Welcome to National Poetry Month. In the next few weeks we’ll join the celebration by sharing posts from readers, teachers, authors, and poets. Here’s our first, from poet Charles Waters.
Those 12 words by Mr. Beckett pretty much describe what human existence is all about. No one is great at EVERYTHING. There’s always room for improvement, room to allow grace to come in and take you in a journey, whatever it may be. I’m coming up on the 10 year anniversary of when I wrote my first poem, and in that time I realized that no matter how many children’s poems I write (or rewrite as it were) the process humbles me.
To get you started on your poetic quest I suggest that you dear readers follow the advice of Uncle Charles and read children’s poems by the boatload. Heaven knows there are enough books for you to get lost in. Go to Section 811 of your library; pick out anything by old school masters such as Langston Hughes, Myra Cohn Livingston, Valerie Worth, Eve Merriam and David McCord as well as contemporary poets like Lee Bennett Hopkins, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Arnold Adoff and Allan Wolf. That’s just for starters. I advise you to take it one poem at a time, say the words at loud, read it multiple times, let the words flow out of your mouth into the universe. This is what I did 10 years ago and the words of these poets and many others have never let me down.
When you write your own poems please don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you should make mistakes, otherwise you’re not writing. Cross out words that don’t feel or sound right when you say them, flip sentences around, think in metaphors and similes, think about how your day was and write about it, think about your summer vacation, time spent with your beloved pet or pets, describe what usually happens at your family dinners. There’s so much material you have inside you … unlock it. One last bit of advice, believe in yourself because Uncle Charles believes in you.
Gazing at gothic,
I pray for gentle hugs
To be received
© Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved.
Charles Waters’ poems have appeared in several anthologies: Amazing Places, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (2015), The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis (former Children’s Poet Laureate), The Poetry Friday Anthology, The Poetry Anthology for Science and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems, edited by Georgia Heard and The Crowd Goes Wild: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer.
Charles conducts his one man show POETRY TIME, as well as poetry performance workshops for elementary and middle school audiences all over the nation.
You can find him in the following places: