Today I'm pleased to present a guest post from Middle Grade author Irene Latham! Ms. Latham is the author of multiple MG books, including Leaving Gees Bend, Don't Feed the Boy, Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems From the Water Hole, and When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: And Other Poems About the Frozen Continent! :)
And now here's the guest post! :)
Hello. My name is Irene, and I'm a poet. I've been reading and writing poetry since I was five years old. My first poems were love poems – for my mother. For many years I wrote in secret. I stashed notebooks under my bed. Poetry was a way to process and record my heartbreak and pain and joy. I wrote on the bus, during geometry class, in the middle of the night. I could stop anytime I wanted.
But I didn't stop. Even when I got sidetracked writing novels and blog posts and essays, I kept reading and writing poetry. I'm still reading and writing poetry – for all ages. Some of my poems have been made into books for the middle grade audience: DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: And Other Poems from the Water Hole and WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA: Poems About the Frozen Continent. Both these books are filled with love poems – love for animals and plants and unique environments. They also, in the style made popular by Joyce Sidman, have nonfiction text boxes to provide more information for curious readers.
So. Why Poetry?
It's short. Most poems can be read in under a minute. One reader told me recently after reading her first verse novel that it was “like Cliff's Notes, except you don't have to feel guilty about it.”
It's a way to explode the moment. Poetry is full of zingers. We get to read powerful images and emotions. Instead of pushing through 200 pages, we can experience the set up, the build up, and the delivery almost all at once: boom-boom-BOOM.
It will change the way you experience the world. Poetry invites us to SLOW DOWN. To be present, to look-listen-touch-taste-feel very closely. It's a way to walk through this world and feel hair-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck alive... all the time.
There are lots of wonderful poetry books for the middle grade audience, and there are many individual poems available for free online.
Some middle grade poetry books currently on my bookshelf:
This was a really interesting post to read! :)
Thank you for participating in this event! :)
Author bio: Irene Latham is the award winning author of two novels for children LEAVING GEE'S BEND and DON'T FEED THE BOY. She also serves as poetry editor for Birmingham Arts Journal and has published three volumes of poetry for adults. Her current focus is on poetry for children with the 2014 release of DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST, which was named an SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor book, and two 2016 titles: FRESH DELICIOUS and WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA. For the past 10 years she has blogged several times a week about creativity, poetry, and life at Live Your Poem. irenelatham.com
Here are a few links: