RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 13
Today’s guest blogger is an attorney turned author/editor and has been successful in all arenas! She encourages authors to write poetry for the 21st century. She and author Sylvia Vardell’s collaborations through Pomelo Books has resulted in The Poetry Friday Anthology Series. These are hearty books full of glorious, spectacular poems by hundreds of talented contributing authors. The most recent release, THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS, is full of magic and interesting tidbits about well known and less known holiday celebrations. It is one you will want to add to your collection!
I am SO happy to introduce
Find Your Voice in an Anthology
Find your voice, people say. Your voice, as if you have only one. The problem with most writers is that we have several voices shouting in our heads. The silly voice? The sad voice? Dr. Seuss or Sylvia Plath? Which one to choose?
For a writer who is starting a new project—any kind of writer and any kind of project—I suggest finding a voice in an anthology. Spend five minutes flipping through a thick book of poems quickly, as if you were scanning the room at a cocktail party to decide which group to join.
Any of the four books in The Poetry Friday Anthology series would be ideal for this purpose: the original book, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, or the brand-new addition, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Together, these books contain more than 700 poems by nearly 150 poets, including Jack Prelutsky, J. Patrick Lewis, Joyce Sidman, Margarita Engle, Naomi Shihab Nye, Pat Mora, Linda Sue Park, Nikki Grimes, Joseph Bruchac, and more. Please take a minute to visit PomeloBooks.com to learn about this series that Sylvia Vardell and I have created. If you decide to buy one of these titles, you can easily pass it along to a teacher or librarian friend who will thank you for the gift, guaranteed.
Another great anthology for this purpose—and one that I’ll use to illustrate my point—is J. Patrick Lewis’s National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry. I flipped it open just now and landed on pages 86 and 87—Jane Yolen’s “Anemone” and David McCord’s “The Starfish”—two very different poems. If you have this book, open it up and take a look. If you don’t have it, get to a library!
Yolen packs her poem with repetition, rhyme, and alliteration in a serious and sophisticated tone. This is Jacques Cousteau at your party—wow!—“a lifetime / On shifting sea-soft sands.” He is sipping cognac as he describes an anemone to a trio of admirers.
McCord, on the other hand, is the funny old “uncle” consoling the 7-year-old who has been spying on the party in her pajamas. “Would you rather be a starfish / Or an out-beyond-the-bar fish?” he whispers with Bailey’s breath. Gee, I don’t know. An “out-beyond-the-bar fish,” I guess?
I would be happy to join either Yolen or McCord, but let me see who else is in the room. . .
On page 51 of the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, there is a poem by A.R. Ammons (“Spruce Woods”) facing one by Lilian Moore (“Squirrel Forgets”). The Ammons poem is spare, observing, reflective; he’s the smart loner professor wedged in the corner, drinking a cup of hot water with lemon. I know I could learn a lot from you, Mr. Ammons, but . . . Lilian is tugging at my vest. “Where / where / where / did I bury / that nut,” she’s asking everyone in the room, one by one. Little Lilian’s insistent voice might end up driving me crazy, but her simple chatter is fresh, inviting, and where my mind is “at” right now. OK, Lilian, let’s sit “criss-cross applesauce” on the floor. You can ask lots of questions and, yes, we can drink Orangina. We’ll munch potato chips, too—of course! Because no matter who you decide to be today, some things never change.
Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who switched careers and became a children’s poet. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and other shows. She is the author of 30 books for children and teens on a wide variety of subjects and produces, with her collaborator Sylvia Vardell, The Poetry Friday Anthology series (PomeloBooks.com).
Pomelo Books Buy Here
RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 13
This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.
Today’s writing prompt is to write a list of themes that you could write poems for to submit as a collection for an anthology.
It’s “Friday Favorites” day again!
Today is the day that I ask you to choose one of the rhyming picture books that you read this week as part of the challenge and share it with the world. Post a picture of it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and a link to the authors blog, a link to a book store or a link to anywhere people can find it and buy it. This is the day we celebrate all the wonderful rhyming picture books out in the world already! These authors are our heroes and heroines. We should celebrate the hard work it took them to get to publication! We should buy these books ourselves if we can and share them with friends and family.
