Monday, April 30, 2012


Dear Friends,

What a wonderful journey we've shared with our Progressive Poem! I have enjoyed so much watching this poem grow little by little, all the bold strokes and gentle touches, how each line adds a new layer, a new voice.

One of you commented about how it's been a lovely way to experience delayed gratification in our current sound-byte, instantaneous, rapid-fire world. I love that!

I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I think I imagined a more haphazard result, a poem less cohesive. And now I read it, and I think, OF COURSE. Because that's the kind of community this is: loving, inspiring, supportive. Thank you, all of you, for sharing in this experience. I totally want to do it again next year!

And now for what I've done with the poem, as a way to wind up our adventure. I've used a technique that works for me again and again as I try to find the heart of my own poems. I've gone line by line and pulled out one word or one phrase and recrafted them, in order, to kind of distill the essence of the poem.  And then I've added my own bit at the end to provide some closure.

You can use this technique on your own poems, or on famous poems. In a way, it's a form of "found" poetry. It's also just an excellent self-editing exercise. And what's interesting here is that if each of us was to address this particular poem, we'd wind up with 29 similar but different poems, as we each are drawn to different words and phrases for different reasons.

Here's my take:

Note to Self

If you are hungry,
kick off a spell.
Dry your glass

secrets. Spill
out, breathe in.
Now, wish:

unfold a waltz.
How do broken veils

feed your heart?
Soul of coriander
and moonshine,

beware of too much
cushion. Trust
silver-tipped poetry.

Here: speckle
your life. Feast
on dream-dust.

And here's the uncut version, still title-less (suggestions, anyone?), but with a few adjustments to punctuation. Also, I tried the poem in triplets, and I really like the result:

ETA: Title courtesy of Kate Coombs!

Advice for a Dark Day

If you are reading this,                                                            
you must be hungry.
Kick off your silver slippers,

come sit with us a spell.
A hanky, here, now dry your tears
and fill your glass with wine.

Now, pour. The parchment has secrets,
smells of a Moroccan market spill-out.
You have come to the right place, just breathe in.

Honey, mint, cinnamon, sorrow. Now, breathe out
last week’s dreams. Take a wish from the jar.
Inside, deep inside, is the answer…

Unfold it, and let us riddle it together,
…Strains of a waltz. How do frozen fingers play?
How do fennel, ginger, saffron blend in the tagine?

Like broken strangers bound by time, they sisterdance…
their veils of sorrow encircle, embrace.
Feed your heart with waltzes and spices.

Feed your soul with wine and dreams.
Humble dust of coriander scents your feet, coaxing
seascapes, crystal sighs and moonshine from your melody.

Beware of dangers along the path of truth
and beware, my friend, of too much bewaring–
strong hands cushion you, sweet scents surround you—now leap

without looking, guided by trust. And when you land
on silver-tipped toes, buoyed by joy– you’ll know
you are amazing, you are love, you are poetry—

here, you rest.
Muse. Up ahead, stepping stones speckle the stream, sturdy now.
May your words roar against the banks, your life a flood of dreams.

1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
5 Susan at Susan Taylor Brown
6 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
7 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
8 Jone at Deo Writer
9 Gina at Swagger Writer's
10 Julie at The Drift Record
11 Kate at Book Aunt
12 Anastasia Suen at Booktalking
14 Diane at Random Noodling
16 Natalie at Wading Through Words
17 Tara at A Teaching Life
18 Amy at The Poem Farm
19 Lori at Habitual Rhymer
21 Myra at Gathering Books
23 Miranda at Miranda Paul Books
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Greg at Gotta Book
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Linda at Write Time
28 Caroline at Caroline by Line
29 Sheri at Sheri Doyle
30 Irene at Live Your Poem

Oh, and if you get a chance, I'm a guest over at Katie Davis's blog, talking about 5 reasons why you should write poetry. Stop by!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


April is a whirlwind for me every year.

Part of me loves it.

But all the whirling can wear a gal slap out. So think of me braving the last brazen days before lovely, placid, peaceful May.

I have been reading GRAVE MERCY by Robin LeFevers and loving it! You may know Robin from her slew of books for middle grade readers (Theodisia, anyone?) or from the Shrinking Violets blog. (Not much going on at SV lately, and now we know why! Robin has been busy promoting this new book after its many starred reviews! BIG congratulations, Robin!)

