Library Love

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Today’s Poetry Friday wordsmiths are gathered here. Thank you.

Library Love

A federal entity prompted American composer Ira Gershwin to write,
“Shining
star and
inspiration,
worthy of a
mighty nation. . .” *

Ira Gershwin,
1966, in Washington D.C.

A beloved librarian prompted Lee Bennet Hopkins
to write
Storyteller (for Augusta Baker).
Here are
a few lines from it by LBH

. . . And as her voice
reaches
the highest
rafter-

I believe in

once-upon-a-time,

I believe in

happily ever after.
c. 2015 Lee Bennett Hopkins
in Jumping Off Library Shelves


Book Speak!, Jumping Off
Library Shelves & I Am The Book
comprise my tiny & treasured
collection of poem books
for children
about the dreamland worlds of
books that some
of us are lucky to learn
to love,
the
library.

(Book Speak! is from Laura Purdie Salas, with
the other two from poet/editor Lee Bennett Hopkins. I know I have
missed other poetry collections about libraries/books, not
currently on my shelves,
so educate me, please.)

I pulled these titles
off the shelf Monday,
adrift in thoughts of
library grandeur, due to
a recent reverie
at a library that I only
inhabit
infrequently.

Yes, a weekly trip to our
public treasure trove of titles
is a lift. It is a visit made with
with gratitude not only
for the haul of titles borrowed, also,
it’s where
an astute weekly writing partner
hears me read my
latest, and I, hear hers.

But, hey, it’s Washington, D.C.,
where my heart
flutters to enter
library nirvana.

c.2017JanGodownAnnino

LOC

Literally,
Omnivirous
Collection

c.2017 JGA

The Jefferson Building of
the United States Library of Congress
is a cathedral
to research & to reading.
The art-tiled entry,
& artist-painted murals that represent
the fields of knowledge &
the practice of the arts, the
grand stairs & sculpture
of the entry hall of the main
building, are a
palace for the reading people. One stands
straighter, looks higher and dreams
more determinedly,
here.

At the Library of Congress
we visited, or peeked at, a lot.
The Florida maps on display.
The Gutenberg Bible. The
bookcased and domed
reading room. George and
Ira Gerswhin’s piano, just one classy
piece of the incomparable family
LOC legacy, which includes the annual
American songbook Gershwin Prize. *

c.2017JanGodownAnnino

(*This column’s opening rhyme by Ira Gershwin resides, in his own
handwriting, in the visitor’s guestbook kept for
the Ceremonial Office (here) of the Library of Congress.)

A temporary
LOC display of
special
importance to our family,
with one attorney & one
attorney-in-training, is
“Drawing Justice.”

This engaging exhibit of various
dramatic scenes, mainly in color,
from history-making, even
precedent-setting cases,
created on the job by
our nation’s little-known courtroom
chroniclers, many of them women.
Our volunteer guide that day was
Hope, who we thank for an
extra special tour.

One can not live in the
LOC (although one can enjoy breakfast
& lunch there) & eventually
we left. I was not
sad though, partly because
of another feature of
the LOC.

LOC

Love
Online
Collection

c. 2017 JGA

What/where is your poem about the Library of Congress?
……..
postscript
News flash – I join a party of Poetry Friday pals in celebrating our contributions to a new book, available now in print or Kindle. TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY is edited by Michelle H. Barnes. Look at our book!

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Nancy Willard

Nancy Willard

Hello all Poetry Friday seekers.
I am grateful to Heidi who organizes it here this week.

This week, I am spending time with
my Nancy Willard books,
especially, THE SALT MARSH,
TELLING TIME,
A VISIT TO WILLIAM BLAKE’S INN &
STEP LIGHTLY, Poems for the Journey,
collected by Nancy Willard.

I want to pick one to share Saturday,
when I feel fortunate to be meeting with
teens at the request of a legendary
librarian I treasure, Ms. Lenita Joe.

