Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh, Well - a perspective poem

Oh, Well
Greg Pincus

The world is still here!
Yet I'm still sensing doom
Cuz I lost my excuse -
Now I must clean my room.

Whether or not this is my last post of the year (which it might be, but not because of misinterpreted Mayan calendars), I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and happiness and health in 2013 and beyond!

It's Poetry Friday, and you can check out a Solstice-themed roundup over at My Juicy Little Universe.

And 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!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Untitled, 12/16/12

Untitled, 12/16/12
Greg Pincus

Sing, dance, quilt, make art
Share the work that's in your heart
Sculpt, act, paint, and write
Answer dark with waves of light

(These were the words I woke up with this morning, 12/16/12)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Octoproblem - Kenn Nesbitt

Kenn Nesbitt
(from The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids)

My teacher said to calculate
3.141 times 8.
I threw my hand up instantly
and so, of course, she called on me.
She asked me, “What’s the answer, please?”
I’d figured this one out with ease.
I looked her squarely in the eye
and calmly answered, “Octopi!”
It took her half an hour to get it,
and then she gave me extra credit.

It is always a happy day here at GottaBook when I'm getting to share Kenn Nesbitt's poetry. Octoproblem comes from his new book, The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids, and it's a poem that makes me gleeful.

I find the book quite true to its title - it is full of very funny poems AND there is an armpit of doom therein. I'd recommend it any time of the year, truth be told, yet I know it makes a perfect holiday gift (for anyone from kids to adults).  Go on and check out what J. Patrick Lewis called "more mayhem from one of the masters."

Also, it's Poetry Friday, and you can see the roundup of goodies over at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

I post a fair amount of poetry here at GottaBook, both mine and other fine folks who stop by. If you'd like to sign up for the poetry email list and get the poem-filled posts (and only those posts) emailed to you as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

And as always... thanks for sharing, Kenn!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Give Books!

Mother Reader has a fabulous post up called 150 Ways to Give a Book. It's chock full of great recommendations of books and ways of giving them, and even if none of the specifics work for you (which seems unlikely, actually), I bet the ideas will spark you. So check it out!

And of course, I should add that The Late Bird itself makes a great gift! But you knew that :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Poetry Re-issue: The Day After Thanksgiving

The Day After Thanksgiving
Greg Pincus

Yesterday my grandpa pinched my cheek and said I’d grown.
I heard my uncle’s lousy jokes and held back every moan.
I had to watch the football games instead of what I like.
I had to watch my cousins all take turns on my new bike.
I had to take a taste of Auntie’s tofu bean sprout "stuff."
I didn’t get the apple crisp – Mom didn’t make enough!
The table got so messy that I had to clear it twice.
I couldn’t wear my comfy clothes since Dad said, "Please dress nice."
All day I heard my grandma say how crazy my dog drove her.
Today I’m thankful we’re alone ‘cause I’ve got zilch left over.

This poem was originally posted here at GottaBook two years ago. I'd be willing to bet it's as relevant today as it was then or decades ago, too.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at A Year of Reading. I'm thankful for everyone who shares poetry on Fridays... as well as Saturdays through Thursdays, too!

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!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Me! For Charity!

I don't talk much here at GottaBook about my social media consulting work. I mean, I send out subliminal hints that you should all hire me, of course, but beyond that....

 Except today, I want to direct you to the KidLit Cares auction where you can bid on two hours of my services with your whole donation/bid going to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. You get me... and support charity. It's a win-win.

 If you don't want to bid on little old me, you really gotta poke around over there: amazing Skype visits, autographed books/signed art, manuscript critiques, and much more are up for auction. Great deals, great cause, great stuff!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oddaptation: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

For those of you new to my Oddaptations, they're kinda Spark Notes meets Shrinklits for picture books, usually in rhyme and always with attitude.

So, for example, they go like this....

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
by Mo Willems
Oddaptation by
Greg Pincus

The Pigeon wants to drive the bus.
How to stop his whine? His fuss?
Saying "No!" is not a winner...
Here's a thought: try squab for dinner.

It's been some time since I posted a new Oddaptation, so if you've not even seen 'em before, you can check out a bunch over on the right hand side of the blog (or by clicking this handy Oddaptation link here). Heck, you can check 'em out even if you have seen them before.

And if you want to get all my poems emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Etto's Voice - an etymology poem/a music poem

Etto's Voice
Greg Pincus

Etto had the deepest voice.
He boomed out his words, and it wasn’t a choice.
So when he tried singing as high as a bird,
“False Etto!” was yelled...
And we got a new word.

For what it's worth, I had originally called this poem "Ettomology." Should I change it back?

The Poetry Friday roundup is over at Ed DeCaria's Think Kid, Think! today. Which is nice, as I started on the word "falsetto" due to his March Madness competition. Anyway, head on over and check out his effort to make the Poetry Friday roundup even more fun and relevant for YOU. Yes, for YOU.

And if you want to get all my poems emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Why, Yes... I Voted!

And you?

Monday, November 05, 2012

KidLit Cares - A Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort Auction

Want to donate to the Red Cross and get, say, a manuscript critique from Laurie Halse Anderson? A Skype visit from Mo Willems? Signed books, a writer's retreat, a portfolio review, or even a "free pass" for a manuscript to go to an editorial meeting?

All that and so much more is possible if you check out the KidLit Cares auction going on right now. Organized by authors Kate Messner and Joanne Levy and with 42 items up in the first round of the auction right now, this event is a response to the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. It's great stuff for a great cause.

