Thursday, February 18, 2010


Wow, what a week! LEAVING GEE'S BEND made the Spring Indie Next Kids List (along with other great books like Hex Hall! The Secret Year! Split!), and a pic of little 'ol me was featured in Publisher's Weekly Children's Bookshelf!! And today I am hosting Poetry Friday Roundup, which is one of my most favorite things to do.

And after much debate, I've selected a Billy Collins poem. Because hubby and I have tickets to see Billy tonight! (Yes, Billy and I are on a first name basis. Or at least I am. When I talk to him in my head.) Will give full report tomorrow. Meanwhile, I give you...

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

- Billy Collins

Now. For those of you who want to add your links: This is my first time to try a linky app, so I hope it works! It will ask for your url, then your name.

***In the name section, instead of your name, would you please put what sort of poem you have to share? Like for mine, I might have put "Billy Collins poem." Or you might put "original poem." Or whatever yours is.

Just thought that might make it more inviting for our readers! Fingers crossed it works, as I will be teaching (poetry!) all day. I look forward to checking back here later.


  1. Irene--congratulations on your book! My blog posts will be up after midnight, but it's nice to have the opportunity to put the links up before I go to bed!

  2. Thanks, Irene. I love Billy Collins, too!

  3. Wait, wait. Did I see Billy Collins in your title? Yes! Your post leapt out from all the others in my Google Reader. Oh, how I miss grad. school poetry classes where we'd sit and discuss beautiful words for hours. Thank you for poetry round-up. Now, I'll try to add a link. Congrats. on your book reviews!

  4. I like this linky tool better than Mr. Linky! Congrats on your book, I'm sure you had a blast with your bff Billy, and teach like your hair's on fire! Thanks for hosting!

  5. Such a world-weary poem :-( - I'm going to share it with my two, who are either side of the big 1-0!

    Thanks for hosting.

  6. Hi, Irene. I love "I could make myself invisible by drinking a glass of milk a certain way." Just in case my link didn't work -- my post is in honor of Lucille Clifton. It includes a clip of Clifton reading one of her children's books to an audience of young ones. Thanks for hosting! -- Laura@AuthorAmok

  7. Love this Billy Collins poem--so melancholy and beautiful! He's a fabulous speaker/reader. I'm sure you had an excellent time last night! (And congrats on your recent good news!)

  8. I'll have to be sure to share that Billy Collins' poem with my son, who turns ten on Monday! In the meantime I'm sharing a poem written by my 13-year-old for Poetry Friday.
    Thanks for doing the round-up

  9. I'm SO jealous you're seeing Billy tonight!

    Today I'm sharing two poems from Linda Ashman's Come to the Castle.

    Thanks for hosting today, Irene!

  10. Congrats on the Indie Next list!

    I'm in today with a look at the Cybils winner for poetry: Red Sings From the Treetops

  11. I love Billy Collins as well - this one is beautifully poignant.

  12. Thank you for hosting, and congratulations on Leaving Gee's Bend being on the Spring Indie Next list! Wonderful news!

  13. Good morning! I'm in with a poem by Lucille Clifton.

  14. Irene,

    Congratulations! Thanks for hosting the roundup this week--and thanks for the poem by Billy Collins. I love his work.

  15. Hi, Irene. I messed up my link title (too early to follow directions, I guess). If you have time, would you fix it for me please? At Author Amok, I have a clip of Lucille Clifton reading one of her children's books to kids. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for hosting, Irene, and congrats on your good news!

    Also, have HUGE fun at tonight's reading. I saw him a few years back, and he's marvelous. And I got him to sign every copy of his books that I owned at the time, which was at least 5. Plus, he will pose for photos with you, if you want. I'm seeing him in Philly in April, and am very psyched!

  17. Thanks so much for hosting today! The Billy Collins poem is so vivid. I can imagine a great writing exercise with students based on this poem and the idea of what you felt/believed about yourself at different childhood ages.

  18. This poem just made it into my list of all time favorites! So incredibly beautiful. I have never read Billy Collins, but after this, I am ready to stop by my local bookstore to look for some of his books! Thanks for sharing it and and for hosting PF!

  19. That is one of my all time favorite poems of Billy's (I, too, am on a first name basis with him in my head. Because, of course, we're always having coffee together in my head, and why would I call him Mr. Collins over coffee and while he's gazing at me with such affection?)

    I hope you had an amazing night. I actually missed Poetry Friday this week, but stopped by to visit others. And, congrats on your book!

  20. lovely poem.

    I am a little late on the Poetry Friday train this week... but where I live it is still technically Friday, so I've added my link here for anyone who is interested in a fun tongue twister poem about English.


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