And I am here to add my accolades to the pile. It's historical. It's romantic. It's got strong Ismae (a nun assassin) and lots of adventure and court intrigue. Love the atmospheric words like "mayhap" and "sorely." Expect to finish the book later today. And if you get a chance, see Robin's amazing post titled

"The Writer's Life is Full of Second Chances
or Abandon Despair all Ye Who Enter Here" 

 at Writer Unboxed about finding the crunchy bits in yourself that you should totally be writing about (instead of for the market).

That led me to Barbara Samuel's worksheet on finding your voice. It's got me remembering my crunchy bits! Like how much I love love loved books by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss during my late teen years. Oh romantic me!

Another post I love is over at Smack Dab in the Middle by Dia Calhoun about delayed gratification and what's the point of writing and includes some words I really needed near the end. Go. Read.

In other news, I'll be traveling tomorrow to Harper Lee Land, otherwise known as Monroeville, Alabama, for Alabama Writers Symposium. I'm looking forward to seeing some writing friends there like Kerry Madden and Rachel Hawkins. AND (this is the best part) my father will be there!!!

There are SO MANY literary and art events happening this weekend. If someone would just develop a means of teleportation I'd be one happy gal.

Look for Greg's addition to the Progressive Poem sometime today over at Gotta Book!

I'll be working working on this wip. Getting there!

Happy day to everyone.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Every year during National Poetry Month, I like to share the poem " A Secret Life" by Stephen Dunn.

That's because, for many years, writing was my secret life. And so this poem remains one of my all-time favorites:

by Stephen Dunn 

Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don't say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or, you've just made love
and feel you'd rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you're brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that's unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say, or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you'd most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it's like a small fire
in a clearing, it's what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It's why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who'll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.

So now I have a new secret life. And I hope you do too!

In other news: you can win a copy of my latest collection of poems THE COLOR LOST ROOMS at Writing With Cheryl!

And while you're there, get to know Cheryl. She was the one who taught the class (on freelance writing for magazines) oh about a dozen years ago that got me on the road to publication of my poems and stories!

Conference planners: Cheryl is a brilliant teacher. Hire her. Your attendees will thank you!

Now go visit Diane at Random Noodling for Poetry Friday Roundup! And the fabulous Heidi has added something humble to our Progressive Poem over at my juicy little universe.

OH. And my video is up at Renee LaTulippe's No Water River! Renee is pretty amazing. I am in awe of her technoskills and enthusiasm for poetry. She has done SO MUCH this month to add to the growing canon of work on the web by poets for children. Thank you, Renee! I'm thrilled to be included.

Happy day, all!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Last night I had the fabulous opportunity to attend a Sundowner at the Birmingham Zoo.
What is a sundowner?

 Well, it's a term used in Africa, that sort of means "Happy Hour." Basically after a day of safari-ing, the game driver will pull off somewhere, unload the libations and munchies, and everyone will watch the sunset. (I've never actually experienced this, just heard about it.)
The big news at the Birmingham Zoo is this great new exhibit called GIRAFFE ENCOUNTER. (Grand Opening: April 25, 10 am) And let me tell you: encounter, it is!
Perhaps you've done a giraffe feeding before, where you stood on a platform and reached up to feed the giraffe.
In this exhibit, the enclosure is designed so that the humans and the giraffes are at eye level. And wow, it makes all the difference! You just cannot appreciate a giraffe's heavily lashed eyes or that swirly dark tongue any better way than this.

Oh, and I learned something, thanks to my friend Cissy, who is so very generous and amazing and the reason I was at the event in the first place: you can tell the males from the females from a distance by the fur on their antlers: females have fur, males don't. (Males would, except they tussle and fight, and the fur gets rubbed right off.)  Fascinating, isn't it?

We also got to get up close and personal with the rhinos (we brushed them!), one of the new bull elephants, and the lion family, which for the moment includes five (FIVE!) cubs. (I say, for the moment, because the cubs are nearly a year old and will soon be shipped out to other zoos, according to the SSP (Species Survival Plan).

I really loved the whole thing -- humans and animals. I was especially excited to meet Bill Foster, who is the CEO of the zoo, and Clay Hilton, VP, who asked me what my favorite zoo animal was, and I was like hmmm, what IS my favorite animal? Whit in DON'T FEED THE BOY loves the giraffes... I have a letter from when I was a young child that says my favorite animal was also the giraffes.... but now?

