Friday, September 20, 2013

Children's Poetry Blog Hopping!

Happy Poetry Friday, all! The poem I'm sharing today isn't my best, but it's near and dear to my heart. See the end of this post for a link to today's Poetry Friday round-up.

In case you missed it, in her last post, April tagged me in the brand new Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH). She also tagged Janet Wong, who posted a slightly revised version of April's initial CPBH today. After you're done here, I hope you'll hop on over to read it at .

In April's Sept. 6 post, she introduced Mortimer as the CPBH meme:
Mortimer, from
And then Janet created a new badge, based on it:

isn't he cute!

Janet has slightly modified the CPBH procedure, but I didn't have that info when I wrote this post, so I'm following April's original guidelines:

1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme.

Pretty simple.

I've tagged two fellow children's poets to participate in the Children's Poetry Blog HopLaura Shovan, a children's author and poet-in-the-schools who blogs at Author Amokand Tabatha Yeats, author of nonfiction children's books as well as poetry, who blogs at The Opposite of Indifference. (As you'll see below, Tabatha is hosting today's Poetry Friday round-up.) Be sure to hop on over to read their CBHP posts next week. Laura will share hers at Author Amok on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and you'll be able to read Tabatha's at The Opposite of Indifference on Friday, Sept. 27.

Now for my three (actually four) CPBH questions:
1) When was your first poem published? Would you share it with us?
2) Who was your first poetry teacher?
3) What poetry forms do you like best?

And here are the answers:
1) When was your first poem published? Would you share it with us?
I began writing poetry when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and my first poem was published when I was in high school (I won't tell you what year!), in Crystals in the Dark: An Anthology of Creative Writing from the Chicago Public Schools. I was immensely proud to have my writing in this collection (which you might guess, since I still have my copy of the book. J)

However, I had to resist the urge to edit the poem as I typed it up. Here it is, in original form:

My Sanctuary
If I could find a place far away from the world and its sounds,
Distant from the din and clatter of civilization;

Far away from pollution, politics, and people,
Away from worry, death, sorrow, and pain;
The only place that I could think of where I would be
       undisturbed, tranquil, and at peace,
                                                             is within myself.

© Carmela A Martino. All Rights Reserved.

image courtesy of morguefile

I went on to have several of my poems published in our high school yearbook,. After that, though, I pretty much gave up on writing poetry until many years later, when I began writing for children. Which leads into my second question:

2) Who was your first poetry teacher?
In high school and college, I studied poetry only as a reader, not a writer. While I did participate in some workshops on using poetry techniques in fiction at Vermont College, I didn't take my first poetry-writing class until 2002. That's when I attended a four-week workshop by poet and author Heidi Bee Roemer, "The ABC's of Children's Poetry." I learned so much from Heidi in that short time. The weekly assignments challenged us to write poetry in a variety of forms. And that leads into my third question:

3) What poetry forms do you like best?
The poems I wrote in junior high and high school were usually either free verse or rhyming couplets. It wasn't until I was in Heidi's class that I dared experiment with other forms, including triplets, quatrains, limericks, terse verse, and shape poems. Thanks to the confidence I gained in Heidi's class, I went on to have a terse verse poem published in Pocket's magazine, and a poem in two voices published in Chicken Soup for the Soup: Teens Talk High School. Since then, I've tried my hand at list poems, found poems, diamante poems, sonnets, and just about any form that strikes my fancy. Heidi's class, along with poetry-related posts by my fellow TeachingAuthors, and inspiring posts by members of the Poetry Friday community, have opened me to new poetry worlds.

That's it for today. Now hop on over to Tabatha's Poetry Friday round-up at The Opposite of Indifference --she's also featuring several giveaways that may be of special interest to teachers.

Happy Writing!


Janet Wong said...

YIKES--Mortimer's before and after photos! (He went to Italy to have a little plastic surgery done by a certain incredibly talented Dr. LaTulippe.) Looking forward to all the hopping that will be going on in the poetry blog world!

Amy LV said...

Carmela, I loved reading about your poetry history. Heidi's class sounds great! And it is so true that these early pieces we publish matter forever. You remind me of the importance of teachers and parents helping children find opportunities to share their work beyond the walls of home and classroom. Thank you for this hop! Happy Poetry Friday!

Carmela Martino said...

Oh, that explains everything, Janet! :-)
Thanks for the feedback, Amy, and for hopping by.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Carmela, I love your hop today! It's always so enlightening to hear how poets got to where they are. How wonderful that Heidi's class opened so many windows for your writing. Maybe we should get her to do an online version! :)

I will definitely be visiting your hoppees next week for their Mortimer Minutes!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Carmela. Thank you for inviting me to the hop and -- oh my goodness -- did it take me that long to connect our hoppy mascot with the blog hop?! You're brave to share a poem from the distant, high school past. What a beautiful reminder you sent yourself to be still within. I've save my long-ago writings, too. We'll see what I dig up for next week.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for hopping by, Renee. :-) You'll have to share your idea with Heidi.
And Laura, I wish I'd saved more of my long-ago writings. Alas, I have only a few pieces, so they are extra-precious to me.

skanny17 said...

Just loving this idea and can't wait to read more! I agree with Renee about Heidi's course online possibility. I would love to learn more from her!
Will be back to savor more of these.
Janet F.

Carmela Martino said...

Hi Janet, thanks for your comment, and for hopping by! :-)

Tabatha said...

Those early encouragements can mean so much! I love hearing about your first published poems, and also about your poetic experimentation. Liked this quote: "Heidi's class, along with poetry-related posts by my fellow TeachingAuthors, and inspiring posts by members of the Poetry Friday community, have opened me to new poetry worlds." Go, Carmela!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks so much for the encouragement, Tabatha!

Anonymous said...

I was also a little confused by the transformation, but now I get it. Thanks to Janet for the cool logo. This idea is a fun one. While I am nervous to join in, I am happy to be a part of this special poetry loving community.
I am encouraged by your bravery to post your first poem. I also enjoyed learning about your journey.