Friday, May 4, 2018

Celebrating IMPERFECT with Tabatha Yeatts

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! HOORAY IT'S MAY! Be sure to visit Linda at Write Time for Roundup.

I am away from my desk, but I wanted to pop in a share a bit about IMPERFECT: Poems about Mistakes: an Anthology for Middle Schoolers, edited by Tabatha Yeatts.

I love the theme of this anthology, and it makes me so happy to see so many Poetry Friday friends' poems included! Could there be a better opener than Ruth's "Syllabus for Eighth Grade"?? I am honored that two poems I wrote for Scholastic were selected for inclusion: "Titanic Remember April 16, 1912" and "Anaconda Surprise." Nice to see these reach a new readership! More importantly, the book contains all kinds of wonderful poems about making mistakes... and in a world where images are photoshopped and Instagram and Twitter are filled with all the seemingly-perfect moments of life (yet none of the rest), it can feel awfully lonely to be walking around in your human skin... we NEED these reminders that we aren't perfect, that no one is, and that's what makes us beautiful.

Tabatha Yeatts
Speaking of beautiful, Tabatha happens to be one of my favorite people in the universe. I'm so grateful the universe brought us together! And so it is with great pleasure that I welcome Tab to Live Your Poem to answer a few questions about this new beautiful anthology.

Welcome, Tabatha!

The delicious:
There's been a lot of delicious along the way...from the excitement and enthusiasm of the IMPERFECT poets who really believed in this project from day one to the way that Vivien and I "clicked" with our ideas for the visuals. My family and the IMPERFECT Selection Committee were incredibly helpful. I think that giving so much thought to how to help young people deal with their mistakes has been a growing experience for me too. I feel like our acceptance of ourselves as fallible creatures leads to generosity, both for ourselves and others. Once we really forgive ourselves for our mistakes, can opening your heart to others be far behind?

The difficult:
The unexpected:
The difficult and unexpected have a bit of overlap because I was generally surprised by how difficult some aspects were! For instance, I expected selecting poems to be hard, but I didn't think about the layout. The person doing the formatting was in a very different time zone and there was a lot of back-and-forth to get it right.

wee reader Tab!
Anything else:
As a child, I did NOT want to make mistakes. I wanted to do everything right the first time.
I think being a writer helped me so much with accepting making mistakes. When you write, you really have to understand that your first draft is just that -- a draft. You expect that it's not going to be perfect and you will have to fix it up. It's the same for people who are writing music or putting on plays. You rehearse -- you don't just go out and perform without working out the kinks. You expect to start out making mistakes and working through them. It's the same with scientists and inventors. You try something, then you see where you need to change it, and try again.
Once you have accepted that, it's easier to accept fallibility in other ways.

Last bit: 
The Team Imperfect blog has "all things imperfect" on it -- please check it out! 


  1. Having taught this age and understanding how careful many were NOT to make embarrassing mistakes, I know they would have loved this anthology, Tabatha and Irene. I have shared the title with former colleagues!

  2. So nice to hear from Tabatha -- the anthology is a much needed reminder for all ages about embracing imperfection and mistakes as part of the process, and part of life. Looking forward to reading your poems in the anthology, Irene, and all the rest, of course. :)

  3. I'm glad you found your way to Brenda's blog today. Somehow, we were both scheduled to host. Oh, well, mistakes happen! : )

  4. Hi Irene & Tabatha,
    Did not see this anthology coming down the pike.
    Tis true that it's easy to slide into the mistaken idea that perfect is preferred in a creative process at any age, but especially the school years when we feel the spotlight is huge.

    This reminds me of a picture book titled "I Made A Mistake" that was BIG in our home during the elementary school years - our budding artist knew how she wanted something to look on paper, but found frustration with how it actually appeared. So I think reading these poems to younger creatives will be a great idea, too. Brava! Irene that you have poems selected. Will be fun to find all the poem maker names I already know. And learn of new ones.

  5. Thanks for interviewing me, Irene! You make a good point about photoshopped moments -- teens comparing all those "highlight reels" with their own (imperfect) lives can get pretty down on themselves. Thank goodness we have a chance for golden repair. xo

  6. Thanks Irene for inviting Tabatha to fill us in more about her new anthology, "Imperfect."
    Tabatha, I think it's always interesting and also helpful to hear more about the backstory that goes into putting a book together. And how refreshing for a young person who wants to do everything "right the first time," to offer us an "Imperfect" poem collection, Brava, and thanks!

  7. As interesting as the interview is, I was just super-thrilled to see Tabatha! How lovely to have a (beautiful) visual! I'm also looking forward to the surprise that will land in my letterbox one day soon - a copy of this imperfect book.

  8. Congratulations again, Tabatha, on you new anthology, Imperfect, a treat in this day and age. Congratulations, Irene for having two poems published there. I was all set to create some poems and then other tasks got in the way. but I am so glad that friends of mine have poems in the book.

  9. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes peek, Tabatha and Irene. Such an important topic for middle-schoolers, and mistake-makers of any age! (Like me!) Delighted to have a poem included, and I know many poems will resonate with their young teenage readers.

  10. The anthology is as good as a therapy session for a perfectionist. So good to remember than the imperfections are what make us human and help us form bonds with each other.

  11. I carry my "Imperfect" around with me...both book and my imperfect self. Thanks for bringing us this interview with Tabatha, Irene!

  12. A lovely interview, and I was surprised to see a mention of my poem, too! Thank you! :-)

  13. My gosh - that image of Tabatha! So precious! Lovely interview!!


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