Greetings, Poetry Lovers! It's so much fun to meet in person someone whom you've only seen in a little Zoom square. Especially when they bring their adorable dog along.
Most of you know Pomelo Books and the power team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. (If you don't, please visit all the poetry magic here.) And many of you know about the online anthology workshops they've offered the last couple of years. (Info here.) Participants in these workshops have had the opportunity to submit poems for a book associated with each one, and now there's a nice collection of these user-friendly ekphrastic anthologies being shared in living rooms and classrooms, gathering a trail of awards as they go. I've had the privilege of participating in a couple of these and meeting new folks through the Zoom gatherings. When Janet and Sylvia recently offered a new "Think Poetry" workshop geared toward sharing poetry in schools as well as writing, I jumped on that, too, since I love sharing as much poetry as I can during author visits.
Janet also graciously offered to host a bonus in-person Think Poetry workshop/gathering for anyone who could get themselves out here to the beautiful coast of Washington state this week. My hubby graciously offered to give me all his frequent flyer miles. So here I am! Another participant and contributor to these recent anthologies, Matthew Winter, likewise boarded a plane from the East Coast and flew across the country to join in the fun. And, he brought along his adorable flying companion & canine connoisseur of poetry, Bailey.
Matt and I have been staying at the same friendly inn in town and did a little exploring at the small harbor Wednesday before working on some poetry adventures with Janet and Sylvia. It's been a blast! As an elementary school teacher for 21 years, Matt brings not only his talent as a writer to the table but years of professional experience and expertise with young learners, particularly in the area of reading. Originally from Maryland, he lives in New York.
"I love to read and write stories and poems for children," Matt says. Lucky for us, he's sharing them with the world! Matt's poems are featured in these Pomelo books: Things We Feel, Things We Wear, What is a Friend?, and What is Family? While Matt can rollick and roll with playful poetry, as in his "Apron" poem in Things We Wear, he can also capture emotions more difficult to talk about.
Here are two wonderful expamples.
I want to roar and rattle
and get ready for battle.
No! I don't want to talk.
I want to screech and squawk.
Count 1, 2, 3 -
just like magic
I'm back to me.
Things We Feel by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong, Pomelo Books, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, please
if you can spare -
maybe a little bit of
for our family
What is a Family? by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong, Pomelo Books, 2023.
Look for more of Matt's work soon in the next Pomelo Books anthology! And for another great reason to purchase from Pomelo Books, all profits from this recent anthology series are donated to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund (IBBY.org). Sylvia is the current president of IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People), having served this organization for many years. Founded in 1953 in Zurich, IBBY reaches across the globe to get books in the hands of young people. The Children in Crisis Fund was set up in 2005 "to help children affected by natural disasters, civil disorder or war. The Fund seeks donations for projects that replace or create libraries/collections of appropriate children's books and provide bibliography, the therapeutic use of books and storytelling."
Many thanks to Matt, and to Sylvia and Janet, for their generosity.
For more terrific poetry, visit the oh-so-talented Marcie Flinchum Atkins for the Roundup!