I told Clay, "red pandas." He told me the pair at the zoo were not eager to mate as everyone had hoped. And I don't know if what I meant was red panda or Bornean sun bear. Or if it's some other animal entirely. I'm thinking...

what's YOUR favorite zoo animal?
Don't forget: Progressive Poem can be found today with Lori at Habitual Rhymer!

And Lovely Laura continues her 30 Habits of Highly Effective Poets with a contribution by me. What a great series.

Man. So much good stuff this month!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


One of my favorite tools in the Poetry Toolbox is metaphor. I love the challenge of saying something IS something else rather than just “like” something else. It’s much more difficult to carry off!

And one of my all-time favorite responses I’ve ever gotten at a poetry critique session is this:

“The overarching metaphor fails.”

While that is not a good thing, isn’t it great when someone can look at you and deliver those words in such a grave manner? I do love poets.

And I do strive to make my metaphors succeed rather than fail. Which brings me to Laura Purdie Salas’s BOOKSPEAK!

There is much to love in this collection of poems about books and writing. But the two poems that spoke most fervently to me are simply awash in metaphor, and Laura gave me permission to share them here. AND she was gracious enough to offer comments about the use of metaphor in poetry as it relates to these specific poems. Enjoy!



Snowy pages,
steady track.
Tiny footprints
dipped in black.

Through the blizzard
stories roam.
They tiptoe bravely
out, then home.

Laura Purdie Salas: “Metaphor is really at the heart of so much poetry. When you look at one thing and you see another, the connections you make between the two things can be startling, scary, lovely…all big pluses in poems.

"At a school visit a few weeks ago, a teacher had been reading BookSpeak! with her students, and she asked what “Written in Snow” was about, specifically. Well, isn’t that a good question! I rarely remember specifically what was in my mind as I wrote a poem. The original title for this poem was “Tracking,” and I do know I was inspired by footprints in the snow on our deck. All this wildlife coming right up to our suburban house, and we never see it. I think when I wrote it I was picturing stories as small rabbits, timidly venturing through the cold, hoping someone would be observant enough to recognize them. Or maybe that’s just the spin I put on it now! But the core metaphor was definitely stories as secretive, silent, lovely creatures that aren’t necessarily jumping in your face—sometimes you have to make an effort to find and love them."

Readers, me again: Don’t you love that idea of stories as small rabbits in snow?



Line after line of inky black birds
forming the flocks that shift into words.
Page after page of tales winging by,
singing a story against a
white sky.

 Laura Purdie Salas: "For 'Skywriting,' the metaphor is overtly birds as words. I love seeing birds lined up on telephone or power lines, looking like letters lined up on notebook pages. And, of course, I am not nearly the first poet to make that comparison! And I also love seeing murders of crows or flocks of swallows zooming against the sky. I especially love when there’s a huge swarm of them in a big chaotic mess. Then something shifts and they are all swooping and looping in this orchestrated fashion. It’s amazing! And that’s kind of what happens to me in a poem. You have all these elements, words, sounds, and they seem separate. Then something gels and some alchemy happens and zap--you have a poem! I love the way the illustration also calls to mind a musical staff, and the poem  has the birds “singing their story.” So even though I didn’t have that metaphor strongly in mind as I wrote this, I think a story/music comparison (or collaboration) emerged in the melding of words and art.”

Me, yet again:  I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS POEM!

Okay,  now for more fun stuff. Laura has set up a Goodreads giveaway in conjunction with this post!

So, go now, ENTER!

I will actually be the one to send the book out (donated from the publisher) and Laura will send an autographed bookplate. Good luck! And if you don’t win, READ THIS BOOK.  It is a delight.

And don't forget to check out the progress of our Progressive Poem, now at Tara's A Teaching Life, for line 17!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Except for some speaking engagements, I've been very ostrich-like this month, working hard to complete the first draft of a new novel.

Which is why I didn't know about Montevallo Art Festival, which was yesterday, at beautiful Orr Park, on a gorgeous April day. Thank goodness my son loves art and adventure as much as I do, and was SO SWEET to text me with pictures and a commanding, "you'll love it, you gotta come!"

And so I did. (To those who have heard me preach about Living a Life Worth Writing About: me dumping the computer and ignoring the day's word count in a favor of an experience is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about this.)

