NCTE Award Winning Poet: Lee Bennett Hopkins

 Lee Bennett Hopkins
Interview by Matt Forrest Esenwine

Lee Bennett Hopkins’ name is synonymous with children’s literature. He has written and edited numerous award-winning books for children and young adults as well as professional texts and curriculum materials; he has worked with many of the best-loved children’s authors, from Dr. Seuss to Madeleine L’Engle; and has taught elementary school and served as a consultant to school systems throughout the country. In 2011, Hopkins was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific anthologist of poetry for children, with 113 titles to his credit; that number continues to rise.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Hopkins graduated from Kean University and Bank Street College of Education, and holds a Professional Diploma in Educational Supervision and Administration from Hunter College. In 1980 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Kean University.

Over the years, he has received numerous awards and accolades, including the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature;” the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Excellence in Poetry for Children in 2009; and the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award.  He also has established two major awards:  the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, presented annually by Penn State University for a single volume of poetry, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award.

In addition to his anthologies, his own works include:

Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life (Boyds Mills Press), an autobiographical book of poetry that received the prestigious Christopher Medal and a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Golden Kite Honor Award

Mary’s Song (Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers), illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

City I Love (Abrams), illustrated by jazz musician Marcellus Hall

Hopkins’ forthcoming anthology, All The World’s a Stage, based on William Shakespeare’s monologue from As You Like It, will appear next year with Creative Editions, illustrated by Guy Billout.

Lee, you’re not just a poet or writer; you are an acclaimed anthologist, as well, so you probably get to see a far more diverse representation of children’s poetry than most people. What is the current state of children’s poetry, and how does it compare to that which was being written 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years ago?

True. I see, have seen, a great deal of poetry. My library houses thousands of volumes by every major American poet. Entire walls are filled with single collections as well as anthologies dating back to 1915 when Emilie Kip Baker’s THE CHILDREN’S FIRST BOOK OF POETRY (American Book Company) appeared.

Like any other genre, poetry changes as society changes.

Poetry in America is still the baby of children’s literature, less than 100 years old, beginning in the 1920s with Hilda Conkling, a 10-year old prodigy, who published POEMS BY A LITTLE GIRL (Lippincott).

And, yes, we are still hearing about the place poetry has in our society. Get this:

“We hear much nowadays about the decline of poetry. No one reads poetry anymore. Poets cannot make a living…we are living in a reflective, a scientific, a prose age.”

This gem was written by Franklin T. Baker at Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1915 in the Introduction to Emilie Kip Baker’s anthology! It is interesting to note that between 1950 and 1970 poetry flourished with over 30 poets making debuts, incredible voices as Gwendolyn Brooks, Myra Cohn Livingston, Arnold Adoff, Shel Silverstein, and Eve Merriam.

A lull occurred in the 1980s with only four voices rising – Nancy Willard, Jane Yolen, Marilyn Singer, and Paul Fleischman – all of whom created a wide genre of books from picture books to young adult and adult works. In the 1990s more poets were published than in any other decade.

A horrible fact of 21st century publishing is that few anthologies are appearing. In 2011, three; 2012, five. Another concept is that publishers only want theme collections. Rarely does one see a BOOK of poetry offering one gem after another about a multitude of things. There aren’t any more collections such as Myra Cohn Livingston’s THE MALIBU AND OTHER POEMS (Atheneum, 1972) where one can read about “A Book”, turn pages to read “Father,” or empathize with “Little Dead” about burying birds, where the poet writes: “…I’ll dig a bed / warm and dark to rest your heads / and keep you singing with my words.”

If only one editor would take a chance, let a voice voice about his/her feelings, thoughts, wishes, wonders.

Today, with technology, it seems anyone can post a poem anytime they want to. It is instant-poetry-time. In previous decades, one had to “wait” for poetry, and for the most part it was worth the wait. No more. A click of Google will bring you globs of verse – some of which is very good, some awful, some of the worst verse ever seen. It is now, literally, a free-for-all. But free isn’t always the best we can give children. 

When creating a poem, a self-penned book, or an anthology, are there ideas, words, or emotions that you have to wrestle with more than others, and how big a role does marketability play?

It is not the role of any true writer to write for a market. You must write for yourself, from within. Each book, each poem, each anthology poses its own set of problems and pleasures. The last concern would be marketability. It is up to the publisher to take care of this.

