Friday, December 30, 2005

Bestseller or Bargain Bin?

Wondering if your novel is going to be a huge success? Well, now you can assess your chances with the Lulu Titlescorer. Just type in your title, answer a few questions, and find out what the odds are that your novel will hit number one.

"When Speaking with the Dead," the title of my novel from NaNoWriMo, has a 35.9% chance of being a bestseller. How about yours?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Wishing peace, love, and joy to all.

Mary’s Devotion

Years from now when your good words
have fallen like fisted knots
of a net dimpling the sea’s surface;
when you’ve let your fingers settle
like roots of love
pushing between hairline cracks in rock;
when your eyes have refused
to reflect the hatred of unsympathetic ears
even as you cry salt and blood;
then I will touch this time and hold fast –
not to a crown of thorns
but to the crowning of your head,
slick with thick black hair between my legs,
your small yelp screaming for milk
and a mother’s strength.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

When You Ask if I Love You

When You Ask if I Love You

Must we re-examine our faith on this street corner
while the Salvation Army band is playing
‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ as coins drop into the red kettle
with gluttonous chinks and rattles?
A neon Jesus beams down from the top of the building
where the Miller girl usually rides the moon
sidesaddle like a debutante afloat on her escort’s arm,
and we’re standing here in falling snow
growing white with the duff of your needy words.
I fold a dollar bill and push it through the slit
in the kettle’s cover. It makes no sound.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Poetry and Kids, Part Two

In a previous post, I talked about the joy of reading poetry with children, from simple nursery rhymes to modern works of humor. What's even better than reading poetry? Writing it! Once kids are able to recognize poetry, they'll want to try their own.

Here are two haiku that my daughter Emma, 5, wrote a couple of weeks ago:

stars and moon shine bright
at bedtime they twinkle smiles
to help me sleep tight

red leaves fall from the
trees, yellow leaves following,
orange leaves floating

The Scholastic website offers many wonderful resources, including their Writing with Writers workshops for kids. In the Poetry section, kids can read or listen to poems and get step by step instruction from published writers. There's even a poetry idea engine to help kids get started by offering word choices for creating haiku, cinquain, and limericks.

Poetry4Kids offers contests, lessons, games, poems, and a rhyming dictionary, all geared toward kids.

abcteach provides printouts on poetic devices and forms, including metaphors, alliteration, rhyme, acrostic poems, haiku, cinquain, abecederian, and others. They offer a brief definition, example(s), and space for kids to write their own poems or images.

For older kids and adults, The Academy of American poets is an invaluable resource of both essays on poetic forms and a wide variety of poems.

If you have a kid, take the time to read a poem, or two, or three, together. Roll the words around in your mouths, let the sounds jumble up and crash around you. Feel the texture of the lines in your fingers. And then, grab a pencil and a piece of paper and listen to what your child has to say. You might be surprised to hear him or her speaking in poetry.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tidbits of Random News

• My copy of Bonfire arrived last week, complete with five poems by yours truly (and a photo accompanying my bio). It is an absolutely lovely journal and I'm very proud to be a part of it.

• My daughter Emma lost her first tooth last Friday. When she smiles her gappy grin at me, I feel a rush of joy for the person she is growing into, and a twinge of nostalgia for the baby she's leaving behind.

• I've been knitting up a storm with Touch Me, a wonderfully luxurious and very expensive yarn. I can't reveal what I'm making, though, until after Christmas.

• Kate, who will be three in January, continues to refuse any and all enticements to be potty trained. She is perfectly capable of doing it, knows how and when, but simply doesn't want any part of it. Even the most overt bribery isn't working. Suggestions are welcomed.

• Having finished off NaNoWriMo in a timely fashion, I'm now participating in the 30/30 Challenge (one new poem a day for 30 days) at Inside the Writer’s Studio, an online poetry workshop.