Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Meet Johanna Wright, illustrator of THIS POEM IS A NEST


O frabjous day! Today marks the release of THIS POEM IS A NEST... and my day on the blog tour. Yay! So many thanks to these generous bloggers! Mwah!

Friday 9/25  Kirby Larson blog
A Word Edgewise/Linda Mitchell

Monday 9/28 Reflections on the Teche/Margaret Simon 

Tuesday 9/29  Live Your Poem/Irene Latham

Wednesday 9/30  Laura Shovan blog

Friday 10/2  Poetry for Children/Sylvia Vardell

Saturday 10/3  Smack Dab in the Middle 

Monday 10/5  TeacherDance

Friday 10/9  More Art 4 All/Michelle Kogan 

To celebrate properly, I'm delighted to welcome the illustrator Johanna Wright to Live Your Poem. Fun fact: Johanna and I are studio sibs! We share agent Rosemary Stimola. :)

Johanna's sense of whimsy and heart was the perfect match for these poems, and I couldn't be happier to share this book with her.... and her process is pretty amazing! Welcome, Johanna!

The delicious:

This book was incredibly delicious to illustrate. I felt like I had the freedom to explore and examine the poems in a way that felt a bit deeper to me than books I’ve worked on in the past. This was especially true in my favorite section of the book, Only Human. I loved diving deeper into the imagery and emotions of those poems. And I loved how each spread, each poem could have entirely new characters, settings and stories within them. There was so much freedom in that, as an illustrator.  


The Difficult:
JW: I think the other side of having so much freedom, created some challenges too.  I had to create my own parameters while feeling into what it meant to illustrate some complex concepts. I used the nature theme as a guide for the illustrations, along with some fantastical imagery like unicorns and mermaids. This helped to create some limits, which actually freed me up even more!


The unexpected:

 JW: I wanted to take some of these illustrations a bit deeper than their surface meaning and I learned a lot about myself and found new ways of working in the process. Because so many of the poems were wide open to interpretation, I learned to use my own feelings and intuition more consciously as a creative guide. 


Anything else: 

 JW: The concept for this book is so unique and Irene’s talent for finding nestling poems is really remarkable. I loved working on this project and I’m so proud of this special book! 


A thousand thank-yous, Johanna! Truly, it's an honor to share this book with you.

And now, readers, you are in for a treat! Please enjoy this video Johanna created that features her talking about her process on top of some time lapse videos of the NEST artwork being created. Beautiful!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Almost a NEST

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday. Be sure to visit Jone at
Deo Writer for Roundup. 

Today begins our THIS POEM IS A NEST Blog Tour! I'm so grateful to these generous bloggers/poets/humans for sharing about this book that means so much to me. In spite of covid and these troubling times, this book, poetry Fridays, and poetry in general makes me feel connected to all of you, to myself, and to the world. Thank you.

Friday 9/25  Kirby Larson blog & A Word Edgewise/Linda Mitchell

Monday 9/28 Reflections on the Teche/Margaret Simon 

Tuesday 9/29  Live Your Poem/Irene Latham

Wednesday 9/30  Laura Shovan blog

Friday 10/2  Poetry for Children/Sylvia Vardell

Saturday 10/3  Smack Dab in the Middle 

Monday 10/5  TeacherDance

Friday 10/9  More Art 4 All/Michelle Kogan 

Also, if you haven't seen it on Twitter, I am doing a giant 12-book + NEST giveaway in honor of THIS POEM IS A NEST:

Simply subscribe to my e-newsletter. And if you are already a subscriber, then you are automatically entered. :)

I did manage to craft a new ArtSpeak: RED poem amidst all this nesting... thanks so much for reading!

At the Window

I stand at the window
as snowdrops whirr

I dream at the window
as tree limbs shiver

I breathe at the window
as sunbeams stir —

I am not cold.
I am listening,
                learning —

No matter how others hurry
the world at the window

says, I am here,

- Irene Latham

Friday, September 18, 2020

ArtSpeak: RED poem "The Opposite of Invisible '


Hello and happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme for Roundup.