Once I delve into a subject, I research it to the fullest. Perhaps the most challenging series I did was based on Americana: HAND IN HAND: AN AMERICAN HISTORY THROUGH POETRY; MY AMERICA: A POETRY ATLAS OF THE UNITED STATES; and AMERICA AT WAR (all Simon & Schuster). All three volumes are rather large, definitive topics presented in poetry to complement studies and appreciation of our great United States.

Between e-books, e-readers like the Kindle and Nook, independent publishers, self-publishers, and print-on-demand services, technology has certainly thrown the children’s publishing industry for a loop. How is the industry evolving, and do you view these changes as positives or negatives?

Kindles, Nooks, and other varied forms of today’s technology are here, will stay, hopefully evolve for the better, and others will die out as quickly as boom boxes or 50 shades of any color one might think of!

Looking at something as wondrous as Maurice Sendak’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (HarperCollins) on a tiny machine’s screen is like watching GONE WITH THE WIND on an iPhone. A book is to hold, turn a page, relish words and/or pictures, keep in one’s mind and heart forever.

Is it possible to describe the perfect poem, or define the difference between a good poem and a great one? Having read so many, what is it you look for – in your work, as well as that of others?

The difference for me between a good poem and a great one is that a good poem is simply good. But a great poem such as Langston Hughes’ “Dreams” – a mere 8 lines – or his “Poem” – 21 words – show what a master of language can produce. When I read a work and utter “oooohhh,” I know in my soul it is a great poem. I’ve always gone on the “oooohhh” factor when selecting work for a collection.

You’ve been fortunate to know a number of wonderful, iconic children’s writers, like Theodor Geisel, Maurice Sendak (who would probably argue he didn’t write for kids), and current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, among others. What are the most important things you’ve learned from these relationships?

My earliest professional book, BOOKS ARE BY PEOPLE (Citation Press/Scholastic), was published in 1969. Over the course of my career, I have interviewed and/or met hundreds of writers and illustrators…writers are indeed people. They have lives as diverse as any other group of people. They have their successes, failures, life problems and pleasures, tragedies and triumphs. Being with, for example, Madeleine L’Engle or Lloyd Alexander, Ezra Jack Keats or Maurice Sendak, was no different than talking to a family member. They were people first, they became illustrious, but at the heart of it all they were real souls. And how I miss them. They not only gave love to their readers, they gave love to and for one another.

You have won numerous awards, like the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and the SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award; however, a rather unusual honor you received, of which many readers may not be aware, is recognition by Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific anthologist of poetry for children. With more than 113 titles and more on the way, what have you learned about poetry, publishing, and people?

It was an astonishing moment in my life when I learned I was to be included in Guinness World Records. It was sparked by Sylvia Vardell at Texas Women’s University; Elizabeth Enochs, an elementary school librarian in Ft. Worth, Texas; and her then 13-year old son, Jeff. Thirteen seems to be a lucky number for me. At the time, the number of anthologies was 113, Jeff was 13, I lived a good part of my childhood at 113 Seth Boyden Terrace in Newark, New Jersey, and I was born on April 13th!

I have learned a great deal about poetry, too much about publishing, and I have gained a sincere appreciation of people who read and share poetry.

You’ve been receiving very positive reviews for your most recent book, Mary’s Song, which is a story about Jesus’ mother – told from her perspective  yet it’s not really about Christmas. You’ve even stated that you initially didn’t realize you were writing it in her voice! How did the concept develop for this book, and why did you choose to write it in poetic prose, rather than traditional free verse?

I always wanted to write about Mary as a tribute to Motherhood. I don’t truly recall writing the book. It seemingly just came, flowed. I knew deep inside it had to be about her being with her baby alone without all the fuss, hubbub we usually read about the birth of Jesus.  What mother doesn’t want to hold her child, hum to her son, bond with him/her without a host of people around? I wanted the one word – QUIET – emphasized. Stephen Alcorn created a work of splendor in the double-page spread with simply the one word.

Over the years, you’ve worked with countless authors, poets, and illustrators…written or anthologized more than one hundred books…given who-knows-how-many speeches, interviews, and classes…does anything surprise Lee Bennett Hopkins these days?

The things that surprise me could fill volumes. As for this moment, I’m still here and hope to offer some new surprises in the future!