Since Nancy Willard treasured every poem
she placed in
STEP LIGHTLY,
reading them feels like two chairs are pulled up
before a big window overlooking a salt marsh,
tea is poured and
a conversation begins.

Nearly every selection speaks to me, especially
the poems about writing,
but for this post I’m sharing two lines,
from Emily Hahn, in her poem,

“Wind Blowing”
“I can see everything, all around the earth;
Red sun dying, gold sun’s birth.”

c. Emily Hahn, all rights reserved

I feel that is Nancy’s world now,
stepping lightly,
knowing and seeing everything.

Here is a sweet memory written
just a few days ago by her friend
and former neighbor, poet
Lee Bennett Hopkins.

I was thrilled
to meet Nancy Willard in Roanoke, VA
once, at the graduate program
in children’s literature.

She sat in on a creative writing seminar
I enjoyed so much, led by
Han Nolan. She was available to us –
we were all big fans. I treasure the moon she drew
in my copy of NIGHTGOWN OF THE SULLEN MOON.

When she learned that my thesis
for Hollins University included
serious poems about bears in history, she
suggested I look up the work of her poet
friend, Galway Kinnell.
Reading him was rough work, but it helped me.
In expectation of my editing & layout of a
chapbook of bear poems, experiences &
images, I feel fortunate to have been
touched by Nancy Willard’s
magical presence that summer.

I’ve previously mentioned her books here.
and also here, where I shared her signature artwork
a gift that graces books of many admirers.

And I think NW would have liked the recent honor that LBH earned in my state.

“Ballet slippers and saxophones:” #Lee Bennett Hopkins

Kwame Alexander
When I was 2 my mom read me poems by #NikkiGiovanni & #LeeBennettHopkins. So cool that #TheCrossover has won the LBHopkins Poetry award!”

By Jan Godown Annino

If there is a King of Children’s Poetry in the U. S.
he is Lee Bennett Hopkins (the Queen would be
Jane Yolen.)

Lee Bennett Hopkins, Center Stage, Florida Artists' Hall of Fame  c. 2017 Stephanie Salkin, all rights reserved

Lee Bennett Hopkins, Center Stage, Florida Artists’ Hall of Fame
c. 2017 Stephanie Salkin, all rights reserved

LBH is a world-wide record holder in poetry.
And as young poets can attest, for 25 years
he has become the leader in establishing poetry awards
that lift up the art of poem-making and poem-reading,
to the highest levels.

This poet – and novelist- is also a long time leader in championing diversity of characters and themes in children’s books.

I can not say LBH chose Florida for retirement,
because so many projects are popping
for him. During a small dinner in his honor
with his lifetime partner Charles Egita, at
Paramount Grill, LBH talked of
juggling 60 poets’ work. That is because
in addition to writing his own heartfelt poems,
LBH a supreme anthologist of poetry for children.

So among tempting aromas, I selected
tofu scramble in his honor last week,
the night before
he took the stage with rock stars
Don Felder (The Eagles) ,
Billy Dean and Jim Stafford,
to be inducted
into the Florida Artists’ Hall of Fame.

Move over Ray Charles,
Tennessee Williams,
Zora Neale Hurston
and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who proceeded
LBH as honorees in the Artists’ Hall of Fame.

Much has already been written and
will be written
about this honor.

Enjoy Robyn Hood Black piece on LBH,
and futurewise, look for a Michelle Henderich Barnes’
report on the Florida
Convening Culture Conference that was
wrapped around the awards event. (Stick with the link to MB
above, for a cuter than candy pix of LBH!)

But let me just say that I felt as if
I was a
mermaid swimming sweetly on Sanibel sands,
among sandcastles made of syllables
and sounds ripe for poem-making,
as a result of being with LBH & his posse.

So now,
I’m back to writing, reading,
critiquing & visiting schools.
(It’s Dr. Seuss week!)

