My first book, Squeeze, was born in 2005--here I am signing a copy at its Book Birthday Party! Who is older, you or Squeeze? I myself was born in 1964 and started writing poetry in about 1972. I wrote poems all the way through college, took a long break, and began writing again in 1999.
I grew up mainly in Richmond, VA, on the Northside. Many of the poems in Squeeze are about places and experiences I had there between the ages of 5 and 17. The poems in Pumpkin Butterfly come mostly from the time after I grew up and became a mom, between 1999 and 2009.
To find out what I mean about poems coming from places and experiences, click on this for young poets link.
Turquoise--could you guess? It took me a long time, but I finally made the committment at age 32.
Least favorite food:
Green peppers, although I like other green vegetables--even Brussels sprouts.
Most favorite food:
Favorite poetry books:
In the Night Garden by Janet Wong;
stone bench in an empty park, collected by Paul Janeczko;
A Lucky Thing by Alice Schertle;
all the small poems by Valerie Worth,
and many more to be added soon!
Favorite picture books:
Swimmy by Leo Lionni;
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig;
Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells;
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran;
and almost all books by Ezra Jack Keats. I once had a writing friend in New York whose family had known Ezra Jack Keats, and she had an old green sofa that belonged to him. I used to sit on it during meetings of writing group. Much later I found signed copies of Peter’s Chair and A Letter to Amy in a church library giveaway box, and even later I discovered that we share the same birthday, March 11!
Favorite chapter books:
From when I was a kid:
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner Chandler;
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White;
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg;
My Side of the Mountain by Jean George;
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, and
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.
More recent additions:
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine.
Over the years I've enjoyed choral singing, improvisational comedy, quilting and salsa dancing in addition to poetry. I'm a Wesleyan Alpha Delt, a UU and an ENTJ.
I hold a Master's in Language and Literature in Education in addition to my graduate degree in teaching and that still-useful B.A. in American Studies. This extensive training has served me well throughout 27 years of classroom experience, during which I've taught children ages 3 to 14 in schools from East Harlem to Inner London to the DC suburbs. I've conducted inservice development for teachers in Writing Workshop, a literature class for ages 4-7 called Books for Beginners, and freelance workshops in classrooms throughout the DC Metro area, especially through Arlington, VA's wonderful Pick-a-Poet program.
After eight years teaching part-time at a local cooperative nursery school, in 2007 my spouse and I moved with our two children to Vincennes, just outside Paris, for a year-long adventure. Since then I've had several part-time positions in Montgomery County Public schools and been involved in an effort--unfruitful--to establish a public charter school. Our daughter and son, now 16 and 13, attend two different MCPS schools, and I'll be teaching 2nd grade this year at a third school, after four full-time years in kindergarten.