Hello my poetic peeps.
Here are the goings on with yours truly.
Elizabeth Bird, Fuse 8 Blogger on the School Library Journal website called CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR: Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship "One of the best titles of a work of poetry that we've seen in years." You can read her review here.
There was a splendid interview done with myself and my co-writer of the book and poetic forever friend, Irene Latham, that was conducted by Travis Jonker for THE YARN podcast. You can listen to it here.
Laura Arnhold, Public Library Director and Blogger posted a review of the book on her Literacious page which you can find here.
CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? editor Carol Hinz, Irene, and myself interviewed each other on a blog post about the creation of the book, which we shortened among ourselves in our e-mails as CITYH, and ask questions about our writing and editing process. You can read all about it here.
Blogger, writer and all-around fan of all things poetic, Jan Godown Annino, featured me in a lovely blog post about debut authors which you can find here.
Carol Hinz, also asked me to contribute a blog post about tips for acting out poems. You can read it here.
Charnaie of the blog Here Wee Read compiled a list titled "The 2018 Ultimate List of Diverse Children's Books" which included CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? You can read the full list here.
Super excited to have poems in an upcoming National Geographic Poetry Anthology called THE POETRY OF US. This will be the third time my poems have appeared in a N.G. book after BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY and BOOK OF NATURE POETRY. Release date: September 25, 2018. So honored and grateful to J. Patrick Lewis for the opportunities! You can pre-order a copy of the book here. Fun fact: I had a chance to read the book when I visited the N.G. booth after my signing at Book Expo on May 31st with Selina Alko, co-illustrator of CITYH.
Had another lovely author visit to Churchill School and Center in Manhattan doing poetry performance workshops on April 16th. Thanks, Brittany Barnes, Elementary Librarian, for having me back.
Irene came to town April 17th - 21st and we had author visits lined up in Manhattan and Brooklyn at P.S. 276 Battery Park School, P.S. 15 Patrick Daly School, and the Co-op School - Joyful Learning. Thanks to Basia Tov, Library General and Special Education Teacher, Michelle Weisman of Meet the Writers, and Heather Cate of Greenlight Bookstore for setting up the visits.
After doing Author visits with Irene at Wealthy Elementary in East Grand Rapids, MI in February, they asked us would it be possible to do individual Skype visits with our writing workshops. And so, I did my first ever Skype visits on Friday April 20th with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. Irene did hers the following week. I loved this method of visiting students and spreading the joys of children's poetry and hope to do more of these when the 2018-19 school year rolls around. Thanks, Carlye Allen, Principal, for the offer.
On Saturday the 21st at the PEN AMERICA World Voices Festival from 11:00am to 12pm Irene and I watched our co-illustrators of CITYH, Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, work their magic with creating and teaching art. Irene and I also had an event later that day at Poets House from 3pm to 5pm. It couldn't have gone better. There was a crafts table for kids, an autographing table for Irene and I, and a CITYH book purchasing table. It all ran smoother than a lazy creek on a windless spring day. Many thanks to Lee Briccetti, Jane Preston and Lucy Dunphy Barsness for setting it all up. And to top it all off, Carol flew in from Minneapolis to be a part of our Saturday book fun jamboree!
Participated in Madness Poetry again where poets or "Authletes" are paired up in different brackets, are each assigned a word and have twenty four hours to write a poem that includes that word. Which ever poem in a particular bracket wins moves onto the next round. My word was bamboozled. Once again, I got bounced in the first round, yet loved having participated!
On April 22nd I flew to Asheville, NC to do workshops at Ira B. Jones Elementary and Hall Fletcher Elementary. These particular visits were being sponsored by the Asheville City Schools Foundation. Thank you Miranda Musiker and Kate Pett for the invitation. Special shout-out to the Bob Falls, co-founder and now retired President of Poetry Alive! and his wife, Holly Jones, for hosting me during my ten day, nine night stay at their lovely abode. Without Bob and his former business partner Rodney Bowling hiring me to tour with PA! in 2003, I wouldn't have gotten into children's poetry in the first place. PA! was and still is based in Asheville, so it was a homecoming of sorts for me.
On April 26th at 6pm I did a book signing/performance at Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville. There was also a Q & A conducted by Author/Children's Poet/Musician Allan Wolf. Allan worked at PA! for years, however, when I started there, he had already published his first book and was doing Author Visits across the country on his own steam. He's always been my poetic North Star because I used to think, one day I'd love to do what Allan's doing and now, fifteen years later, it's happening!
On April 30th, I did Author Presentations at Claxton Elementary, Isaac Dickson Elementary and Vance Elementary in Asheville. Thanks to Amy Brown, Crystal Hendrix and Kirsten LeClerc for asking me to be a part of the shindigs.
I went from the mountains of Asheville to the Midwest beauty of Wisconsin where I had an author presentation and various workshops at the University School of Milwaukee from May 1st to May 3rd. Many thanks to Cheryl Bair, Sierra Nimtz and Victoria Teerlink for the hospitality! These people do such great work on behalf of their school.
From May 6th to May 10th I did author visits, writing workshops and a teacher workshop in Webster, Henrietta and West Henrietta, NY. I had such an entertaining, educational, poetic rip roaring good time at Spry Middle School, Sherman Elementary, Vollmer Elementary and Willink Middle School. So thankful to Wendy Petry of the Arts in Education Department at Monroe #1 BOCES for the invite. Super grateful to the following unstoppable librarians, Wendy Sardella, Kelly Rivera, Ana Canino- Fluit, and Candice Lucas for their care, belief, hard work on behalf of children's literacy. I've said it before, but I'll write it here so it's in print, librarians, as well as children's book illustrators are "magical people!"
The Poetry Time Foundation or as teacher/children's poet Heidi Mordhorst calls it, the PTFoundation, provided multiple free assemblies to under-served communities in Seattle, donated free books to those on the downside of advantage at various schools, as well as provided a cash donation to the Highlights Foundation who have been super supportive to me throughout the years. PTFoundation also made donations to Trio-Plant Based, Minneapolis' first plant-based restaurant owned primarily by people of color and Black Pearl, LLC which offers consulting, talent management, media management, training and workshops on racial equity.
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.
JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE by August Wilson.
SUPERIOR DONUTS by Tracy Letts.
THE PILLOWMAN by Martin McDonagh.
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:
WORLD MAKE WAY: New Poems Inspired By Art From The Metropolitan Museum Of Art edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins.
VOICES IN THE AIR: Poems for Listening by Naomi Shihab Nye.
BETWEEN THE LINES by Nikki Grimes.
DARK SONS by Nikki Grimes.
THE BIG UMBRELLA illustrated by Amy June Bates. Co-written by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates.
LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds.
FOR EVERYONE by Jason Reynolds.
EPIC ELEMENTS by Ben Waters.
WOLF IN THE SNOW by Matthew Cordell.
DREAMING OF YOU by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater.
HIDDEN CITY: Poems of Urban Wildlife by Susan Hood. Illustrated by Amy Schimier- Safford.
SHAKING THINGS UP: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World by Susan Hood.
THE WATCHER: Inspired by Psalm 121 by Nikki Grimes. Illustrated by Bryan Collier.
THE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary D. Schmidt.
OKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt.
LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. Schmidt.
I leave you with my poem from Madness Poetry!
24-hour news floods my brain like a hurricane.
Opinions zig zag around –
a bumper car of hot words,
raised voices, shattered feelings.
Is any of what I watch or read the truth
or am I being bamboozled?
(c) Charles Waters 2018 all rights reserved.