Friday, October 23, 2020

EXERCISING MY VOICE--from HOP TO IT - poems to get you moving

Howdy, Campers and Happy Poetry Friday! 

I'm closing out our topic of SURPRISES! Gwendolyn started us off, showing the surprising twists and turns in her career as a children's book writer; Bobbie posted, "The best of heroes give us hope" in Heroic Surprises of the Week; Mary Ann stated: "Writing itself is a surprising act," in her post, Hidden Surprises; And Esther visualized Desired Outcomes in her post, Surprise, Surprise!

Just recently I was surprised as snowpeas (or maybe thrilled as thin mints?) to learn that two new anthologies had accepted my poems: Sylvia Vardell's A WORLD OF POEMS

and Sylvia Vardell's and Janet Wong's HOP TO IT POEMS ~ Poems to Get You Moving, both of which were named as one of the Children's Book Council's  most"anticipated bestsellers, either recently released or forthcoming, published by CBC members."


Here's how my submission for HOP TO IT evolved as I worked with both Janet and Sylvia to find the right poem:

This spring I decided to write them a poem with a marching band instruments kids could "air play."

It was interesting to re-read our correspondence from way back then and see what we were thinking about. We thought this strange new world would end--and soon!  We were expecting to travel any minute now! (If you haven't yet seen it, stop reading right now and watch Julie Nolke's 3-minute sketch, "Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self")

I picked up steam, writing lots of marching band poems, plain old marching poems, political chant poems and just plain odd poems. 

Here are some of the titles, one odd poem and the poem they accepted:

TAKE A CHANTS; TEACH ME THE WORDS; POLITICAL CHANT FOR CHILDREN ( I wrote this with my friend Bruce Balan); WE SAY SPEAK OUT; ASPARAGUS CAN'T; TAKING ONE STEP (audience shouts STEP when leader points at them)

Here's one of the odd poems:

ASPARAGUS CAN'T*
by April Halprin Wayland

Asparagus can't speak their mind

or march or vote to help mankind.

I asked them how they planned to assist us

they said it took years to grow—

they are, after all, champions of persistence.

 *note: this is not a movement poem...it's a Movement poem (and asparagus really do take years to grow. I know, because I planted mine more than 20 years ago)

In the end, my poem titled EXERCISING MY VOICE was the poem that fit their collection best. 
(This was not a speaking out poem...it was a getting ready to speak out poem. The post 9 Best Vocal Warm-ups for Singers was my inspiration)

But, Janet wrote, "just one thing: the part about curling your tongue. Not everyone can do that. Maybe 'wiggle' your tongue??"

 Oops--good catch, JW!

Here's how it looks in the book, with their fabulous format in which they suggest five things kids can do with each poem:

Yes, yes, I said. I like that allignment! And very recently their beautiful books arrived. 

And just this week Sylvia sent me this:

I have officially died and gone to heaven!

I rarely know what an anthologist is looking for. And over and over, the surprising thing I've learned working with dozens of anthologists is this: they don't necessarily choose a poem because of its singular amazingness. 

They choose your poem because 

it plays well with others.

Thank you, Jama, for hosting Poetry Friday!

Posted with love and a good dose of exhaustion by April Halprin Wayland with help from Gary's hotspot because our internet went down and I was on the phone with our carrier all day. 

But what are you going to do...it's 2020!

 


41 comments:

Irene Latham said...

"They choose your poem because

it plays well with others."

As a first-time anthologist, I can say YES YES YES YES! Thank you, April, for this post. xo

Ruth said...

Great stuff, April! Congratulations!

Linda B said...

I love the way you shared so much, April, in your explanation of this journey. Congratulations on your poem. My older granddaughter recently asked how she could help in this election. I will share your poem with her. It's terrific, wishing everyone would believe that, adults, too!

Bridget Magee said...

Love hearing about your poetic journey toward Hop To It. Despite your asparagus poem not being included, it has inspired me to pay attention to the messages my veggies might me giving me just by their existence. :)

jama said...

Fab post. Congrats on your poems being included in both anthologies. Love hearing the backstory of "Exercising My Voice" -- it's so you. :)

Carmela Martino said...

