Cruising into the New Year

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The midnight view from our porthole, as we quietly welcomed the New Year, in Antarctica.

Well, I certainly didn’t expect 2016 to end like that!

Late October we were gifted with the unexpected opportunity to travel to South America and the Antarctic. Cue a flurry of activity – and emotions.

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I took a gazillion photos. And wrote very little. I had no idea it would be beyond-words amazing…

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Expect to see some blog posts about this unexpected, unbelievable trip. Also expect delays, as I have a book that is going through final stages of pre-publication, a new school year underway, and countless stories that are twitching at my fingertips. Some may involve ice… 😉

A belated Happy New Year to you all. It’s good to be home … but I carry a huge chunk of the Antarctic in my heart.

Photographs © Kathryn Apel. All rights reserved.

The Poem that Didn’t Make the Cut

This week around the interwebs, poets are posting their poems that didn’t make it into the One Minute Till Bedtime collection, released by Little, Brown in the US on the 1st of November.

The poem I subbed (with American spelling and all!) was Mommy’s Shadow. But to be completely honest with you, it was actually written as Daddy’s Shadow – and like My Dad (which did make it into the anthology) was inspired by my young sons and their interactions with their Dad, who, of course, they doted on! I’d tucked both poems away for many years… But because I was already submitting a Dad-poem for consideration, I tweaked the shadow, to complete the set. Which left me in a bit of a pickle for this non-minute poem… because I still prefer Daddy’s Shadow. So – that’s what I’m posting here.

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My Daddy has a shadow
and it follows him about.
It’s the perfect little helper,
there isn’t any doubt.
If Daddy’s in the garden,
then his shadow potters through.
While Daddy’s washing up the car,
his shadow splashes too!
When Daddy’s feeling lazy
and just wants to have a rest …
He’s lucky I’m his shadow
‘cause I’m always full of zest!

© Kathryn Apel.
All rights reserved.

You can read  about Kenn’s process to selecting and arranging the poems – with links to the 15 Australian poets included – on my previous blog post; Collating an Anthology – with Kenn Nesbitt. You can read more non-poems at jackiehoskingblog.wordpress.com, and on the Poetry Friday link-up, collated by Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones.

Collating an Anthology – with Kenn Nesbitt

oneminuteOne Minute Till Bedtime is an impressive collection of children’s poetry compiled by former American Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt. Whilst I wouldn’t encourage my students to drop off to sleep in the middle of class, we have been sneaking a few-more-than-a-few poems into our school days, and I speak from experience when I say this book is a brilliant classroom resource –  because it celebrates the FUN of poetry!

I had a few questions about the process of compiling a poetry collection, and I’m delighted to share Kenn’s insights with you…

Kenn, with One Minute Till Bedtime, you have put together an anthology that touches five countries. How did you know where to start – to draw poets from so far afield?

Kenn NesbittI’ve been writing children’s poetry for more than 20 years, and have met many, many poets during that time. Years ago I started keeping a list ofchildren’s poet I knew, and those I hadn’t met yet. When the opportunity to create this anthology came up, I was able to reach out to nearly 200 published children’s poets. I received submissions from over 160 of them.

What is the breakdown of poets/countries, as included in the book?

There are 132 poets in this collection. 100 of them are from the US, 15 are from Australia*, 13 from the UK, 3 from Canada, and 1 from Italy.

What sort of things (aside from being less than 60 seconds) were you looking for, when making your selections?

I was looking specifically for poems that would evoke an emotion. I am of the opinion that good poetry makes you feel something when you read it, so this was my key criterion in choosing the poems. Additionally, I was interested in poems that I felt were particularly well-written, regardless of style or form.

I love the diversity of the poems. There are some that could be considered almost a risk, going so far out on a limb … and that’s what makes you laugh out loud at the success of the poems. (Like April Haplin Wayland’s, ‘Rolling down the Hill’, and James Carter’s ‘What to Yell When You’re Trapped in the Belly of a Whale’. Delight!)

In addition to sharing the work of so many children’s poets from around the world, I wanted to show the diversity of poetry being written for kids today. That includes concrete poems like these, as well as poetic forms such as pantoums, haiku, abecedarian poems, free verse, humorous rhymes, and more.

How did you decide on the order of the poems, to balance length, type, themes?

With over 140 poems, I thought it would be a good idea to break the book up into sections, each with about 20-30 minutes of reading. This makes a book with seven sections, one for each day of the week, and each with a reading time of less than 30 minutes.

I also decided to begin each section with more realistic poems (e.g., poems about nature, seasons, etc.) and progress toward more imaginative and dreamlike poems, and poems about bedtime and sleeping. The idea here was to somewhat mimic the process of falling asleep.

With this in mind, I selected the actual order by printing out all of the poems and spreading them out on my kitchen table where I could easily see them and shuffle them around. I also wanted to pair poems together so that similar poems could share a common illustration on each two-page spread.

How super-talented and diverse is Christoph Niemann!? I love the quirky extra dimension his illustrations bring to each poem. Were there poems where Christoph submitted more than one possible illustration to consider? Can you give us a short insight into this collaborative process?

I agree. Christoph’s work is so clever and whimsical that you can spend as much time with the illustrations as you do with the poems. There were indeed a few poems where Christoph provided two illustrations for me and my editors to consider. For the most part, though, he worked with the publisher. I didn’t have any direct contact with him during the illustrating of the book, but I did get to see the early sketches and watch as the illustrations progressed.

You yourself have seven poems in the collection. Do you have a favourite amongst your own contributions?

If I had to select just one, it would be “Have I Told You?” I’m also fond of “Whew!,” “How to Fall Asleep,” and “What Do You Dream?”