I close with big appreciations to
Secretary of State Ken Detzner and
his posse including Sandy Shaughnessy,
for bestowing the honor, which was
championed by many, including
poets Stephanie Salkin & Jude Mandell

A VIDEO TO NOTE
I do expect to return here with more on
LBH and the award. But first,
visit with this great video record
of the ceremony, which I enjoyed
straight-through as I couldn’t be in the
Gainesville audience,
scooting home for scheduled events.
Hint: when you have time, stick with this
Florida Channel memory for the poetic line,
we need ballet slippers and saxophones.”
Did you hear the crowd’s applause?

. . .
WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED
I am still focused on the continued
hate speech in this country.
For my Poetry Friday piece this week, I will again
highlight the resistance anthem, WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED.
But I am happy to provide links on Friday to some
poetry blogs keyed to an exciting March poetry
commemoration,
which I very much look forward to reading.

………..

Lee Bennett Hopkins, please

Poetry Friday percolates perfectly at READING TO THE CORE this week.

It is a good week at Bookseedstudio.
With permission from generous educator and poet,
Lee Bennett Hopkins,
some of his words on poetry are here today.

Also gathered today are
three recent poetry links,
important to me. They appear after
the words from LBH.

Lee Bennett Hopkins, briefly, on the Poet, on Poetry

A poet is, in the narrowest sense, a maker of verses.
A poet is also imaginative in thought, expressive in
language, and graceful in form.

Good poetry is imaginative. It deals with emotion and has
significance beyond the act of creation. It uses figurative
language, yet is compact in thought and expression. Good
poetry has an element of beauty and truth which appears
unstable outside of the poem.

Poetry both predates and transcends the written word.
It is the rhythmic expression of imaginative thoughts
about our world and its people. –
Lee Bennett Hopkins

I will dwell with those thoughts this weekend.

The awards for the winner and honor books
in the 2016 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Children
were given this week at Penn State.
The Honor Books are
MY SENECA VILLAGE by Marilyn Nelson
HYPNOTIZE A TIGER by Calef Brown
with Winner,
ENCHANTED AIR by magical poet Margarita Engle.
These winning titles shine like moonbeams on my reading list.

551763_3185685260838_1433051237_n

Three links, promised above, are

A Sept. 19, 2016 online celebration of LBH,
where he shares a bit about his 2017
title due from Lee & Low.

A septercet poem, attempted. The
septercet is a classy form
originated by wondrous Jane Yolen.

An explainer of the septercet form,
as covered at TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY,
treasured blog that is celebrating
septercet creator Jane Yolen
this very month. Look sharp,
the septercet challenge is offered
near the end of the informative
post.

This very week here in Florida,
I presented assemblies
to about 80 attentive
4th graders & also to their pals,
about 100 attentive 5th graders.
I snuck in a little poetry appreciation,
too, although the talk was about
non-fiction research
& writing, of the
non-poetry flavor.

Finally, here I am back at Poetry Friday.
Yes, a good week.

img_5463

An apple poem by Barbara Juster Esbensen

For more about poetry & young readers,
please see Heidi’s drinkable roundup at
My Juicy Little Universe.

apple star photo/kiwicrate.com

courtesy of kiwicrate

courtesy of kiwicrate

All you living in autumnland, as I write this it is
summer weather here.

And yet at the market the best fresh berries are
gone. Or, they are too far from Florida, for me to be
interested in them.

I was happy to carry home a fruit I haven’t bought
since spring. A reliable crisp round fruit, to slice, with a
sprinkle of cinnamon on it, for a snack & to add to my
cereal – hot or cold.

And I thought of one of my favorite children’s poets,
Barbara Esbensen.

I went looking for her poem about this treat that
tucks a sky surprise inside. I’m sure this teacher and mother,
savored many of them, coming from far north Wisconsin & living there
or in Minnesota.

Discovery
by Barbara Juster Esbensen

Within its polished universe
The apple holds a star,
A secret constellation
To scatter near and far.