A new batch of auction items will be going up on November 12th, too, so don't forget to check back then.

And I hope you'll check out the auction (and the bidding rules) and/or find some other way to help out those who have been impacted so greatly by nature's fury.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Why I Vote (the 2012 edition)

(This post is part of a broader idea: posts by authors, illustrators, and children's book lovers of all stripes about why we vote (not who we vote for). You can find links to this year's collection of posts over at Chasing Ray.)

Why do I vote? That always seems like a "wrong" question to me because the reality is that I can't come up with a single reason why I wouldn't vote.

I wrote in 2008 about the sense of responsibility I feel when it comes to voting, and that remains as true today as it was then. I also know that whatever the issue, from the Presidency to controversial propositions to the House to local offices, if I've skipped voting for it, it's harder for me to make a forceful argument about my positions. It's a bit like putting your money where your mouth is. And, hey, if "my" candidate doesn't win and I didn't even vote... well, I'm certainly part of the problem, not the solution.

Likewise, I've heard the idea that one vote doesn't matter. Yes, it's true that most elections aren't decided by tiny margins. Then again, each vote is "only" one vote. Collectively, they matter. And if you're not part of the collection, then you aren't part of the group that matters.

Is our voting system perfect? Of course not. Yet it is our system, and I want to be part of it, not an outsider looking in. I want to honor the lives of those who've died so that all of us who are old enough to vote get to vote regardless of race, religion, or gender. And I want to assure that all those who come after us have that right, too.

As I watch the devastation of hurricane Sandy, I'm reminded again how we all pull together... how we are, despite vast spaces between us, all part of something bigger than just our own smaller communities. To me, a Presidential election is about that, too.

So, wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I hope you exercise your right to vote. I know I will.

(Again, I hope you'll go see the roundup of posts to see the wonderful reasons why so many of us will take to the polls this coming Tuesday.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Poetry Friday... on Poetry Friday!

I'm long overdue in posting here about the remarkable Poetry Friday Anthology - a collection of poems and curricular connections put together by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell. You should own a copy whether you're teacher, student, parent or poetry lover.

I don't say that just because I have two poems in the anthology. I say that because it's flat out great reading (not to mention perfect for schools). Plus, the poets who contributed are an utterly remarkable lot (and I am kinda giddy to find myself mixed in among them).

I could go on, but for an incredible glimpse of what's inside (and why), I want to send you over to an amazing post on Renee LaTulippe's blog. (Bonus fun is that it's a Poetry Monday post about Poetry Friday which I send you to on a Friday).

Speaking of which... this week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at TeacherDance today. I hope you enjoy it and the anthology, too!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Get Thee to the Cybils Now and...

Nominate, nominate, nominate!

Yes, it's that time of year again - nominations for the Cybils are open til October 15th. Follow the link to go nominate your favorite books of the year. All the possible categories are in the sidebar (right now you have to scroll down a bit to see 'em) and they range from book apps to poetry to graphic novels to YA.

Go on, now. Join the fun!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Awesomeness in Song (and Book!)

This is a video of author (and ukelele player, obviously!) Mike Jung at the official book launch for his debut novel Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities.

You won't see me do this at my launch... but that's only cuz I can neither sing or play like he can. If I could, I'd ask him for the rights to this song in a heartbeat.

Go buy his book. I mean, if you like seriously funny middle grade stuff and all. Or if you just want to help him get new pants.

(And if you can't see the video here, check it out on YouTube cuz it'll make you smile.)

Friday, October 05, 2012

A Poem for Banned Books Week

A Poem for Banned Books Week
Greg Pincus

Lay off my Harry Potter.
Please leave Tango here with me.
Let me read Alexie's Diary from sea to shining sea.

When Margaret wants to talk to God
Don't take away her voice.
Avoid To Kill a Mockingbird but let ME make MY choice.

I'm enlisting in the Chocolate War.
I'll count Alice as my friend.
What My Mother Doesn't Know can't hurt me in the end.

Twilight and the Hunger Games?
Don't rip them from my hand.
Yet if you try, I'll still read on...
Since I am with the banned. 

I give myself lots of poetry prompts and challenges, though it's rare I share the results here. However, I liked how this one started with the phrase "I'm with the banned" and ended up where it ended up. Plus... it's timely since it is, indeed, Banned Books Week.

It's also Poetry Friday, and this week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Laura Salas' Writing the World for Kids. I hope you'll go check it out.

And if you want to get all my poems emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

KidLitCon is Done and Gone....

As I always have in the past, I had a great time at this year's KidLitCon. From a publisher's preview at Little, Brown (boy do they have a lot of good books a-coming) to a dinner gathering with the fabulous Grace Lin speaking to the conference and to KidLit Drinks night at the end of it all, there was nary a dull or bad moment from my perspective.

A big part of that, of course, is the wonderful people you meet when you hang out with bloggers in the kidlitosphere. I mean, really, these are my peeps! Too many great people to list them all, though it's always fantastic to see Mother Reader and Liz Burns again. And Maureen (attendee of all six kidlitcons!). And... and... and!

And this year... oh my... I met Leila from Bookshelves of Doom! Oh, and Alex from The Children's War. And... you get the idea.

I had a fabulous lunch with Kellie Celia of Walden Pond Press, Mary Ann Scheuer of Great Kid Books (whose children's app knowledge is fantastic, too), and blogger/librarian Brenda Kahn. These be some mighty smart people!