And for aspiring writers and poets who may or may not yet be published – what advice would you offer?

If you want to write poetry, READ poetry. You must learn what is out there and learn from it. You might begin reading works by winners of the NCTE Poetry Award. Practice, practice, practice. Do not accept first, third, or even fifth drafts. Look at every single word, even each syllable. Writing is REWRITING. Learn your craft as you would if you wanted to be a baseball player, an artist, or chef. And don’t give up. We all started someplace, sometime. If the world needs anything more right now, it needs another Hughes or Livingston, a McCord or Sandburg. It might be you.

For more information about Lee, his books, awards, and journal, check out his website here!

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35 thoughts on “NCTE Award Winning Poet: Lee Bennett Hopkins

  1. Thank you, Steve (and Matt), for this terrific interview! Lee is a one-of-a-kind poet, anthologist, mentor, and champion cheerleader for the best children’s poetry has to offer.

    I’ve been enjoying Poetry at Play — so much to discover here!

  2. Great interview by both. Thanks, PACYA, for providing the forum.

    This comment … “Today, with technology, it seems anyone can post a poem anytime they want to. It is instant-poetry-time. In previous decades, one had to “wait” for poetry, and for the most part it was worth the wait. No more. A click of Google will bring you globs of verse – some of which is very good, some awful, some of the worst verse ever seen. It is now, literally, a free-for-all. But free isn’t always the best we can give children.”

    … is of course true. But I do not think that this is a bad thing on its face. There is room for instant poetry, even bad instant poetry, even if it’s the worst verse ever seen. I think of it as a primer — something that enables people (kids or adults) to develop an appreciation, an opinion, a passion for the genre.

    How do I recognize good poetry if I’ve never read bad poetry?

    How do I appreciate carefully-crafted poetry if I’ve never read corner-cutting poetry written on a deadline?

    How do I find something that makes me “know in my soul it is a great poem” if I’ve not first been teased by poems that maybe made an awkward run at my heart or gut or brain but came up a little short?

    -Ed

      • Isn’t there a space below “making art” where we’re simply “taking part” — playing with words, sketching, practicing, jamming together as visual artists and musicians do?

      • Too many ‘take part.’ Those who ‘make art’ do so by honing their craft. Poets do play with words; artists do sketch, et al. But they wait and struggle, and think before a few inane words become those of a Hughes or Sandburg or a simple sketch becomes a Van Gogh or a Rembrandt. So — begin to make art and not merely take part.

      • (I’ll again play the role of “guy who agrees loudly”. Sorry, I’m Italian.)

        Technology is an enabler of both good and bad. Whatever one thinks of instant poetry, there is no getting around the facts that 1) it exists, 2) we cannot eradicate it, and 3) we cannot prevent people from reading it.

        What I think that we can do is advocate the creation and consumption of great poetry in the face of the bad that surrounds it.

        Part of that, to me, is finding clever ways to use web/mobile technology to help people to discern the differences between objective (okay, “critically subjective”) good and bad poetry, and to hone our personal styles and preferences along the way.

        At the center of this approach is the comparison of texts, whether that means comparing two masterpieces, comparing a poet’s final work (post wait-and-struggle period) to his/her first draft, or comparing two insta-poems to evaluate their relative merit, or lack thereof.

        It is analogous to wine making/tasting. (The Italian in me wants to explain that in another two paragraphs, but the poet in me is going to just stop typing.)

        Regards,

        -Ed

  3. Pingback: Interview with poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins « Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  4. Thank you all for taking the time to read the interview and share your thoughts, and a special thank you to Lee for taking the time to answer our questions! It is only by sharing our knowledge, experiences, and talent that we can all grow and develop as writers – and, indeed, as human beings.

  5. Terrific interview – Lee is a national treasure. Such a wealth of insights from a dedicated career, and I’m always eager to see what he’ll conjure up next! Thanks to both of you for sharing and to PACYA for this rich series.

  6. A question related to Lee’s responses: What of the future of self-publishing? Given the dwindling numbers of anthologies and collections, serious poets aiming to publish their best work in a professional manner–newcomers and more established names alike–may soon have few (if any) options beyond digital and print-on-demand routes.

