#amwriting #poetry – Resources for Learning Craft

Today I’ve gathered a list of resources in honor of National Poetry Month 2021. If you haven’t ever considered writing poetry, you will after listening to these. Inspiring!


Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival April 2021

This year the children’s book festival was virtual. The linked title will take you to the entire list of replays for the talks, but the one that stood out to me was Word-Joy: Experience the Transformative Power of Poetry with Irene Latham
, Vikram Madan, and Laura Purdie Salas.

Each author read not only from their own works, but also from the work of someone whom they admire. Then they discussed a number of practical activities to get children and adults excited about poetry.

Laura Purdie Salas discussed haiku riddles and equation poems. Check her website for much more.

Irene Latham read from her book,  NINE:  A Book of Nonet Poems.

A nonet is a 9-line poem that adds syllables either up or down, from one to nine syllables or from nine to one syllable. As she says, using a form like this can be freeing when it comes to writing poetry.

Vikram Madan is an artist as well as poet, so he likes to use art as an inspiration for poetry and poems as an inspiration for art.


Writing Excuses Podcast

In their 16th season, the crew at Writing Excuses did a poetry series that really helped me understand and appreciate poetry better. Each episode comes with a writing assignment. Well worth the time investment.

16.11: What is Poetry?

16.12 : Singing Versus Speaking

16.13: Day Brain vs. Night Brain

16.14: Poetic Language

16.15: Poetic Structure, Part I

16.16: Poetic Structure: Part II

16.17: The Time To Rhyme

16.18: Poetry and the Fantastic



Children’s poet Marilyn Singer is a regular visitor at DIY-MFA. I couldn’t find a link to this year’s interview, but here is a recent one.

Episode 306: Recipes for Poetry and Creativity – Interview with Marilyn Singer

Do you have any favorite poetry resources from last month or any month? Feel free to leave them in the comments.



Spring Shopping

Have you heard about the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest? To participate, find a gif for inspiration, write a kidlit story up to 150 words, and submit by tomorrow, April 9, 2020.

I was inspired to write a (sort of) mask poem after reading a post at Buffy Silverman’s blog. A mask poem is from the point of view of an animal (or plant).


Poppy Spring GIF by audreyobscura via GIPHY

Spring Shopping

On a warm spring day
New plants
Swing in the breeze
A waiting dance

A honey bee sees
Silky orange flower petals
A cup-shaped sign,
“I have food for you.”

The poppy feels
the feet of the bee
A friend carrying pollen dust
To swap for sweet nectar.

They exchange
A brief encounter.

The bee flies away
To share the bounty
With its sisters
To feed the baby bees.

The poppy quietly
begins to make its own little ones
In slender sword-shaped pods
Seeds for next spring.

#Kidlit Fall Writing Contest: The Empty Seat

Kaitlyn Sanchez over at Math is Everywhere (she’d love the picture book featured in our last post) is hosting a Kidlit Fall Writing Contest with some awesome prizes like critiques and children’s books.

The process is straightforward. Pick one of the photographs as a prompt on the contest rules page and write up to 200 words in any children’s genre (picture books to YA).  Then submit at this page by by Oct 11th 11:59 PM PST.

Although the pumpkin and sunflower photographs gave me ideas for nonfiction picture books (my usual genre), I decided to stretch myself with YA based on this autumn scene:

(Photo by Jake Colvin on Pexels.com)


The Empty Seat

by Roberta Gibson

During his break, Torin wandered to the practice field. The chill autumn air blew away the smell of food that clung to him. He sat at his usual bench by the water.

Three boys ran by, their footsteps swishing in the fallen leaves.

Unexpectedly, a girl sat next to him and stretched out her legs. “Do you know them?”

Torin shook his head. “I’m not a trainee. I work in the kitchen.”

“I know. I’ve seen you.”

“You’ve heard about me?” He veiled his disappointment. He knew what came next. They always wanted to know.

“Should I have?”

“No.” The bench was getting uncomfortable. “Of course not.”

She pushed her ginger-colored hair over her shoulder and grinned. “Now I’m curious. What’ve you done?”

“Nothing,” Torin said.

“You can tell me.”

“Okay. My darkest secret is I make a mean cherry cobbler. Would you like some?”

She laughed. At that moment a teacher beckoned her to the practice area.

She jumped up. “Sorry. Got to go.”

She leaned down and whispered in his ear, “I’m Maya. Raincheck?”

He didn’t have a chance to nod before she slipped away.

One seat would be empty tonight.

“Please be her,” he whispered.