©Barbara Juster Esbensen

For the rest of this lovely poem find the first
edition (1964) or the second edition ( 2003) of her seasonal
poems, collected as SWING AROUND THE SUN.
I’m also a fan of the artist Mary GrandPre, so the 2003
edition is handy on my books-to-travel shelves to share in school.
Mary GrandPre’s apple face is all-knowing and kind, even though
it’s about to get eaten.

(My Nikon died & I haven’t aced levitating images from
my new Canon into digital world, so I don’t have a photo of the lovely
apple page in the collection.)

SwingAroundTheSun_2003
Each season’s poems by Barbara Esbensen in
SWING AROUND THE SUN are illustrated by a different artist – Winter,
Stephen Gammell, Spring, Cheng-Khee Chee, summer, Janice Lee Porter
& five luxurious images from Mary GrandPre, for autumn.

I came to Barbara Esbensen’s work in 2007, through her
WHO SHRANK MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE? illustrated by Eric Beddow,
which I found in a Roanoke, Va. bookshop. Many of the poems
in this collection are free verse. And that is the style of
poetry writing she taught to children, so they would be able
to put pencil to paper pouring out vivid imagery & without
the constraint of rhyming.

I am struck by the poet’s artful way of arranging
words. And I like to share with children how she lavished poem
attention on one of my beloved everyday objects, the pencil.

Here, from WHO SHRANK MY GRANDMOTHER’S
HOUSE? are thoughts within another autumnal poem,
by Barbara Esbensen.

Tell Me
by Barbara Esbensen


“Why do you think
the birches
are standing in our yard
in their underwear?”

shrank

If you would like to treat yourself to a visit with
one of our best children’s poets, I’ve collected a few resources.

A CELEBRATION OF BEES, Helping Children to Write Poetry
by Barbara Juster Esbensen, foreword by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The poet shares fabulous works created by her young students,
sometimes in their own printing or cursive & occasionally
with their own art, such as on the cover. It is an uplifting
guide to helping children discover the poetry inside themselves.

A Celebration of Bees, Helping Children to Write Poetry by Barbara Juster Esbensen

A Celebration of Bees, Helping Children to Write Poetry
by Barbara Juster Esbensen

NCTE interview by M.Jean Greenlaw

Article at Bookology, by her husband Tory Esbensen

An homage to this literary artist (1925-1996)

An article by her editor-fan, fellow poet, Lee Bennett Hopkins

And fortunately, a nourishing video recollection by Lee Bennett Hopkins at the generous Renee LaTulippe’s
NO WATER RIVER site.

And remember, the Poetry Friday go-go juice is with Heidi at her tasty site.

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

[This week’s Kidlitosphere celebration of poetry is hosted by the beachy keen Linda Baie at TEACHERDANCE]

Happy to be back apace after a summer of
three very varied trips, porchstep farming of
potted cotton, eggplant & hot peppers &
coastal jaunts for a new class I’m taking.

Horse conch, August 2015, Florida  copyright, all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

Horse conch, August 2015, Florida copyright, all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

This summer, among other writerly feats attempted, I wrote a pantoum, as part of an early
challenge in the year, made in an online picture book class interview with the incomparable J. Patrick Lewis, whose books brighten my world.

My other poetry thrill of the summer was to return home from a workshop with autographed books from the Guinness record holding anthologist and inspiring poetry guide, Lee Bennett Hopkins. One summery title is THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Walter Gaffner-Kessell.
In case your summer found you near salty shores, “Seashell” by poet
Sandra Liatsos may provide a reflective swoosh. Here are lines from it.

Seashell
by Sandra Liatsos

This seashell is an ocean cove
That holds a liquid sound
Of waves that rush a hidden shore
Where stranger shells are found…

c. SANDRA LIATSOS all rights reserved

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessell

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessell

Of all the elements that flow together to create a memorable shore experience for children, can it be that shells are the
most accessible? I know fishing is a big part of some beach excursions, but think of how often those fishesget away! The skeletons of marine snails are a more universal accessible treasure. (Although my dear Paolo caught five different species of fish on our last shore trip, all caught & released.)