    Currently, self-publishing precludes poets from receiving major reviews, awards, and sales outside a tiny niche market — and I wonder if this will need to change. Some might argue that patience is a virtue and that true quality will win out in the long term (witness debut collections from Kate Coombs and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater), and yet this seems like cold comfort to me, an act of surrender when what we need is more openness to innovation.

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    –Steven Withrow

    • Steven you bring up serious questions. It is a fact: Anthologies are and have dwindled. There may be others in the hopper but as of now 2013 will see two anthologies – a long delayed collection by Caroline Kennedy (Hyperion) and my ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE (Creative Editions) which has been in production for several years.

      A hard cold fact are budgets. Unlike any other type of book anthologies cost more than anything else to produce. In addition to advances to editors and illustrators, poets must be paid for selections chosen. You are talking thousands of dollars before a manuscript is even put together. Anthology is a strange beast.

      Many agents are at fault charging hideous fees for reprint rights. In one case where I wanted to use a well-known (dead) poet’s work, an agent wanted $400.00 for hardcover, another $400.00 for paperback rights, an obscene fee for world rights (which rarely even happens) and another enormous fee should the book go into another printing. We are talking over $1,000.00 or more for one single verse.

      One of my recent collections, SHARING THE SEASONS (Simon & Schuster), illustrated by Caldecott Award winner, David Diaz, and edited with great insight by Emma Dryden, cost close to $10,000.00 in permission fees alone.

      Self-publishing is not new. There has always been what once was termed ‘vanity publishing’ — paying to get one’s work into a booklet. It rarely pays off. Once family (who usually want copies gratis) and friends who might buy a book or two, there is little in the way of marketing sense. Today, even the cost of postage to mail out a small paperback will cost as much as the book(let) itself. I have many self-published books including some by well-known authors as Ruth Krauss that never went anywhere…unfounded treasures.

      Even the best published poetry – individual or anthology – doesn’t merit the sales of a highly touted picture book or an award-winning novel.

      Until publishing houses commit to poetry there will be no poetry. Many houses do not publish any poetry. The one house devoted to solely publishing poetry is Boyds/Mills Press/Wordsong…and even this list is into years 2015 and beyond.

      It is a sad state. I would love to hear others discuss these points. I have worked all my life to promote poetry and will continue to do so. Yet I am only one voice.

      What can we do? How can we do it?

      Then there are ‘reviews’.

      • lee – after pushing my way through hurricane, nor’easter and blizzard, i am at last back home where most services have been restored and life feels normal again. which is by way of saying i have only just read your splendid interview. you have indeed been – and continue to be – the pied piper of children’s poems. but you are also a master teacher.
        love, miriam

      • Miriam: I wish I had written this line “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” But it was Elizabeth Barrett Browning who did so. You were the one who gave me a big start, publishing my first book of poetry, CHARLIE’S WORLD (Bobbs-Merrill) back in 1972! I shall always be grateful to you. Several of the poems in that collection are still being reprinted today–after 40 years! Let ME count the ways.

  7. Lee as always this was an informative interview with deep insights not only on children’s poetry but the state of children’s poetry as it stands today.

    Unfortunately standing may not be the best word to use because it seems to be wobbling. It makes us all heartsore that it has come to this.

    Only 2 anthologies in 2013? Good gracious.

    A suggestion:

    Is there any way to have a children’s poetry think tank a day or two before one of the conferences (NCTE, ALA, etc) where the top children’s poets, anthologists and teachers gather around and really talk this out? How to improve the state of children’s poetry worldwide.

    Have all the heavy hitters gather (on the writing side) Hopkins, Dotlich, Holbrook, Salanger, Janeczko, Yolen, Harrison, Wong, Salas, George, Grimes, Wolf, Graham, Nelson etc. (on the teaching side) Vardell, Young, Hankins, Hahn etc.(the children’s poets who are on the rise) Vanderwater, Coombs, Pincus etc. (Agents and publishers) Corcoran, Harding, Dryden etc.

    This may be wish fulfillment on my part but it’s an idea.

    • Charles: In an idyllic world your suggestion would be grabbed up and I’d be first on line to head up the caucus which would be welcomed by everyone you mention plus some incredible others. But we don’t live there. There are fewer and fewer programs devoted to poetry at major conventions. Publishers wouldn’t sponsor poets to attend such a meeting. ALA doesn’t even have an award to recoginize poetry after years of pleading, though they seem to have an award for almost every other category of literature. Check out the list. ALA, by the way, is the only organization that doesn’t have an award for the genre. Both NCTE and IRA have established awards, both of which I helped develop and/or fund.