I saw great presentations, of course, and enjoyed Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman giving the oddest "keynote speech" I've ever seen... yet one perfectly in keeping with KidLitCon's very essence.

I also gave a presentation called Avoiding the Echo Chamber: Bringing the World of Children's Literature to the World. You can read my own recap of it on the Happy Accident, and if that's not enough (or even if it is!), you can check out School Library Journal's take on it, too.

Good times, and huge thanks to Betsy Bird (who wrote a fab recap), Monica Edinger, and Liz Burns for putting the whole thing together. I can't wait til next year, wherever KidLitCon might be!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tomorrow's #kidlitchat is all about School Visits

For those of you who might be interested, I wanted to let you know that this week's #kidlitchat will be all about school visits. Got ideas or questions or stories to tell? Come join us!

#kidlitchat is held every Tuesday at 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific on Twitter. For information about Twitter chats and joining in, I highly recommend Debbie Ridpath Ohi's article about chats for writers.

(Then, unrelated to chatting, I recommend congratulating her on her first picture book, I'm Bored, launching (and being reviewed in the New York Times by David Small!).)

 Hope to see you on Twitter on Tuesday!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Kitchen Mystery - a cooking poem/a messy poem

A Kitchen Mystery
Greg Pincus

You’re asking who did this?
Well, Mom, I don’t know.
I don't even have a good guess.
Who'd leave the oven encrusted with goop
Or the counters in such a big mess?
I don't have a clue why there's flour in my hair
Or how frosting has turned my shirt plaid,
But really, I... what?
You demand that I guess?
Well, fine....
It must have been Dad.

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup
is over at Random Noodling. Head on over and check it out!

And if you want to get all my poems emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Homophoem - a New (to me) Form

Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, today's poetry stretch comes courtesy of current Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis... and it's a new-to-me form called the homophoem which uses, can you guess, homophones!

You can see some examples from Pat as well as poems in the comments (including mine, as well as from Douglas Florian and Kate Coombs (and is that Kenn Nesbitt, too?)) if you head on over.

Why knot leave won of you're own homophoems their ore hear?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Join Me in NYC for Kidlitcon 2012!

I'm excited to be going back to Kidlitcon after a two year absence. I hope some or ALL of you - yes, all!!!! - will be joining me for the fun. The conference itself is Saturday, September 29th in New York City. And , the conference is FREE. Yes, you read that right. You can register here.

Kidlitcon is an annual gathering of children's and YA bloggers... though it's open to ANYONE. It's a great place for authors and illustrators to learn about what book bloggers are thinking and doing... and vice versa. And if I were a publisher based in NYC, I'd send a lot of my staff to meet folks and listen and try to understand where value can be created in this space... and where it can't.

The schedule has been posted... and, lookie there! I'm speaking about avoiding the children's literature echo chamber. This is a bit ironic, as I'm flying across country to hang out with bloggers and authors and librarians in the children's literature world, of course, but I think it's a critical topic. Or put another way...

Those 100 million folks on Twitter? A huge number of them are potential allies, fans, supporters, word-spreaders, and book buyers. When we ignore this and only talk among ourselves, I think we miss out on a great opportunity.

Beyond that, there are fantastic talks and panels (some at the same time as me, even), and a keynote address from Maureen Johnson! Awesome stuff thanks to the conference organizers. And did I mention that all you have to do is register, cuz it's free?

Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Video. Poetry. Song. It's all good.

I wanted to share a video a friend of mine put together, as I think it's poetic in the best sense of the word. The video features parents of kids with disabilities offering up what they might have told themselves on the day their child was diagnosed. Powerful stuff, I must say.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children. You'll find all sorts of goodies over there (including a book I'm thrilled to be a part of and which you'll see more about here soooooon!).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Newsworthy Poem Redirect!

I didn't realize that today was the conclusion of the Reinvention of the Toilet Fair (with a winner announced today). Here at GottaBook, I'm always ahead of the news trends, ya see...

So, I point you back to my poem The Evolution of the Toilet (A Brief History).

Will I have to rewrite it? Here's hoping!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again! (With a Tweetup!)

I am not actually going to be an attendee at the now sold-out SCBWI Summer Conference here in LA, but as a local, I will be coming by and hanging out, at least a little. I'm not attending because I can't actually be there the whole time - a disappointment on multiple levels. Still, I'll get there... and I hope to see YOU!

I suspect you can find me in the hotel lobby a lot, but you most certainly can on Friday night from 8:30 to 9:30 for a #kidlitchat Tweetup. Yes, it's time for us all to meet in person (or see each other again). Hopefully, by doing this Friday night, folks will have a richer weekend cuz they'll know the, oh... 100+ others at the conference who have also come by #kidlitchat.

By that hour, I doubt many of us will still be tweeting, so just look for a chatting crowd or me or Bonnie Adamson and jump on in.

Oh, and for those Tweeting the Con or hoping to follow along at home... the Conference tag is #LA12SCBWI.

Hope to see you there, whenever I get there!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Late Bird Giveaway for Poetry Friday...

It's Poetry Friday, and I'm still trying to catch up from days of no internet and everything in boxes... so rather than a new poem, I decided to give a copy of The Late Bird away over on Facebook. All you gotta do is "like" or comment on the post by 7 PM California time today, and you could win! Wheeee!

