Next year’s poetry workshop guests

Hi everyone,

Once again I want to thank J. Patrick Lewis and Renee La Tulippe for being my special Skype guests during the Poetry for the Delight of It workshop and to poetry editor Rebecca Davis for making a personal appearance at The Barn and giving a presentation on what an editor looks for in poetry.

Next year’s workshop has now been set for September 29-October 2 and I’m delighted to announce that my Skype guests will be Jane Yolen
Jane at Direlton Castle 2010
and Kenn Nesbitt
Kenn Nesbitt Kenn, as you know, followed Pat Lewis as the National Children’s Poet Laueate. Jane is, well, Jane!

In addition, Rebecca Davis has kindly accepted my invitation to return to make another presentation. rebecca-davis

The program isn’t quite completed yet. I expect to have a segment on performance poetry but don’t have all the pieces in place. I’m still waiting on this year’s valuations to see if I need to add other segments.

As before, my cutoff number is fifteen. I hope to see the quota reached early, maybe by the end of this year, and am aware of some who have already indicated their intentions to register. I hope you’ll let others who might be interested know about the date and guests.


Summing up the poetry workshop

Hi everyone,

It was a long trip home with flight delays in Scranton and Chicago. By the time I got home, visited with Sandy, opened mail, and found my bed it was 2:00 this morning. I gave myself an extra hour of sleep but now it’s time to get started.

My thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the poetry workshop these past few days. To my special guests, Pat Lewis, Rebecca Davis, and Renee La Tulippe,Pat Lewis with chocolate mustache
rebecca-davis I thank you personally and on behalf of the fifteen poets who sat in your audience and profited greatly from your expertise and generous sharing of your time. Renee LaTulippe reading

To each of you who attended the workshop, thank you for coming and for joining together into a family of poets who shared willingly and openly during our time together.

Thank you, Joy Acey, for always finding ways to encourage and stimulate fellow writers, from coded golf balls scattered around the property to the group reading of “Shirley the Shark.”Poetry Workshop at Honesdale, 2012, Joy 2

Thank you, Jeanne Poland, for loading your car with the sounds of music. I seriously doubt that many other workshops can boast of forming a percussion band to play and sing under a gorgeous, starlit night.Honesdale, David and Jeanne

Thank you, Matt Forrest, for divulging your secret recipe for smores.

Thank you, Jo Lloyd, for taking care of each and every detail to make it all work so smoothly. To Chef Joseph and your staff, I blame you for the extra three pounds I brought home, but I bet I’m not the only one who couldn’t resist going back for seconds and who kept shoveling down dessert night after night.

To Kent Brown, Jan Cheripko, Larry Rosler, and other distinguished guests who came by to share meals and sit in on sessions, my sincere gratitude. Janet Fagal, thanks for driving out for a visit and to meet the rest of the group. I hope that you can sign up for next year’s workshop.
Back view of The Barn at dusk
Speaking of next year, the date has been set for September 29 – October 2. I think we already have a few names on the list so let Jo Lloyd know if you might be interested. If you thought that your workshop experience was worthwhile, I hope you’ll share your thoughts with others who might enjoy the experience. As anyone who has been there knows, it’s hard to imagine a more inspiring setting for a workshop than The Barn and surrounding land that beckons from the home of the founders of Highlights Magazine for Children.My cabinBrook at Boyds Mill Walking in the woods

My Word of the Month poem

BULLETIN: Many of you have heard about the award winning new anthology by Jill Corcoran, DARE TO DREAM . . . CHANGE THE WORLD. It has recently been awarded the recognition of “2013 Notable Books for a Global Society.” Jill is putting together a BlueJeans (Skype on Steriods) Poetry Workshop for next Friday evening, April 26. If enough sign up, I’ll be one of the poets for the session. The cost to enroll in the workshop is $15.99 (the price of the book, which will be shipped to you at no extra cost). Contact Jill for information at this link:

Hi everyone,

David L. Harrison

Brother says he didn’t do it,
Promise you he did.
I can tell by looking at him
He’s the guilty kid.
All he has to do is grin
And everyone departs!
No one wants to be around
Brother when he starts.


Poetry workshop update

REMINDER: If you are interested in participating in my poetry workshop at the home of Highlights in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, there are 5 spots left. I set an upper limit of 12 and I believe we’re already up to 7 who have been accepted.