As for the giant marine snail in the photo, it of course was released back into its home, to forage among turtle grass
& grow even fatter. It is our official state shell, this being Florida & the kind of place where we have a state shell.

Back on my struggle with the pantoum, which is on a salty topic, if you are in the PF community & can spare the time to comment on my
d r a f t , please message me on facebook with your email or leave it here. Or send me an email note at jgaoffice at gmail dot com. I’ll be always grateful. And I would read a poem of yours & comment, in exchange.

Happy hallways, sweet school seats, fabulous Fridays, each week of this school year!

SCBWI-FL 2015 MIDYEAR CONFERENCE SCRIBBLES

Bulletin, week of July 13 addition –
This is a gre8t week to use regular registration for Summer School created by two SCBWI members. (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. (pre-reg ended, but not to worry!)

Just after I returned from the SCBWI conference in June, I came across a cute writer chickie handling an impressive eyepiece.
She was pecking around in my mail online.
Chipping about something called the Nerdy Chicks Rule KIDLIT SUMMER SCHOOL.
Here is all about it!

artwork c. JOYCE WAN, all rights reserved, used with permission

artwork c. JOYCE WAN, all rights reserved, used with permission


FRESH from the 2015 SCBWI-FL MIDYEAR HOOPLA

These are impressions that can’t have been unique to me.
The dedicated artists & writers shared laughs,
love of books & stories & lively discussions
through the weekend.
Perhaps being in magic Florida, helped!

My poetry crit partner Christine & I sat rapt all
Saturday. I was also lucky to soak up picture book
lessons on Friday. Worth. Every. Penny.
The thrills + wisdom shared offset motoring 9 hours round-trip.

(With thanks to my dear hubby who made the trip too & our
generous longtime pals we stayed with who just moved into a big new house,
Brad + Sandy. The neighborhood elementary school is
Spanish-speaking & Sandy is a volunteer reader/tutor with
school stories to share, a bonus for me.)

Still applauding conference volunteers – including
Linda Bernfeld, Gaby Triana, Linda Shute & Curtis Sponsler &
my longtime SCBWI pal, Gloria Rothstein. They conducted
two auctions – live & silent, matched critique givers to
the artists & writers, arranged meals, transportation for
faculty, meeting rooms, onsite bookstore & much more.

unnamed-4
INSIDER, INSIDER, INSIDER NEWS
FORTHCOMING TITLES!

You-Heard-It-Here-Today/ Picture Books –
Lee Bennett Hopkin’s JUMPING OFF LIBRARY SHELVES (illus. Jane Manning)
Alexandra Penfold’s EAT, SLEEP, POOP (illus., Jane Massey)
Rob Sanders’ RUBY ROSE ON HER TOES (illus Debbi Ohi)
Tim Miller’s MOO IN A TUTU (he is illus)
Douglas Florian’s HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (he is illus)
Irene Latham’s FRESH DELICIOUS, Poems from the Farmer’s Market &
also her WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANARTICA
Mika Song’s TEA WITH OLIVER (he is illus)
Bonus – how about that last author-illustrator’s name?

MORE FORTHCOMING
For a sneak peek at an Advance Reader Copy of a yet-to-be
released Middle Grade novel by the talented author of
Nory Ryan’s Song & about 90 other books, I invite you HERE.
Thrilled to have a 1st look.

INFO bits on the detailed PROCESS to PUBLISHING

>An editor rejected books that another house published. When she
saw them between covers, she wished she discerned, in manuscript form
what the other house perceived in manuscript form – the books turned
out quite good & she wished she had pubbed them.
This is to help us understand how our manuscripts can be wonderful,
just not right at that moment for the editor/publisher we’ve sent it to.

