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  • Writer's pictureCharles Waters


Hello all:

National Poetry Month was BUSY!

The Spring Poetry Retreat and Workshop, courtesy of the Highlights Foundation, from April 15 – April 19 was a soul shifting experience. This session was taught by my children’s poetry mentor Rebecca Kai Dotlich, whose class I attended at Highlights back in August 2011.

This month’s retreat featured special guests Wordsong editor Rebecca Davis, and a SKYPE interview with Poet/Educator/Publisher Janet Wong of Pomelo Books. We studied the writing of various children’s poets; I once again fell in love with the children’s poetry of Aileen Fisher and Valerie Worth. We wrote poems with a jeweler’s eye for detail, heard the ins and outs about anthologies, and about spreading the gospel of poetry. Thank you Kent Brown, and Jo Lloyd for accepting my proposal to attend. I miss my new friends already. The food was divine, the hospitality, off the charts.

For a more detailed look at the Workshop, please head over to my new poetry pal Catherine Flynn’s blog, Reading to the Core, to learn more.

I’ll be making a return appearance to The Poets House in Battery Park, NY for a show/workshop on May 9th at 11:00am. Thank you Michael Romanos, Children’s Room Director and Education Coordinator for inviting me back!

I was keeping up with the poetry writing exercises for N.P.M. That is, until I went to the Highlights retreat, got into my own children’s poems, and lost track. Fear not, dear readers, I can play catch up with the best of them.

At Jone MacCulloch’s blog, she’s been writing poems that, like her last name, have double L’s in them.

Over at Irene Latham’s blog, she’s been writing from images in the online collection of The National Gallery of Art.

I was asked by Sheila Wright, Editor-in -Chief of THE CHILDREN'S WRITERS GUILD to have some of my children's poems highlighted on their lovely new website. So far they have posted 2 of my poems: "Multi-Tasker" and "Carter G. Woodson - Father of Black History." Please check both of them out, and peruse through the entire website. It's comprehensive and easy to navigate!

I had an audition to be a possible guest artist for the New York Public Library systems in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island. My audition was at the Parkchester branch, located in the Bronx. I couldn’t have had a more fun time performing POETRY TIME for the kids and their parents. Thank you Ann-Marie Braithwaite, Senior Children’s Librarian, for your kindness and professionalism.

I did some background work for a television project and a movie project, learning more about acting on camera, asking technicians about their craft, soaking in all in.

Worked on a job for the government, as well as doing a job where I spent an afternoon passing out fliers for H&R Block. I’m making a living anyway I can.

I saw CLINTON: THE MUSICAL at the New World Stages. This Off-Broadway show brings you right back to presidency of #42. Catchy tunes, over the top characterizations, with appearances by, among others, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Kenneth Starr; I laughed and marveled at not only the songs, but the performers pouring themselves into the story.

One of the places I love to visit is the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center. Filled with exhibits, poetry readings, concerts, it has relaxed me time and time again from the bustle of Gotham City.

The library also houses The Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT), which is the world’s foremost collection of films and video recordings of live theatre. To improve as an actor through watching the great artists of our time perform, I have seen the following archived plays since July 2014:

FENCES by August Wilson. (1987)

TWO TRAINS RUNNING by August Wilson. (1992)

RADIO GOLF by August Wilson. (2007)

A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry. (2014)

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY by Tracy Letts. (2007)

SPEED-THE-PLOW by David Mamet. (2009)

GOD OF CARNAGE by Yasmina Reza. (2009)

LOST IN YONKERS by Neil Simon. (1991)

VENUS IN FUR by David Ives. (2011)

JERUSALEM by Jez Butterworth. (2011)

LUCKY GUY by Nora Ephron. (2013)

Read-a-Poem or R.A.P. My rallying cry to bring children’s poetry to every human being in the world continues rolling along. Not every book I mention has to be about children’s poetry but that’s the main thrust. I have read:


RED BUTTERFLY by A.L. Sonnichsen.

LULLABY & KISSES SWEET edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

GORDON PARKS by Carole Boston Weatherford.

CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine.


THE DEATH OF THE HAT edited by Paul B. Janeczko.


SPRING BLOSSOMS by Carole Gerber.

OH, BROTHER! by Nikki Grimes.

SEEDS, BEES, and BUTTERFLIES! and MORE! by Carole Gerber.

WILD ABOUT US! by Karen Beaumont.

BLACK ALL AROUND by Patricia Hubbell.



THE PRACTICAL VEGAN by Kim-Julie Hansen.

INDEPENDENT ED by Edward Burns.

I leave you with a poem from one of the writing exercises I participated in during National Poetry Month.


Scorching against Africa’s tufted plains,

Piercing through nature’s breathing patterns,

This spotted blur has no time for introductions

Dinner awaits.

© Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

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