RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 15
Today’s guest blogger is a very talented poet and actor who has been fortunate enough to learn and act out hundreds of classic poems by some of the best poets in the world. He is busy spreading his love of poetry with kids who have no idea what treat is in store for them! I would say he is on a mission to spread the word…poetry opens doors. In his words he is “spreading the gospel of verse and free verse because I don’t want anyone to feel left out of this life changing art form.” How wonderful!
I am pleased
PUTTING IN THE WORK
I wrote my first children’s poem called “The Fly in My Eye” in April of 2004 while on tour with Poetry Alive. The poem is crummy but poetry itself is not, so therefore I stuck to it, and it’s never let me down.
Poetry Alive is a company that hires two person troupes to perform poetry in schools and universities across the country. You have to learn them by heart, you only use two chairs, and you never use props or wear costumes.
It took me almost 9 months of performing the poem anyone lived in a pretty how town by E.E. Cummings before I understood its meaning, but when I did it hit me like a thunderclap. I adored performing the poems of Jack Prelutsky, Ogden Nash, and Langston Hughes as these gave me a gateway into this world of metaphors and similes.
It was with this new knowledge I picked up from performing that I started thinking about writing poems of my own. I had no prior experience of poetry in school, zero. I don’t have a way of backing up this statement but I feel the reason so many children’s poets canvass the world spreading the gospel of verse and free verse is because they don’t want anyone to feel left out of this life changing art form, like a certain man I know who found out about it just before reaching the cusp of 30. I’ve been making up for lost ground ever since.
My journey has been one of reading, absorbing might be a better word, any children’s poetry books I could get my hands on. Reading the poets I mentioned above, as well as anthologies by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Paul B. Janeczko and books by Nikki Grimes…if you haven’t read BRONX MASQUERADE, get thee to a bookstore! Valerie Worth’s small poems, and Barbara Juster Esbensen’s nature poems, among others, shifted my spirit; I was never the same afterward.
Reading and writing poetry should be a sweet obsession with words, phrases; you’re a court reporter of life in all its pain and glory. I feel I received a head start because I was acting out poems by the world’s greatest writers for 3 years and almost 225 poems with Poetry Alive.
This brings me back to writing. It is work, make no mistake, but it’s honorable, it should be looked on as joyful, at least to me. When time races past as you work on your scribbles and you look up at the clock and hours have passed by, you’re putting in the work. If you applied your trade in another profession all day and can only squeeze in a limited bit of time to write, you’re putting in the work. If you feel a poem or manuscript isn’t firing on all cylinders like you thought and you have to start over, and then, to quote the British, “get on with it,” you’re putting in the work. There’s no secret to any of this except your constant effort to learning, improving, submitting your work and reading at least one poem a day.
In an effort in getting to know others in children’s poetry I found myself joining the community of poetry bloggers by not only blogging myself, but by participating in their community writing exercises.
Laura Shovan http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/03/2015-sound-poem-project-wrap-up.html conducts one every February. This past February she would post a sound clip and we’d have to write a poem about it.
Heidi Mordhorst over at http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2015/03/forwardlaunch.html has an exercise where she posts words that end with the letter ch. You, the poet, write a poem using that word.
Then there are weekly cyber writing get-togethers.
Tricia Stohr-Hunt’s blog http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/ posts a weekly poetry form that you can participate in.
Laura Purdie Salas’ Writing the World with Kids http://www.laurasalas.com/blog/ has a 15 Words or Less exercise where she’ll post a picture and you write about it.
I’ve gotten many, many poems out of these exercises; one has even been published so far. I’ve also gotten to know the poetry community and they’ve gotten to know me. If you show up to do the work with a humble heart and a willingness to learn, word spreads and maybe you get asked to write for anthologies.
In 2010 NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) held its annual conference in Orlando, FL where I use to live. I took the initiative of setting up a dinner at Café D’Antonio in nearby Celebration, FL with as many children’s poetry educators and writers as I could rustle up. From that dinner I finally met face to face with those I had only corresponded with online. It was a lovely meal filled with a heartfelt sense of community, old friends catching up; new friends huddled together, nattering about poetry to their hearts content. News of family, pets, work, manuscripts and reading, among other topics wafted through the air in a steady hum of togetherness. I asked reading and writing advice from everyone, got a manuscript idea that turned into an, as of now, unpublished manuscript that I still have great hopes for, and got to know anthologists who would later ask me to submit for their books. What I took away from that dinner was realizing how much work it takes to make it as a children’s poet. It was an overwhelming, exhilarating and humbling fireball of a night.
Since that evening, so far, I’ve had 21 poems published in over 10 anthologies edited by current and former Children’s Poet Laureates, a Guinness Book World Record holder for poetry, and critically acclaimed writers/educators in the field of children’s literature. In the meantime, I continue to write and submit manuscripts; I learn by heart my own poems and perform them, as well as conduct workshops professionally.
Jane Yolen, has said in her blog, http://janeyolen.com/telling-the-true-a-writers-journal/ which is a fountain of advice about what it takes to make it as a writer, that it’s all about BIC (Butt in Chair). In order to put in the work, you have to sit down and put in the work.
I wish you all the best on your reading and writing journey, it’s a lifelong and noble one.
P.S. Always carry a notebook and pen or a cell phone that has an application on it where you can type out random thoughts that you find on your travels. You’ll thank me for it.
Charles Waters is a Children’s Poet, Actor and Educator who has performed in schools and universities across the country. His work has appeared in various textbooks and anthologies including: Amazing Places, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry and The National Geographic of Nature Poetry, both edited by J. Patrick Lewis and One Minute Til Bedtime (2016) edited by Kenn Nesbitt.
For more information please visit:
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/CharlesWatersPoetry
RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 15
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 free verse poem on any topic you like.
It falls like
It springs like
It waters like
It tears like
It trails like
© 2015 Angie Karcher
Congratulations to Week 3 Prize Winners
Monday Copy of THE BOAT OF MANY ROOMS Donated by J. Patrick Lewis
Winner – Ann Magee
Tuesday Copy of GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA (Dec/2015) Donated by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Aimee Haburjak
Wednesday Manuscript Critique by Kristen Remenar
Winner – Kenda Henthorn
Thursday Manuscript Critique by Iza Trapani
Winner – Kristi Veitenheimer
Friday Manuscript Critique by Tim McCanna
Winner – Caroline Twomey
Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook
or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com
Golden Quill Poetry Contest
The Golden Quill Poetry Contest is open for submissions.
The deadline is this Saturday, 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.
Email poems to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com
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 are now 2 spots 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.
A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)
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!!!