The Poetry Friday roundup is over at A Teaching Life today. Lots o' good stuff to check out, so I hope you do!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Blogger Posts Unhappily

There's no mystery as to why I post unhappily today - Donald J. Sobol, author of the Encyclopedia Brown books has passed away.

I was not a huge, huge reader as a kid, but Leroy Brown, Sally Kimball and Bugs Meany were definitely a big part of what I did read. I still remember the solutions/clues to so many mysteries (the baby gurgled happily (and he wouldn't have if the bad guy truly had just driven his car, cuz then his hood would be hot); squirrels don't back down trees; a blind man wouldn't turn on the light to read a newspaper), and it's been decades since I've read them.

Since we just moved, I had packed up all my old books again. This time around, I purged a lot (all to happy homes, so no worries), but I didn't get rid of the Encyclopedia Brown books. And that's simply because the child read happily... and over and over and over again!

So thanks, Donald J. Sobol. I never knew you, but I am part of the legacy you left behind. And now, I look forward to Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Afterlife!

Friday, July 06, 2012

On The Move, and That's No Fib

I'm about to go silent here for a handful of days. Why? MOVING! And no internet at the new place for a spell! Mind you, I still can check in, but posting? No. (By the way, as a moving present, feel free to get The Late Bird back to number one on the Kindle children's poetry charts. Thank you :-). Nook purchases of The Late Bird are always encouraged, too.).

Moving, even though we're still in Los Angeles, is a big stressful thang. Lotta changes coming, but some things don't change. Such as what, Greg? How about...

the fib review! This is issue twelve that the fine folks at Muse-Pie Press have put together, and the contributing poets this time around once again demonstrate that constraints of form don't have to mean constraints on poetics. Great stuff, as always. I hope you'll check it out. It's great (and amazingly free) reading.

The Poetry Friday roundup is at the Opposite of Indifference today. Enjoy the reads! And I'll leave you with a non-poetic but very fitting fib of my own....

Pack! Pack!
Pack, pack, pack.
Pack. Pack, pack, pack. Pack!
Sweet. All done. What? Oh. Pack! Pack! Pack!

See y'all next week....

Friday, June 29, 2012

As Always... It's All About ME!!!!

OK, fine. It's actually about me and Katie Davis talking children's poetry, Fibs, social media, self-publishing e-books, and more on her podcast, Brain Burps About Books.

I hope you give a listen... and check out the library of Katie's other podcasts, too. Many, many fabulous guests not named Greg Pincus, I assure you!

What's that? What about a little more poetic me today? Well, sure!  Linda over at TeacherDance has posted a lovely review of the Late Bird! (And you can look in her April Archives and enjoy some of her own poetry, too, plus a poetrypalooza of posts). Thanks, Linda!

It's also Poetry Friday, with the roundup over at the Paper Tigers blog (a must-read blog for multicultural book info in the children's space, by the way). There, no doubt, it won't be all about me... but I'm sure it'll still be good :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That Bird... It Keeps Flapping!

It's been a busy month here, I must say, and I just today checked back in on my e-book, The Late Bird, to see what's up. And guess what? It's still selling! More specifically, it's selling on Kindle but not so much on Nook.

This answers the biggest question I had before I launched: if I don't talk about it, will anyone find it? I think I've tweeted about it once this month, done no blog touring in June and... well... nothing else. And no, it's not still #1 on the Kindle Children's Poetry charts, but it is still being found. This makes me happy.

Over at the Happy Accident. when I return from a blogging haitus in July, I'll have much more about the hows and whys of what's happened to date. But in the meantime... thanks to all who have bought or spread the word!

Friday, June 22, 2012

It Takes One to Know One - a whining poem/a complaining poem

It Takes One to Know One
Greg Pincus

Oh, my. Oh, my. How I hate when you whine.
You moan and complain although everything’s fine.
You’re simply a whiner. I find you a pain.
Please be more like me. See – I never complain.

It's summer vacation time here, so there's no whining, I tell you! It's also Poetry Friday, and Amy LudwigVanderwater has the roundup over at The Poem Farm.

And 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!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Reading Lists/Suggestions?

Ahhh, summer. Time when minutes, moments, and occasionally even hours pop up when it's time to read, read, read. So... who's got great suggestions for me? Or who can point me to great reading lists you've found online?

I'm curious... and the library and bookstores have been missing me lately!

Friday, June 01, 2012

My Friend Kim - a friendship poem/an androgynous poem

My Friend Kim
Greg Pincus

My best friend is androgynous.
Goes by the name of Kim.
Clothes and style are meaningless...
I'll always care for her.
Or him!

Sometimes I wonder "huh. What age is that poem for?" This is is one of these times....

The Poetry Friday roundup
is up over at Carol's Corner. Go on by and a check it out.

And 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!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Poetic Closure!

Back in March Madness, I had to write a poem using the word "pandemonium." I came up with The Poetry Games. But how did I get that word? Well, it was given to me by Mary Lee Hahn and her class of students.

Well, today I got to do a Skype visit with them! I read them The Poetry Games as well as some of the stanzas that fell by the wayside as I rewrote AND my earlier attempts at using pandemonium in a poem.

I even read some of my attempt to write a poem using only anagrams made from pandemonium. It was called A Mind Unpoem, and you can see right there why it never went much farther!

We talked poetry. They asked great questions. And then the whole class read me one of my poems from The Late Bird! It was fabulous.