Some of the art exists in the park year-round:


Don't you love those faces?! And here's some of the art I bought:

egg-shaped gourds that have been painted and designed with a wood-burning tool and will be gifts

another funky art-piece gift (for a funky art-boy)

a colorful music-themed art gift (for a colorful music-boy)

...and a fun life-motto (for a non-status quo boy)

As if that wasn't enough art for one day, oldest son went with friends for art/music-inspired PAINT THE TOWN RED while rest of us went to a play at Hoover Library Theatre called WOODY GUTHRIE: WHEN THE CURFEW BLOWS. It's a one-man show about Woody's life and times as told in 1952 from the psychiatric ward.

Great show from a talented and enthusiastic up-n-comer actor/writer Rob Tepper.

 Nice touch: they banded us all as psychiatric patients and Woody addressed us as fellow residents in need of meds. :)

And now: MUST WRITE.

Don't forget to check-in with Ruth to read the progress of our progressive poem! Half-way there now... I love it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Look what the stork brought:

It's almost a real book! And wow, am I excited to deliver one Whit Whitaker to the world. He's quite a kid. And the animals are pretty great too.

Big thanks to the lovely, generous, amazing Kathryn Erskine, winner of the National Book award for MOCKINGBIRD, whose blurb graces the cover:

"Don't Feed the Boy" is a delightfully satisfying blend
of action and emotion, tension and heart.
Everyone should have a best friend like Whit."

*Mwah,* Kathy!

Now for the fun stuff: wherever you are in the world, you can win this ARC for yourself. I'll even autograph it. And you'll have the pleasure of knowing you were one of the first readers ever!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Don't Feed the Boy by Irene Latham

Don't Feed the Boy

by Irene Latham

Giveaway ends June 12, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So I was going to write this post about goals and dreams -- about how we've got to remember the difference because otherwise you will end up feeling like a huge failure.

For example: your goal can't be "win the Newbery Medal." Because you have absolutely no control over that. That involves being picked, chosen.
Which is up to that very specific committee of librarians.

Winning the Newbery is a DREAM. And hey, it's a lovely, lovely dream. And no way will that dream ever come true if you don't first write THE BOOK. Maybe LOTS of books.

So, there's your goal: write a book. Then write another book. And another.

But. Turns out I don't need to write this post because Lindsey Leavitt, who, like her books, is a vessel, vessel, I say, for Humor with Heart. READ LINDSEY'S BOOKS. You'll see. And readers, wait till you see Lindsey's 2013 book! AWE.SOME.

 Also, FYI: It's Seth Godin's manifesto STOP STEALING DREAMS about how education in our country needs an overhaul that got me thinking about goals and dreams in the first place.

The latest line in our Progressive Poem can be found today at Kate Coomb's blog. I LOVE IT.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Confession: I was scared to watch this movie. That's why we didn't see it in the theater.

Why, you ask?

Well, I've got this little novel coming later this year that's set in a zoo. Part of my research for DON'T FEED THE BOY included zoo books, particularly ones told from the zookeeper perspective. Or from anyone living at the zoo. I was looking for animal facts, daily care facts, animal escape stories --anything to enrich my story.

Lo and behold, I stumbled upon WE BOUGHT A ZOO by Benjamin Mee. Honestly I don't remember the storyline of the book. I was only really interested in those research tidbits. And while I did a whole filing card system to catalog my research, I couldn't off the top of my head recall which, if any, facts from that source landed in my story about Whit.

So it was with some trepidation that we fired up the movie. I was prepared to hate it. The commercials looked full of melodrama, and there was one line delivered by the Thomas Haden Church character that I was already braced for-- because it is a sentiment deeply shared by Whit:

"I like the animals. I love the people."

But. It was a great story! I loved it! Sure, Matt Damon and Scarlett Johannson were a little too beautiful, and holy cuteness, the kid who played Benjamin Mee's daughter is quite the charismatic little redhead. The story really was about the humans, not the animals. The animals were just the hook.

Which, in my opinion, is exactly as it should be.

I liked the movie so much that I will probably use it as a promotional tool. As in, if you liked WE BOUGHT A ZOO, then you'll like DON'T FEED THE BOY. I might even include the dvd in some giveaway packs. Fun!

And now a question for you wonderful readers: any other zoo tie-ins come to mind? Books, movies, music, etc. that's zoo-related?

Oh, and do kids still like these animal bracelets? Might be fun swag...

Please share your suggestions! Thanks.

And y'all: don't forget to check in on our Progressive Poem. Today's line comes from Gina over at Swagger!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I am embarrassed to admit that in all the years I have lived in Alabama I have never spent any time in the western part of our state. Which is one of the reasons I was so thrilled to be invited to share LEAVING GEE'S BEND as part of this year's Black Belt Symposium at University of West Alabama in Livingston.

