Friday, March 27, 2009

Things to Do If You Are a Pencil: A Original List Poem

A long-awaited package arrived at my house a week ago yesterday. It was a box of poetry books. Actually, it was a box of twenty-five copies of one title: Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems—an anthology edited by Georgia Heard and published by Roaring Brook Press.

One might wonder why I ordered so many copies of Falling Down the Page. Well, one of MY poems—Things to Do If You Are a Pencil— is included in the book. Things to Do If You Are a Pencil is my second poem to be published in a children’s book. I’m planning to give away copies of Falling Down the Page to members of my family, the three young girls who live across the street, the elementary school where I once worked as a teacher and librarian—and as a prize during National Poetry Month from Wild Rose Reader.

I’m ecstatic that Georgia Heard selected one of my poems for inclusion in this wonderful anthology—and elated to see MY name listed on the back cover along with the names of some of my favorite poets: J. Patrick Lewis, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Marilyn Singer, Patricia Hubbell, Kristine O’Connell George, and Bobbi Katz.

Here's an excerpt from the first poem in the anthology--Eileen Spinelli's Good-byes:

It's really hard

to say good-bye

to twinkling beach,

and golden sky,

to castles rising

from the sand,

to Annie's caramel

popcorn stand.

Here’s a link to a page at that has a link to Eileen Spinelli’s Good-Byes. (Just click on the word Excerpt.)

And here’s my poem:

Things to Do If You Are a Pencil

Be sharp.

Wear a slick yellow suit

and a pink top hat.

Tap your toes on the tabletop,

listen for the right rhythm,

then dance a poem

across the page.

FYI: I have written an entire collection of “things to do” poems. It’s still unpublished—like the rest of my poetry collections. Previously, I posted one of the poems from Things to Do at Wild Rose Reader. Here it is again:

Things to Do If You Want to be a Snowflake
(For Robert Mercer)
Fashion yourself:

a bit of lace,


spun in space

of silken ice,








I want to express my heartfelt thanks to my friend Janet Wong. She is the person who put me in touch with Georgia Heard. Janet suggested that I send Georgia some list poems for an anthology she was compiling. Janet, an award-winning children’s poet, has given me lots of encouragement and advice. She has been a wonderful supporter of my poetry writing. Thank you, Janet! It means so much to have someone like you rooting for me.


At Political Verses, I have another original poem entitled Rush and the Pussy-Cat. It’s a Limbaughyme that’s a parody of Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussy-Cat.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have a post about Magnetic Poetry and a poem I composed using one of the kits at the magnetic Poetry site. (Thanks to Cloudscome for her Magnetic Poetry post last Friday.)

Julie Larios has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Drift Record.


Mary Lee said...

Congrats on having a great poem in a great anthology! My copy came this week, too, and I can't wait to share it with my class!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Mary Lee! I was so excited when the box of books arrived last week. I wish that I had had a book of list poems like this to share with my students when I was teaching in an elementary school

jama said...

Wow wow wow! Congratulations, Elaine. How exciting! Your pencil poem is SOOO good. What a lovely looking anthology. I'm definitely purchasing it!

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks! I hope you like the anthology. It has lots of wonderful poems.

MotherReader said...

Congrats on your poem publication! I really like your pencil poem and will add it to my Inspiration Wall of Writing. (Even if I tend to prefer using though mechanical pencils because I can't stand having a less than perfect point.)

Susan Taylor Brown said...

I ADORE list poems Congratulations! I'm looking forward to getting my own copy of what sounds like a great anthology.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks! I'm glad you liked my poem. Now...if I could only get a whole collection published--that would really be something!


I think there's a excellent selection of poems in this anthology. It's a fine compilation with a nice variety of voices and types of list poems.

Anonymous said...

What a great poem! And congratulations! I will have to look for the anthology.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Martha, I'm glad you liked my poem.

laurasalas said...

I can't wait to get this book. Need to order it from my indie. Your poems (the one in the book and the snowflake one) are magical, Elaine.

dance a poem/
across the page

That's perfect.

I'm so glad you've been focusing some (you have, right?!) on getting work ready to submit. Your blog is terrific, but kids deserve books of your poems.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them.

I've had a lot of distractions lately--planning for our reading council's Speaker Series events, my elderly mother, working on my high school class's 45th reunion committee, starting my new blog...taxes--and talking with my daughter about her wedding plans. Don't ask why I started a new blog! I just felt inspired to write rhyming political rants about people who drive me nuts. It helps me vent and feel less frustrated about everything that's going on.

I have plans to do some major revisions on one collection. I hope to start work on that soon.

Anonymous said...

i loved the snowflake poem !!

Linda said...

Congratulations! Your poem is so creative. I'll never look at a pencil the same again!