So thanks, Ms. Hahn and all your students for the great time I had this afternoon. And yes... thanks for pandemonium, too!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Neil Gaiman - Make Good Art

I don't know if Commencement speeches have names, but if one were to name this speech by Neil Gaiman, I think "Make Good Art" would nail it. Writers, artists, musicians, and all leading a creative life will enjoy, I think...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Check out the Story Scrapbook

My friend and fellow author Tristan Bancks is offering up a great, free brainstorming app (for Mac and PC) called Story Scrapbook.

It's in beta, and I've been playing with it myself, even though it's designed for kids. Of course, I am a kid, just older, so it fits. Anyway, I love how it lets me combine video, audio, web finds, and text - it's like brainstorming without constraints. If you know a visual learner... I bet they'd love this. For that matter, I think a whole host of kids would find it liberating and fun, too.

So, watch the how-to video or download the quickstart file or just do what I did - download and play.  Good times!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Don't Like Words (a poetry re-issue)

Greg Pincus

I don’t like words.
They don’t make sense.
Words make me upset and tense.
How due eye no witch whirred two ewes
Ore how too right thee won aye chews?
Wile sum mite think words are a bawl,
Eye dew knot care fore words at awl!

This is the first poem I ever got paid for (after blog posting, by the way)... and then it never got published! Sigh. I Don't Like Words is one of the 54 poems that's in my e-book, The Late Bird, by the way - available on Kindle, on Nook, and in other formats via Smashwords, too.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Katya Czaja's Write. Sketch. Repeat. Mosey on over and see all sorts of good stuff.

And 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!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

J. Patrick Lewis - Edgar Allan Poe's Pie

I am always excited when J. Patrick Lewis, currently the Children's Poet Laureate, stops by here at GottaBook. Pat's a word wizard whose seemingly unending creativity is both entertaining AND inspiring for me. And this time, I'm talking to him about a book that delights me more than usual: Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems (illustrated wonderfully by Michael Slack).

In short, he takes classic poems, parodies them, and adds math. Here's an example so you know what I'm raving about:

Edward Lear’s Elephant with Hot Dog
Inspired by “THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WITH A BEARD” by Edward Lear
“When an elephant sat down to order
A half of a third of a quarter
Of an eighty-foot bun
And a frankfurter, son,
Was it longer than three feet, or shorter?”

Be still Greg's geeky heart! (And yes, the answers are in the book. But here, you have to do the math!). Now, on with the chat....

It was nice of you to write a book specifically for me - a mashup of math, poetry, and parody. How did you know that this was what I would've flipped out for as a kid (and still do as an adult)? Or... well... do you think there are other kids who would like it, too????

I can only hope other kids like yourself will cotton to a math/poetry salmagundi. It worked once for me with a collection of math riddles, Arithmetickle, which is still in print after a decade.

When you visit classes/schools and get to these poems, what reaction do you get from the kids? Do they want to hear the original poems? Do they yell out answers?

The short answer is, Yes, they do yell out the answers, at least to some of them, but I have come to realize, after a number of tries, that some work and some don't. As always, I write, and wrote this book, for myself. And many of these poets/poems in EAPoe's Pie are simply unknown or passe to 4th-5th graders. That shouldn't detract from the math element in them, but I won't lie and tell you that they were shouting, "John Ciardi!" "Eleanor Farjeon!"

How did you pick the poems you chose to re-work? Was it based on you seeing how to make them fit with math or was it based more on poems you love or something else entirely?

Truth be told, I chose the poets first, then looked for their most well-known poems that might make grist for the math parody mill. Harcourt accepted almost all of the choices I made, so there was some feeling of vindication.

Did you ever create poems with math that you decided was too complex for this collection?

Sadly, yes, and a few of them might still reside in the book. It's extremely challenging to write math poems all of equal difficulty—far easier in fact to write straightforward math problems. And occasionally, I get/got so carried away that I forget/forgot my (young) audience.

Any plans to do this with other topics besides math?

How many I think he should do.
Well, I love the parody form, which I see in no way as an attempt to outdo the original. For me, a parody is an act of homage, even if you re-do a serious poem with a nonsensical "reply."

In 2037 or thereabouts (kidding), I have a book of parodies about all sorts of subjects coming out with Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press entitled Shadow Poems: Parrot-ies. At least that's the title I hope they agree to keep.

You've already had wonderful books out this year. What's next for you?

If you promise not to hold me to the exact dates—publishers are always changing lists—I'll mention these poetry books:

  • Take Two! A Celebration of Twins (with Jane Yolen), Candlewick, Spring 2012.
  • Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs (with Jane Yolen), Charlesbridge, Spring 2012.
  • The National Geographic Book of Animal Poems, Sept. 2012—200 poems (my first anthology).
  • If You Were a Chocolate Mustache: (156) Poems, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2012-2013?
  • When Thunder Comes: Poems for the Civil Rights Leaders, Chronicle Books, 2013. 
  • Everything Is a Poem: Selected Best Poems of JPL, Creative Editions, 2013.
  • Poemobiles: Imaginary Car Poems (with Douglas Florian), Schwartz & Wade, Spring 2013.
  • World Rat Day: Poems About Holidays You Have Never Heard Of, Candlewick, 2013.

There was more in our email exchanges, but I decided to end with this list of delectable titles we have to look forward to (or in the case of some, like Take Two!, have already enjoyed).

I'm not sure how Pat found the time to chat with me, but I'm grateful that he did! He also had time to stop by No Water River to chat and read some poetry... and to answer five questions with Sylvia Vardell, too - another post worth reading!