We’ll kick things off at 3:00 PM on Thursday, June 2, with a tour of HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN (R) and Boyds Mills Press. I’ve published 27 books with Boyds Mills and love my occasional stays at the original home of the founders of the company. The workshop takes place on the grounds and inside the comfortable house.

We’ll be together all day Friday and Saturday and wind things up after lunch on Sunday, June 5. I’ll mix the menu so you’ll have plenty of time between group sessions to be alone with your thoughts and court your muse against a peaceful, forested backdrop.

Group activities will include:

1) Sharing favorite poems and exploring why we like them
2) Reading poems with alternating voices to build teamwork and camaraderie
3) Brainstorming ideas for poems using a variety of practical techniques
4) Discussing what makes poetry poetry
5) Arguing the pros and cons of verse and free verse
6) Debating the relevance of children’s poetry
7) Participating in four useful workshops on key aspects of conceiving, writing, improving, and marketing poetry

Individual activities will include time to:

1) Practice writing what you’re learning
2) Be still with your thoughts
3) Start something new
4) Have me critique your work
5) Meet and chat with me one-on-one

What we will accomplish:

1) Write poems!
2) Work on fundamental elements of poetry
3) Send you home loaded with ways to find and develop ideas
4) Help make you a better poet

If this workshop sounds right for you and you want more information, contact the Foundation directly by telephone at 570-253-1192. Or, e-mail the director at . I’ll hope to see you in Honesdale.

Hi everyone,

Over the months we’ve been enjoying Word of the Month Poetry Challenge, many of you have become accustomed to seeing good poems consistently posted by students of Jana Smith and, more recently, students of Nanette Valuck, who teach at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio.

One of the nice things that has happened because of my blog is that Jana and the administration of her school have invited me to fly to Toledo and visit with the students and teachers at MVCD. I leave tomorrow morning. I’ll meet with parents tomorrow night during a program designed to demonstrate some of the many uses of poetry. On Friday I’ll visit students in each grade from 1st through 6th. I look forward to the opportunity.

I’m already impressed by all the work going into the preparations for my visit and I’m sure I’ll come home with good stories and fond memories. Stay tuned.


Interested in science and nature writing?


Hi everyone,

I received this notice from Highlights Foundation. For those of you who enjoy the challenge of writing about science and nature, this will be a great opportunity to hone your skills. I know Andy Boyles. You’ll learn a lot from him. This event takes place where I’ll give a poetry workshop June 2-5. I love it there. I’m so pleased that Ken Slesarik has now joined Carol-Ann Hoyte among others who have signed on for my workshop. If you are interested, there is still plenty of time.

Science and nature books and articles can have a profound influence on young minds. They can stimulate kids to make discoveries, to solve problems, and to become caring stewards of the planet. But before that can happen, kids need to make a deep connection with nature, and they need to understand that science is an ongoing, self-correcting process of discovery. That’s where science and nature writers like you come in!How can you become an author who ignites the love of science and nature in today’s young readers? Join Highlights and Boyds Mills Press science editor Andy Boyles for Science Writing Boot Camp! This newly created Highlights Foundation workshop will take place April 27-May 1, 2011.

Through lectures, one-to-one critiques, and ample writing time, this workshop will give you the tools and insights you need to advance on your path to success. Andy will be joined by guest faculty members Mark Baldwin, director of education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History; award-winning science author Loree Griffin Burns; and Scholastic magazine’s editor, Patricia Janes.

You’ll discover the importance of a sense of story, dig deep into the research process, and uncover the ins and outs of interviewing. You will also explore the benefits of nature journaling for developing observation skills and learn how adding photography skills to your writer’s pack can make your work more marketable.

Science Writing Boot Camp is limited to fifteen participants. To secure your spot before the workshop fills, or for more information, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192, e-mail , or request an application online. Attendees are encouraged to submit their works in progress for one-on-one critiques to Andy Boyles at least three weeks before the workshop begins. (Deadline for receipt is April 4, 2011.)

Highlights Foundation Founders Workshops take place near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. You’ll stay in your own cozy cabin, surrounded by 1,300 wooded acres and hiking trails. Workshop fee includes individual cabins; all meals (provided by a top-notch chef); airport pickup service, if needed; and an intimate teaching setting at the homeplace of the Founders of Highlights for Children.

Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who might have an interest or to include the information in blog posts or through other social networking forums.


Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 251-4500