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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Paddle on over to the Teche with Margaret!

Quick wave from the Road... I have the good fortune to go hang out with more writer/illustrator friends this weekend, so I don't have a real post.  But please paddle on over to see the lovely Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for this week's Roundup!

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Poetry Friday - A big Welcome to Welcome to the Wonder House


Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 


Perhaps you had the good fortune as I did this week to attend a virtual treat:  the online book launch of WELCOME TO THE WONDER HOUSE, a gorgeous picture book with poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard and illustrations by Deborah Freedman.  It's hot off the press from WordSong, which is now an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers.


[*UPDATE*:  Deborah Freedman kindly sent a link to the recorded launch on YouTube - you can watch it HERE!]


The online launch included an inspiring discussion moderated by the amazing Betsy Bird with Rebecca, Georgia, Deborah, and WordSong Editorial Director Rebecca M. Davis.  Attendees got peeks inside writer journals and illustrator sketchbooks, and it was fun to hear how verbal and visual ideas grew and flourished into final works. 


If you didn't catch the discussion, by all means catch the book!  It's one of those rare combinations of exquisite and accessible.  The reader is welcomed into different rooms, beginning with the "ROOM of CURIOSITY" and ending with the "ROOM of WISHES."  There are rooms for ordinary things, creatures, time, quiet, and mystery, to name a few more. 


One of Rebecca's poems, in the ROOM of NATURE, begins this way:


Beneath a trillion leaves,

cloud-braided with sky,


my feet balance on a tangle

of puzzled roots in a wilderness of secrets, ...


and Georgia begins one of the poems in the ROOM of PLACE like this:


Puzzle-shaped continents and islands

circled by swirls of blue ocean,

turn on this globe I cradle in my hand. ...


Their poems take us from the tragic end of the dinosaurs to exhilarating considerations of planets and moons, and to the deep wonders of our hearts and minds.


Deborah Freedman's mixed media art is simply glorious.  In the talk, she mentioned her training as an architect, and crisp lines and amazing details confirm this skill set. Plus, you might find yourself gazing at blueprints and architectural seals (those official-looking round stamp impressions)!  This is a book you'll want to enjoy with or without its dustjacket and definitely with its endpapers. The precision in places in no way makes the pictures cold or too technical, though - flowing, graduated colors, surprise elements and compositions, and a winsome little animal here or there beckon us to enjoy it all. 


I can imagine this book as a special gift for about a zillion occasions.  If you order one for this purpose, just make sure to order an extra copy to keep - it's one that children and adults will want to return to, revealing new secrets with each read. 


Learn more about Georgia Heard here, Rebecca Kai Dotlich here, Deborah Freedman here, and Rebecca M. Davis and WordSong here. Many thanks to Betsy Bird for another exceptional visit with children's book creators!


And in case you don't know, Rebecca and Georgia put on some mighty fine poetry workshops... well worth attending if you're so inclined.


The multi-talented Linda Mitchell, a student of wonder herself, has our Roundup this week at A Word Edgewise.  Thank you, Linda!

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Poetry Friday - Meet Matthew Winter! (& Bailey)


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.

I'm MAD!


No!  I don't want to talk.

I want to screech and squawk.

I'm MAD!


Breathe in




Count 1, 2, 3 -

just like magic

I'm back to me. 



©Matthew Winter

Things We Feel by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong, Pomelo Books, 2022.






In lieu of flowers, please

















And - 


if you can spare - 


maybe a little bit of





for our family




 ©Matthew Winter

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!

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