Friday, October 30, 2009

Poetry Friday: a Halloween zeno!

Earlier this week, I mentioned the zeno - a form of poetry created by J. Patrick Lewis and based on the hailstone sequence. In short, the zeno's syllable pattern is 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, and lines 4, 7, and 10 rhyme with each other.

Here's the first zeno I wrote (and also left in the comments at the Miss Rumphius Effect where the zeno debuted).

Gregory K.

I counted down October days.
Tonight, at last,
I prowl the dark,
My costume on,
I’ll shout,

If you are among those who trick or treat, as always, feel free to send leftover peanut butter cups my way. And feel free to head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted over at Jen Rothschild's Biblio File.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did you know...

... that when you say "pooped" in a read-aloud with second graders, you get really wonderful reactions?

Yes, I suspect you did. But it's true!

Interestingly, you get great reactions from adults, too....

Good times. Good times!

(By the way, the word in question came up while reading from Adam Rex's Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich in the poem Godzilla Pooped on My Honda)

Monday, October 26, 2009

A new form of math-based poetry!

Over at the Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia's got her Monday Poetry Stretch up, this time featuring a brand new poetic form by J. Patrick Lewis called the zeno.

The zeno is based on the hailstone sequence, a bit of math that ends with a repeating cycle that Pat has used for his verse form. Cool stuff!

So head on over to today's poetry stretch to read more about the form... including many examples by Mr. Lewis plus my very first zeno in the comments there.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Friday Whistle Blows

I have decided that I'm no longer going to settle for a metaphorical whistle. I want a real whistle to blow signifying the start of the weekend. Perhaps I should write my Congressperson?

Or maybe I should just settle for the appearance of Poetry Friday to mark the end of the week? Probably a safer bet....

The Poetry Friday Roundup is over at Big A little a today. Go on and check out the poetic goods! That'll launch you into Saturday nicely, I do believe....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Middle Grade. We Always Need Middle Grade....

Today, I actually had a tiny bit of free time in my librarian "job," and started entering in a few recent donations into our computer. These were some meaty books, mostly from our own parent body, and a few got checked out as soon as I put them on the shelves.

As usually happens when I put out new books, I realized that the thing we miss the most at our library-sans-budget is new middle grade material. And since we're an elementary school, well, middle grade is a major sweet spot for many of our kids.

It's not a crisis, I know, and I often wonder if this would be such a frustration to me if I weren't so heavily involved in the children's literature world (though what elementary school librarian wouldn't be???).

Still, it's definitely been a pattern for us that we're behind, and I keep thinking of great books to recommend that we just don't have. Luckily, there are lots of good books to be had (many thanks to readers of GottaBook who've sent them my way - so THANK YOU again!)... and there's always the public library just a few blocks away!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A very few notes from Kidlitcon

The third annual conference of bloggers of the Kidlitosphere (loosely - those of us who blog about children's literature from pretty much any perspective and covering everything from board books up to YA books) was a blast!

It's great to meet bloggers who you sorta feel like you "know" already anyway. This year, there were many whose blogs were newer to me, but everyone proved to be wonderful whether I'd read them or not.

There was tons of great information throughout the day. Perhaps the most "important" part was that Pam Coughlan (aka Mother Reader) arranged for a representative of the FTC to come address our group to explain what their new guidelines mean for those who review books on blogs.

The short answer is that independent reviewers - as opposed to those endorsing a product through a marketing program - don't have to worry about disclosure of where they got their review copy. (Though I'd note... why not say?)

The longer answer and more nuanced points (like about affiliate links) are summed up in many great posts from fellow attendees. I'm going to send you to two posts, both of which link you to even more!

Michelle at Galleysmith has a great round-up of the talk.

Similarly, Liz Burns has a great write-up at A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy.

Finally, you can check out the Twitter stream for the day from Kidlitcon to see what else you might've missed, content-wise. I'm afraid I can't make up for any missed fun - and there was plenty - but you can start planning for next year right now to make up for it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oddaptation (redux!): Where the Wild Things Are

Today sees the release of the feature film version of Where the Wild Things are, so it seemed a good day to re-issue my Oddaptation of that classic picture book. You can click here for the Oddaptation definition and backstory... or just think Cliff Notes with attitude.

by Maurice Sendak
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

Another family meal is missed:
Max is angry. Max is pissed.
And rumpus beasts? They don’t exist...
My word, Max needs a therapist!

If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe.

And hey... the fabulously poetic Laura Purdie Salas has this week's Poetry Friday roundup. Head on over and check out the fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The sad decline of the desk chair

My desk chair suddenly got old. It doesn't just creak when I lean back against it. No. It POPS loudly and part of the back gives way, shifting my body. There's a tube hanging out of the side that used to... uh... be something or another. I vote lumbar support.

The arm pieces, too, are now cracking and worn. The chair isn't really broken, but it's mighty disconcerting and a tad sad.

I should get rid of it, I'm sure, but I've written some mighty fine poetry in this chair. What if it's the key to my creativity? Or what if it's been holding me back all these years???? Hmmm.

I am pleased to say I didn't think about any of this while I was up in Seattle. The SCBWI chapter up there if fantabulous, with an amazing core of volunteers running a tight ship and providing so much for their members... who were every bit as impressive. A great time for me, indeed.

The chair will wait, too. For tomorrow... off to Kidlitcon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

On the road again....

