Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Join the Readers of the Banned


It's Banned Books Week again... and this time oft-banned Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants is on a fabulous graphic that I just had to share. Look, I'm not gonna say "you must go read banned books now!" Instead, I'll say "I bet if you/your kids read a bunch of great books, you'll find that some of them have been banned. Maybe most of them."

I love Dav Pilkey's quote, too (referenced here, though I'm not sure it's the original source):

"I don't consider the books to be anti-authoritarian, but I do think it is important, if you think something is wrong, to question authority — because, you know, there are villains in real life, and they don't always wear black capes and black hats. Sometimes they're dressed like authority figures. And kids need to know that it's important to question them."

What he says! And support librarians and teachers this and all weeks when folks try to speak for more than just their own children's reading options. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kidlitcon! You! Go!!!!

Tomorrow is the last day to register for this year's Kidlitcon - the greatest gathering of bloggers in the children's and YA space around, I tells ya! It's in Sacramento this year, on October 10th and 11th. It's chock full of great presenters. And. You. Should. Go!


Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Middle Toe Sets the Record Straight - a nursery rhyme poem/a body part poem

The Middle Toe Sets the Record Straight
by
Greg Pincus

My choice might surprise you - though in your defense,
I think you're tripped up by a matter of tense -
But I've done it for me, not to be a contrarian:
Yes, this little piggie has gone vegetarian.


I know. I know. You're thinking "he took a long blogging break and came back with that?" And I'm thinking "Darn tootin'! And that's why you're here!" Or maybe you're here because it's Poetry Friday, and you're looking at the roundup of posts - kindly collected by Laura over at Author Amok. Doesn't matter to me, though. The middle toe and I are just glad to have you around.

And guess what? If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, just enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Skib-wheeeeee!!!!!

Sigh. Today is the return to the "normal" world for me, with no more of the SCBWI Summer Conference happening. 1200+ people came to #LA14SCBWI, and it truly felt to me like hanging out with 1200+ friends (which means it was fantastic and overwhelming and inspiring and all that over and over again).

This year, I was on faculty, doing a breakout about how to be effective on Pintwitfacegramblr (or any social network) and doing one-on-one social media consultations. I'm grateful to the SCBWI folks for adding something new to their plate with those, and feel utterly amazed and humbled to be part of faculty at the event in any capacity. Mighty talented folks those faculty members, and nice as can be, too.

It's worth a trip to the official SCBWI Conference Blog to get a taste of the event, particularly if you couldn't make it this year. The Twitter stream of #LA14SCBWI is worth a peek, too. Facebook's abuzz, too, of course.

I can't yet pick just one memory to share, so I'll wait a bit as I process. But I do know that it was great to see so many friends from online and offline, to share the love of creating books for kids with others who "get it," and to spend time in the happy bubble of smart, fun, compassionate people that makes up SCBWI.




Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Little Big League!

It was 20 years ago today - hey, I like that phrasing - that Little Big League opened in theaters. I wrote the original screenplay for it, which makes me biased, but I've always liked the film... and yes, I still remember the premiere.

It is truly amazing to me that something that started as a little idea in my head (as I drove on the 405, no less) turned into a movie that's still around today. And not only is it still around, but if I may just share this article by Eric Dodds that appeared on Time.com today:

Little Big League: The Most Underrated Baseball Movie of All Time

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and you can quote me)

It can be lonely writing (or illustrating or composing or creating anything), and I admit that sometimes when I'm working, I wonder "huh, will anyone but me really care about this story?" Then the thought goes away because really... well... I'm writing because I care about the story. Writing comes, writing goes... and then comes a day like today where, when I'm not expecting it, I get a really big affirmative answer to that long ago question.

I'll keep that feeling in the back of my mind as I keep writing my current manuscript. With luck, that feeling will help sustain me on those days that the story falls apart - because it will - and remind me that the work is worth it (because some days it won't seem like it). And somewhere along the line, I'm sure I'll ask that same question again... then keep writing because, well, I care about the story. And that's enough. Still, I'll take days like today, too!

Happy Anniversary, Little Big League! And thanks for the memories....