Congratulations on having poems in not one, but TWO, new anthologies, April. I LOVE "Exercising My Voice"! And the poem's backstory is both interesting and inspiring! And this makes so much sense:
"They choose your poem because
it plays well with others."

Sylvia Vardell said...

I love everything about this, April! Thanks for your openness and humor! And thank you for helping us spread the word about HOP TO IT (and even A WORLD FULL OF POEMS). We appreciate you SO MUCH!

Janet Wong said...

Thank you for this cheery-as-cherries post, April—such a great glimpse into the process of writing for an anthology. THANK YOU, too, for your poem and the work you do to encourage us all to exercise our voices!!

Tabatha said...

Love your poem, April!! xo

Janice Scully said...

Congratulations, April. I just got the book. What a fun poem you have written, and an important one.

Carol Coven Grannick said...

Congratulations, April! I love this poem about finding voice as an activity (and therefore a choice). Hurrah!

Carol Varsalona said...

"Voice matters!" "Writing itself is a surprising act." - Great takeaway quotes from your post, April. Julie Nolke's video is a hoot and your poem "Asparagus Can't"all fit nicely into your topic. Congratulations on Exercising My Voice, another wonderful addition to Hop To It.

Margaret Simon said...

There is your unique voice all over this post. I love your poem and can't wait to share it with kids. I feel like this book can be a whole year's curriculum, don't you? I love that my poem, Zen Tree, has found a playground where others play well with each other!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Hooray for you! I always love reading about the writing-submitting-acceptance process. I just got my copy of Hop To It & can't wait to dig in! xox

Jone said...

Love “it plays well with others”. I too, get stumped on what is wanted in an anthology and I love the Janet and Sylvia work with you. Loved the asparagus poem. And we both have poems i the book, how cool.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Irene ~ I only discovered That last line as I was writing it. You know how that is. It floats down from somewhere and lands perfectly on your page. I'm so glad it rings true for you.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you so much Ruth!

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April Halprin Wayland said...

If you have the book, Linda, there are a series of really wonderful get-up-and-do-something poems you can share with her. They sure inspired me!

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April Halprin Wayland said...
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April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you Jama. You being you inspires me to be me!

April Halprin Wayland said...

That poem came out of nowhere,Bridget!My asparagus patch is mysterious and very wise.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Carmela. I wish I had space to give Sylvia's beautiful book equal time!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Sylvia! I wish I could have given more than a shout out to your beautiful creation.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Janet (and Sylvia) I'm in love with this collection. There are so many poems that inspire me. You two are geniuses!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you so much, Tabatha. It means a lot, coming from you.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you so much Janice.♥️

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you Carol! I just got your book and can't wait to read it!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you so much Carol! I love Julie's comedic sketches, But my favorite by far is that one.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Yes I do think this collection is a whole year's curriculum. And as soon as I read Zen Tree, which I love, I had to get into a tree pose. 🌲

April Halprin Wayland said...

JoAnn! I'm still reading this book and see that your beautiful poem, Rise Up Tall, lives just six pages away from mine! And right next door to Margaret's!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Jones ~ I love the brevity of uour poem, Umbrella. It says so little and offers the reader so much.

Mary Lee said...

Congratulations! Great poem!!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Most enjoyable, April, and thanks for the continued more general work for change. I appreciated the Julie Nolke links!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I love-love-love the double meaning of exercising your voice in this poem, April! It was a treat reading about the back story and your writing process. Let's hope the coming months bring some extra rest for all of us. :)

April Halprin Wayland said...

Mary Lee ~ thank you for coming over here today and for your kind words!

April Halprin Wayland said...
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April Halprin Wayland said...

Heidi ~ thank you! And how I love your poem, "A Poem for When Things get a Little too Serious" Just reading the title calms me...

April Halprin Wayland said...

Michelle ~ your poem, "All Tied, Bases Loaded" is perfectly constructed and fun to read. And so, so appropriate for this crazy, wonderful, riveting World Series! Though the Dodgers are my home team and I'm a lifelong fan, the drama is worth every trickle of sweat. (It's a lot easier watching the World Series then I expect it will be to watch the election count...yikes. Deep breaths.)

Esther Hershenhorn said...

How lucky our World is, April Halprin Wayland, that YOU are here, exercising - your - voice, and teaching us how to exercise OURS.
THANK YOU!
Your Fan Esther