POETRY TIME BLOG #37
Greetings by poetic people the world over!
Been a while since I check in with you all. Here's the latest:
In 2016 I performed and conducted more workshops through my one person poetic enterprise, Poetry Time, than at any other point since I first began going into poetic business for myself in 2014. Oh, and I also weathered, no pun intended, a blizzard (Hurricane Jonas), to fly across country for gigs at multiple schools in the Pacific Northwest.
From New York City to Windermere, FL. From Madison, NJ to Seattle, WA, I got a sliver of a taste of what it was like when I used to tour with Poetry Alive! in the first decade of the new millennium. I also realized I far more enjoy poetic touring as my own entity rather than as a work for hire.
Speaking of school visits, I did my first one of 2017 at Robert L. Craig Elementary School in Moonachie, NJ as part of their annual "Read Across America" celebration. Did two shows of POETRY TIME, lots of children's poems performed for students from Pre K - 8th grade. I want to thank Nicole Wohlrab, Reading Specialist, for reaching out to me to be part of such a fine event. The students and faculty couldn't have been nicer.
Great story, I walk into the school, sign in at the front desk, as I walk out of the office I see a Pre-K student walking down the hallway with his class, holding his breakfast tray. Let's call him, Langston. The following dialogue occurs.
LANGSTON: What's your name?
CHARLES: My name's Charles. And what's your name?
ME: Nice to meet you, Langston.
LANGSTON: Nice to meet you, too.
LANGSTON: I like you, Charles.
ME: I like you, too, Langston.
After that bit of business happened, I knew I was in good shape regarding how the school visit was going to go. :-)
My poems appeared in the anthologies ONE MINUTE TIL BEDTIME: 60 Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep edited by former Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt and YOU JUST WAIT: A Poetry Friday Power Book edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.
I look forward to what the future has to offer. My book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship, co-written with Irene Latham and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko has a new release date. It will be a land in the poetic world on January 1, 2018. What a perfect New Year's gift to children, friends and family.
I have a literary agent, Rosemary Stimola, one of the most respected in the business looking out for me and making rounds with another manuscript of mine. I'm working on other manuscripts right now and will have those sent to her at some point this year. I'm also learning more poems by heart for my Poetry Time show, and now have over 90 of my children's poems that I can perform by heart. Also, I have a goal of learning all my poems from CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR, as well, so when the book is released, I can act out my part.
I continue to do stand-in and background work for film and television to pay the bills while I audition for principal work which is industry parlance for "speaking parts."
On a personal front, I saw the Broadway play THE ENCOUNTER at the John Golden Theatre. This one person show uses aural technology to tell the story of a National Geographic photographer's travels after getting lost in a remote location in Brazil. It was like listening to an audio book as the story was happening live in front of you.
I saw the Off-Broadway play NOT THAT JEWISH at New World Stages. This one person comedy show by Emmy Award-winning writer/ actress Monica Piper tells the story of a woman who fought against ignorance, assimilation, sexism and insecurity to become the strong, loving, wise person she was meant to be all along. It felt like spending 80 minutes was a friend whose company always puts a smile on your face.
Since 1970, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) has preserved live theatrical productions and documented the creative contributions of distinguished artists and legendary figures of the theatre. TOFT produces video recordings of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre productions.
In order to improve as an actor, I use this resource to see shows from the past and learn. Recently, I have seen:
A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS by Tennessee Williams.
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL by Various Artists.
Based on To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown by Berry Gordy.
KING HEDLEY II by August Wilson.
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:
FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.
FREEDOM OVER ME: Eleven slaves, their lives and dreams brought to life by Ashley Bryan
ARE YOU AN ECHO: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by Musuzu Keneko, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri, narrative by David Jacobson; with translations and editorial contributions by Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi.
THE HOMEWORK STRIKE by Greg Pincus.
ONE BIG RAIN: Poems for Rainy Days compiled by Rita Gray, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke.
MY VILLAGE: Poems from Around the World collected by Danielle Wright. Illustrated by Mique Moriuchi.
THE ALLIGATOR’S SMILE: And Other Poems by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jason Stemple.
NO FAIR! NO FAIR! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood by Calvin Trillin, illustrated by Roz Chast.
SPINNING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE: A Novel in Poems from Room 214 by Helen Frost.
LEAST THINGS: Poems about Small Natures by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jason Stemple.
HOUR OF FREEDOM: American History in Poetry compiled by Milton Meltzer.
WAY TO GO! Sports Poems by Lillian Morrison.
WET CEMENT: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka.
PRESIDENTIAL MISADVENTURES: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge by Bob Raczka , art by Dan E. Burr.
A MEAL OF STARS: Poems Up and Down by Dana Jensen, illustrated by Tricia Tusa.
WHOSE HANDS ARE THESE? A Community Helper Guessing Book by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Luciana Navarro.
BEFORE MORNING by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes.
THE PET PROJECT: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Zachariah OHora.
TOAD BY THE ROAD: A Year in the Life of these Amazing Amphibians by Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Maggie Kneen.
AN ISLAND GROWS by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Cathie Felstead.
GUESS WHO, HAIKU by Deanna Caswell, pictures by Bob Shea.
VOLCANO WAKES UP! by Lisa Westberg Peters, illustrated by Steve Jenkins.
WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? by Corey Rosen Schwartz & Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi.
GABE AND GOON by Iza Trapani.
JOHN LEWIS IN THE LEAD: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement by Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson, illustrated by Benny Andrews.
I leave you with a poem about the feasts of visual splendor our world offers us on a daily basis.
I’m getting sweet tooth.
whip cream clouds
with sprinkles of stars.
Nighttime is a dessert
my eyes can’t wait
to a devour.
(c) Charles Waters 2017 all rights reserved.