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Me, Video Games, and the ABCs

I have always loved video games (and pinball machines). I even have photographic proof of my childhood love of them... but to see that right now, you're gonna have to head over to Chris Barton's blog to read his chat with me about, yes, gaming.

Chris has a book coming out in October called Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! which is an ABC book using gamer's terms (and idea I wish I'd thought of! And look at that cover!). So in that spirit, I say "A is for awesome post, Chris."

I hope you'll check it out. I was cute, I tell ya. Cute!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bowled Over - a homophoem/a food poem

Bowled Over (a homophoem)
by
Greg Pincus

Whenever he visited, they disappeared -
He was the person that every box feared.
From Froot Loops to Crispix to Bunches of Oats
They'd tremble with fear as cries caught in their throats.
Organics would quake as if made out of filler...
For no one escaped from the cereal killer.


A homophoem is poetic form in which you use a homonym/homophone (or many) to create a "plot twist" or unexpected punchline. I believe J. Patrick Lewis came up with the form, and the above poem was written in response to a prompt from him (over at The Miss Rumphius Effect). I'd never shared the poem here, however, and figured it was time!

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Buffy Silverman's blog. Go on by and check out the poetry fun!

And if you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

An Interview and Giveaway!

Wanna win a copy of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. and/or read an interview with me? If you answered yes to either, head on over to Read Write Tell and check me/the giveaway out as part of the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday fun over there.

Enter to win by next Tuesday... or read at your leisure. And thanks, Deb, for featuring me!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hope for a Sea Change

My friend and fellow blogger Elizabeth Aquino has just published an ebook called Hope for a Sea Change. It's a true story about her experiences raising a family, and, more specifically, raising her oldest daughter, Sophie, who was diagnosed with a rare seizure disorder at the age of three months. Sophie's 19 now, and only recently, with the addition of CBD, has had her first days without seizures since 1995

Elizabeth's a fabulous writer, and the book is a great, fast read, even while being an uncompromising look at her experiences. Unlike pretty much everything else I discuss here, this is not a book for kids or the classroom, though I assure you everyone at any age would be affected by it.

The book is available now through shebooks. You can find more information about Hope for a Sea Change here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thanks, Bank Street!

I have to say, it is quite a happy thing and honor to find The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. on the Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year, 2014 Edition list.

And to be on that list with so many talented other authors and illustrators just in the "nine to twelve" range, let alone the whole thing? Yeah. Pretty amazing.

So, thanks, I say to them! And thanks to y'all for your support, too!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Poetry Re-Issue: Doughnuts! Oh, Doughnuts!

It's National Doughnut Day - a perfect time to re-issue this poem (originally posted in 2009).

Doughnuts! Oh, Doughnuts!
by
Greg Pincus

Doughnuts! Oh, doughnuts! Fried circles of yum.
You food that I simply adore.
You’re sure not nutritious, but you’re so delicious
I’m always left wishing for more.

I love you with frosting or covered in sprinkles.
I swoon for you, sweet, sugar raised!
When you’re filled with jelly, you warm up my belly...
While still leaving room for a glazed.

I’ll dip you in coffee or dunk you in milk.
I’ll eat you for breakfast or brunch.
I get so impassioned for simple old-fashioned
That sometimes I make them my lunch.

Doughnuts! Oh, doughnuts! Definers of yum.
You perfect fried circles of dough.
Although you’re caloric, you leave me euphoric...
So give me a dozen to go!


Today's also Poetry Friday, and you can check out the roundup of posts hosted at Carol's Corner. And then maybe you want to join me for a fried circle of yum? Yay!

Oh! You can find this poem and 53 others in my collection The Late Bird, available on Kindle (and all the free Kindle apps, too) and Nook

If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Book Trailers and BookReels.com

I'm a fan of book trailers. Heck, I made one for The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., in fact... and you can now find it in a new place, too - on BookReels.com.

BookReels is hoping to be an MTV for book trailers (and book sales) says co-founder Dan Rosen (who I used to write alongside at coffeehouses many moons ago!). I think it would be fabulous to see it become another community where folks are talking books, and hope to see the community that's forming there continue to grow.

