Friday, July 2, 2010

Things to Do If You Are an Orb Spider: An Original Poem & A Poetry Tale

In the past, I’ve posted a number of my “things to do” poems at Wild Rose Reader. Recently, I began reworking my Things to Do poetry collection at the suggestion of my good friend Grace Lin. Grace gave me a wonderful idea for making it a more cohesive collection—an idea for connecting the poems so they are pieces of a “unified” poetry project . She suggested I eliminate certain poems—and write some news one. I got to work right away. Her help spurred me on and gave me renewed energy to work on the collection again. I refined the idea Grace gave me. Now my Things to Do collection takes a young child through a day—from dawn to bedtime.
Here is a picture of me with my literary advisers.
L to R: Me, Janet, and Grace

I emailed my revamped Things to Do manuscript to my poetry adviser Janet Wong for her critique. Janet and I stayed together at ALA. While at our hotel, Janet sat down with me and went through the collection—telling me to eliminate a few more poems, providing me we topics for a couple of “new” ones, and suggesting ways to make a few poems stronger. When I returned home on Monday evening, I got to work on the project once more.
So far, I have now removed eleven poems from the original collection—and added about a dozen new ones. That’s the way it goes with writing a poetry collection sometimes.

Today, I thought I’d post one of the “things to do” poems that is no longer part of the collection. It’s dedicated to Charlotte A. Cavatica—one of my favorite literary characters.


Weave a web of silken strands

With spinnerets

(YOU don’t need hands.)…

A silver net…a sticky snare…

A clever trap that’s light as air.

Weave a web…

Then watch and wait

Upon your woven dinner plate.

No need to hunt to catch your prey.

A meal will soon be on its way


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a book spine poem about friendship that I dedicated to Grace Lin and Janet Wong.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.


Jeannine Atkins said...

Love your webs of spiders and words and friendships.
Hope you have a restful weekend after all the fun!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

That is really wonderful. I love the insight that you don't need hands to weave if you are a spider!

I am sorry I missed you at ALA. Looks like you were there early and I came late. Next time!!! Wasn't it really fabulous?

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks! I need to rest up for the weekend after this coming one. My daughter is getting married on July 10th.



I wish I had had an opportunity to meet you at ALA. I just went down for the Newbery/Caldecott banquet. Grace Lin bought tickets for all the Blue Rose Girls. I really wanted to stay for the Poetry Blast--but had to get home. I have lots of things to do before my daughter's big day.

Toby Speed said...

Elaine, I love the woven dinner plate. After reading three of your poems recently, I'm really looking forward to your "Things to Do" collection. And you can put all the poems that are not in the collection here for us to read. Congrats and enjoy the wedding!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Toby! I actually had to eliminate a few of my favorite "things to do" poems from the collection. Still, I think it is much improved now that there is a thread "woven" through the collection connecting all the poems together.

Author Amok said...

I love the woven dinner plate! I once found an orb spider that was so orange -- like a jack-o-lantern the size of your pinky tip. They're gorgeous spiders.

Amy L V said...

"Things to Do" through the day is a great thread, and this spider poem is delightful. I love the words, the alliteration, and the fun of the last line. The "woven dinner plate" is, indeed, wonderful! Those other poems will find new book-homes perhaps!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Thank goodness for your advisors and muses! Love this poem.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Author Amok, Amy, & Jules--

Now I need to find a a new home for "Things to Do If You Are an Orb Spider" and the other ten poems that I eliminated from the collection.

I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July weekend. Next Saturday is my daughter's wedding day. The countdown has begun!

Mary Lee said...

Here's another love note for the "woven dinner plate"!! Great image!

Can't wait for the final "Things to do..." book!!!!

Linda said...

Elaine, I love the idea of taking a child through the day to tie all the poems together. I just KNOW your "Things to Do" collection will find a home soon so put me on the pre-order list now! Best to your daughter and your family!