Friday, March 10, 2023

When Light and Water Meet...and Jessica Whipple!

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit blue-bungalow-Heidi at my juicy little universe for Roundup.

First, I must share the new graphic Highlights sent over, so that everyone knows Carole Boston Weatherford will be joining us at our Poetry for Kids session April 16-19! I know several Poetry Friday friends will be there, and we are so, so lucky to learn from her. Join us!

I do have a new ArtSpeak: Light poem for you. But first I'm excited to have a special guest today at Live Your Poem: Jessica Whipple, author of ENOUGH IS...(illus. by Nicole Wong, coming April 18, 2023, from Tilbury House). Preorder your signed copy here! (Readers, I've seen an ARC on Netgalley. It's wonderful!)

Jessica Whipple
(photo by Nick Gould)
Jessica and I became acquainted when she submitted a poem for mine and Charles' anthology IF I COULD CHOOSE A BEST DAY: POEMS OF POSSIBILITY. (Illus. by Olivia Sua, coming from Candlewick 2025.) 

We weren't able to publish Jessica's poem, but she did something I really admire. Upon rejection, she wrote back and asked for feedback. How could she improve the poem?

Now you know that set my poet-heart thumping! A poet going the extra mile, working to improve her of course I offered feedback, and do you know Jessica went on to publish that poem someplace else?! Yep, that's the kind of writer she is.

And now she's just welcomed her debut picture book into the world. Congratulations, Jessica! Please read on to find out more about Jessica, her life, and this book, as she responds to a few simple prompts. 

Welcome, Jessica!

The difficult?

JW: The concept is a tough one to get down to picture-book size, but that was my goal and hope from the start. I'm grateful to Tilbury House who matched me with Nicole Wong so we could each tackle the vision for the book! Kirkus and some early Goodreads and NetGalley reviewers feel we've successfully simplified the concept, so hooray! Still, the book lives beyond the page in the conversations readers have with kids to get them thinking about how much *is* enough, and what does that look like--because it's different in every situation. We also needed to speak about and depict it in a way that's relevant to kids, which, of course, is what all kidlit authors are wrestling with. 

The delicious?

JW: I'm thrilled with the reception the book has been getting from readers, reviewers, podcasters, and interviewers. It really has been wonderful to hear that Enough Is... is a book many adults, caregivers, and teachers hope to use to introduce contentment to children. 

The fresh?

JW: Throughout the process of writing, querying, pitching, and submitting this manuscript and my others, I've learned the latent power each of us has in just *asking* for things. As long as we're honest, respectful, grateful, and humble, many people want to help along the length of the book publishing timeline... and beyond. You're one of them, Irene! It's all a truly beautiful example of community.

Aww, thanks, Jessica. So happy this book is in the world!

And now for my poem. Last week, Karen Edmisten mentioned something in comments about light and water sharing some similar traits. That got me thinking...what happens when Light and Water meet? And then I've got Jessica talking about "enough"...and so my mind did leap!

When Light Meets Water

here, light whispers,
take these clouds

dance with me,
water says,
and sends up
a thousand ripples

they spark and dip,
kissing all hours

more, say the lilies,
their bellies warm,
their petals reaching,

-Irene Latham


  1. Hooray for Jessica and Nicole - Enough Is...looks lovely!
    And hooray for your mentorship, Irene. Wish I could be a part of your Highlights workshop next month.
    I love that Karen and Jessica each had a hand in nudging your poem into the world.
    I'm with the lilies, "more" (but my belly is not so warm as it is a very blustery cold, wet day here.)

  2. I'll be sharing Jessica's book soon, Irene. It is wonderful. I always love a book, or poem, that gets people thinking! And your poem is so warm and friendly, imagining the words from each thing. I love "more, say the lilies,". Happy weekend!

  3. Nice, Irene. And a Dickinsonian end, too! (I'm an em dash fan from way back.)

  4. Looks like an attention-getting book, from both the title, art and info here, thanks for sharing it with us Irene, and all the best to Jessica and Nicole! I love hearing all the voices and their requests in your poem Irene, and "more, say the lilies," yes. All the best with the Highlights Workshop, it sounds terrific, thanks!

  5. Sounds like a lovely new book--will look for it. And oo, la, la for that spark and dip!

  6. Irene, thanks for sharing about Jessica's poem. That is encouraging, and her interview is sweet. The Highlights poetry conference sounds spectacular. Enjoy! (By the way, your Poetry Friday post from last week inspired my post for this week.)

  7. Beautiful from start to finish...I love how Jessica turned a "no" into possibility and then went on to 'Enough.' An inspiring story for sure.
    A thousand ripples....yes, please! Wonderful idea for a poem.

  8. I love hearing the elements that go into your idea for a poem, Irene. And thanks for sharing ENOUGH IS with us :>)

  9. I have a hold on ENOUGH IS and I'm looking forward to reading it. And I'm also really looking forward to Highlights! And your poem--love thinking about "lilies" and their "bellies."

  10. Gosh! So much goodness in your post, Irene! Carole Boston Weatherford??? OMG! Cannot wait for April! And just organizing your Jessica interview with "The Difficult/The Delicious/The Fresh" - so creative. And a poem that eavesdrop on such an intimate conversation between light and water and lilies... All goodness!

  11. Irene, your posts always bring an element of quiet surprise. Your ArtSpeak poem is fluid and full of imagination-a thousand ripples...
    I wish I could be with your next month but there is always so much to do and never ENOUGH time. I am sure you will provide us with a quick review of the Highlight event. I look forward to many more quiet surprises from you.

  12. Thanks for another great post, Irene!

  13. I'm looking forward to Enough Is...! It's just the kind of book I long to write. Congratulations, Jessica! I love thinking about those lillies reaching, reaching, Irene. See you next month!

  14. Late to finish my rounds this week...Irene, I fear you have asked for it'll have everyone requesting your feedback. I'm happy for Jessica and intrigued by her book, and I can't help but feel like the ripples in your light-meets-water poem are for Ms. Whipple!

  15. Oh, Jessica's book/Wong's illustrations look lovely!

    *more*, say the lilies,

    And *more* say I, whenever I visit your blog. :)

  16. Thanks for introducing us to Jessica, Irene. Can't wait to check out her book.

    Guess what? I'm going to be at Highlights for a personal retreat through April 17. I know that you'll be busy, but I'm excited that I'll get to see you, Irene!


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