Poetry Olio at ILA

Hi everyone,

I’ve been focused on the blog tour lately and have fallen behind on other matters. One recent development is that I’ve accepted an invitation to participate in the Poetry Olio at ILA (International Literacy Association) conference in Columbus, Ohio. I’m pleased to be part of it. In the past more than 200 teachers have shown up for the event, which takes place on Friday evening, October 16, from 7:30 – 9:30. So far the lineup includes Nile Stanley, Allan Wolf, Brod Bagert, Stephanie Fletcher, and our pal Su Hutchens. When others are added, I’ll let you know in case you might be interested in attending the event. The picture was taken at a Poetry Olio in 2014. That’s Kenn Nesbitt, who was then the Children’s Poet Laureate. We look so much alike that I dyed my hair white so you could tell us apart.

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. https://mattforrest.wordpress.com 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!


Hi everyone,

one-minute-till-bedtimeKenn Nesbitt’s new poetry anthology, ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME, is great fun. My copy arrived yesterday. My thanks to Kenn for his time, talent, and energy. I have a feeling that this book is going to be around for a long time. I’m happy to have a couple of poems in it.
Here’s Nesbitt, former Children’s Poet Laureate, quoted on the back cover. “Poetry fosters a lifelong love of reading and bedtime books enrich the enduring bond between parent and child. I am delighted to present this very special collection that brings the two together for you and your family.”

Living and Dying with Grace

BULLETIN: Kenn Nesbitt, Our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, has joined the celebration this month of our 5th anniversary of Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Not once but twice! With thanks to Kenn, I hope everyone will scroll to the bottom of the adult poems for excellent examples of Kenn’s winning humor!

REMINDER: We are also blessed this month with the first student poems we’ve seen in a very long time. Please read them and let the students know how much we enjoy their work and appreciate them and their teachers!

Hi everyone,

Let me tell you about a new book. It’s called LIVING AND DYING WITH GRACE: A CAREGIVER’S JOURNAL. and is written by Susan Carmichael. I met Susan when she attended my first poetry workshop in 2011. The Barn wasn’t built yet so we met in the farmhouse that once was home to the founders of Highlights.Poetry Workshop at Honesdale, 2011 024 The picture is of Susan (left) and Heidi Mordhorst having an animated chat. Eight poets attended that workshop and we named ourselves SWAP 8+1. Swap had to do “with us swapping poems, energy, problems and success, plus all the help we give each other.”

True to our name, the members of SWAP 8+1 have remained faithful with correspondence. We have shared sadness, job and address changes, and warming success. Quite a bit of publishing news has been shared and I continue to be impressed by the determination of these poets to find outlets for their work. I’ll report on everyone’s adventures in a blog this week.

But for now, back to Susan and her new book. This one is not poetry. It’s about Horace, her father-in-law, who was a fine man and her good friend. Toward the end of his life Susan was deeply involved in caring for Horace and learning from him, in the process, the grace of dying with humor, kindness, and consideration.

I began reading this book as a favor and ended it with appreciation, not to mention the lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I recommend Susan’s book for anyone who is caring for, has cared for, or might find themselves caring for a beloved family member. Susan, thank you for writing this.

If you want a copy of your own, http://www.livinganddyingwithgrace.com is the only place Susan is selling it. She says, “if a group would like several copies, e-mail her at susan@livinganddyingwithgrace.com and she will gladly fill the request.

One before the poetry workshop

Hi everyone,

This morning I heard from Jo Lloyd at the Highlights Foundation Workshops that four more poets have signed up for my workshop. Last year it filled early and this year it has been slow, but now that we’re into the final four weeks we’re seeing last minute decisions being made. I don’t much care for groups larger than 15 but I’m fine with that many.

If you’re still wondering if this one is for you, here’s a link that outlines more of what we’ll do and how we’ll go about it.

I’m happy that Jane Yolen and Kenn Nesbitt have both agreed to be my SKYPE guests this year.

Jane has incredible credentials in just about every aspect of publishing, both for children and adults. Her range of genres would be hard to match by anyone anywhere.

Kenn is our current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and follows J. Patrick Lewis who was my SKYPE guest at last year’s workshop. Nothing like hanging out with royalty while we sit comfortably at The Barn.

Let me know if you have any questions about this year’s lineup or slate of activities. You know where to find me.