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  • Writer's pictureCharles Waters


Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Happy month of May, you fine humans! Hope you all had a great National Poetry Month. Although, in my mind, every month is National Poetry Month ... but I digress.

Here's the latest.

We're all super thankful that CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship, or as all the creators of the book call it among ourselves in e-mails, CITYH has been included in the 2019 NCTE Notable Poetry Books list. You can read the full list here.

Many thanks to Suzanne Wise of Poets House for interviewing me for their blog. You can read the interview here.

Blogger, librarian, all around good person Betsy Bird picked CITYH? as one of the top poetry books of 2018. Many thanks, Betsy! You can read all about it here.

Thrilled to find out CITYH has now been named to four state award lists (Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Utah). Participating school libraries will purchase all the book nominees and then share them with students, who will vote on their favorite -- which means a win, win for publishers, educators and students.

Found out that CITYH will be available for purchase in the UK in October to coincide with their Black History Month and Poetry Month. You can find the article here. As for why the UK has Black History Month in October, you can read that here.

My CITYH? co-author, Irene Latham and I did a video visit Q & A to the classroom of teacher, children's poet and lovely human, Mary Lee Hahn. The students asked detailed, thoughtful questions. Thanks, Mary Lee, for the invitation and for your blog post about CITYH? which you all can read here.

Many thanks to Jone McCullough on her blog, "Check It Out" and Julia Copeland of Friends Journal both had lovely write-ups of CITYH? that you can read here and here. Many thanks for the support!

Myself and Irene were honored to speak at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery, AL. We spoke on a panel called "Cross-Cultural Discoveries in Children's Storytelling." Afterward we also signed copies of CITYH?

We also spoke at Troy University. We're so grateful to Dr. Kirk Curnutt and Jean Bradley for their hospitality in putting together such an important event.

Irene and I also recorded am audio version of CITYH? while in Montgomery, AL. Many thanks to Jeremy Sanders of Atmosphere Recording for his hard work and patience.

My poetic forever friend, Irene, also took me to the George Washington Carver Museum on the campus of Tuskegee University. I knew what a genius Carver was from the novel-in-verse, CARVER: A Life In Poems by Marilyn Nelson, but seeing his life up close, including some of the tools of his trade, made it more immediate. The fact he created so many things from medicines to cosmetics to so much more still dazzles me. Irene also treated me to a show called INTO THE BREECHES at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Do I have a great pal or what?

Children's book writer and blogger, James Preller, asked me, and other humans, about how we handle procrastination. You can read my response and the others as well here.

Had a lovely time doing author presentations this month at sponsored by the organization Meet the Writers, Inc which brings authors into schools. I had a lovely time with the students and faculty at PS 51/ Elias How School in Manhattan. Thanks goes out to Meet the Writers founder, Michele Weisman, for facilitating the visit.

Had a most outstanding time doing an author presentation at PS/IS 276 Battery Park City School. Many thanks to Basia Tov, Librarian extrodinaire for the opportunity.

Visited The Churchill School and Center in Manhattan for the 5th time to do poetry performance workshops with students in preparation for their poetry show. Had an outstanding time, as always, and am so proud of them for having the courage to read their original poems to the Churchill population. Gratitude goes out to Brittany Barnes, Librarian superstar, for the return visit.

My poem, "Snowflake Catcher" appears in the children's poetry anthology THE PROPER WAY TO MEET A HEDGEHOG And Other How-To Poems edited by the late Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Richard Jones. I have longed to appear in a Janeczko anthology for many years. I'll never forget reading Paul's anthology A KICK IN THE HEAD: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms in December of 2005 and thinking, "wouldn't it be nice to appear in one of his books?" I'm proud it finally happened. He once, when I was an unpublished writer, of his own violition, sent me a box of his signed books for no other reason than to support my poetic passion. What a mensch. While I'm thrilled to be in Paul's 25th anthology, I am still heartbroken over his passing on February 19th. May this book be a fitting poetic tribute to a most excellent human being. Love you and miss you, brother.

Here's the Broadway/Off-Broadway Shows I've seen:

THE PROM by Chad Beguelin, Matthew Sklar and Bob Martin, Broadway, Longacre Theatre.

GLORIA: A LIFE by Emily Mann, Off-Broadway, Daryl Roth Theatre.

NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour, Off-Broadway, New York City Center Stage.

ACTUALLY, WE'RE .... by Matt Williams, Off-Broadway, Cherry Lane Theatre.

INTO THE BREECHES by George Brant, Regional, Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

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.

To improve as an actor, I have seen the following productions at TOFT:

BURN THIS by Landford Wilson.

TOPDOG/UNDERDOG by Suzan Lori Parks.


BORN YESTERDAY by Garson Kanin.

A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 by Lucas Hnath.

THE HUMANS by Stephen Karam.

BAT BOY: The Musical Music and Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe. Book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming.

COLLECTED STORIES by Donald Margulies.

THE PRODUCERS Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks. Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE by Tennessee Williams.

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' Music by Fats Waller. Lyrics by Various Artists. Book by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.

ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira

HEDDA GABLER by Henrik Ibsen

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:

BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From The Football Field To The Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace. Illustrated by Bryan Collier.

THIRTY MINUTES OVER OREGON: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Illustrated by Melissa Iwai.

GAME CHANGERS: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James Ransome.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A VOICE LIKE THAT?: The Story Of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton. Illustrated by Ekua Holmes.

THE DAY THE WAR CAME by Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Rebecca Cobb.

ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME by Juana Martinez-Neal.

WITNESS by Karen Hesse.

WHITE ROSE by Kip Wilson.

ALL ARE WELCOME by Alexandra Penfold. Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman.

THE RAINBOW FISH by Marcus Pfister.

OCTOBER MOURNING: A Song For Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman.

THE RABBIT LISTENED by Cori Doerrfeld.

LION IN THE SKY: Haiku For All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas. Illustrated by Mercè López.

SNOWMAN - COLD = PUDDLE: Spring Equations by Laura Purdie Salas. Illustrated by Micha Archer.

THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD: Poems To Take You Into Space And Back Again by Allan Wolf. Illustrated by Anna Raff.

MARTIN RISING: Requiem For A King by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney.


NEW KID by Jerry Craft.

THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez.

I WALK WITH VANESSA: A Story About A Simple Act Of Kindness by Kerascoët.

HOWL LIKE A WOLF! by Kathleen Yale. Illustrated by Kaley McKean.

FLY WITH ME: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple and Jason Stemple.

DREAMERS by Yuyi Morales.

MORE MORE MORE SAID THE BABY: 3 Love Stories by Vera B. Williams.

COURAGE by Bernard Waber.

ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas.



I leave you with the poem, "Snowflake Catcher" from THE PROPER WAY TO MEET A HEDGEHOG And Other How-To Poems. Enjoy!


Remove gloves,

Elevate palms

To Chest Level,

Face them toward

Vaulted Ceiling,

Let frosted filigree

Settle into your paws

Melting its signature

Into yours.

(c) Charles Waters 2019 all rights reserved.

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