Now is the time to promote great rhyme!
I was thrilled that so many of you shared your favorite rhyming picture books last Friday! Thank you! See if we can post even more today!
What if you are not on social media?
That is no problem. Just share titles with friends, family, teachers, librarians, book store owners…anyone who will listen. Word of mouth is very powerful! Go to a book store and ask for a specific title. If they don’t have it ask them to order it. You can certainly do our part without social media!
It would be great if you would also add the link to my blog so folks can see what we are doing here.
Here’s the link:
What’s a Rhyming Party you ask?
It’s a party in our RhyPiBoMo Facebook group where I quiz the attendees about past blog post information and all involved
MUST…respond in rhyme!
It’s silly, fast-paced fun and one lucky partier will win
a Scholarship for my Writing in Rhyme to WOW! Class!!!
Golden Quill Poetry Contest
The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.
The deadline is April 25th midnight Central Time.
And…did I mention the prizes?
1st place – A Manuscript Critique by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
2nd place – A Scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton
3rd place – A Scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by Agent Jodell Sadler
PLEASE make sure you read the contest rules and follow them exactly. Unfortunately, due to the number of poems we will receive, a poem will be disqualified if it does not follow the guidelines exactly. This is only fair to those who did follow the rules and is good practice for us as writers because editors expect those guidelines to be followed to the letter.
First and Last name included in the body of the email at the top left
Email address included in the body of the email at the top left
Phone number – top left
Space down 5 spaces
The Theme is: Freedom
Title of poem – centered with no by line or name here
8 line limit
Must be a rhyming poem
You will be judged on clever title, rhyme scheme, rhythm, scansion, perfect rhyming words, internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, and clever ending.
Submit poems to
by April 25th midnight central time
Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?
Do you find rhyme challenging?
Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?
Then this is the class for you!
Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,
M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.
Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.
There is only 1 spot left in May!
I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!
If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!
Contact Angie with questions.
Sign up now before the classes are full!
Click here for more information!
Need a critique?
Angie is now offering
rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.
She offers a One Time critique or a Twice Look critique.
See the tab above or click here for more information.
RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!
Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!
Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!
73 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 13 Janet Wong”
I love poetry anthologies. Thanks for the post!
Thank you, Danielle! Wouldn’t it be great if we could get some poetry anthologies on Summer Reading lists?
Great interview with the amazing Janet! I love how she brought us right in to flip through pages along with her….
Thank you, Robyn! (but then again you are a very visual thinker, so of course YOU could imagine me flipping through pages!)
I LOVE the Poetry Friday Anthologies. From the minute the original one hit the shelves, I was showing it to every teacher I knew (which is a lot because I taught for 26 years). I’ve already done a school visit and shared the new Celebrations anthology.
Anthologies are a smorgasbord of delight…something for everyone. Thanks, Janet, for this insightful advice.
Very interesting to learn Janet started out at a lawyer. Writing poetry is more fun!
Janet, much as I adore Yolen, a funny old uncle is very appealing. As a fellow lawyer, it is wonderful to see your success. Love your anthologies.
Love the idea of finding the voice for a project in an anthology! — Annie Bailey
Thank you for this perspective and reminder that we can be so many voices.
Karen Nordseth Roos
I love the science anthology and I hope to get the others soon! Your post was wonderful and I am opening up a poetry anthology now!
Great post. I love poetry anthologies.
Poetry anthologies provide great opportunities for all talent, including new! Thank you! Lynne Marie Pisano
Susan Schade-Thank you for sharing with us! Find the voice…
Comment from Cynthia Cheng: Thanks for sharing your anthology recs!
Thank you for sharing your love of poetry, Janet. You are admired. I am especially impressed with yout change in careers. Your encouragement to find my voice in anthology is appreciated.
Thank you for this wonderful “cocktail party” introduction, Janet.
Anthologies are treats and treasures and trampolines – wonderful jumping off places!
Lawyer or author . . . both extreme skill set necessary to be successful 😉
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