Friday, September 27, 2013

children's poetry blog hop

Yes, there is a Children's Poetry Blog Hop, and I was contacted by Laura Shovan and Janet Fagal about participating.  It began I'm not sure when and I'm not sure how, but these guidelines come from April Halprin Wayland at Teaching Authors:

To participate in the Poetry Blog Hop, simply:
Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
I'm ready to do part 1 today and I'm working on parts 2 and 3...there doesn't seem to be any need to rush the hopping, and I don't have time to rush anyway!  Here are my questions for myself:

1)  What's your favorite Children's Poet Laureate project?
2)  Which poems from it do you love?
3)  Which poem would you have contributed to it, if you had been asked?

1)   Before I answer this directly, I must release a short rant on the fact that when one searches for a LIST of children's poet laureates, selected by the Poetry Foundation rather than the Librarian of Congress, as the [adult] Poet Laureate is, one finds no such useful list, no Wikipedia page, no helpful overview.  I feel the Poetry Foundation oughta do something about this tout de suite.

Now then:  I adore The Tree That Time Built, an anthology selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston and published in 2009 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 250th anniversary of the publication of  The Origin of Species.  I am always particularly tickled by connections and integrations, and I love it that the Children's Poet Laureate looked outward into the world of science (and, unavoidably, social science) to find a subject for her anthology, and then selected and arranged poems that light up that complex subject for young readers.

Another thing I like about The Tree That Time Built (and you can see my previous post on it here) is that it draws on the work of past and contemporary children's poets like David McCord and Marilyn Singer but also on the work of adults' poets like Sylvia Plath and Wendell Berry.  The more we children's poetry people can convince "adult" poets that their work can speak to young people, the more chances we have to show that our work is worthy of adults.  And when the topic is science--deep, knowledgeable, informative science--the "seriousness" of our work comes through especially loud and clear.

2)  Here's one from Mary Ann Hoberman herself, perfect for the CP Blog HOP and which showcases Hoberman's terse blend of rhyme, rhythm, imagination and information.

Frog | Mary Ann Hoberman

Leaps on
Long legs
Jelly eggs
Sticky tongue
Tricks flies
Spied by
Flicker eyes
Wet skin
Cold blood
Squats in
Mucky mud
Leaps on
Long legs
Jelly eggs
Laid in
Wet bog …

And here, from Felice Holman, a favorite of mine for pinning down that feeling that is at the core of middle childhood, that key to Growing Up, that moment when you see yourself suddenly from outside, as just one thread in the interdependent web of all existence.

Who Am I? | Felice Holman

The trees ask me,
And the sky,
And the sea asks me
                         Who am I?

The grass asks me,
And the sand,
And the rocks ask me
                         Who I am.
The wind tells me
At nightfall,
And the rain tells me
                Someone small.

Someone small
Someone small
                      But a piece

3)  Say Mary Ann had asked me for a poem for The Tree That Time Built...I'd have sent her this one, from Pumpkin Butterfly, also published in 2009.

Charles Darwin’s Garden Party 

balsam fir
spotted dolphin
pink verbena
garter snake
fragrant white water lily
grizzly sow
Crater Lake 

gnarled pinyon
Painted Hills
tag alder
red bat pup 

beebalm and bluebonnets
mountain lion
fungus cup 

Death Valley
prairie dog 

Virginia creeper
Keyhole Arch
black-browed albatross 

Moose Creek
tiger shark
I just never get tired of all the wild diversity in the world!  Thanks to those who invited me to hop along.  I "hop" to invite some others to participate in the coming week.  Now let's all hop on over to The Poem Farm with Amy for today's roundup!


  1. No Wikipedia page on children's poet laureates?? Huh?

    Love the poems you shared today, Heidi.

  2. Great blog hop post! I loved all the poems you posted. someone small, someone small, but a piece of it all - Yes!

  3. Yes! That is a wonderful book. Of the poems you selected, "Who Am I?" is my favorite as well. It ends with such a comforting thought.

  4. Hi Heidi,
    I love this whole post. I don't know the Hoberman book but I will definitely look for it. And honestly, I never heard of Felice Holman but I will definitely look for more of her poetry. And I love all the rich diversity of your poem.

  5. I really like Mary Ann Hoberman. That Frog poem is a masterpiece! Thanks for hopping for us.

  6. I learn new things (poems and poets) every Friday, and then my weekend starts so happily. Thanks for all of this, Heidi, but especially the poems-how beautiful they are. Students at my school often write poetry from their research, and these will be good examples/mentors for sharing.

  7. I've read and featured The Tree that Time Built when we had a poetry theme around two years back. Absolutely loved it. Thanks for featuring it here. :) Love the blog hop!

  8. I keep The Tree that Time Built on my bedside table. Great choice and I like your addition. Fun hop!

  9. I learned so much from this post. Thanks for hopping along and teaching us about The Tree that Time Built. Our family has a fondness for frogs, like a totem, and this poem is tall and skinny like a frog totem pole.

  10. Excellent post, Heidi! Speaking of Wendell Berry, next week Bill Moyers will be reshowing a segment with Wendell Berry. My favorite of his poems is "What We Need Is Here," which is a poem older kids can surely appreciate.

  11. This is such a wonderful book. I love it too. And if I were Mary Ann, I would have absolutely have put your poem in it! Since I am not, I am going to share it with my hubby-the-biology-and-ecology teacher. He will love it. Happy Poetry Sunday, and thank you for hopping!

  12. Thanks, Heidi - a packed-full post!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!