Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass and visit for Roundup.
I can't believe it's May! Be sure to see my latest ArtSpeak: RED (watermelon!) poem from yesterday.
Today I'm excited to share with you the latest by Laura Purdie Salas... and to welcome her to Live Your Poem to respond to a few prompts below.
You just never know what Laura's going to come up with next, and I love this new book so much. Laura accomplishes A LOT with this text... you will be inspired by the joyful, informative wordsmithery, and the photographs by Chuck Dayton are lovely. And lucky us: we're all invited to the Launch Party! It will be on Facebook, May 4 at 3 pm CST and will feature Laura doing a readaloud, backstory from Chuck, Q and A, and giveaways of 3 signed copies. I totally plan to be there! Click here for more information.
Meanwhile, here's the description from the publisher:
Vivid depictions in words and photos illuminate the mysterious world of loons, viewed through the lens of a chick learning how to survive— and thrive—in her first year.
Below white pines, at water’s edge, in guarded nest of mud and sedge, squeezed inside an olive egg, bill meets wing meets folded leg.
With these few words, the scene is set for the hatching of Moon Loon. During her first summer with her parents and brother in the northland, Moon Loon has a lot to learn. Mom and Dad teach essential lessons, like how to catch and eat fish, how to avoid becoming a snack for snapping turtles, and what songs to sing and when. Moon Loon also discovers her secret skills, like how to float, how to dive, and— eventually—how to fly.
|Laura with editor Shannon Pennefeather
Combining imaginative language and striking photography, Secrets of the Loon introduces readers to the sights, sounds, and survival strategies of Minnesota’s state bird.
Laura Purdie Salas
As an environmental lawyer, Chuck Dayton protected the landscapes and animals he now observes, camera in hand.
Available May 2020 from the Minnesota Historical Society Press
And now, please welcome Laura!
The delicious: Listening to loon calls as I worked on the book. I would periodically pop over to the Loon Preservation Committee for a quick audio of loon calls. Other times I would play YouTube videos of loon calls softly in the background on a loop. That wild, eerie cry just instantly takes me to the Northwoods.
The difficult: I was invited into this book collaboration in February of 2019, and because of the fast timeline to publication, I did most of my drafting in the spring. There were no loons yet in Minnesota, as they don’t usually arrive until May, so I didn’t get to go see loons in person while I was writing.
|an interior spread from SECRETS OF THE LOON
The unexpected: This was hard! I’ve written lots of books that are a publisher’s idea and that I write to their specific guidelines. Those are for educational publishers. This project was sort of similar. Shannon Pennefeather, the wonderful Minnesota Historical Society Press Managing Editor, came to me with the photos and idea from Chuck Dayton (he also wrote the backmatter). I had freedom to choose the tone and style (prose, rhyming, poetry collection?) I thought would work best. I was surprised at the unexpected pressure I felt. It was oddly smack-dab between the “assignment” of writing for educational publishers, where I know exactly what is expected of me, and the freedom of my passion writing, where I write the books I love and hope a publisher will publish them. With Secrets of the Loon, I was hoping to please the eventual reader, of course, but also Shannon and Chuck. Talk about nerve-wracking! (I tried four different approaches: straight prose, rhyming, a haiku collection, and diary entries.) Also, writing a narrative to fit both existing photographs AND the scientific timeline of loon development was much more challenging than I expected. A real jigsaw puzzle!
|Laura on Burntside Lake
So there you have it. I wanted to write a "secrets of" poem to go with this post, but it just didn't come together. Maybe later. Meanwhile, congratulations, Laura, on another beautiful book!
For more info, including book trailer and downloadable activity sheets on this page of Laura's website.