Friday, December 2, 2011

Keep a Pocket in your Poem: Celebrating the Poetry of J. Patrick Lewis

I returned home from the 2011 NCTE Annual Convention in Chicago the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I hit the ground running in order to have everything ready for the Thanksgiving feast at my house. I didn’t have time to write up a post about the convention—or our NCTE Poetry Committee’s celebration of J. Patrick Lewis. Pat is the 2011 recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. I am proud to say that I serve on the committee that selected Pat for this honor!

Pat wrote a poem titled Keep a Pocket in Your Poem that NCTE put on a poster in honor of Pat. Here’s the poem:

Keep a Pocket in Your Poem
By J. Patrick Lewis
Keep a pocket in your poem
Filled with any wondrous thing
You can think of—red hawk feather,
Silver penny, pinkie ring,
Yo-yo, M&M’s, a ticket
To a rollercoaster ride,
Pictures of your pug. A poem
Needs a pocket on the side.

Keep a pocket in your poem
For imagination grows
From the deepest secret pockets
Every pocket poet knows.


A Hippopotamusn’t: And Other Animal Poems. Illustrated by Vicky Chess. Dial, 1988

Earth Verses and Water Rhymes. Illustrated by Robert Sabuda. S&S/Atheneum, 1991

Two-legged, Four-legged, No-legged Rhymes. Illustrated by Pam Paparone. Knopf, 1991

July Is a Mad Mosquito. Illustrated by Melanie Hall. S&S/Atheneum, 1994.

Riddle-Icious. Illustrated by Vicky Chess. Knopf, 1996.

Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape. Illustrated by Lisa Desimini. S&S/Atheneum, 1998.

Riddle-Lightful: Oodles of Little Riddle-Poems. Illustrated by Debby Tilley. Knopf, 1998.

The Little Buggers: Insect and Spider Poems. Illustrated by Vicky Chess. Dial, 1998.

Boshblobberbosh: Runcible Poems for Edward Lear. Illustrated by Gary Kelley. Creative Editions, 1998.

Black Swan, White Crow. Illustrated by Chris Manson. S&S/Atheneum, 1999.

The Bookworm’s Feast: A Potluck of Poems. Illustrated by John O’Brien. Dial, 1999.

Good Mousekeeping: And Other Animal Home Poems. Illustrated by Lisa Desimini. S&S/Atheneum, 2001.

A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers. Illustrated by Brian Ajhar. Dial, 2001.

A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme. Illustrated by Alison Jay. Dial, 2002.
Arithme-Tickle: An Even Number of Odd Riddle-Rhymes. Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.
Harcourt, 2002.

Swan Song: Poems of Extinction. Illustrated by Christopher Wormell. Creative Editions, 2003.

Freedom Like Sunlight: Praisesongs for Black Americans. Illustrated by John Thompson. Creative Editions, 2003.
Scientrickery: Riddles in Science. Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. Harcourt, 2004.

Heroes and She-Roes: Poems of Amazing and Everyday Heroes. Illustrated by Jim Cooke. Dial, 2005.

Monumental Verses. National Geographic, 2005

Please Bury Me In The Library. Illustrated by Kyle M. Stone. Gulliver Books, 2005.

VHERSES: A Celebration of Outstanding Women. Illustrated by Mark Summers. Creative Editions, 2005.

Once Upon A Tomb: Gravely Humorous Verses. Illustrated by Simon Bartram. Candlewick, 2006.

The Brothers’ War: Civil War Voices in Verse. National Geographic, 2007.

The World’s Greatest: Poems. Illustrated by Keith Graves. Chronicle Books, 2008.

Countdown to Summer:  A Poem for Every Day of the School Year. Illustrated by Ethan Long. Little, Brown, 2009.

Spot the Plot!  A Riddle Book of Book Riddles. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. Chronicle Books, 2009.
The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse. Illustrated by Serge Bloch. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2009.

The House. Illustrated by Robert Innocenti. Creative Editions, 2009

Skywriting: Poems to Fly. Illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi. Creative Editions, 2010.


Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Little, Brown, 2006.

Birds on a Wire: A Renga ‘Round Town. Illustrated by Gary Lippincott. Wordsong, 2008.


Castles: Old Stone Poems. Illustrated by Dan Burr, 2006.

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers: A Life of Marc Chagall in Verse. Creative Editions, 2011, with original Chagall art.

NOTE: I had hoped to post more of the pictures that I had taken of our poetry celebration for Pat and his work--as well as pictures of other poets and friends that I spent time with at NCTE in Chicago--but I'm away from home providing "nanny granny" services. I hope to return home this afternoon. (I'm glad I wrote this post before I left home on Wednesday afternoon.)


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol's Corner this week.


Linda B said...

He is surely a wonderful poet & mentor for many. I love the poem you shared. I use the other one for 'poem in your pocket' day, and am glad to be aware of this one, too. Have fun being a granny!

Mary Lee said...

Huzzah for JPL! He was a great choice for the NCTE award!!!