of reaching toward one another in the dark.

You’ll find many of your favorite poets in this collection as well as several talented names you need to know better. Thanks, Pat!