Joining and rating and chatting is free. Uploading is free. Why not go check it out? And if you haven't ever seen and heard my trailer, why not start there? Cuz, like... it makes me happy!


Monday, May 19, 2014

As Easy as ABC: Awards, Best Sellers, and Critical Thinking

The author with one of his many awards.
Award-winning,* best-selling** author Greg Pincus here. I wanted to write a little today about the ABCs - awards, best sellers, and critical thinking.

This past week, Rush Limbaugh won Author of the Year at the Children's Choice Book Awards, an award sponsored by the Children's Book Council. Much as when his nomination as a finalist was announced, there was much gnashing of teeth inside (and outside) the children's book world with the award announcement, including many comments about how the award and even the CBC had lost credibility.

It's easy to feel outraged when there's a sense of being snookered or betrayed, but the reality is that the Author of the Year award has always been determined the same way - qualification is based on sales, then there's a popular vote to pick the winner. That didn't change this year.

So, if the award had credibility before, it has credibility now, even if the winner seems "unworthy" somehow. If you weren't aware of the criterion for the award and how it was picked, at the end of the day that's on you, not the award. And not liking the results doesn't change that at all.

If we ask who gave this particular award whatever credibility it has, I'd say that the answer is that we did, collectively. Perhaps, in this case, it's trust in the creators of the award or the fact that it's part of a mission that we love (celebrating children's books!) and that talented authors have won it before. Regardless, our celebration of award winning status in general definitely is a factor. And that, again, is on us.

Awards for creative endeavors are a tricky thing. In a blog post that's well worth a read, Emma Dryden touches on some of the challenges and pitfalls of them and how we value them. Yet it's not easy to change this - there's all sorts of psychology in play here (including confirmation bias, social conformity, and more), and it's hard to overcome. Awards should mean something, we've decided, so when we see an award (particularly from an organization that seems legit and good), we give it value.

And yet that's abdicating our personal responsibility to practice critical thinking and view each situation individually.

*For example, I honestly am an award-winning author. I'm not talking about awards for my debut novel The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. (which, I note, was a finalist for the Cybils and Crystal Kite... but not a winner) or my screenplays. Nope. I won an award in middle school at the Ready Writing Contest at Mansfield State College. My Punt Pass and Kick trophy from when I was eight could count, too - it's an award for me, after all, and I am an author. Context and critical thinking matter again, clearly.

How we view the status of "best seller" falls into this same arena, at least to me. Best-selling sounds "good" and "impressive," and it's easy to see why an author would link that to his/her name. And yet...

Best Seller!
**I can legitimately describe myself as a best-selling author: upon release, my ebook of poetry, The Late Bird, topped Amazon's Kindle Children's Poetry best seller list for over a month.

I also know that my sales during that period tapered off rapidly and included weeks of single digit sales. (10 of you feel free, as a social experiment, to buy The Late Bird and watch me top the same chart again. Go for it. I'll wait here :-)).

So, does Best Seller by itself really carry any weight? Again, we collectively have given it status and credibility, but perhaps we've done so without always considering context.

It's very easy to accept that statuses like "award winner" and "best seller" are impressive and meaningful, but if we don't think critically - asking questions like who gave an award, what was the purpose, what were the qualifications, what was the process, how were "sales" measured, where was it a best seller - then we're following blindly and not thinking for ourselves. And that? Well, that's sad no matter who has won what.

What do you think? Do we trust awards, best seller lists, reviews, and the like too much? Is the recent outrage only political in nature and not about our responsibility to think critically? Or...? I look forward to your thoughts.

Friday, May 02, 2014

30 Poets/2 Years/1 Day

April and 30 Poets/30 Days are done, but I wanted to wrap up the month that just passed here on Poetry Friday (and you can see the roundup of PF posts at Write.Sketch.Repeat). This year, I re-issued the poetry from the first two years of the event, so there were 60 poets and 60 poems in one month's time.

And I just have to say it was a privilege, again, to share the amazingly diverse work - in content and style - by an amazing group of talented poets. And to be among them? A thrill. Totally.

So, here, then is what I call 30 Poets/2 Years/1 Day!

April 1: Jack Prelutsky and Alice Schertle
April 2: Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Joseph Bruchac
April 3: Charles Ghigna and Laura Purdie Salas
April 4: X. J. Kennedy and Calef Brown
April 5: Ann Whitford Paul and Carole Boston Weatherford
April 6: Jaime Adoff and Jorge Argueta
April 7: Marilyn Singer and Susan Marie Swanson
April 8: Adam Rex and Ralph Fletcher
April 9: Joyce Sidman and Alan Katz
April 10: Bruce Lansky and Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
April 11: Avis Harley and Charles Waters
April 12: Nikki Grimes and Kathi Appelt
April 13: Lee Bennett Hopkins and Kurt Cyrus
April 14: Linda Sue Park and Arthur A. Levine
April 15: Mary Ann Hoberman and Eileen Spinelli
April 16: Betsy Franco and Bobbi Katz
April 17: Jon Scieszka and James Carter
April 18: Kristine O'Connell George and Elaine Magliaro
April 19: Arnold Adoff and David L. Harrison
April 20: Jane Yolen and Brod Bagert
April 21: Greg Pincus and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
April 22: Janet Wong and Heidi Mordhorst
April 23: Nikki Giovanni and Charles R. Smith, Jr.
April 24: J. Patrick Lewis and Georgia Heard
April 25: Julie Larios and George Ella Lyon
April 26: Joan Bransfield Graham and Jacqueline Woodson
April 27: Kenn Nesbitt and Graham Denton
April 28: April Halprin Wayland and Francisco X. Alarcón
April 29: Douglas Florian and Liz Garton Scanlon
April 30: Pat Mora and Walter Dean Myers

Yeah, it was a fine month. Of course, poetry runs year round here at GottaBook, and if you want to keep on top of it, I hope you'll sign up to my poetry email list. That way, when a poem appears here, you'll get it via email for super-easy reading and sharing (plus there have been giveaways and other small extras, too). If you want in, just enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe:

Thanks again for hanging out here for 30 Poets/30 Days. I'm already looking forward to next April... and the 11 months in between, too.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Meet Andrew Huang ("A Genius!" Says I)


I don't think I'm prone to hyperbole, so I truly mean it when I say that Andrew Huang is the type of brilliant, creative talent I believe makes the world a happier place. So, when I decided to make a book trailer for the 14 Fibs of Gregory K., I knew I wanted him to create the song for it. And he did, and it makes me happy EVERY time I hear it.

I've followed his music for years - from his albums on Bandcamp (many owned by this family, I must add!); the amazing Songs to Wear Pants To; all of his fantastic videos. He a multi-instrumentalist who crosses genres and styles and does stuff like make music with 1000 pairs of pants or puts e.e. cummings to music or rap in which the only vowel he uses is the letter E:



(All proceeds from that song, by the way, benefit Habitat for Humanity. So, like, he's a good egg on top of his ability to dismiss all vowels besides E with the line "these excess letters - delete".)

Anyway, I interviewed Andrew via email and now have a chance to share it with you. And please - check him out at any of the above links. You won't be sorry.

When did you discover your love of music? 

Summer by Andrew Huang
I have been experimenting with a lot of musical stuff since an early age, whether it was plinking away on the piano or recording myself on a tape deck. I always considered myself more of a visual artist though until my teens when I started being introduced to music outside of the pop and classical that I grew up with - stuff like punk rock, trip-hop, bebop, cool jazz, weird underground electronic stuff... I realized I loved it all.

Your song challenge videos/songs are incredibly creative. How do you even approach something like "make a song only using the sounds you can make from 1000 pairs of jeans"? Or "only use water sounds." I mean... seriously?

Those found sound videos are fun. It's really a process of discovery. I might have an inkling of where I could take something, but I basically start out by trying to get every possible sound I can out of whatever the challenge calls for. Usually, each sound I can make ends up translating in my mind into a representation of an instrument - tapping a box might work as a snare drum, for example. And then it's back to the normal matter of arranging a piece of music. The palette is limited depending on the materials of course. Most often in these kinds of pieces there isn't something very suitable to use as a bass.


You make music in so many different styles and genres. Do you have a favorite?

