April is the Poemiest Month

031Yes, I know “poemiest” is technically not a word. But I was making a high-falutin’ reference here, y’all, so even though poemiest is not a word, we’re all smarter now.

And when I received Irene Latham’s newsletter this month with all her poetry doings for April, I was beside myself (and smarter, too!). But then I thought what if y’all don’t get Irene’s newsletter?  Well, that wouldn’t do. So I’m sharing here with you! (I know. It’s a little poem. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

First of all, you have to zip over to Irene’s website and read all about Artspeak! Here’s the deal on that:

“This year I am continuing my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project called ARTSPEAK! Each day I respond to a piece of art from the National Gallery of Art’s digital collection — this year’s theme is Plant. Grow. Eat. You can find last year’s offering as well as this year’s (growing!) collection at my blog Live Your Poem.”

Very cool. And she’s also participating in the 2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem. Irene has a running list of everyone who’s participating (look for the list in her sidebar) so you can keep up with all the wonderful poetry each day.

And I don’t want to forget to give a shout out to her latest book, FRESH DELICIOUS, POEMS FROM THE FARMER’S MARKET. I’ll be looking for it the next time I visit my local library and I hope you’ll look for it, too! I’ve loved all of Irene’s poetry books–and reading wonderful poetry will be a huge help to you if you’re participating in RhyPiBoMo!

Finally, if you sign up for her newsletter, you might get an April surprise. And not like the April surprises I give to my kids–oh, April Fool’s was epic this year! I’ll share that story next time–but something really nice and poemy.

Which also may not be a word, but it’s April, y’all, and anything goes, right?

Time To Rhyme (See What I Did There?)

writing-in-rhyme-to-wow-class-logo-e1457424491540This month–or at least after all the SCBWI doings–I caught up with a Writing in Rhyme class I won from Angie Karcher. Goodness, Angie really knows her stuff!

I, on the other hand, am not exactly a whiz at writing rhyme (though I like to try). I only have one picture book that’s in rhyme but I learned a whole bunch of stuff to make it better and my project for next month is to take that manuscript and polish it till it shines like a…a…well, see? I need a little work on imagery and such.

And maybe you’re interested in spiffing up a rhyming picture book. Or maybe you’re just interested in rhyming poetry. Boy, have I got a deal for you!

Technically, it’s not my deal. It’s Angie Karcher’s. Every April, she hosts RhyPiBoMo which is short for Rhyming Picture Book Month and holy moly (see what I did there?), you are not going to believe all the wonderful guest bloggers she’s scheduled!

Plus, she has all kinds of fun events and doings over there. And it’s ALL free! But mostly, I guarantee that you’ll learn a TON about rhyming picture books. So run like a Tasmanian Devil (see? I’m getting smarter already!) and register for RhyPiBoMo! (See you there!)

Why I Can’T Do RhyPiBoMo (But That Doesn’t Mean YOU Can’t)

rhypibomo-2015-calender2-e1426397801516Last summer, I had the most delightful time in North Georgia, spending a week with a most delightful bunch of picture book writers. I wrote all about it here and when all was said and done, I decided that I had to be done with picture books and get back to my heart. Because I had the beginning of a middle grade story on my heart that was begging to be written.

So this year, I’ve been writing, writing, writing that middle grade story. And I am this close to being done with it. But that, my friends, is just the first draft I’ll be finishing. I’ll need to go back and weave in some good stuff, take out some of the stinky stuff. And that revision has been penciled in for…yep, April.

It just so happens that RhyPiBoMo (that’s Rhyming Picture Book Month, in case you wondered) begins in April (and you can register now!). And I’m just not talented enough to revise a 35,000 word middle grade manuscript and follow along with Angie Karcher’s great posts and read all those great picture books, too. And okay, I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but not this time.

Oh, no, people, not this time. Angie (did I tell you I met her? Up in North Georgia at that weeklong writing workshop?) works so hard to bring such a lot of great writing information your way. I mean, she is committed. And I guarantee that you will be a better picture book writer if you commit to RhyPiBoMo. You can’t be half-a…er…baked about it. You have to be all in.

Kind of like I’m all in on my middle grade story. So best of luck to all of us, wherever our heart is leading us (but dang, I’ll miss all those fun picture book writers)!

Catching Up With Rhyming Picture Book Month, Sort of

I started April with the best of intentions.

I had a couple of rhyming children’s picture books and thought it would be a good idea to get some in-depth rhyming know-how from all the experts blogging over at Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo. And it has been seriously in-depth! You can’t sign up for the challenge at this point, but you can most certainly benefit from a read-through, no matter what kind of rhyme you write.

I haven’t had much time for the challenge–or even a chance at a read-through. Mom took a terrible tumble a week or so ago and I’ve been in Savannah, where I stayed at my parents’ house at the beach. But Dad had disconnected the Internet.

You do not realize how dependent you are on technology until you don’t have it.

Anyway, after a whirlwind of catching up–and honestly, there’s just so much information that one can catch up on after a week offline–I sent a post over to the Muffin where I was scheduled for April 20th. I’ll be catching up with the Beneficent Mr. Hall (and really, Mister Man is a good egg, and I should be happy that the house is still standing, but how does a body not notice a zillion sugar ants parading around the kitchen???). Next, I’ll be preparing for Holy Week, so I won’t be working for a few days. But I hope you’ll have a minute to check out my Easter post, “Finding a Writing Eggs-travaganza,” in between the deviled eggs and ham.

And if I could ask one more favor, if you have time to add one little thing to your list of intentions?

Please send prayers for Mom. Thank you.

 

Tuesday Tip: Rhyme Time (Or Yes You Can! Maybe.)

ImageWhether you pen poetry or picture books or anything in between, understanding rhyme helps you write better. If you can get a good grasp of meter and beat and rhythm in your writing–whether you actually rhyme or not–your words will sing on the page.

But most of us fools just rush in where angels (and very experienced writers) fear to tread. That is to say, we write a rhyming poem or story and think, “Wheee! I’m brilliant!”

Sometimes, we are. Most of the time, we are not. And this is the royal “we” I’m using as I’m including my high-falootin’ self in this group. Honestly, I’ve always loved poetry. I loved poetry when I was just a wee, little child (A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES was one of my favorite books!) and I read books of poetry through my elementary school years, to high school, to college and beyond. I have a book three inches thick of favorite poetry I’ve copied down that I still thumb through (and it includes my own poetry as well. Um…I skip those dreadful verses).

The point is, friends, loving verse and understanding how verse works is not the same. So if you’re way past your schooling years and those boring classes where you had to read poetry and mark scansion and such (which you totally never really got, anyway), you might be ready to look at poetry again and perhaps fall in love with verse (and improve your own). Here’s a good place to start: For Better For Verse.

And then you’ll be ready in April when RhyPiBoMo comes around.

Or maybe just ready to take a second look at that poem you wrote and thought was brilliant. You know, before you actually send it out into the world.