Thursday, November 21, 2019

Publication: Teacher Voice Anthology

I'm very excited to have four poems coming out in the new anthology of work by teachers, Teacher Voice, published by Malarkey Books.

If you're interested in pre-ordering your copy, here are the details:

In collaboration with our friends at @MythicPicnic, Malarkey Books is proud to publish Teacher Voice, an anthology of writing by teachers. Edited by DeMisty D. Bellinger and Alan Good, both college teachers, this book features stories, poems, and essays by thirteen talented teachers.

We are taking preorders now (click here), and the first copies should ship in December. Please select Media Mail or First Class for shipping.

The cover was designed by Stuart Buck (@stuartmbuck on Twitter).

Featured writers:

Tomas Moniz
Shannon McLeod
Maya White-Lurie
Scott Garson
Wandeka Gayle
Noah Cain
Derek Heckman
Carman C. Curton
James Tate Hill
Chloe Yelena Miller
Siân Griffiths
Clarence Barbee
Jonathan Persinger

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Poetry for Kids

I have very fond memories of reading Shel Silverstein books as a child and was ridiculously excited when our 6 year-old came home asking to read Where the Sidewalk Ends. His teacher had read some poems in class and he thought I'd like them, too. I surprised him by pulling my childhood copy of the book down from the shelf and we started reading immediately.

Poetry has a bad reputation here in the U.S. Folks grow up scared of poetry or overly enthused that it can "mean anything" because "no grammar rules apply." Of course, there's no reason to be afraid and yes, there are some fundamental guidelines that can help a poem be a poem.

Here are some books and lists to get you started reading poetry with your child:

Shel Silverstein (author page)

About the book Poetry Speaks to Children (NPR)

10 Wonderful Children’s Poets You Should Know, article by Emily Temple (LitHub)

Gwendolyn Brooks’s Trailblazing Vintage Poems for Kids, Celebrating Diversity and the Universal Spirit of Childhood, article by Maria Popova (brainpickings)

Poems Kids Like (

Black History Month: Poems for Kids (

Children's Poetry (poetry

Joseph Coelho’s top 10 new poetry books every child must read (Guardian)

50 Must-Read Poetry Books for Kids, article by Margaret Kingsbury (BookRiot)

Friday, November 1, 2019

National Novel Writing Month

November 1st marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo! If you are working on any project (it doesn't even have to be prose), you'll find encouragement everywhere to help keep your writing every day. The official goal is to write 50,000 words of your first draft in 30 days.

Everyone writes differently. I tend to quickly write early drafts that are very long and need a lot of editing. Others write very, very slowly. If you decide to participate in this month, my advice is to use the encouragement and community to amplify what you already do well. If you tend to write a lot, do that. If you tend to write slowly, give yourself the time to do that.

Today, make a goal that is attainable for this month's schedule and then re-group at the end of the month to see what you accomplished and how you can continue this momentum. You might focus on time (how long will you write each day?) or word count (how many words on the page can you reach each day?)

Happy writing!

Some resources:
Official NaNoWriMo website
Follow the hashtag on Twitter to read what writers are accomplishing: #NaNoWriMo2019
Related events and online resources from the DC Public Library
Female identifying writers might join the Facebook Binders (and then look for the endless subgroups)
TED talks about writing
Reddit for Writers: 47 Writing Subreddits to Explore by Jess Zafarris (Writer's Digest)
NaNoWriMo Begins! 30 Tips for Conquering Your 30-Day Writing Challenge by Jess Zaffaris (Writer's Digest)