Couldn't ever pick a favorite. What I listen to changes all the time. In terms of what I create - sonically speaking - pop, rap, and the wonderfully broad "electronic" would form the backbone of the majority of my work, but I think I also bring a sense of structure and orchestration that comes from what I know and love in classical music. And my songwriting craft was honed more from listening to rock, folk, and country. If we throw all that in the pot it'll keep me happy (most of the time).

You just released a new album on Bandcamp. What's next?

Haha. "You just released a new album on Bandcamp" is a phrase that applies to me about once a month. (Greg's note: you really have to check out his stuff on Bandcamp.)

I'm working on a bunch of new stuff that will be seeing the light of day soon but the biggest thing is this sort of dark, brooding pop album called The Coldest Darkness. It's been years in the making and I haven't often been this excited about a project. There will be a really awesome physical package to go with it to, and I'm working on some out-of-the-ordinary ways that fans will be able to get themselves an early copy.

Andrew is also touring the West Coast of the US with Hank Green this summer. Perhaps I'll see you at a show?

Besides YouTube and Bandcamp, you can find Andrew on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere as @AndrewIsMusic.  I leave you with his Gravy and Toast, a song he wrote on commission. I mean, really - he turned toast and gravy into toe tapping singable fun. I rest my case!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30 Poets/Day 30 - Pat Mora and Walter Dean Myers

What a month! And today's poems by Pat Mora and Walter Dean Myers seem like a perfect way to close, at least to me. It has been a thrill for me to share poetry this month by soooooo many poets who I admire so much (59 to be exact!). And thanks for hanging out with us!

Books & Me
by
Pat Mora

We belong
together,
books and me,
like toast and jelly
o queso y tortillas.
Delicious! ¡Delicioso!

Like flowers and bees,
birds and trees,
books and me.

©2009 Pat Mora. All rights reserved.



Walking
by
Walter Dean Myers

How come my feet know how to meet
The sidewalk as I walk?
          “Because of your brain, my love.”
How come my lips don’t ever slip
As I begin to talk?
          “Your lovely brain, my pet”
How come my knees fly through the breeze
As I race along?
          “Did I mention your B-R-A-I-N?”
How come my ears know what to hear
When I listen to a song?
          “They’re connected to your brain!”
How come my eyes can judge the size
Of everything they see?
          “Your brain, dummy!”
How come my wrists know how to twist
A knob or turn a key?
          “BRAIN! BRAIN! BRAIN! Use it!”
And how come my belly button just sits there in the middle of my stomach without doing one little bit of work, gets these little lint things in it, and feels funny if I touch it?

          “Err…beats me.”

© Walter Dean Myers. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday we had poetry from Douglas Florian and Liz Garton Scanlon. Today wraps up 30 Poets/30 Days for 2014! Tomorrow, please check out my feature on Andrew Huang, composer of the theme song for my middle grade novel, The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. And while there's poetry all year round here at GottaBook, make sure you come back this Friday for a wrap up of this year's poetic festivities!

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along all the future such events here at GottaBook.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

30 Poets/Day 29 - Douglas Florian and Liz Garton Scanlon

It's a good day when you have Douglas Florian and Liz Garton Scanlon gracing your blog, I say. (And I say this even though back in 2009, due to my executive functioning skills, I didn't end up with a previously unpublished Douglas Florian poem so went into improv mode and shared a poem of his that's always stuck with me.) Riddles, laughs, beauty...  I will miss this month when it passes, I must say....

Styropoem
by
Douglas Florian

I think I've never
Seen a poem
To praise a piece
of Styrofoam.
I've waited years -
I'm waiting still.
I guess I never
Ever
Will.

I was inspired by that poem (from Bing Bang Boing). So I sat down and wrote the following:

Ode to a Piece of Styrofoam
(For Douglas Florian)
by
Greg Pincus

Styrofoam's good -
There is no debate.
And Styrofoam won't
Disintegrate!

(click here to see the original post and comments)


Reflecting
by
Liz Garton Scanlon

I’m your moody friend with a changing face
looking out from deep in space.

I’m peppermint candy, cold but sweet,
and lantern light on a sleepy street.