And can I just say once again... if you like math, poetry, inspired wordplay or any combination of those three (or if you do the math to see how many combos exist!), you should go out and by J. Patrick Lewis's Edgar Allan Poe's Pie.  Period. The end!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Words Count - a poem about words/a math poem

Words Count
Greg Pincus

Occasionally, I overwrite:
One word will do, but I'll use plenty.
So, this poem's on a limit.
It only uses

Sometimes, I write things that make me laugh. Sometimes, I write things that make me scratch my head and wonder what I was thinking. Sometimes, I have no clue where poems come from. And sometimes, all three things occur at once. This is one of those times....

The Poetry Friday roundup is over at Irene Latham's blog today. I hope you'll go check it out.

And 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!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Villainous Vicky - a point of view poem

Villainous Vicky
Greg Pincus

She smiles so wide beneath delicate curls,
But Villainous Vicky’s the worst of the girls.
She’s caring. She’s kind. She’s as cute as can be.
But please heed my warning, or you’ll be like me:
‘Cause though she is charming and sharp as a tack,
She’ll steal your poor heart, and she won’t give it back!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Tina Nichols Coury's Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose Blog Tour is Here Today!

I am THRILLED to be today's stop for Tina Nichols Coury and the blog tour for her first release, Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose.

I'm also incredibly excited to be posting an interview I did with her agent (and original acquiring editor) Mark McVeigh.

PLUS... one lucky commenter here will win a 15 minute phone critique with Mark on 10 pages of their manuscript. I happen to think Mark is a fantastic critiquer (and please know that he has NOT loved all my work, so this isn't my ego talking. Oh, far from it!), so this is a great opportunity. More about the giveaway below. But now... to the fun!

You discovered Tina's manuscript during a conference critique (at a conference, by the way, where you coulda discovered me, but noooooo. Oh, sure, my manuscript was terrible, but can't we forget that part???). What makes a manuscript stick out to you when you read it? What was it in Tina's draft that made you know you had to buy it?

It surprised me. Of course like everyone else I knew of Mount Rushmore, but I had no clue how or why it was built. I was amazed that a kid, the sculptor’s son, Lincoln Borglum, had a part in the creation. It was a unique angle on a well-known American icon that had not been done before.

Tina's book is non-fiction, obviously, and a story that was personally interesting to her. To me, that personal passion seems important, but what do you think the keys are in writing a non-fiction manuscript that editors want to buy?

School standards are changing and non-fiction is more important than ever. Houses are interested in a book that crosses over to school curriculum. All your research needs to be well documented to show you are an expert. Then get creative.

Is there a story behind the non-fiction subject that no one ever told?

Tina, her book, and you have been on quite a journey... with you going from acquiring editor to her agent in the years since the manuscript sold. What's been the most interesting part of the process for you? The toughest?

Tina and Mark on "dress casual" day
The hardest part was when I left Dutton half way through the rewrites and production. I knew Tina was in good hands with editor Steve Meltzer but when editors switch houses you tend to lose touch with your authors. The most interesting part, of course, is Tina, an editor’s dream.

Over the years we kept in touch and developed a great friendship. Tina was fun, upbeat, and a pleasure to work with. During her wait for publication she continued to grow as an author and became an expert on blog tours, cyber promotion and book trailers.

When I started my agency and found out she was unrepresented I knew I wanted her as one of my clients. Tina rocks. (GKP editorial note: this is true.)

We deal with a lot of rejection in our business. And whether we're just getting a critique or submitting for a sale, we're always hoping to get a "Wow! I'm buying!" rather than notes or a pass. What's your advice to authors and illustrators on how to deal with receiving feedback and rejection? Is it personal? Should we change the color of our paper or digital ink and try again?

There are many reasons for editors to reject manuscripts and some have nothing to do with the quality of the manuscript. Read between the lines. Are they rejecting it for some unknown reason or do they offer suggestions of a future path? Some houses might have something similar coming out or their list is full of picture books and needs middle grade.

But it is important for authors/illustrators to do their homework. Make sure they know what the house or the agent is looking for. All manuscripts should be thoroughly workshopped, critiqued and in the best shape to submit to an agent or a house.

The SCBWI is full of workshops year round that can help you make your manuscript undeniable and give it that “Wow” factor and find you a champion who will take it to acquisitions.

Big picture, now. Where do you see the children's book business going? Should we all toss away our pens? And what's next for you and The McVeigh Agency?

The business is in an exciting phase of flux. With ebooks offering an additional way to publish and the form of interactive books still settling I think we have a few years of the industry redefining itself.

But a great story always sells, so I would tell authors to concentrate on getting the manuscript into shape before you submit. The McVeigh Agency represents a variety of authors for adult and children’s books and l look forward to many more years of success.

Thanks, Mark! And now, to celebrate Tina's release, we've got a giveaway, just cuz. One commenter will win a 15 minute phone critique (of 10 pages) with Mark. You only have until 10 PM Pacific time on May 15th to leave a comment... so why not just do so today?

You should also check out Tina's whole blog tour list. Not only do I hope you support Tina and her book, but there are great interviews AND prizes at every stop, not just here.

And finally... a personal note. I was there the day the manuscript sold, and I've loved watching every step of the process, from the agonizing waiting to the fantabulous successes. I am so happy to get to celebrate the release with Tina. In a word... YAY!!!

Now comment away, folks. Comment away!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Children Know...

