Friday, August 22, 2008

Poetry Friday--Poems Turned Picture Books

Four or five years ago, the Write Sisters gathered in Kathy's kitchen to critique one Friday night. Janet brought an adult poem to run by us. She was thinking she might send it to Yankee Magazine, and wondered if we thought it was a good fit. She read Sail Away, Little Boat, and the decision was unanimous. Ditch Yankee Magazine. With just a little tweaking, she could turn that old poem into a picture book. (That's my nod to Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, who turned many an old barn into a theater.)

Being open-minded, Janet gave it a whirl. She tweaked and toned her poem, and sent it off to Ellen Stein at Carolrhoda. Ellen loved it, and signed up Janet's poem-turned-picture-book for Carolrhoda's Spring 2006 catalog. Just like that. No rejections. No hand-wringing. No self-doubt.

And now Janet has joined the ranks of picture book poets, among them Clement L. Moore with The Night Before Christmas, Robert Frost with Runaway, Arnold L. Shapiro with Mice Squeak, We Speak, and our own Kathy Deady with All Year Long. I'd say Janet's in pretty good company, but you can judge for yourself.

"Let's launch our boat through the wild, roving brook
And watch as it slides and swirls through the nooks
Of a root-tangled bank where deer like to eat
The tasty green moss growing thick at their feet."

"Sail Away, Little Boat to search for new friends.
Just follow the brook, till it reaches its end."

"Past the slicky-back otter and his slippery friends
Who rollick and roll through the brook as it bends
Over smooth rocks and cool rocks, a wild water ride
As lickety-split the sleek otters slide."

"Past the bullfrogs that hide in a thick cattail forest
And croak out the notes of their splish-splashy chorus."


This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Read. Imagine. Talk.


Anonymous said...

Lovely. And bravo to Janet for the poem, and congrats on the book.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Wow that is a wonderful success story! Kuddos for you all seeing and encouraging the possibilites, and to Janet for writing such a great poem/picture book!

Yat-Yee said...

A wonderful poem! And a testament to the power of a support system for writers.

Karen Edmisten said...

Lovely, and congrats!

Andrea Murphy said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, everyone. You're right about the power of a good support system, yat-yee. My Write Sisters are indispensable!