I'm in Seattle, getting ready to present a four hour workshop called Unleashing the Power of Social Media for Writers and Illustrators thanks to the fine folk at SCBWI's Western Washington chapter.

I must tell you... I love this social media stuff! I could talk about it for far longer than four hours (more than five, really: I get a bonus hour tomorrow night at the chapter's bigger monthly professional series meeting. That's NOT sold out, so check the above link and come on by).

I continue to believe that we folks in the world of children's publishing better be using the tools available to us... and we need to understand how it all works. Yup. I could talk about this a lot :-)

I hope to see some of you up there... and I'll see the rest of you right here soon enough. But for now, I gotta book!

Friday, October 09, 2009


Yrteop is poetry backwards - not a form of poetry, but the word. It seemed an accurate title, too, as I ask all my poetry loving fans a question....

Know any poems for kids that are about things/people being backwards?

In rapid succession this week, I ran into Mary Ann Hoberman, Shel Silverstein, and Douglas Florian poems predicated on the idea of a person doing things backwards - walking on ceilings or underwear on the outside or riding a horse backwards or or or.

The poems were all different and funny, and I started thinking there must be more that I could group together for a readaloud. Perhaps couple them with David LaRochelle's fab fairy-tale-in-reverse picture book The End for a backwards festival!

All suggestions welcome. And while you're thinking poetry, head on out to see the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted today at Picture Book of the Day - one of amazing author, teacher, blogger Anastasia Suen's blogs.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I'm Pretty Well Connected (v. 2.0) - a Social Web poem/a social network poem

I’m Pretty Well Connected (v. 2.0)
Greg Pincus

I’m pretty well connected.
I’ve got my Facebook page.
I tweet, blog, plurk
From home and work.
I link, connect, engage!

I Stumble, and I Ustream.
My YouTube channel’s big.
I’m there on Sphinn,
MySpace, LinkedIn.
I HARO, and I Digg.

Goodreads, Hulu, Google -
Flixster and Squidoo -
You’ll find me there
While in my chair!
I Yelp and podcast, too.

FourSquare, FriendFeed, Flickr?
Of course I have accounts.
And also Ning
and Ping and Bing
Plus eight I can’t pronounce.

I’m pretty well connected.
I love the web, it’s true.
But it’s just fine
If you’re offline...
I’ve got some friends there, too :-)

Just as with last year and version 1.0 of I'm Pretty Well Connected, I look forward to clicking those hyperlinks in years ahead to see if they all still work. This time, by the way, a few link to my own profiles rather than just the sites themselves - another 2.0 revision.

With FriendFeed already acquired by Facebook, will it be the first to go... or will someone else above be acquired or just go under? Any predictions, comments, or thoughts about what v. 3.0 will look like are more than welcome!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Nomination Time at The Cybils and 28 Days Later

It's nomination season all you fans of children's literature! And you've got two great ways to be part of the fun....

28 Days Later, a Black History Month celebration of children's litetature, is the flagship initiative of The Brown Bookshelf. The event is a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by African Americans. (Yes, I took that from their site because when I tried to write it differently, it ended up the same!)

You can nominate books until November 1st, and all the details are at this link.

The Cybils are also open for nominations, though only until October 15th. You've got nine categories to choose from this year... though you don't have to choose! Nominate your favorite qualifying book in any or all categories (though only one per category). I am a Cybils judge on the final panel for poetry books, just so you know.

Click here for the Cybils' rules and categories, and I highly urge you to head on out and join the nominating fun.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Spot the Plot (on Poetry Friday!)

This week in my volunteer librarian hat, I not only read aloud what turns out to be the most challenged book of the last three years - And Tango Makes Three - but also had the pleasure of reading J. Patrick Lewis' Spot the Plot - A Riddle Book of Book Riddles to a slew of appreciative kids.

Spot the Plot is a book of poems each of which is also a riddle. The solution to each riddle is the name of a well-known children's book. Yes, it really is a riddle book of book riddles! The art by Lynn Munsinger helped (and amused) the kids immensely as they tried to solve those riddles. And...

We had a blast: I'd read a poem, count to three, and then all of us would shout out our answers.

And I was always right! The kids were almost all always right, too, but a few made some pretty interesting guesses that led to great conversations. An added bonus.

The poems are a hoot by themselves, but the concept made it a total win. The kids talked about writing their own book riddles! Yes, they wanted to WRITE POETRY!

I was also inspired, and so, for Poetry Friday, I shall share one of my own attempts at a book riddle:

J. Patrick Lewis
Gives us the clue-s.
We read all his poems...
Then name all the tomes.

(All together now. 1, 2, 3: "Spot the Plot!")

Thank you. Thank you. I'm here all week.

You can see a whole bunch more poetry at this week's Poetry Friday roundup hosted over at Kelly Herold's Crossover - where books have no boundaries.

You can also see two poems by J. Patrick Lewis right here at GottaBook: The Poet of the World (his contribution to 30 Poets/30 Days) and A Sixth Grader Sees the Future.

EDIT: J. Patrick Lewis has left two not-in-the-book book riddles in the comments! Be sure to check 'em out.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A post about #kidlitchat...

... is hanging out over here at the Happy Accident if you'd like to read it. Even though the chat is all about children's literature, the post itself seemed to belong more over there.

Still, if you're interested in what Bonnie Adamson and I are thinking about in terms of chat - as a resource, a community building tool, and a way to spread the word about children's literature to an even wider audience - I hope you'll check it out.