The children know. They have always known. But we choose to think otherwise: it hurts to know the children know. If we obfuscate, they will not see. Thus we conspire to keep them from knowing and seeing. And if we insist, then the children, to please us, will make believe they do not know, they do not see. They are remarkable -- patient, loving, and all-forgiving. It is a sad comedy: the children knowing and pretending they don't know to protect us from knowing they know.

Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), in the preface of I Dream of Peace: Images of War by Children of Former Yugoslavia (UNICEF, HarperCollins 1994)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Good Prices! Good Deals! - a shopping poem

Good Prices! Good Deals!
Greg Pincus

My room is full of concrete slabs.
This happens each year without fail
‘Cause I always get a super deal....
I love a good sidewalk sale!

It just occurred to me as I posted this - it's a concrete poem. Literally!

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Truth About Poets and Poetry

A little video I made because, well, because it was fun to do! Feel free to share it with all your poet (and writer, illustrator, musician, and artist) friends... and with those who love them.

If you cannot see the video above, you can view it right on YouTube or click this link to the blog and try again.

Friday, May 04, 2012

A Note for My Grandma (Left in her Kitchen) - a food poem/a family poem

A Note for My Grandma (Left in her Kitchen)
Greg Pincus

Cookies are not safe near me:
Temptation is my foe.
I see a cookie? Eat, eat, eat!
I try to stop... but no.
My worry for poor cookies’ health
Is very real, and so...
Since cookies are not safe near me
That’s why I ate your dough.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is at Elaine's Wild Rose Reader. Be sure to check it out.

And if you'd like to get all the poems here emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Look! My Book! On Nook!

It's true... The Late Bird is now available for the Nook.

Sure, you can still get it for the Kindle (or for the Kindle App which works on any iDevice (as does the Nook App, by the way)), but now there are options.

Plus, from a purely headline writing point of view, this was more fun. Look! Nook Book! or Look, E-book for the Nook! or Nook Book! Look! or or or or. Good times.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Poetry Games - a poem about poetry

The Poetry Games
Greg Pincus

This year the arena is packed to the rafters
With fans cheering loudly for favorite word crafters.
We all have our heroes. We call out their names.
We root and we hoot at the Poetry Games.

Our friends tell us stories of tourneys gone by
When last second sonnets would make the crowds cry.
When two well-versed poets both wrote clerihew…
When strong double dactyls defeated haiku.

Now, this year we listen and hear poets score
With assonance, consonance, slant rhyme and more.
We sigh for a stanza that sends our souls soaring.
We hide as the similes fall like rain pouring.

Crowd favorites emerge from the tales that they tell
In free verse, in ballad, and in villanelle.
A triolet sends one opponent to doom.
Another one drops to a perfect pantoum.

Soon only two stand. We all watch them fight on.
Nobody leaves as they write until dawn.
Then they lay down their pens in this battle of brains…
And a winner is named! Pandemonium reigns!

These Games are a fiction, though here’s what is real:
The power of poems to make us all feel.
Poetry speaks of the world as we know it,
So celebrate words, and go cheer for a poet.

I wrote this poem for Ed DeCaria's March Madness when I had to use the word "pandemonium" (under time pressure, no less). I have to say, it seems like a great poem to run right after National Poetry Month....

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Say "Hi!" to Debbie Ridpath Ohi!

This year's 30 Poets/30 Days logo was created by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, one of my most favorite ever people I've met through social media.

She is a one-woman powerhouse - a writer (picture books! YA! MG! poetry! non-fiction! songs!), illustrator, cartoonist, social media whiz, incredible provider of resources for children's lit folks, iPad lover, and I can't even tell you all the other hyphenates.

Her first book as illustrator, I'm Bored (written by Michael Ian Black) comes out this September from Simon & Schuster. That's pretty darn exciting. But you know what's maybe even more exciting?

Two new contracts, including her first book as writer/illustrator!

I am thrilled to see Debbie's career taking off (though I'm not surprised), and I was always excited to add her logo to the 30 Poets posts during April.

If you all don't know her... you really should. Don't wait til September - go see her now at any of those above links. You'll be glad you did.

30 Poets/One Day

What a month! Thanks to the 30 poets who made this so much fun for me and shared so generously. And thanks to all of you who followed along.

Just for fun, let's review the month that just passed....

Allan Wolf - The Greatest Nation on Earth
Kalli Dakos - The Northern Lights
Steven Withrow - The Secretive Subtractor
Sara Holbrook - Crystal Apples
Mary Quattlebaum - Earthworm
Bob Raczka - What Is Poetry?
Liz Brownlee - Sea Star
Lorraine Marwood - Cockatoo: A Portrait
Michael J. Rosen - Unsung Dog Song
Helen Frost - Riddle me, Riddle me
Margarita Engle - Chocho Seeds
Robert Weinstock - My Pencil
Kate Coombs - Mud
Michael Salinger - The Rock Climber
Eric Ode - Cattail
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater - Secret
Ellen Hopkins - Small Surprises
Leslie Bulion - The Theory of Everything
Ed DeCaria - Something Sweet
Hope Anita Smith - Education/Application
JonArno Lawson - Burning Hot Banana
Robert L. Forbes - A Kestrel Couple
Thanhha Lai - The Last Hen
Bruce Coville - Steve: A Cautionary Tale
Susan Taylor Brown - In My Backyard
Ron Koertge - Field Trip
Lee Wardlaw - Catku
Kimberly Marcus - Revision
Alma Flor Ada - To Poetry/A La Poesía
Marilyn Nelson - Telling Time

For even more poetry, click on the logos below to see prior years' wrap-ups....
Logo by Mary Peterson

30 Poets/30 Days - April, 2010
Logo by Bonnie Adamson

30 Poets/30 Days - April/2009

Thanks so much for hanging out here at GottaBook during April. And, for that matter, all year long! There's a lot of fun coming up in May with visits from Janet Wong and J. Patrick Lewis for starters, as well as poetry from me and who knows who else?