I've been NEST-building this week... doing my best to get the word out about my forthcoming THIS POEM IS A NEST. I'm delighted by readers' enthusiasm so far... and so, so grateful. Thank you!

Today for ArtSpeak: RED I'm returning to one of my favorite Impressionist women painters, Berthe Morisot.  I found a bit of myself in this bright, curious face (even though I seldom wear red), and even though at any gathering I am far more the "there you are!" kind of person than the "here I am" girl represented in the poem. Thanks so much for reading. 

The Opposite of Invisible

cardinal wings

wet berries
in a milk-glass

in a red blouse –

Hello, world!
I am

- Irene Latham

Friday, September 11, 2020

ArtSpeak! RED poem: The Truth About Happy Families

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge for Roundup. 

It's been a busy writing week for me... I finished (another) first draft of a middle grade novel I started back in 2014. Hooray! It's got magic, secrets, adventure... and a girl who wants a horse! I started working on it again this past April, and I'm just delighted with how it's grown. We'll see how I feel when I pick it up again in a few weeks for revisions. :)

Meanwhile, here's my latest ArtSpeak! RED poem... I had already selected my art when I (accidentally) popped on Instagram, and I saw all the happy families... and then I wrote this poem. Thank you for reading!

The Truth About Happy Families

A polkadot family
lives on a polkadot street.
They feast
on polkadot meals
and sip polkadot drinks.

This polkadot family
looks happy as can be!
But you know
and I know
things aren't always
as they seem.

The truth about
this polkadot family
is that some days happy
is just a dream.

- Irene Latham

Friday, September 4, 2020

What Dogs Dream Of -- NIGHT WISHES, Poems Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins


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

How can it be Labor Day weekend?! It just doesn't seem possible. And yet... here we are at the end of lake season and the beginning of (hopefully) less intense heat. We're donning our masks and heading to a high school football game tonight, in hopes of feeling somewhat "normal" and part of our community. Next weekend there's an open house for our town's community theater, which, in spite of covid, has moved to a new (beautiful) location  -- which means more community, and the promise of exciting things to come.

In other news, a single author copy of THIS POEM IS A NEST arrived in my mailbox! This book means so much to me, and I love its intimate trim size, how carry-around-able it is, and how lovely. Here's a video to give you a sneak peek, too. It's available for pre-order now, and will be on sale September 29. YAY!

Now for today's offering: my poem in NIGHT WISHES, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illus. by Jen Corace (Eerdman's, 2020). This is such a sweet little book! Congratulations to all the contributors. I'm so pleased to be included. :)

I was delighted when Lee asked me to write a poem about a dog... and the beach-loving dog I created for the poem came to life in our Rosie! She loves the beach. So while she wasn't born yet when I wrote this poem, I don't think it's a coincidence that Rosie is ours... and I bet she has dreams just like the one in this poem.

by Irene Latham

You're sleepy-still
Your breathing’s deep. . .

Remember the day we dug a hole?
Played chase with the surf?
You gathered seashells
while I spun in happy-yappy circles.

When blazing sun and burning sand
made your eyes start to blur,
we curled together under
a wide, striped umbrella.

You are my runner, my snuggler,
my best-ever fetch-er.
Are you dreaming now – like I am –
about our next adventure?

... and here's a picture of Rosie last month at the beach!

Finally, here's my latest ArtSpeak! RED offering. Thank you so much for reading!

Hello, Neighborhood

Do houses have thoughts?

What if they could talk?

What if their windows
aren't eyes,
                   but mouths?

Oh oh oh
Now I know –

all the houses on my street
are blowing kisses,
                   making wishes.

They're asking me
in stereo
to stop and say hello

hello hello hello

- Irene Latham