Back in December of 2014, Paul Janeczko contacted me to tell me that he was looking for poems for a new anthology of "how-to" poems that he was compiling for middle readers. He said the book would be published by Candlewick Press in 2016. He said he hoped I'd have some poems that I'd like him "to consider." He sent along examples of the kinds of poems he was looking for. He added that the titles of the poems did not have to include the words "how to."
I read through my poetry files to see if I had any poems that would fit the bill. That's when I discovered that many of my "things to do" poems would work perfectly well as "how to" poems. I sent off five poems to Paul within a week.
Then--in August of 2016--Paul emailed me. He wrote: I know, I know. It’s been freaking ages since you sent me some poems for my How-To anthology. More than likely, you’ve forgotten that you even submitted poems. Well, the poetry anthology business often moves painfully slow. Nevertheless, I hope I can brighten your poetry world a bit with the news that I would like to use two of your poems in my forthcoming Candlewick anthology of How-To Poems.
Paul was right. I had forgotten that I had sent him some poems. I understood how slow the publication process can be. I was thrilled that Paul wanted to include two of my poems in his anthology!!!
The anthology of "how to" poems that was originally planned for publication in 2016 was published in March of this year--just after Paul had passed away. I was so sad when I got the news of his death--so sad that he couldn't celebrate all of the starred reviews that it has received. I also felt honored to have two of my poems--How to Be a Snowflake and How to Be a Mole--included in The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How To Poems.
Things to Do If You Are the Sun from my book THINGS TO DO could easily be considered a "how to" poem:
Be big and round
and bold and bright.
Wear a crown
of golden light.
warm yellow rays.
Rule the sky
on summer days.
Things to Do If You Are a Mountain could also work as a How to Be a Mountain poem:
Wear a snow-white cap
and a thick coat of evergreens.
Scratch your stony back with glaciers.
Tower over the land.
Let the sun sparkle on your summit.
Hide drowsing bears
in your deep brown pockets.
poke your head above the clouds
and peek at the stars.
NOTE: I'm giving away an autographed copy of my award-winning book THINGS TO DO. To be entered into the drawing for the book, all you have to do is to comment on any of my Wild Rose Readers posts that I publish from April 1st through April 6th. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, April 7th.
Links to my National Poetry Months post from earlier this week:
Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.