You may have seen a furry little critter bouncing around various kid lit blogs lately…well today, he’s visiting mine! He’s Mortimer, a buck-toothed troubadour for children’s poetry, and he’s the mascot for a Poetry Blog Hop started by fellow writer/poet April Halprin Wayland.
Here’s how it works:
1) Answer one of the previous questions asked by the blogger who tagged you, and answer two other questions you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview about children’s poetry;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write children’s poetry to answer three questions that they make up on their own blogs (again, using one of the pervious questions);
3) In the post, let readers know who your invitees are and when they’re are going to be posting their Mortimer Minute questions and answers.
Well, that sounds simple enough!
1) What project(s) are you working on now?
Upon completing the manuscript for my winter-themed children’s poetry collection last year, I began working on an autumn-themed collection. (I figure, if an editor likes the first one, they’ll know there’s more where that came from!) I still need another 8 or so poems to complete that, but I also wrote and co-wrote two picture book manuscripts this year and I have two other picture book ideas I’m trying to work on, too! Is there any way to cram more than 24 hours into a standard ‘day?’
2) How do you come up with the ideas for your poetry?
Ideas are where you find them. I don’t have to look hard to come up with subject matter, but figuring out a unique angle in which to present it or twist it does require a fair amount of brain work. As I mentioned on this blog earlier this week, I try to find the angle that is least expected. For instance, at the Highlights poetry workshop I’ve been telling you about, one of the exercises David Harrison had us do was brainstorm words that had anything to do with a word he would give us. When he said the word was “jar,” everyone in the room was offering up words like “jelly,” “pickles,” and that sort of thing. One person said “sudden stopping movement,” as in the verb, ”jar.”
Me? My first thought was Jar Jar Binks, that annoying character from Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I didn’t say anything, though. Even I thought it was a pretty far stretch. But my point is, dare to be different!
3) What poem do you wish you had written?
None. There is not a single poem anywhere that I wish I’d written. There are some terrific ones out there, like Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” Silverstein’s “The Little Boy and the Old Man,” Thomas Gray’s “Ode on the death of a favorite cat,” Poe’s “To My Mother,” and just about anything Robert Frost ever wrote. But I write my own poetry, and am perfectly content with that – whether it’s any good or not.
I’ve invited two people to join the blog hop:
Violet Nesdoly is a poet and regular contributor to Poetry Friday. She’ll post her Mortimer Minute next Friday, Oct. 25.
Papa-J Funk, meanwhile, never claimed to be a poet – although he is quite adept at creating fun and unusual rhymes in his picture book manuscripts. He’ll have his ‘Minute’ Friday, Oct. 25, as well!
Speaking of poetry…
…here’s another poem I wrote while at that Highlights poetry workshop. Ironically, even though the workshop was geared to children’s poetry, this is definitely not a children’s poem! I was inspired to write it the first day I was there because a) it was situated in the field right across from all of our cabins and could not be missed, and b) fellow children’s writer/blogger Joy Acey prompted me to write a ‘nature’-themed poem, which is something I’ve had plenty of practice doing before!
“The Apple Tree”
An old tree
in the field across the road
stood in solitude amidst the sawgrass
and a few errant wildflowers,
so full of precious fruit
I surmised it must be
in wont of a visitor
with whom to share
Desirous of the beauty
I beheld, I journeyed
through green-amber weeds
high to my waist, urgent
soft steps growing
and more deliberate.
The tree beckoned, lifting each coy leaf
sweet bounty beneath.
Soon, I saw boughs heavy
as the Milky Way, bearing
stars upon stars
and outshone the very leaves
that held them
in the sky.
Faster and faster I trod, consumed
by a fervent lust
such succulence I’d never seen!
Closer, closer, I came,
heart and eyes wide and longing
Under shade of canopy,
I saw clearly only now
blessed fruit blushed
Mold-speckled faces frowned
through borers’ brown holes
while wind-wrinkled skin hung
criss-crossed with blemishes
of age and neglect.
for only a moment,
then sat close to its trunk,
where low-hanging corpses
mocked my desire…
I would not leave this spot,
for I knew my hunger
was insatiable, and my thirst
I would remain
yearning, never satisfied,
with what could have been.
- © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine
For all of today’s Poetry Friday links and info, be sure to visit Cathy at Merely Day By Day!
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