On my first day of goo foffiing . . .

Hi everyone,

Mary Jo Fresch and I have just reached agreement with our publisher on the contract for a new education book to help students increase their vocabulary and understanding of our language. The picture, by the way, was taken of us in a sound booth in California the year Shell published our five-book series, LEARNING THROUGH POETRY.

The new book is to run 150-250 pages and will have lots of room for student samples provided by teachers who would like to be part of the project. We appreciate Ken Slesarik’s quick note to volunteer with his students and we will now be looking for others who would like to help. As we reach a point where we can issue clear messages about what activities we’ll need we will communicate directly with participating teachers to provide the details, but it isn’t too early to get your name on our list.

As for my role, I’ll write all the poems in the book, which will run into many dozens. As I think of it, Poet Heaven. Off we go. Yay!

Can’t seem to stop fussing with it

Hi everyone,

Not long ago I mentioned a new manuscript under way that I rather liked and thought was “finished.” But a few days later I decided it needed end notes so I went back to work.

It pleased me more with the additional material. It was all prose in the narrative plus prose in the end notes. Not bad.

But I got to thinking that my last few books have followed a formula of poems up front, prose in the back. I wondered why I was changing the format and couldn’t give myself a logical answer.

So I threw out the text and started over, with poems where the prose narrative had been. I have five poems drafted at this point, a good start, and I’m liking this version better.

I think when I finish this revision I’m going to call it done and stop rethinking. It’s better though. I think. I hope.

Kids, we’re in a brutal business.

(Thanks Ken Slesarik for the picture.)

Introducing Catherine Slesarik

Hi everyone,
image1
I had the pleasure of meeting teacher/poet/presenter Ken Slesarik in 2011 when he attended my first poetry workshop for the fine folks at Highlights Foundation. Uh, by the way, Ken has a sense of humor. Here’s a picture he provided after the workshop.

Ken and I have remained in contact and recently he began sharing with me occasional information about his talented artist daughter, Catherine Slesarik. Today is the day I want you to meet her too.
catherine-slesarik
At my suggestion, Ken interviewed Catherine and together they selected a small sample of her work. One of the pictures is of a dragon so papa K pitched in a poem to accompany it. Without further ado, here is Catherine Slesarik with a special assist from her father.

Catherine Slesarik is an award winning artist and collage student from Arizona. She enjoys sharing her talents with people of all ages. An avid reader and science buff, Catherine plans to incorporate science in her work as a children’s illustrator to inspire girls and women everywhere.

Seven Questions for Catherine Slesarik

1. How did you first become interested in art?
I have always been an artist for as long as I can remember but my focus has turned towards realism and people since I was about 14 years old. I’m currently 18 years of age.

2. What is your favorite medium and subject?
My favorite medium is a tie between charcoal and soft pastels. I prefer easily blended mediums like those or paint. My favorite subjects are faces and people as I enjoy capturing expression and emotion.
pic-3-catherine-slesarik
3. Do you have any routines to be more creative or do you just jump right in?
I have absolutely no creative routines. I just decide what seems aesthetically pleasing and draw. Sometimes I don’t know what or who I’m drawing until I’m well into the piece.
pic-2-catherine-slesarik
4. What are your future plans and how would you most like to use your talents?
I am working towards selling portraits and cultivating my creativity while completing art school. I hope to collaborate with my dad on a larger scale and ultimately I want to illustrate books for children. I would like to use my talents to challenge the set beliefs that people have about what art is supposed to do. I hope to create beauty and bring it into the world to inspire people, especially girls and women.
pic-4-catherine-slesarik
5. Do you have any influences?
Some influences I have are my dad, my mom, my high school art teacher from my senior year in high school and a small group of friends that have encouraged me to grow artistically, one of whom has helped me throughout most of my journey in the art world.

6. What are your other hobbies and interests besides art?
Some non-art related hobbies I have are science and puzzle solving.

7. Have you won any awards for your art?
I have won several awards for my art, among them a youth logo competition and three first place ribbons at the county fair, including the adult/ open category. I also received a superior rating at a national art festival last August.

Now here are the papa/daughter team Slesarik.

pic-1-catherine-slesarik
The Dragon of Didright

There lives a good dragon of Didright
who dutifully does what he’s told.
This dutiful dragon of Didright,
he guards the king’s diamonds and gold.

One day the dragon of Didright
did something especially brazen.
This “dutiful” dragon of Didright,
he traded the gold for a raisin.

The diamonds the dragon of Didright,
he traded for minty herb tea.
This “dutiful” dragon of Didright—
was wrong, I’m sure you’ll agree?

That night the dragon of Didright
was banished and sang a sad song.
He moved from the suburbs of Didright.
He moved from Didright to Didwrong.
(C) 2016 by Ken Slesarik
All Rights Reserved

Ken, thank you for introducing us to Catherine.
Catherine, I enjoyed featuring you today and wish you all the best in your chosen career.

David

We have student W.O.M. poems!

Hi everyone,

With thanks to teacher/poet Ken Slesarik, who teaches at Esperanza Music Academy in Phoenix, we have four poems posted by Esperanza students this month. Click on “Young Poets W.O.M. Poems” and check out the efforts of two fifth graders, Daniela and Emma, and two fourth graders, Landen and Trace. Way to go kids!
Ken Slesarik Photo
I met Ken in 2011 when he was one of eight poets in my first Highlights Foundation workshop near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. We were all taken by Ken’s adroit juxtaposition of words, unexpected rhymes, and wry humor. He’s not only a master teacher and accomplished children’s poet, he also does school visits when his time permits. Meanwhile he’s inspiring Esperanzo students to reach higher and learn the satisfaction of expressing themselves through poetry. It’s a lucky student who has Mr. Slesarik for a teacher.

At a time when so many good teachers everywhere are struggling to find the moments to post their student’s work, Ken remains one of the few who somehow make it happen, and for that I’m grateful. Please read the poems by these young poets and give them the encouragement they deserve.

Thanks, Ken!

David