Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Carol at Carol's Corner for Roundup.
I've had a lovely time this week with my turning-11 adopted little sister ... we've been busy swimming and playing piano and shopping and making funny videos... the one of her teaching Paul to do the floss dance is pretty hysterical! :)
In poetry news, today I am happy to welcome to the blog Michelle Schaub, to talk about her new poetry book Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections, illustrations by Carmen Saldaña, coming September 17, 2019 from the good folks at Charlesbridge. I met Michelle at WWU Poetry Camp in 2016, just after my farmers' market collection had been released, and just before hers would be released! So we've known for a while we have things in common. :) Which is why I wasn't surprised to learn her newest poetry book is about something else near and dear to my heart: collections!
|Michelle's farmers' market book,|
illustration by Amy Huntington -
who also illustrated one of my
forthcoming 2020 books,
NINE: A Book of Nonet Poems.
|my farmers' market book,|
illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
About FINDING TREASURE: When her class is assigned to bring in favorite collections for show and tell, our young narrator panics. She doesn’t have a collection! In search of inspiration, she turns to family and friends. Mom collects buttons. Grandpa collects coins. Even the mailman has a collection. Is there time to start a new collection? Or find an abandoned one in the attic? Join the treasure hunt in this story told through poems.
And now, here's Michelle, responding to a few simple prompts:
MS: When I started brainstorming different types of collections to include in Finding Treasure, some obvious ones popped into my mind: coins, rocks, shells, baseball cards. I definitely wanted to represent time-honored forms of collecting, but I also wanted to include surprises. I did some research and found several unique collections.Some I decided to include, like snow globes, but others were just a little too strange for a children’s book. So, I forced myself to think outside the box. Would it be possible to collect something intangible? This led to the poem “My Mail Carrier’s Cache” about a postal worker who collects smiles. Do scientists collect anything? This led to the poem “The Gist of Collecting.” (By the way, getting scientific names like “dipterologist” to fit the poem’s meter presented its own difficulty.) I was also challenged to have the protagonist come up with a collection that fit her personality, was different from the other collections in the book, and came as a bit of a surprise. Read the final poem “My Treasure Found” to see if I accomplished this!
MS: As a poet, I love the challenge of shaping my words and ideas into specific poetry forms. Finding the right word and rhythm to meet specific parameters is as satisfying as fitting an elusive piece into a puzzle.
To that end, I played with many different poetry forms in
double dactyl to rondeau. But the form I found most delicious is one
I made up: a vanity plate poem. (Note from Irene: this makes me think of Donna, who collects - ! - interesting vanity plates via her camera.) I knew I wanted to include a poem
about someone who collects license plates because this is something
my grandfather did. One entire wall in his garage was covered with
old plates. While my grandfather’s license plates were just random
combinations of numbers and letters, I wanted the poem I wrote to be
about a collection of vanity plates. Who doesn’t love decoding
those secret messages when cruising down the highway? So, I composed
the poem with each line as a different vanity plate. I hope readers
have as much fun solving the license plate puzzles as I did inventing
|see complete vanity plate poem below!|
MS: The biggest, and most pleasant surprise I had with Finding Treasure is seeing how much Carmen Saldaña’s illustrations enriched my poems.When I set out to write a new poetry collection, I try to include a narrative arc so that my poems tell a story as they progress. I did this with Fresh-Picked Poetry by structuring my poems to show a day at the market unfolding, from farmers’ early morning harvest to venders finally taking down their tents at dusk. I wanted to do this in Finding Treasure also. In the opening poem, I set up the skeleton of a story: a child needs to bring in a collection for a school assignment, but she doesn’t collect anything. Without Carmen’s amazing illustrations, the child’s quest would not have been developed as clearly. Carmen gave the child a personality. She put her in relationship with the different characters who share their collections along the way. She created an entire community of collectors and brought depth and life to the book.
MS: To gear up for the launch of Finding Treasure, I’ll be running a social media campaign called “Countdown to Collection” in which I feature different people’s collections. If you collect something you’d like me to share on twitter and IG, please send a picture of it (with our without yourself in the picture) to shellschaub (at) hotmail.com. Note from Irene: I sent Michelle a picture of one of my newest collections. I hope you will, too.:)
I hope Finding Treasure inspires both collectors and those who have not yet started a collection to discover their own treasures!
Find out more about Michelle Schaub and her books at www.michelleschaub.com
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing with all of us... congratulations on FINDING TREASURE! xo