As always, you can can join my poetry list, and get all the poems that appear here emailed out the day they hit my blog. Enter your email address below and click subscribe:

Now for me... perchance to sleep. Thanks again to all of you and all the poets for making this another April to remember. Now here's to May and beyond!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Marilyn Nelson - Telling Time

Telling Time
Connally AFB, Texas, 1951
Marilyn Nelson

Mama reminds me I’m a big girl now:
I’m five years old. I can watch Jennifer
for five minutes; they’ll just be down the street.
They tuck us in. I hear the door lock click.
Five minutes. Just five minutes, Daddy said.
My first-grade class is learning to read clocks,
so I know minutes are the little lines
between numbers. Clocks is how you tell time.
Past is before now; future is after.
Now is a five minute eternity,
Jennifer and I howling in pajamas
in the front yard of the housing unit,
surrounded by concerned faceless strangers
who back away, now our parents are here.

© Marilyn Nelson. All rights reserved.

Telling Time is a piece from an as yet unreleased YA book Marilyn Nelson is writing about her childhood in a Fifties military family. What's so wonderful to me is that she makes five minutes back then feel remarkably like five minutes today, yet just in this one poem she's created a whole family for me to become invested in... and I know that time and place will be a critical part of who they are, how they act, and the prism through which I'll come to view them. Perhaps I know this because I've read other Marilyn Nelson poems, but to me, at least, it's all there in this one short verse.

Marilyn Nelson's books for adults and children have won so many awards and honors that I don't have space to list them all. She herself has received a Guggenheim fellowship and been the poet laureate of Connecticut. All those titles and honors, however, come from the fact that her writing connects on every level - helping us see people clearly, bringing a depth of emotion, creating laughter, and never shying away from her subjects. I promised myself I'd make it through April without gushing about any of the poets, but the only way I can do that is stop myself now and simply say I'm absolutely thrilled to have Marilyn Nelson here today to bring this year's 30 Poets/30 Days to a conclusion.

Yesterday, Alma Flor Ada gave us To Poetry/A La Poesía. Today wraps up this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days. There's much more to come here at GottaBook in May and beyond, but we'll leave that for another day. Thanks for hanging out here in April, and may every month be poetry month for you!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Telling Fibs!

Today over at Katie Davis's blog, I'm encouraging everyone to tell Fibs. In fact, I'm even giving instructions on how to do it. I hope you'll go check it out.

Alma Flor Ada - To Poetry/A La Poesía

To Poetry/A La Poesía
Alma Flor Ada

I have posted Alma Flor Ada's poem as an image instead of text so that it looks the way it should. If you subscribe to the blog and cannot see it, please click here. If you click on the image itself, it will appear bigger.

Alma Flor Ada is a teacher, an advocate, a well-loved speaker, a onetime Fulbright scholar, and an award-winning author and poet. She's written for adults and children, written fiction and non-fiction, written poetry and memoir, and, obviously, does all this in Spanish and English. And yes, I'm trying not to be all fanboy gushy and stuff, but let's just say I might've squeed a little in excitement when she said she'd join the fun here this month. Let's just keep that between you and me, though, okay?

I love the celebration that is To Poetry/A La Poesía. And I love that in its own way, it's an instruction manual... teaching by example as well as by explanation. As with so much of her work, the poem creates an emotional reaction in me, and like always the emotions are never forced or obvious but instead comes from the power of her stories and words. I'm a rather big fan, in case that's not clear, and I'm thrilled to have Alma Flor Ada here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday, Kimberly Marcus gave us Revision. Tomorrow... Telling Time from Marilyn Nelson brings the 2012 edition of 30 Poets/30 Days to a close.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kimberly Marcus - Revision

Kimberly Marcus

Life is full of twists and turns
and, with each bend, a person learns
that fire warms and fire burns -
a matter of degree.

Life is good and life’s not fair
and in this whole wide world out there
some will love and some won’t care -
a harsh reality.

But in this life you get to choose
how you cope with things you lose,
a mortal wound or healing bruise -
it’s all in how you see.

© Kimberly Marcus. All rights reserved.

As a writer, I was instantly attracted to the poem Kimberly Marcus sent my way. Revision? But of course! As a reader, what I loved was how the poem moved me along, played with my expectations, and delivered something so spot on that I never cared about my initial expectations again. And if you know how stubborn I can be, that's saying something! I love the perspective and the power the poem gives off, particularly because I didn't see it coming.

Of course, this shouldn't, uh, confound expectations for anyone who's read Exposed, her debut novel. There's a reason her verse story ended up on so many end of year lists and got so many awards - the writing is taut, emotional, and always rings true to the characters she creates. I also happen to love the fact that she can turn on a dime and write funny, rhyming picture books, too. Fabulous words, no matter how you slice them... just one of the reasons I'm so excited to have Kimberly Marcus here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday we had Catku courtesy of Lee Wardlaw. Tomorrow... To Poetry/A La Poesía from Alma Flor Ada! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.