Monday, June 28, 2010

News from the United Kingdom

On Friday, June 25th, I found two tidbits of UK kidlit news that I would like to share with you here.

Manchester Children's Book Festival (July 1st - 4th, 2010)

This event is the first of its kind to take place in the northwest of England.

Can't make it to the festival? Regardless of where you live in the world, you can still be a part of the event by participating in its Readathon.

Here is a list of U.K. children's poets who will be participating at the festival: John Agard, Gillian Clarke, Mandy Coe, Jackie Kay, Grace Nichols, Michael Rosen, and Carol Ann Duffy (the festival director).

More on Carol Ann Duffy:

Duffy is the UK poet laureate. In May 2009, she was named to this position which she will hold for ten years. Duffy is the first woman and Scot to hold the position as well as the first laureate to be selected in the 21st century.

Children's Poet Laureate in Wales

On June 2nd, 2010, author and bard Dewi 'Pws' Morris was named as the Children's Poet Laureate of Wales.

In the one-year position, he will work to raise the profile of poetry amongst young people and to encourage them to create and enjoy poetry.

Not only is he a member of the Welsh bardic team, Crannog, he is a singer, actor, and TV presenter as well. He hails from Treboeth in Swansea and now lives in Tresaith, Ceredigion.

To find out more about Morris and his appointment to the position, click here for a BBC news report written in Welsh and click here for a BBC news report written in English.

Twm Morys is the outgoing Wales Children's Poet Laureate.


"Poetry is my travel diary that shows I've been in a state of wonder."

-- Juanita Havill, U.S. picture book author

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Upcoming Guest Appearance on Connecting the Dots

U.S. children's author-poet David Harrison will be featuring me as one of the guest readers (of his blog) in the very, very near future.

For those of you who do not know him, he is the author of nearly 80 children's books (about one-fifth which are children's poetry books). He is also the poet laureate of Drury University in Springfield, Missouri where he lives. (His term in this position was renewed in 2008).

Once I have the date as to when he will be posting my poem and photo on his blog, I will let you all know. To view his blog, which is called "Connecting the Dots", click here.

I think it is so generous and helpful that he is giving readers of his blog a chance to share their work.

David will be leading Somebody Ought to Write a Poem, a workshop in writing children's poetry, which takes place from Thursday, June 2nd - Sunday, June 5th in 2011. This session will be offered as one of the Highlights Foundation Founders Workshops which are hosted at the home of the founders of Highlights for Children near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Click here for full details and registration information.

A Poetic Form Rooted in Math -- No Fibbing!

There's no getting away from mathematics. It springs up everywhere even in the act of writing poetry.

Fibonacci is the name of a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. The sequence begins with 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610 and continues on.

Background information on the sequence’s namesake

Leonardo Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250) was an Italian mathematician who was known by numerous names including Leonardo of Pisa, Leonardo Pisano, and Leonardo Bonacci. The sequence is named for him though he is not the one who discovered it. Fibonacci introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics in his 1202 book, Liber Abacis, but the sequence had been previously described in Indian mathematics.

Fibonacci Poems

A fibonacci poem consists of 6 lines made up of a total of 20 syllables. Here is the breakdown:

Line 1 - one syllable

Line 2 - one syllable

Line 3 - two syllables

Line 4 - three syllables

Line 5 - five syllables

Line 6 - eight syllables

Here is the sequence at work in the poem:

# of syllables in lines 1 + 2 = # of syllables in line 3

# of syllables in lines 2 + 3 = # of syllables in line 4

# of syllables in lines 3 + 4 = # of syllables in line 5

# of syllables in lines 4 + 5 = # of syllables in line 6

Here are three quick Fibonacci poems about colours which I recently wrote when I flexed my fibbing muscles for the first time:







indigo, aqua,

cobalt, turquoise, cerulean.







ruby, sangria,

candy apple, vermillion.







icterine, jonquil,

amber, mustard, sunglow.

So here's to fibbing (the good kind)!


"Everyday take time to start to learn a little poem by heart."

-- Mary Ann Hoberman, U.S. children's poet laureate (2008-2010)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday Poet -- We Love You So

Today, I would like to send a birthday shout out to poet Nikki Giovanni!

For those of you who are not familiar with her, this hip U.S. wordsmith writes poetry for both adults and children.

Giovanni has also served as editor on various children's poetry collections. She edited Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (2008) and served as an advisory editor (along with poets Billy Collins and X.J. Kennedy) on Poetry Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (2008).

Since there is no greater poetic experience than to hear a poet read his/her work, I encourage you to visit the following sites to hear Giovanni perform two of her poems.

Click here to listen to a short interview with Giovanni and her reading of her poem "So Enchanted with You" on the Poetry Foundation website. This poem is from her book "Bicycles: Love Poems" (2009)

Click here to listen to Giovanni recite her poem "All Eyes on Him" which she penned as a tribute to the late recording artist Tupac Shakur (1971-1996).

Here are three tidbits of trivia about Ms. Giovanni:

*Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia which was the site of a tragic shooting in 2007. She composed a chant-poem which she read at the memorial service held on the day after the incident.

*The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, which features her reading and talking about her poetry, was one of five Grammy Award finalists.

*The bat species, Micronycteris giovanniae, is named in her honour.

Visit her website to learn more about the poet and her work.