Happy summer! The very helpful Diane is herding haiku folks &
other poetry people into the weekly partee known as Poetry Friday.
A visit with Irene Latham
I have twice bumped into Alabama-based author
We exchanged grins at a cozy SCBWI Southern
Breeze workshop. Then months later, we appreciated
the airy space of The Bookshelf, a friendly emporium
in a Georgia village.
Irene Latham P.B. Shelf (with approving elephant) The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA
c. 2016 JanGodownAnnino
All my moments with this often-traveling, award-winning poet,
novelist & picture book author give me the feeling that
I want to be a calmer & kinder person & a much more
creative writer. No wonder I’m craving an Irene Latham fix.
I left a trail of peanuts, in hopes of enticing this
elephant-loving woman into the Bookseedstudio studio.
The snacks worked. We are today’s exclusive site for,
A visit with Irene Latham.
Peanuts or popcorn?
I can’t pick… enjoy them both! Especially if there’s
Book wrangling. Keep them in a tall, narrow bookcase? A
short, fold-up bookstair? Alphabetized by author? How do
you tame your home/office library?
I have books in every room of the house — but I try really
hard to keep only the books to which I have strong attachments.
(Books are meant to be read, not collecting dust on a shelf!) I don’t
do alphabetical, though it sure would make things easier to find! I
tend to group according to emotional impact. I do have several
bookshelves devoted to only children’s literature.
Background sounds. What is your writing zone playlist?
Is silence when you write, golden?
Silence is my sound of choice. Or birdsong.
We are visiting Birmingham, your town.
What are 3 places you’d take us to?
Vulcan at night,
Johnny’s in Homewood for the best
upscale meat-n-three you will ever eat,
and Reed Books.
And then there’s the Civil Rights Museum, Railroad Park,
Birmingham Museum of Art, the Botanical Gardens,
our fabulous zoo…
Please finish the sentence. A map is…
. . . unnecessary.
Let the journey guide you, not the map! (I actually love maps
and am learning some of the best things ever are found when
you put the map away.)
If your name weren’t Irene, it would be…
. . . Hannah. (I am named after my great-grandmother,
If writing weren’t your work, it would be… ?
My husband and I love to travel and love to EAT, so
maybe together we’d host a TV travel show?
What should children’s writers ask
themselves when they start a new project?
Am I having fun? Am I delighted?
Does this story fill me with wonder and joy?
Irene Latham with young friends, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA
to Irene for these fun thoughts. You can glean a fine dollop of
poem-making tips & shake paws with the elephant-loving
Irene Latham at these fresh & delicious 2016 events:
Alabama Writers Conclave (Birmingham, AL) – July 15-17
Mississippi Book Festival (Jackson, MS) – August 20
Poetry Camp (Bellingham, WA) – October 1
SCBWI Writing & Illustrating for Kids (Birmingham, AL) – October 8
Louisiana Book Festival (Baton Rouge, LA) – October 29
NCTE (Atlanta, GA) – November 17-20
you will not want to miss, coming to a bookshelf near you
(sooner or later) this hard-working poet’s way with words in:
IT’S NOT BLACK AND WHITE
(poetry picture book, co-authored with Charles Waters)
FRANK AND MISS FANCY
(historical fiction picture book)
POP, BAM, BOOM!
(poetry picture book)
THE OCTOPUS POSTCARDS
(nonfiction picture book)
more juicy details visit www.irenelatham.com
if you have’t already, read these Irene Latham books
find them fast:
DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST
WHEN SHE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA</>
LEAVING GEE’S BEND
DON’T FEED THE BOY
THE COLOR OF LOST ROOMS
THE SKY BETWEEN US
WHAT CAME BEFORE </>
Here is a little Irene Lantham poem-in-progress,
but certainly not BY Irene.
Deep down in
another writer’s desk
dwelled fusty words,
not the best.
Irene swatted the dull things
away. She clapped her paws:
“Walloping crisp verbs,
come in and play.”
A calvacade of tight terms
Multitudinous words danced
in the now-lively place.
Violets in a vase.
“Tut, tut,” Irene said,
“Good words always lived here.
You just had to banish
that writerly fear.”