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”
This is such wonderful advice, Janet! Thank you–Sadee Schilling
Thank you, Janet. Anthologies are a great way to break in, as well as read a variety of voices and styles. – Judy Rubin
I am having a great time rediscovering anthologies and forgot how much I loved them as a kid (especially Shel Silverstein.) We checked out one my James Proimos this week. I just might have to try writing one myself, little by little… a long-term project. Thanks for the inspiration! Carrie Charley Brown
Anthologies can be so much fun. Thanks for reminding me to read one. It’s been a long time. I like the idea of using them to determine how I’ll write that day.
Great idea indeed. I’d also like to find out how to query re: anthology submissions, if that is commonly done. I am in fact in Lee Bennett Hopkins’ latest anthology, Lullaby and Kisses Sweet. (I met Lee at an SCBWI-Florida conference where I was able to show him my work, so that’s how I became a “new voice.”)
Congratulations, Stephanie, on having a poem in Lee’s beautiful new anthology! Please see my answer below–or above?–re how to submit poems to anthologies.
Great post – loved the first two lines especially… “as if you only have one”.
– Al Lane
that animal boot sounds delightful. And I will certainly check out the anthologies. I’d love to submit to upcoming themes if you have open submissions.
We’re not having open submissions at Pomelo Books for a while, but when we do, we’ll post something on Sylvia’s blog, PoetryforChildren.blogspot.com, which is a great thing for all poetry-loving teachers, librarians, parents, and writers to read!
Ginger Weddle – Janet, Thanks for reminding us to read anthologies. I loved your comment about finding your voice-“as if you only have one”.
Elaine Hillson – Thanks Janet for reminding me how much I love anthologies.
A great idea to study others’ voices and one is always spoiled for choice with an anthology. Thanks, Janet!
Thank you Janet. Great advice and I particularly like your opening statement about the many voices shouting in the writer’s head.
Lovely advice. Reading poetry for children is wonderful. It reminds you of your own path. I look forward to reading the books you recommended and see the works within. Thanks again for the post.
Manju Howard: Janet, I was happy to read that “WE have several voices shouting in our heads.” It’s not just ME who hears numerous voices. Thanks for your post and suggestions.
Janet thanks for sharing your tip about poetry anthology. You showed the whimsical side of different poets. I’m going to my library to find one.
I have a poem in the Celebrations anthology. It’s such an honor to be included with all these wonderful poets. I love to study others voices. It has made my voice shine. Great advice, Janet. *waves*
And it is a wonderful poem, Robyn, that fits the theme of “many voices” with its Pirate Talk!
Ann Kelley – Thanks for many voices post! I need to go back to the library and check out an anthology.
Love your idea of turning to anthologies to study different voices!
Great idea to study other voices may help me to narrow down the concocting ones in my head as you said. I guess I a, no the only one. Thanks for the tips – time to hit the anthologies.
Thanks, Janet, for great advice. Off to the library to check out some anthologies!
Lynn Alpert – Thanks for the post, Janet! I love poetry anthologies.
Thanks for reminding me of how much fun an anthology is!
Thank you, Angie, for including me in the RhyPiBoMo fun! To those of us with multiple voices shouting in our heads: YES, you are not alone. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to entertain ourselves so easily?
As for the questions on how to submit poems to an anthologist: the best thing to do is to start following the Poetry Friday posts all over the kidlitosphere and on Facebook. This week the Round Up is here: http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm?post=992941.
Comment on posts and you’ll befriend poets who will tell you when someone is actively acquiring poems for a new anthology; we anthologists will also get to know you through your posts.
Right now, my collaborator Sylvia Vardell and I are taking a little break–but we will make an announcement on Sylvia’s blog PoetryForChildren.blogspot.com when we start looking for new poems again. Once you hear that we’re acquiring, contact us directly.
In the meantime, write-write-write on all kinds of subjects and in all sorts of forms and voices so that you have a “poetry library” in your computer. That way, when you find out that an anthologist is looking for, say, monster poems–you can quickly pull up a dozen to choose from. And if you don’t get chosen for a particular anthology, don’t be discouraged–just try again for the next anthology!
Appreciations from Jan Annino to host Angie Karcher and poet poster Janet Wong.
(I enjoyed reading all about Janet’s legal beagle background.)
The J. Patrick Lewis-compiled NG animals anthology sits at the top of my shopping list. And the new Pomelo Books Celebrations anthology is also destined for these paws. Reading them to K-1st grade at storytime for BookPALS is the ticket. Ole!/Yay! for these crisp contributions for the children.
Confetti (Robyn Hood Black’s eyedear) cake & cookies all around!
Thank you!! Wonderful post.
Wonderful advice, originally and charmingly presented. So nice to be invited to your poetry party! –Katey Howes
How true that we all have multiple voices! Great suggestion re: use of anthology to find our voice for a new project. Thanks, Janet. Val McCammon
Anthologies are my go to for baby gifts and always were by my reading chair when I taught primary grades. Love them!
Anthologies are my go-to baby and birthday gifts, too, especially when I can pair them with a stuffed animal. For instance: if you know anyone with an August birthday who happens to love elephants, Irene Latham has a great Elephant Day poem in The PFA for Celebrations!
Poetry anthologies are great. Thanks for the post. Katie Gast
Rita Allmon– Thanks, Janet, for sharing this post with us. I love the idea of finding one’s voice in an anthology.
Kristi Veitenheimer – really need to check out these anthologies. Thanks!
Jill Proctor – Thank you, Janet. I love your advice – I’ll have to rediscover the “voices” in my copy of your Poetry Friday Anthology. So helpful!
Charlotte Dixon-Thank you, Janet, for the inspiration to find our voice in anthologies.
Joanne Sher does SO love anthologies! These look great – thanks so much!
Anthologies are the gold! Thanks Janet for the information about how to submit poems for anthologies. Back to my rhyming!
I’m off to the local library, once again – Marianne Gage
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A very entertaining post, Janet. Thank you for rekindling my interest in anthologies. I was published a long time ago in one of Lee Bennett Hopkins’ anthologies and have always wanted to submit to others. —Patricia Corcoran
Caroline Twomey-Thanks Janet, great advice-off to the library in the morning!
Thanks for the great suggestions. I’m off to browse!
Linda Schueler: Yay! Now I don’t have to stick to just one voice. Thanks for the post.
Thank you Janet Wong
It’s National Haiku Day
So many voices
Maria Gianferrari 🙂
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More books for my Got to Read List!
How do you get a poem in an anthology? Is there a call for submissions, or do the editors have well known poets already in mind?
I have a few ideas, one I even have two poems for.
“as if I have one” ha, ha. I can’t seem to find just one either. It’s the mood I’m in. Gail Cartee
Thanks Angie and Janet. I have been browsing Shel Silverstein’s Falling Up this week. He’s packed a ton of voices in there! Plus, the drawings are awesomely silly. 🙂
Melanie Ellsworth – Thank you, Janet! This was such a fun post to read. You really know how to hook us – now I’ve got to read those anthologies.
Thank you, Janet. I own The “Book of Animal Poetry” and just love it.
I love how you compared different poems to different people at a party–so clever and so completely spot on to how I view voice in poetry as well. Just wish I had thought of it! I will look for your anthologies and make some new friends. Thanks!
Patricia Toht — Hooray for the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations! I’m so happy that my poem about the Earl of Sandwich is included for National Sandwich Day. I love an anthology, Janet — it’s like opening a box of little gems.
Shirley Johnson – Great advice! Thanks for this post.