Tuesday, September 29, 2020

DW 3.2: Leslea Newman, The ABC's of Poetry

This workshop began with a special note from Lin Oliver, reminding us to wear a mask, so let me do the same. Wear a mask! Protect yourself, others - and why not have a cute writer's life/bookish mask like Lin's too, right? 

   Click here to check out some of my personal favorite Bookish face masks, curtesy of Out of Print.


Leslea Newman started her career as a literary poet for adults, until one day, she was encouraged to write for children and her world changed. She realized she could combine her two greatest passions, strengthening children's knowledge of poetry and their love for the field, as well.

It takes a lot for “non-poetry” people to get excited by the form - until, of course, we have a legend, such as Leslea Newman herself, explaining the magic behind stanzas and rhyme schemes. “Poetry has a bad rep,” Leslea said, during last Thursday’s Digital Workshop 3.2. “A lot of people think ‘I’m not going to understand it’ or ‘it’s too depressing’ while I turn to it in times of deep grief and joy…” Most do not realize just how poetic the children’s book industry truly is, starting with the most obvious answer: picture books. Depending on the form you choose, poetry can formulate the structure of your picture book, in a seamless and rhythmic manner. This is why our voice moves up and down, in a sing-song voice, while reciting works to our children, or performing a read aloud in a classroom. Poetry is also a staple in middle grade and young adult books, with novels in verse taking over the market. 

Leslea’s workshop, “The ABC’s of Poetry” covered a breakdown of the basic poetic forms: Formal Poetry, Simple Forms (Rhyming couplets, four-line stanzas), Complex Forms (couplets, internal rhyming scheme), Ballad, Haiku, Pantoum, Villanelle, and Sestina. If you have yet to download Leslea’s informative poetry handout, please do so here: https://bit.ly/2RUBu4D

Thank you, Leslea, for such an informative workshop. This coming Thursday, we welcome children's book translators to our screens: Emily Balistrieri, Helen Wang, Catchy Hirano, moderated by Avery Fischer Udagawa, discussing "How and Why we Translate Books for Children."

Until Thursday,

Avery Silverberg

@a.very.fast.reader IG/ @averyfastreader Twitter

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