>This same editor shared that when she was at a house where the sales
force wielded manuscript rejection power, one of her championed children’s
books was rejected. She eventually had it published by that house. How?
“There is a lot of turnover.”
She sent to back to the writer to keep working on it. Later the editor
resubmitted it when the naysayer had moved on to another house.

>An editor said a picture book that she originally didn’t like, even
sort of derided to close associates, still had this kernel of emotion that
stuck to her.
She could never shake it from her mind. She went back. Looked at it.
Six years later she is publishing it, pleased with the results.

<Listening to an editor share how short p.b. manuscripts can make her
heart beat fast – I feel I got it. Revising. Short.

A successful YA author said her years of taking picture book classes
to learn to write 500 word manuscripts helped her write succinctly
(I will add successfully) in verse for the high school reader.

First lines that are direct & simple make all the difference in picture books.
Examples an editor shared that she loves –
“Hattie was a big black hen.” Mem Fox
“The mice made a teeter-totter.” Ellen Stoll Walsh

Look up the SCBWI Edited By list to help find editors whose books you like.

MEET & GREET
Agents, editors, artists & writers! Even spouses, partners & children.
Too many to name, but here is one moment of many from the conference
that are treasures. He is poet, editor & poetry anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins, known
as The Pied Piper of Children’s Poetry.

Lee Bennett Hopkins & Jan

Every faculty member was accessible, warm & funny. If I garbled my words
getting them out, or didn’t get any words out to those I intended to, it was my
own cold feet. Next time, Jan!

I feel good that at lunch I linked a writer I didn’t know before that much appreciated meal,into a nice conversation with an agent at our large table, because the writer had shared with me info about her work I knew the agent would like to know. Put on the spot, I am usually more advanced at promoting others than myself.

BEST MOMENT
At a workshop an editor said spiffy remarks after
I read aloud from my fresh-scribbled words. They were three pieces
of brief writing in response to the unexpected writing prompt. I
blushed, floated. Haven’t quite landed, yet.

BOOKSTORE
Orlando’s newish indy shop, Bookmark It, received a warm welcome.
http://bookmarkitorlando.com/
I turned out to be their first conference book buyer (not just looking)
customer. One of the best sellers of the SCBWI weekend is the book
cradled in my hand, in the photo,
LULLABY & KISSES SWEET.
I am so stoked that writer pals, especially Robyn Hood Black,
are represented in this huggable chubby board book, alongside Jane Yolen, X.J. Kennedy, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Kristine O’Connell George, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Alice Schertle & other children’s author luminaries. I am happy it winged away, inscribed, to the dear baby in our family in Rhode Island, who celebrates his 1st birthday this very month.

Here are lines from that book’s SWEET by Peggy Janousky
Next time when I eat this fruit
I think I’ll wear a bathing suit

Since many of us are fortunate to be dripping with watermelon
this time of year, Peggy’s poem is particulary refreshing here
at our house.

ORLANDO is BEAUTIFUL
We arrived in Orlando not long after visiting our family in CT & MASS during
days of a big ol’ eyetalyen wedding, so it was fun to reflect on very different cities.
We saw a chipmunk in Boston and an otter in Orlando. We saw the pencil
sculpture in Orlando in a downtown art park.
And it strikes me as something Boston would be proud to own.

unnamed-6
Consider the SCBWI-FL MidyearConference in 2016. Information on
it will be posted at the Florida site. SCBWI = Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
unnamed-7

IMPACT
While I was in Orlando, several title eyedears & other creative writing
thoughts came to mind. My conference-inspired scribbles continue.
I’ve re-read & re-read notes from the two conference
critiques, have thought, made scribbles of phrases, lines, more.

One final summer presentation as a children’s author is on my
calendar. (Since the conference I visited a well-off private school one week
& then drove over to a needy community center program the next &
I appreciated having those contrasts.) The next event is at our lovely library.
Following that I expect to slack off non-manuscript writing
(including here) in these precious summer weeks,
in expectations of manuscript progress & to begin new project eyedears
that bubbled up as a result of this nourishing SCBWI-FL weekend.