Thursday, January 5, 2012


I wrote my first book when I was six years old. It had about eight words in it, each one spelled out by me and accompanied by a crayoned picture: flowr, burd, fathr (feather). But on the last pages of the book, already confident in my future output, I advertised two forthcoming titles. One was going to be a BIG BOOK about MY LIFE: 100 PAGES! And the other was going to be a book of POWATREE.

And now this weekend, for the sixth year in a row, I'm off to a poetry-writing retreat. I fly to New Jersey this morning, rent a car at Newark Airport, drive to a convent (and converted former orphanage) in Mendham, New Jersey, and then I'll spend the better part of four glorious days doing nothing but reading and writing POWATREE. The retreat, founded by the incomparable Susan Campbell Bartoletti, is for women children's book authors who want to develop their poetic voice. Susan invented it out of her amazingly fertile brain and energetic self because she believes that there is no better way to grow as a writer generally than to immerse oneself in poetry. Each year she finds a different poet to come be our workshop leaders. Past leaders (of the retreats I've attended) have been Sally Keith, Vivian Shipley, Molly Fisk, Kathleen Driskell, and Jeanie Thompson. This year it will be Leslea Newman.

I haven't written a poem in many months - probably since I gave up my poem-a-day regimen (inspired by last year's retreat) last spring. But I know I will write at least one poem today. Probably two. Some of the poems I write this weekend will be better forgotten. Others will be small treasures - at least for me. And as my writing goal for this year is to write a book that surprises me, perhaps I'll write a poem that surprises me, too.


No comments:

Post a Comment