      At this moment in time I’m not concerned over poetry worldwide…I am concerned over poetry nationwide. If something isn’t done we will have no new voices.

      Thank you for your input. I hope others will contribute to this most important discussion.

      • That dearth of anthologies is what troubles me most, for anthologies are the crux points of the old and the new. They are the treasure troves and the testing grounds.

        Where else can we meet Walter de la Mare and Rebecca Kai Dotlich in one setting? Where else do we learn that poetry for children is a tradition far older and more formative than verse written expressly for adults, and not a trend or a trifle?

        A gifted anthologist like Lee is a keeper of things that last, and an arbiter of things better lost.

        I’d rather see a dozen or more “old meets new” poetry anthologies reach library shelves each year–and yes, printed books still matter greatly–than any other type of book in existence.

        Expensive, yes, but essential always.

        –Steven

      • I’ve never thought about anthologies in that way (i.e., mixing old and new). Thanks for making that point, Steven.

        I also think that your point that “printed books still matter greatly” is critical. As a software product manager by day, I spend a lot of my time thinking about disruptive technology. While we can use new technologies and techniques to attract kids (and adults) to EXPERIENCE poetry, 1) that doesn’t mean that the experience is the same as that of reading an actual book, and 2) I fear that these methods are not likely to directly reward poets or publishers, other than as a form of exposure/advertising.

        I just read an article on Pitchfork the other day that discusses royalties paid to artists by streaming radio services. While they are great for band exposure, it can take over 300,000 plays on Pandora and over 40,000 plays on Spotify to generate the royalties that would be due from just one (1) physical album sale. So, no matter what we may dream up in terms of promoting poetry, poets and publishers will still need to convert those new media “reads” or other promotional efforts into actual book purchases at some point. This all presupposes that the primary reason that publishers shy away from poetry to begin with is its relatively poor revenue projection, or upside in the way of cross-media extensions (games, movies, etc.) — which may or may not be true. Curious to hear everyone’s take on that.

        In any case, it would be interesting to experiment with ways to drive such conversion. One thing that I could try to do during “March Madness Poetry 2013″ — which generated a ton of excitement (if on a smallish scale) for kids poetry — is to link each poem created during the event to each participant’s latest poetry book (or, if unpublished, perhaps a book by one of their influences) to see if it has any material effect on sales. Not that I want to over-commercialize it, but perhaps, like candy in a checkout lane, people just need a gentle prompt?

  8. Okay, so this time it is letting me post. Let me try to recreate what I said earlier because two things Lee said struck me.

    1 – “Like any other genre, poetry changes as society changes.”
    I am reminded of 8 years ago, shopping around my verse novel and being told by a very respected editor that she didn’t think the genre would be around long. Now, 6 years after that book has been published, the genre continues to grow.

    2 – Lee said, “It is not the role of any true writer to write for a market. You must write for yourself, from within. Each book, each poem, each anthology poses its own set of problems and pleasures. The last concern would be marketability. It is up to the publisher to take care of this.”

    This is so very hard for me to remember but so important. Every time I try to write for a market I fail. My stories need to come from my heart in order to reach the reader’s heart.

  9. If anyone doubts the current mindset of editors, agents, and even other writers with regards to children’s poetry, one need look no further than the agendas of some of the kid lit conferences.

    One I attended two years ago featured only one workshop (out of three days) on poetry; another I attended this past year also featured only one workshop on poetry, and it was one of the very last events held on the last day. Other than a poetry ‘Open Mic’ night and a wonderful Q&A with Jane Yolen, there was no representation of children’s poetry. (When I brought this to Jane’s attention, she was stunned.) Even the manuscript critiques were biased against poetry – while allowing up to ten pages of a PB, YA, or other manuscript, poetry collections were only allowed three pages. After speaking to the organizers about this, I was told I might have affected a change for next year’s conference…I hope!

    My point is, if fellow writers do not have the respect or regard for poetry that we as poets do, how can we expect NON-writers to care? That’s why I think things like Poetry Friday and Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s collaborations are so important, because they get poetry out and in front of people who might otherwise pass it by.

