A young poet in character

The poet Naomi Shihab Nye edited the poetry anthology SALTING THE OCEAN, which is afloat with the vibrant writings of young poets. Like Nye, I think that attention paid to young poet voices can build peace, provide future strong leaders and just make any poet’s day.

If you agree, Poetry Out Loud,  is a brilliant program you may want to run out & connect with. I volunteered with POL recently & hope to help out more, next time around.

In the 1950s in my state, Florida, a Putlizer-Prize winning author thought about a young poet.

In doing so, the author created a character not seen often then. An elementary-age poet character. If you know of a recent (within 3 years or forthcoming) picture book or illustrated book (not YA, which pays tribute to teen poet charactersoften enough) for children that features a elementary age character who is a poet, I would like to know for my list.

In the meantime, young poet Calpurnia is a character to consider. She is inspired by her dog, to write poetry:


My dog’s name is Buggy-horse

         Of course.


Our young poet further writes:


Lovely day,

Come what may.

         If I did not love

                           my mother

                                    and my father


         I would run away.


                           it is a running-away

         Kind of day.



With the birds chit-chittering outside my open window


With the two kinds of azalea in the yard (native & exotic) nodding pink petals on the March breeze


With my Western cousins having just swept through town on their way home, enticing us with video of their kayak adventures among manatees, alligators and living whelks


feels like

a running-away day.

I can’t run.

Why –

just been away in Boston & then immediately after, Central Florida

hosting a critique meeting soon

have 3 essay deadlines

And mostly, my writing deserves this keyboard time.

But – if you are north of Garden Zone 8 &  your winter has lasted longer than usual this year, is it time for your running-away day?

I hope so, remembering the advice of one of my favorite writers for children, Cynthia Rylant, who said that instead of reading an interview with her online, a writer should probably go and play.


Did you guess the adult creator of the young poet who was inspired by her dog?

It is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, in THE SECRET RIVER.

Timeless, lovely story, in each of its two editions:


THE SECRET RIVER  by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard



THE SECRET RIVER by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings illustrated by  Leo & Diane Dillon
THE SECRET RIVER by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
illustrated by
Leo & Diane Dillon






18 responses to “A young poet in character”

  1. The Florida Book Awards gold medal winner in the children’s book category for 2013, “This Journal Belongs to Ratchet” by Nancy Cavanaugh features many poems by Rachel, aka Ratchet.

    If only getting a new life
    were as easy as getting
    A new notbook.
    But it/s not.


    • Tabatha, Good to meet you here. Will look for 14 FIBS at our library (thanks for the link, I enjoyed the reviews) & also, for the Roni Schotter title.
      A list of picture books about poets would make a good list, too. I know the Jen Bryant & Melissa Sweet book, A RIVER OF WORDS (about William Carlos Williams) is quite special & I’m sure there are others but I’m just a fuzz brain, at the moment.


    • Myra,
      That’s good to know. She is someone to study if poetry is one of your realms.
      Thanks for the good words. Just 2 titles now – I think it will list when I have at least five.
      Searching, tho.

      Please return to Bookseedstudio when you can.
      And I’ve known Gathering Books & look forward to visiting again.



  2. I’m listening to a YA book right now, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. The main character, Rose, writes poetry.

    Can’t wait to see your final list!


    • Mary Lee,
      Well first, many thanks for helping me out Thursday with an early Poetry Friday link.
      What is ROSE UNDER FIRE about. I’m glad you mentioned a YA poetry-creating character. This is actually part of what spurs me to consider poetry-writing characters in picture books & chapter books, where this aspect of a character makes fewer appearances.
      Poems are introduced in kindergarten, so it seems to follow that more characters in picture books could be expected to be poets, such as Calpurnia in THE SECRET RIVER.

      Thank you for visiting Bookseedstudio!



    • A Big thanks for visiting & for this great lead.
      THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END is a mighty intriguing title.
      Sounds like a circular story?
      I will look into it – want to learn about the young poet character, Ryan, who Joan Bransfield Graham created.

      Glad to meet you this way, Buffy


  3. I’m not going to ‘run away’, but enjoy my spring break here at home & love it. What a lovely poem, & interesting collection you are making. I hope you’ll share as the list grows.


    • Splendid about a perfect staycation.
      Our own region is fantastic enough to vacation here & we do that all the time.

      Two places to find the results of this project –
      Here, mebe at the end of April.
      And Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup has kindly agreed to post a link, I think that will be
      April 1. Glad you asked.

      Thank you for visiting Linda – Happy Spring Break!


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