And wow, what a great experience! Lesa Shaul tended to every niggling detail, and I've got to say, that woman is a powerhouse. I felt so well taken care of. And the kids! What to say about the kids?! It was my great fortune to work with not only college age students but also students from three area middle schools. What thoughtful readers and polite young people. All of you were pure joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And now for some pictures:

Here's where I spent the night, after a lovely meal with students and teachers at local joint Diamond Jim's Steakhouse (which was sort of like walking onto the set of Sweet Home Alabama). I loved this house instantly, because it reminded me of my grandmother's house. And when we opened the front door, it even smelled like Granny's.


Here's my room. That night I could hear students on the street and "Star Spangled Banner" chiming from the bell tower and an occasional train. Really, really wonderful. All that was missing was a cozy old quilt!

 Here's me on the steps of the Callaway Schoolhouse, where I delivered the keynote.

And here's lovely Lesa Shaul in front of the Moon House.

Here I am with part of a great group of girls who joined me for lunch and book discussion. I was so impressed by their attention to detail -- SO impressed that I will forgive them their fandom of one Justin Beiber. (My goodness, those gals love the Beiber!)

.... and okay, I had to throw in a candid shot, even though it is hardly becoming.

Do you know how hard it is to get a good pic of someone while they are speaking? Between gestures and odd facial expression, it's just about impossible. OH WELL. Big thanks to Ashlee Gillespie for doing your best! I loved meeting you and your daughter.

Finally, a shot of me with Ms. University of West Alabama who dashed home to collect her crown so she could get some pics for her Ms. Alabama scrapbook. It was especially appropriate, as her platform is all about reading. She was so sweet and gracious (and tall and thin and tan!). As was her photographer. Great to meet you gals, and thanks for the ride back to my van. :)

One more thing: if ever you are in Livingston, or just passing by, and it's morning, do not miss a stop at Touch of Home Bakery. It's run by the Mennonites, and I'm so glad Lisa thought to take me there.

Best. Donuts. Ever. (My twelve year old said so, and that was after we just ate at Donut Hole in Destin, which, if you've ever been, you KNOW is really saying something!)

Thanks, everyone, especially Lesa, for making my visit one I'll always remember! Hope to see y'all again real soon.

Friday, April 6, 2012


When I learned of Adrienne Rich's death on March 28, I went on an Adrienne Rich reading tear. What a courageous poet and woman she was. But here's something I think she got 100% wrong:

In her acceptance speech for the National Book Award, she said,

“Poetry is not a healing lotion, an emotional massage, a kind of linguistic aromatherapy. Neither is it a blueprint, nor an instruction manual, nor a billboard.”

For me, poetry is all of those things. And Adrienne, I wish I could tell you this: your poems have been those things for me. Like this one:

Diving into the Wreck
by Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.
complete poem here 

I am loving all the poetic goodness filling the world so far this month! Don't forget to see the progress of our Progressive Poem, now showing at Mary Lee's A Year of Reading. And yay for the amazing and generous and talented Robyn who's hosting Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog Read. Write. Howl.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Busy week so far, but so full of poetry and sweetness, I'm not complaining. Plus I am super-excited to be traveling tomorrow to University of West Alabama in Livingston, where I will be meeting students and other members of the community as part of the Black Belt Symposium. Thursday I'll be giving a keynote. Wish me luck!

In other news: our Progressive Poem is progressing! Latest line will be up sometime today at Jeannine Atkin's blog. Check out the interview I posted today at Smack Dab in the Middle, of Augusta Scattergood, author of GLORY BE. If you loved the help, you will love GLORY BE! And Augusta has much to say about July birthdays and bravery and Eudora Welty. Don't miss. 

I've just finished a wonderful book called A GOD IN THE HOUSE: POETS TALK ABOUT FAITH, edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Katherine Towler. I've dog-eared SO MANY pages! Look for more on this in the near future. Meanwhile, here's a quick quote:

"Doctors can heal you; poets can only give you x-rays so that you see your wound."

Also coming soon: a review of BOOKSPEAK! by Laura Purdie Salas. (Could someone just give me a few more hours a day? It's this work-in-progress... so consuming, in the best possible way!)

