library news

April 6, 2021

In addition to National Poetry Month, this is National Library Week, we thought we’d highlight some library-linked poetry news, and, in particular, poetry for young people.

To begin, check out the Seattle Public Library list of recent books of poetry for kids.

From Western Washington University, the Children & Teen Poetry Collection (Poetry CHaT) has a busy lineup of good news. They will be highlighting the Oral History Collection throughout the month, beginning on April 4, 2021, with Naomi Shihab Nye. Other featured poets are Nikki Grimes (April 7), Sara Holbrook/Michael Salinger (April 10), Kwame Alexander (April 13), Marilyn Singer (April 16), Joyce Sidman (April 20), Rebecca Kai Dotlich (April 23), Janet Wong (April 26), and Melissa Sweet (April 29). Look for details on Facebook throughout the month.

In more PoetryCHaT news, the much-celebrated poet and author of children’s poetry books, Jack Prelutsky, has donated his Children’s Antiquarian Poetry Collection worth over $30,000 to PoetryCHaT, with an additional $8,000 for cataloging expenses. This is a treasure trove of children’s poetry, with items that date back to the 1700s, and an enormous resource for scholars. Cataloging of the Jack and Carolynn Prelutksy Manuscript and Rare Book Collection is underway, with a gala to follow as conditions allow.

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest has just added another workshop to the season’s offerings. This one, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, is designed for kids of all ages and is entirely free.

11:00am – 12:15pm
John S Green
Free Children’s Poetry Workshop

In this FREE CHILDREN’S POETRY WORKSHOP, John Green will present poetry as a fun, engaging act of creative writing. His workshop will be interactive, inviting all participants to write in response to a variety of prompts. Questions will be encouraged. The discussion will include style — for example, prose vs. verse — as well as suggestions for making writing a life-long love. NOTE: While the workshop is designed for young poets, all ages are welcome! Parents/guardians/educators, please feel free to accompany your child/ren as well, and… if you feel inspired, write along!

See John S Green’s bio and registration information on the Workshops page and plan to join in the fun on March 3 — just in time to get your poem written for the 2021 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest!

on poetry

September 8, 2016

Jack Prelutsky“I’m never bored.”
Jack Prelutsky
(b. September 8, 1940)

Today being the birthday of Jack Prelustsky, this seems an auspicious occasion to invite you to join the poet at a special free talk and musical poetry performance on Saturday, October 1, 2016, 4:30pm, in the Wilson Library Reading Room at Western Washington University, Bellingham.

If you grew up enjoying Prelutsky’s humorous and imaginative verse, this is a great opportunity to enjoy his words anew and discover how deeply music is entwined with his poetry. These days, Jack is more likely to appear on a concert stage than in a library or bookstore.

While Jack has been making words rhyme for over 45 years, he began as a folk singer in coffeehouses with aspirations of becoming an operatic tenor. By chance, he took his first poems, descriptions of fanciful creatures, to Susan Hirschman, editor at Macmillan. She suggested that he write about real animals, and with her encouragement, Jack’s first book, A Gopher in the Garden, was published in 1967. Since then he has published more than 70 books of poetry. In 2006, the Poetry Foundation designated Jack Prelutsky as the nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate.

This special all-ages event is being offered by WWU Western Libraries PoetryCHaT, part of the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection.
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Pamela Porter at Village Books

In conjunction with SpeakEasy 16: Fresh Minds New Words, you are invited to a special talk by guest poet Pamela Porter on Saturday, April 11, 2015, at 4:00pm, at Village Books in Fairhaven. She will talk about her award-winning novel-in-verse, The Crazy Man, and what’s involved in writing poetry for children. Porter says,

When I talk with young readers about my novel The Crazy Man, I hear many, many comments such as, “I’d never read a whole book before until our teacher said I should read The Crazy Man, and I read it all the way to the end.” It seems ironic now that when Groundwood Books was considering whether to publish The Crazy Man, the conversation in the editorial office was, “So who’s going to read a novel in poems?” Well, I thought young readers would read a novel in poems; everything I was taught in my graduate writing program about leaving white space to create silence around the words in a poem, pulling out important words to the end of the line, about using images to convey meaning rather than just prosy explanation — all these elements important to the writing of a poem are also aids for young readers. In my talk, I’ll discuss what factors were important for me in the writing itself, and why The Crazy Man has proved to be so appealing to readers of all ages.

Pamela Porter will also read a selection of poems for children at Sunday’s SpeakEasy at the Mount Baker Theatre.

SpeakEasy 16: Fresh Minds New Words

Bring the whole family down to the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room for SpeakEasy 16: Fresh Minds New Words on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

Each SpeakEasy reading takes a different approach to poetry and this one is no exception. Produced in conjunction with Poetry CHaT, a group at Western Washington University assembling a definitive collection of children’s poetry books published since 1960, SpeakEasy 16 features poems by and for children.

The SpeakEasy featured guest poet is Pamela Porter, author of the internationally acclaimed novel in verse, The Crazy Man, which won a dozen awards, including the Governor General’s Award. Joining Pam will be two dozen kids and adults reading their own poems or their favorites.

The reading is free and starts at 2:00pm.

poetry takes the prize!

February 12, 2015

Newbery Award 2015

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. We extend congratulations to 2015 Newbery Medal winner, Kwame Alexander, for his book in narrative verse, Crossover.

In addition to the Medal winner, the Newbery Committee also selects two Honor winners. This year, one was a graphic novel memoir, El Deafo, written by Cece Bell, and the other was a memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, written by Jacqueline Woodson.

Sylvia Tag, Librarian & Associate Professor, Western Washington University, was a member of the 2015 Newbery Medal Selection Committee. Of her experience, she says,

“The committee consists of 15 members from all over the United States. To serve on the committee, you must be a member of The Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) and most committee members work in libraries and/or schools. The self-ascribed motto for our 2015 committee was ‘Trust the Process.’ Over the past year, I read hundreds of books. As a committee, we discussed, examined, spoke to kids, polled educators, deliberated, and finally met for two days in Chicago to vote on the winner by secret ballot. It sounds like a cliché, but it was a humbling experience. Calling Kwame at 6:00am to tell him that his life would never be the same still makes me tear up. Seriously! All the American Library Awards are about getting books into the hands of kids (print or virtual) — being a part of realizing that goal is very cool.”

There’s more on the Newbery Medal, Kwame Alexander and Kwame Alexander Books on Facebook.

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