    In radio, we used to have a saying when we were undertaking a big promotion: “It’s only a big deal if you MAKE it a big deal.” The three rules of radio promotion, therefore, were a) tell people what you’re going to do, b) tell people what you’re doing, and c) tell people what you did. The more people we can tell what we’re doing, the bigger the deal we can make it!

    If a resurgence of poetry is going to happen – and we have to believe it will – it’s going to start from within.

  10. This is certainly a very interesting discussion and one which, as a poet, I care deeply about. The slow demise of the anthology is very sad. And if anyone comes up with ideas on how to solve the poetry “shut-out,” I will certainly be on that bandwagon. I agree, the work Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong are doing is very important. Thanks, Lee, for all your insights and thanks to Matt for hosting.

  11. An interesting group of responses. I agree with some, could argue with others, but want to mentioned these three things:

    1. Poets write because they see the world through metaphor, and because they have something unique to say. They work hard, wrestling with a word, with a phrase, with the lyricism of a line. They go back again and again to the pool of poetry, kneel down, drink, rise and let the words spill out again.

    2. This does not mean poets should therefore not be paid for what they do. That payment comes for single poems, for books of poems, for readings, for all of it. I have had poems etched on windows in libraries, spoken on records, set to music, on cards, put on broadsides, posters, and copied by friends in into daybooks.

    3. By setting the free/internet bar so low, we encourage not only poets to churn stuff out AND PUBLISH IT (i.e., make it public) regardless of its quality. And Ed, I fear that rather than showing kids and adults how to distinguish bad from good, we are instead making the bad yet perhaps easy to access the norm. That’s my greatest fear.

    Jane Yolen

    • Great points, Jane.

      It seems to me that your greatest fear has already been realized to a large extent, though it could certainly still get worse. Poems of questionable quality are posted online every day, much the same way that questionable music is played and questionable advice is given and questionable videos are shown. We cannot fault people for freely expressing themselves, but as the blog+social+epub fire hose widens, you are right that great works may become indistinguishable from the rest — in the eyes of most.

      But if we can’t block the hydrant, and can’t control the valve, and (referring to Lee’s point about publishers’ lack of commitment to the genre) can’t start a poetic blaze so big that no amount of water can tame it, then how best to deal with the problem?

      I’d suggest that most of us (non-luminary division) start by examining our own online behavior and the work that we share publicly on our blogs and social outposts. Is it the best that it can be? Or just the best that we could do by an arbitrary posting time?

      Also, I think that we can probably be more careful with the feedback that we offer when we read other people’s poems online. I know that I’ve praised a nice turn of phrase while reserving criticism of an otherwise questionable poem before – while kind, I suspect that things like this are contributing to the problem in a few ways, and are a disservice to the writer and genre as a whole.

      I still think that we can make something good of the bad, and I will continue to explore ways to do so on my own, but I accept that it is a shaky rope to walk. Thank you, Lee and Jane, for making me more cognizant of the risks.

  12. Wow–what a fascinating discussion that really covers ALL the issues in children’s poetry today! And there are so many possible answers. You are quite right, Charles, that our genre could benefit from a 30-person “think tank” discussion–and that’s sort of happening right here, at least from the poets’ side. What we really need is for publishers to talk to us openly about their poetry (or non-poetry) decisions.

    As for new voices showcased in their own collections, I do love Kate Coombs’s work and I’m very excited about Amy LV’s forthcoming FOREST HAS A SONG (sold 8 years ago?); Elaine Magliaro also has a book coming out in a few years, too. So–let’s keep hoping! The number of children’s poetry books might not be what it was before, but things are still looking good!

    (And thank you to everyone who mentioned me and Sylvia and our work!!)

    • Rebecca Dotlich and I have two books of poetry coming out: In 2013 GRUMBLES FROM THE FOREST, fairy tale poems, and 2014/2015??? GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN. In 2014 I have THUNDER UNDERGROUND, poems about things underneath the ground, including but not limited to rots, ants, worms, rivers, pirate treasure, house plumbing, seeds, moles, beetles. . .etc.

      Jane

  13. Pingback: Interview with U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis « Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  14. Pingback: Poetry Month 2013: "Good Books, Good Times!" by Lee Bennett Hopkins | Renee LaTulippe - No Water River

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