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  • Writer's pictureCharles Waters


Hello, my kind poetic souls. Welcome back to Poetry Time! I hope National Poetry Month, the beatific month of May and the picturesque month of June has brought you much joy and happiness. It certainly did for me. Here's the goings on in my life.

On April 25th I performed two shows at the Voila L. Sickles School in Fair Haven, NJ. Thank you to teacher Kathleen Bayer, and PTO member Kerry Maguire for facilitating my visit. I've spent time in Fair Haven before on weekend trips and the occasional holiday because my close friends, The Foderaro's live there. The Fair Haven seaside vibe agrees with me very much. I can't wait to visit again, soon. The school is interested in workshops for the 2016-2017 school year!

On April 28th I performed and conducted workshops at the Torey J. Sabatini School in Madison, NJ on April. I'm much obliged to Beth Landau and Mike Post for their hard work and detail in order to making sure the students and faculty had a unforgettable poetic time.

Had multiple visits to Harlem Academy for writing and performance workshops on May 26th, June 6th, and June 13th. I worked exclusively with the 4th graders and what a lovely group of students each of them are! So proud of the poems they created and performed for their class. Thank you, Vincent Dotoli and LaShonda Davis for the invitation, and to my acting pal, Jon Freda, for making the connection possible.

I was hired again by the Queens Public Library to perform Poetry Time at more of their locations. The Rosedale branch on June 3rd, the Lefferts branch on June 7th, the Windsor Park branch on June 9th, and the McGoldrick branch on June 16th. Thank you, Mary P. Smith, Program Planner and Services Department/YES for the opportunity.

I was asked by my forever poetic pal, Irene Latham, to contribute to a progressive poem. That’s when different children’s poets contribute lines to a poem, continuing someone else’s thoughts, coming up with a family of words. We were allowed to write two lines a piece.

Besides me and Irene, the other writers were: Jeannine Atkins, Doraine Bennett, Robyn Hood Black, Julie Larios, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and April Halprin Wayland. Here's what we all came up with. Enjoy!

At the Po E. Tree Ranch

Words gallop and graze

untamed pastures

until a rope slices the air,

lassos one word,

then another. These slip

through and turn to swans.

They flap, trumpet,

gather, and glide

on a skylake whisperblue.

Wordswan poets write to you.

They dip their necks in swirling light.

Shade your eyes—what do they write?

Excavate this universe, report on what you see

When you're finished, write it down, that is poetry.

Words gallop and glide, they slip, they slice,

they sigh and - oh, when words sing - we fly!

P.S. This poem appeared in an online journal called The Dragon Lode under an article titled THE POET'S CORNER which was written by children's poet/publisher Janet Wong.

To celebrate National Poetry Month in April, Irene also asked me to contribute to her annual Progressive Poem shindig, and I happily accepted! Besides myself and Irene, there was a big list of Poetry Friday bloggers who contributed:

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

11 Buffy at Buffy's Blog

12 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Me at Poetry Time

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

Here’s the final piece:

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky. A hummingbird holds and then hies. “If I could fly, I’d choose to be Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.” A cast of crabs engraves the sand Delighting a child’s outstretched hand. "If I could breathe under the sea, I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee." A clump of crocuses craves the sun. Kites soar while joyful dogs run. "I sing to spring, to budding green, to all of life – seen and unseen." Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear and finally reach one divining seer who looks up from her perch and beams — "West Wind is dreaming May, it seems." Golden wings open and gleam as I greet the prancing team. "Gliding aside with lyrical speed, I'd ride Pegasus to Ganymede." To a pied pocket, the zephyr returns. Blowing soft words the seer discerns "from earthbound voyage to dreamy night, The time is now. I give you flight!" Yet I fear I am no kite or bird – I lift! The world below me blurred

by tears of joy. I spiral high, "I hum, I dive, I dip, I hive!" "Behold, Spring is but a dance away!" I grasp my pen, then capture this day.

I saw the musical RAGTIME performed by the high school students at the Professional Performance Art School in NYC. Based on the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow, this work of historical fiction weaves different stories into a piece about race, dance, and dignity. My friend Lori Centeno's son, Antonio Del Valle played Tetah an immigrant looking for opportunity in America. Antonio, and his fellow students have much to be proud of, it would not surprise me if most of them go on to professional careers, if that's what their heart desires. Trust me when I write this: Antonio will have a long career as a singer, dancer, actor. A true triple threat. And he plays a mean piano, too!

Got new acting close up, medium and full bodied photographs taken for my other website Thanks, Kim-Julie Hansen, for taking such rich, diversified photos. I'll have them posted on the website in due time, meanwhile, if you want to see a few batches of them, please check out my new acting twitter handle at:

A special surprise happened after the show when Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which according to their website, "is one of the nation's leading industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations," held an auction which culminated in Tony Award winning actor, Roger Bart, who co-stars in DISASTER! performing the Academy Award nominated song "Go The Distance" from Disney's 1997 animated film HERCULES, which he was the voice of in the movie. It was only the second time, according to Mr. Bart, in almost twenty years that he performed the song for an audience in a professional setting. If that wasn't enough, Vanessa Williams, Emmy, Tony and Grammy nominated artist, sang the 1995 Academy Award winning/Grammy nominated song, "Colors of the Wind" from the Disney animated film POCAHONTAS. That's what I call a great night of theatre!

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:

BLAST OFF! Poems about Space. Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

A BURST OF FIRST: Doers, Shakers and Record Breakers by J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrated by Brian Ajhar.

HEY YOU!: Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes and Other Fun Things. Edited by Paul. B. Janeczko. Illustrated by Robert Rayesky.

TOMIE DEPAOLA'S BOOK OF POEMS. Selected and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

MY NAME IS JORGE: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina. Illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck.

FATHERS, MOTHERS, SISTERS, BROTHERS: A Collection of Family Poems by Mary Ann Hoberman. Illustrated by Marilyn Hafner.

SUGAR HILL: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

DANIEL FINDS A POEM written and illustrated by Micha Archer.

LITTLE DOG AND DUNCAN by Kristine O’Connell George. Illustrated by June Otani.

SUBWAY SPARROW written and illustrated by Leyla Torres.

STARS by Mary Lyn Ray. Illustrations by Marla Frazee.

MR. RABBIT AND THE LOVELY PRESENT by Charlotte Zolotow. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

JAZZ BABY by Lisa Wheeler. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

VISITING DAY by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by James E. Ransome.

KNOCK KNOCK: My Dad's Dream For Me by Daniel Beaty. Illustrated by Bryan Collier.

SIT-IN: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

This will be my last post until the school year starts back up in August/September. So far I've had more school visits this year than at any point since Poetry Time began in 2014. I look forward to what the summer will bring and to more visits for the rest of 2016, they haven't lined up, yet, but with hard work and word of mouth among teachers, administrators, parents, and organizations, I have belief that they will.

I leave you with a poem about kindness, something we can all put to use more often in this unpredictable world we temporarily inhabit.


Lending a soft ear,

a hug, a smile

or a word of


can take a person

in despair,

and make them feel

they walk on air.

© Charles Waters 2016 all rights reserved.

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