I’m not afraid of howling dogs,
I cut through morning’s thickest fogs.

I brighten baby’s lullaby
with a twinkle in my eye.


I conduct the ocean tides
and set the stage for midnight rides.

A calendar for keeping time –
sharp as a sword, round as a dime.

I tempt the astronauts each night
while I rob Sun of extra light.

Golden as an apple pie,
but twice as big and twice as high.


Waxing now but soon I’ll wane,
then always come around again.

Friend to possums, hungry bats,
spotlight for the prowling cats,

I share my shine, for what it’s worth,
with everyone upon the earth.

I’m your companion in the sky
but do you know me? Who am I?

© 2010 Liz Garton Scanlon. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday we had poems from April Halprin Wayland and Francisco X. Alarcón. Tomorrow, we finish up the month with Walter Dean Myers and Pat Mora.

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along.

Monday, April 28, 2014

30 Poets/Day 28 - April Halprin Wayland and Francisco X. Alarcón

OK, here on day 28 with April Halprin Wayland and Francisco X. Alarcón and my search for daily themes once again leads me to say "I love poetry! That's the theme! POETRY!" Yup. I've done a good job this month not going all fanboy on y'all, but geeeeez, once again I gotta say... I love these poems, and hope you do, too.

HOW TO READ A POEM ALOUD
by
April Halprin Wayland

First, read the title of the poem

and the poet’s name.


Be clear.


Now completely

disappear.


Let each line

shine.


Then read it

one more time.

When the poem

ends, sigh.


Think about the poet at her desk,
late at night, picking up her pen to write…

and why.

© 2009 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)



Listen/Escucha
by
Francisco X. Alarcón

Listen

“listen, mijito
we are never
really alone”

whispers
my grandma
to my ear

like a flapping
hummingbird
in the dark

“the wind
the stars
the sea

never stop
speaking to
each of us”
Escucha

“escucha, mijito
nunca estamos
solos en realidad”

me susurra
mi abuelita
como colibrí

aleteando
junto a mi oído
en la oscuridad

“el viento
las estrellas
el mar

a cada uno
no nos dejan
de hablar”

© 2010 Francisco X. Alarcón. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday we had poetry from Kenn Nesbitt and Graham Denton. Tomorrow... Douglas Florian and Liz Garton Scanlon.

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

30 Poets/Day 27 - Kenn Nesbitt and Graham Denton

When you have Kenn Nesbitt and Graham Denton on the same day, well, it's a day of smiles and smarts in poetry form (aka, a good day!). And thanks to Kenn, people arrive at my blog after typing "chicken on internet" on Google. That's poetic, too, in its own way!

My Chicken's On the Internet
by
Kenn Nesbitt

My chicken's on the Internet.
She surfs the web all day.
I've tried to stop her browsing
but, so far, there's just no way.

She jumps up on the mouse
and then she flaps around like mad
to click on every hyperlink
and every pop-up ad.

She plays all sorts of chicken games.
She messages her folks.
She watches chicken videos
and forwards chicken jokes.

She writes a blog for chickens
and she uploads chicken pics.
She visits chicken chat rooms
where she clucks about her chicks.

I wouldn't mind so much
except my keyboard's now a wreck.
She hasn't learned to type yet;
she can only hunt and peck.

© 2009 Kenn Nesbitt. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)



Sounds Delightful
by
Graham Denton

Sounds of scary night-time creatures:
howling wolves and screeching bats,
wailing witches, cackling demons,
giggling goblins, keening cats;
ghostly sounds to make one shiver:
haunting screams and ghastly groans;
rattling chains and shrieks of horror—
noises that will chill the bones;
creaking floorboards, footsteps creeping,
voices from beyond the grave...
when they’re having trouble sleeping
that’s what infant monsters crave!

©2010 Graham Denton. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday gave us poetry by Joan Bransfield Graham and Jacqueline Woodson. Tomorrow... April Halprin Wayland and Francisco X. Alarcón.

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

30 Poets/Day 26 - Joan Bransfield Graham and Jacqueline Woodson

Once again, with these works by Joan Bransfield Graham and Jacqueline Woodson, here are two totally different types of poems, both of which will knock your socks off.