And finally, what are some of your tips, to make bedtime reading a success?

I think the best thing a parent can do to make bedtime reading a success is to do it consistently as part of a child’s bedtime ritual, beginning at birth. Also, use it as an opportunity for discussion and learning. Children will have lots of questions as you read to them. It’s okay to stop and explain as you go along. This is a great way to expand a child’s vocabulary and their knowledge of the world.

Thank-you so much for the insights, Kenn, and congratulations on a job done exceptionally well!

…oooOOOooo…

* Links to Australian poets in One Minute Till Bedtime

Writing Exercise

Just slipping in quickly with this short poem, that perhaps tells you what I’ve been doing.

Anyone else familiar with this … situation? #amwriting #amediting #ameating #amexercising

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Insert ‘editing’ for ‘writing’ and you have my day in a nutshell. Copy edits have arrived for my new book. They’re starting to look very festive! 🙂

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas… #amediting #amwriting #copyedits

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You can catch the Poetry Friday roundup at Carol’s Corner this week. For now though, I’d better get back to eating… er… exercising… errr… editing!!

One Minute Till… NOW!

oneminuteThis week saw the release of One Minute Till Bedtime, a poetry collection compiled by Kenn Nesbitt, which includes two of my poems. That was exciting… but it got even more exciting when my pre-ordered book arrived, yesterday, in the middle of a crazy-busy 24hours. I haven’t had a chance to read it cover-to-cover yet, but I’ve been dipping and diving into it at every chance I get, and am loving the variety and unexpectedness of the poems. And the gorgeous, whimsical, simply clever illustrations by Christoph Niemann. It really is a joy of words.

And it’s a thrill to be sharing the pages with friends and poets from Australia, and amongst the Poetry Friday crew. A huge thank-you to Kenn for including my poems in the amazingly versatile collection. What a wonderful way to spread a love of poetry through homes and generations around the world.

Here is one of my poems… Continue reading

Epigram How-To

katapel-epigram-witticismsmThis week’s Poetry Friday post is about another short-form poem to build your writing muscles on – the epigram. I’m linking direct to the new page I’ve created, under the Whisker of Poetry tab, so that it’s easy for people to click back and find at a later date.

To read about the wise and witty bite-sized ditty, you’ll need to click the link, or click on the pictured epigram. They’ll take you straight across. And to get the full Poetry Friday round-up, visit Tricia, at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Happy Day!

Storybird Snippets

It’s been a while since I stretched my wings on Storybird, but over the weekend I hatched a couple of poems, and as always had fun with the format – so thought I’d share two with you.

I saw carrots in this art by Bitskoff, and thought of my son, who would easily eats 1kg of carrots in a day – every day, if he could! But maybe we all would like some carrots (even little mousies) … so sharing is a good thing to remember. 😉

katapel_storybird_siblings Continue reading

My Niece Announces The Best Cat

*STOP THE PRESS*

I just received the most adorable email from my sister – so this week’s scheduled Poetry Friday post has been delayed, until next week. (And I was rather chuffed with it, so please do check back next week. 🙂 )

During my Month of Poetry this year, I wrote a (different) poetry  collection for each of my nieces. MissyK’s birthday was earlier in the year, so she had already received her collection. Recently it was LittleMissPurple’s birthday. Tonight my sister read one of the poems, a cat poem, to LMPurple. When my sister tucked LMPurple into bed, MissyK piped up, “I heard that cat poem and it made me think of this poem. Continue reading

One Minute Till Bedtime – Coming Soon

oneminutetillbedtimesmThere’s a new book coming, 1st November, that’s starting to make a lot of noise around the interwebs. It’s a hardcover poetry collection edited by former US poet laureate Kenn Nesbitt, illustrated by Christoph Niemann, and published by Little, Brown. With over 140 new poems from more than 130 poets around the world, I’m thrilled to have my poems, ‘My Dad’ and ‘School Bus’ included. This is my first foray into the American publishing market, so it is mildly wildly exciting!

A dreamy collection of bedtime poems and witty illustrations that’s anything but sleepy.

Read the full Kirkus Review starred review.

 

Aussies can pre-order from Fishpond, Booktopia and Book Depostory.

Expect to hear more about this book in coming weeks! I can’t wait to see it!! 😀

Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 978-0-316-34121-9

Homograph Tetractys

Last week I created a tetractys page, with how-to and examples. Such a versatile little poetry form. I particularly like the double tetractys, and included a couple of my own variants, including the homonym, and homphone tetractys – but discovered I didn’t have a homograph tetractys. But I do now. You will perhaps recognise numerous clichés, cut and confuddled to create the poem.

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Lead Homograph Tetractys

Sometimes it feels like there are lots of empty gongs clanging loudly in life – filling the silence of those who are quietly, consistently putting words into actions. Sometimes my heart sinks like lead, listening…

You can read more about the tetractys under the ‘Whisker of Poetry’ drop-down tab. I think my favourite has to be the ‘War’ homophone tetractys. Perhaps you’d even like write one yourself. Feel free to share in the comments.

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This week I’m visiting Alphabet Soup Blog, to kick off the Pass the Book Baton series. I’m responding to Joseph, who says;

I really enjoyed Bully on the Bus and On Track, both verse novels. But you’ve written other books, too. Why did you decide to write those two books as verse novels?”

Click on the link to read that interview. And visit  Violet Nesdoly | Poems where you will find all the Poetry Friday links for the week. Enjoy!

** To answer Brenda’s question in the comments, this is how you have some control over the formatting in your comments. By typing this, when it’s posted as a comment it looks like my response to Brenda, below.

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