Friday, September 7, 2018

Desperately Seeking Octopus Poems & Art #OctoNation

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink for Roundup.

This week my mind is on octopuses. One octopus in particular: a giant Pacific octopus named Agnes... who writes (and receives) postcards. That's because Agnes' story will be released from Millbrook Press/Lerner October 1. Lovely illustrations by Thea Baker.

Illustration by Thea Baker
pre-order here
To celebrate, I'm christening October "Octopus Month," and I need your help! I would love to feature some octopus poems and art here on this blog throughout the month.

a cuddly octopus perched in my studio!
So... do you have an octopus poem or art piece? Or, would you like to write one? I do hope you'll say YES! You can send it to my email: irene (at) irenelatham (dot) com.

In fact, LOVE, AGNES started out as an octopus poem titled "Postcards from an Octopus." Greg Pincus posted it on his GottaBook blog back in April 2013. Since then I've written quite a few octopus poems -- for a time, LOVE, AGNES was a collection of poems! Here's the poem that began the collection... and when you read LOVE, AGNES, you'll still see these same themes, and even some of these very same words - just presented in a completely different way!

Dear World,

I'm an octopus, okay?
An old octopus
nearing the end
of my days.

I live in the deep-dark
beneath the pier,
in a crevice,
in a cave.

But I am not a monster.
No need to be afraid.

Now that my eggs
have been laid
I must wait
                 and wait
                              and wait.

Time now
to use my eight arms
and write.

Just like you,
I have important things to say.

- Irene Latham


  1. Almost-sweet-welcome to the world, Agnes! We have been waiting for you with hope in our hearts. How lucky you are to know Irene. xx

  2. I look forward to meeting Ages, Irene - and I'll bet that she has important things to say!

  3. I'm looking forward to meeting Agnes, and seeing what those eight arms have written, Irene. I will try, have never written an octopus poem. Love hearing the story of this first poem that began this newest book adventure. Congratulations!

  4. Octopus Month! Now I know what's been missing. I will send you one of each (A poem and art. They will probably not be related...) xoxo

  5. Can't wait to meet Agnes -- love picturing her writing with all 8 arms at once. Looking forward to octopus month. :)

  6. I can see there are advantages to being an octopus–especially being able to use eight arms all at once. This is giving me an idea for a poem/painting… I'll send a poem and art your way. And what a fun idea to have October as Octopus month. I'm looking forward to reading "Love, Agnes," thanks Irene, xo

  7. I'm looking forward to a poem/postcard from Agnes. I wrote a poem with an octopus one prior October. It's here: I'm not sure if it fits your bill or not. Are you mainly looking for Octopus POV poems?

    1. Thank you, Brenda, for sharing this poem! I love that your list of O's included an octopus. :) :) I'm looking for poems with more of an octopus focus... doesn't have to be octopus POV... but somehow ABOUT octopuses?? Agnes hopes you'll send one our way!! xo

  8. Irene, hooray for Agnes and the newly christened Octopus Month. Postcard #7 and 9 resonate with me for their cleverness. With all those arms Agnes' postcards must be easy to populate. Congratulations on your new book that should make a splash in the children's book world. While I am super busy this month with conference and presentations, maybe I can eek out an octopus digital poem. We'll see.

  9. I can't wait to meet Agnes! Love the name, the cover, and this poem. I wonder if my kiddos would like to write octopus poems? I'm afraid we don't have any octopuses in the bayou.

    1. If you DO write one, or if your kids do, I would LOVE to share them in October!! xo (Hmmm... what would be the Octopus equivalent in the bayou ??)

  10. I say, YES! And, I would love to join in the octopus fun. Many congratulations on Love, Agnes. And, I'm delighted and inspired at how you share the fun and excitement of her debut with us. Thank you for that. I love how Agnes is the deep-dark, waiting and waiting and waiting. A super good start to a story.

  11. Can't wait to read all of Agnes' postcards!
    I wrote an octopus poem to go with my daughter's knitted octopus a while back--you can find it here if you'd like to borrow it:
    Maybe you will inspire me to write a new octopoem.

    1. Buffy, I will definitely share Ms. Olive!! Thank you! And yes, if you do write a new one, I'd love to post it, too. xo

    2. And you can, of course, share the photo of Emma's knitted critter that inspired it, Irene. Let me know if you can't get it off Penny's website and I'll send you a copy.

  12. Oh Irene - i an't wait to meet Agnes. I hope I can find her in Australia! (or Hanoi even). I love your posttards - number 7 was my favourite. Very pithy! I have written a note to myself to write an octo-poem.

  13. Congratulations, Irene, on the upcoming publication of Love, Agnes! I adore Thea Baker's cover illustration, and I'm sure the poems are just as delightful. I can't wait to read them! Writing an octopus poem is now officially on my to-do list.

  14. What a unique and touching idea fora book! Love the concept - and your poem that started it. I'll see if I can come up with something to send you!

  15. How exciting for you, Irene... AND for Agnes, getting a whole month in her honor! I will channel my own inner octopus and see if I can come up with something to lend to the celebration. xo

  16. I'm looking forward to reading more from Agnes! I think having an Octopus month in October is perfect. Now off to learn more about the octopus to see what I can come up with.

  17. I've been eyeing Agnes's debut date and can't wait for the whole world to meet her. Sending armfuls (& armfuls) of hugs.... XO


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