I AM THE POEM
by
Joan Bransfield Graham

I am the poem
out
of reach
I make you
spin
and leap and
stretch
and when you're
just
about to
catch
me
off I twirl
in clever
choreography
but we are
never
far apart
I pirouette
around
your heart
and head and
tease
with all the
mysteries
I can employ:

it is the dance
that is the joy.


© 2009 Joan Bransfield Graham. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)



One of the Many Stories
by
Jacqueline Woodson

When the puppy in the road was
mine, life didn't stop
for the driver. That evening perhaps
he read his son one of many stories
grownups write for children
about dogs. Perhaps
this one found its way
Home. The End. Then kissed his child
center crown as always, the meat
his wife was roasting, nearly done
by the time the vet pronounced
Bella dead at four months, one half
hour before my daughter, at six, discovered
a new way tomorrow could get here
tears to whimpering then finally sleep
a plastic bone beneath her pillow from this moment on,
safe still from towers burning, a car moving fast
against traffic as the children inside squeal
themselves to death. A pan of oil too close
to an open flame     She Is, I think
safe still from other stories.

Night and the driver
couldn't see a black puppy bolting
Didn't know
that deep in her German Shepherd blood
was a desire for the only story she knew
Let's call it "Home"

so when the door was cracked
she saw the promise of black night
caught scent of her recent journey
thought she knew the way
back to us
One half mile away from where I stood
packing, now pondering black linen shorts
now folding a Mama For Obama t-shirt into my bag
now smiling over our daughter's first
pink bikini as our dogsitters searched and found
our number. Already, our trip
to the Caribbean was becoming another story
of another almost-thing, puppy-blood warm
freezing fast for us into
On the corner of Pacific and Bond that February

©2010 Jacqueline Woodson. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday, we had poetry from Julie Larios and George Ella Lyon. Tomorrow... Kenn Nesbitt and Graham Denton.

 Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along.

Friday, April 25, 2014

30 Poets/Day 25 - Julie Larios and George Ella Lyon

Ahhh, yes. Aren't these poems by Julie Larios and George Ella Lyon just gorgeous? That's why I chose them for the 25th, International Gorgeous Poem Day (newly minted by me). OK, fine. But they are wonderful words in perfect order.... Enjoy!


NO STRINGS ATTACHED
Julie Larios

If I were a kite
with no strings to hold me,
I 'd let the wind take me –
I'd let the crows scold me,
I'd float through the sky
with the sun on my shoulders.
The clouds would all bite
at my ears. I'd be bolder
than bold, I’d dance, I'd go soaring—
a life in the sky could never be boring.

I'd fly over houses then over the tops
of skyscraping buildings
but I wouldn't stop there, I'd sail over sailboats
and islands
and oceans.
I’d drive the world loco with my locomotion.

Diving and squawking,
The seagulls would show me the migrating whales
as they spouted below me.
Over Kansas and Kashmir,
the hot sands of Cairo,
Mt. Fuji, Mt. Everest –
higher and higher—
wheatfields would wave to me,
deserts would sigh.
Icebergs would stare as I rose in the sky.

The sun would be one friend,
the bright moon another.
And what would the stars be
but sisters and brothers?

I'd know all the secrets the sky's never told me
if I were a wild kite
with no strings to hold me.


©2009 Julie Larios. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)


TRYING TO GET OUT OF MY TREE
by
George Ella Lyon
(according to the Celtic Tree Calendar
my birthday makes me a Willow)

How about a willow
         that doesn’t weep
that spikes her green tresses
         and carries on sturdy
like some punk oak

or gets that groovy bark
         like a hackberry

O willow
what if I don’t want to be
weeping
or witched
what if I want to be

royal like the oak
strong enough to be a ship

or abloom with love
like the apple

or sacred like the pine?

Am I stuck here
by the water
enchanted against my own
willowy
will?

©2010 George Ella Lyon. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday we had poetry from J. Patrick Lewis and Georgia Heard. Tomorrow... Joan Bransfield Graham and Jacqueline Woodson.  And hey... check out the Poetry Friday roundup over at The Opposite of Indifference for a whole slew of poetry month joy!

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along.