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Happy National Poetry Month!
As if all those blooming things aren't enough, April also brings on a rush of poetic praise and celebration. And this year the kidlitosphere is offering all sorts of goodies for you to enjoy, including our experiment in collective verse: 2012 KidLit Progressive Poem!

Since I volunteered to organize this event, I also inherited the task of starting the poem. So all during March I was thinking, what on earth can I use as a first line?

Well. I broke it down (as we poets often do) all the way to syllables. I thought about my favorite one-syllable word, which is YES, simply because of all the possibility it contains. 

And then I though, which word contains all the imagination of the world? 
I decided that word, for me, is "IF."

So, my word-loving friends, here's the first line of our poem:

If you are reading this 

Take it away, Doraine!

Please follow along in the progress of this poem. With such an assortment, there's no telling what worlds we'll explore!

2012 KidLit Progressive Poem:  watch a poem grow day-by-day as it travels across the Kidlitosphere! April 1-30
1  Irene at Live Your Poem 
2  Doraine at Dori Reads
3  Jeannine at View from a Window Seat
4  Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
5  Susan at Susan Taylor Brown
6  Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
7  Penny at A Penny and her Jots
8  Jone at Deo Writer
9  Gina at Swagger Writer's
10  Julie at The Drift Record
11  Kate at Book Aunt
12  Anastasia Suen at Booktalking
14  Diane at Random Noodling
16  Natalie at Wading Through Words 
17  Tara at A Teaching Life
18  Amy  at The Poem Farm
19  Lori at Habitual Rhymer
21  Myra at Gathering Books
22  Pat at Writer on a Horse
23  Miranda at Miranda Paul Books 
24  Linda at TeacherDance
25  Greg at Gotta Book
26  Renee at No Water River
27  Linda at Write Time
28  Caroline at Caroline by Line
29  Sheri at Sheri Doyle
30  Irene at Live Your Poem

And here's other great stuff that's going on:

Susan Taylor Brown: Kick the Poetry Can'ts: Fun Ways to Play With Poetry.
Susan will share the various ways she teaches poetry, with exercises and an invitation for readers to play along.  

Katie Davis: Katie is having a month long celebration of poetry with a list of (so far) 21 guest poet posters who've submitted everything from how to-s to videos, to audio clips. Katie will also be doing lots of giveaways in April, so stop by!

Mary Lee Hahn: Mary Lee will write a poem a day again this year at A Year of Reading.

Renee LaTulippe: Renee – a firm believer that poetry is ALIVE and must be heard! – has coerced an incredible group of poets to go outside and film themselves reading one of their own poems, and to contribute that video to the growing poetry video library at her blog, No Water River. Each video is accompanied by a written interview. The participating poets are:

Michael Rosen (UK Children’s Laureate 2007-2009)
J. Patrick Lewis (current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate­­)

When can you see them? Check in at No Water River on Mondays and Fridays throughout April to see and hear these accomplished poets sharing their work. If you don’t want to miss any, “like” NWR on Facebook to be notified of new posts.

Jone MacCullochPoetry Postcard Project:  Get a poem postcard created by a student.  Email Jone at macrush53 at yahoo dot com.
 At Deowriter: Poem a Day: original poem by Jone 
At Check It Out:  Thirty Days, Thirty Plus Poems: Poetry by Silver Star Students

Greg Pincus: 30 Poets/30 Days daily at Gotta Book throughout April.

Laura Shovan: Laura at Author Amok will spend April looking at 30+ Habits of Highly Effective Poets. From the importance of scheduling dedicated writing time, to the joys of procrastination and the lows of eating while you write, Laura will explore the tried and true as well as some flagrantly odd, unique and wacky writing habits. Authors including Betsy Franco, Jacqueline Jules and Laura Purdie Salas will be visiting with their favorite -- or strangest -- writing rituals. Laura will also look at the unusual writing habits of some great poets of the past.

Anastasia Suen: Author and teacher Anastasia Suen invites poets of all ages to share an original "STEM haiku," a haiku about a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) topic at the STEM Friday blog.

April Halprin Wayland: As usual, April is posting a poem a day for the Poem-A-Day Challenge. This year they’re all dog or dog park poems; the dog park has become my new religion.

And in honor of Poetry Month, April's TO RABBITOWN, the first picture book has been e-published! It’s a free-verse fantasy (illustrated by Robin Spowart) about a child who runs away to live with rabbits and slowly turns into one. Look for it on Kindle and Nook for just 99 cents!…and soon it will be on iTunes as well.