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Rev Your Poetry Power with Joan Bransfield Graham

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Award-winning poet Joan Bransfield Graham is leading a poetry writing workshop on Saturday, May 16, in Westlake Village. Joan took a few moments to answer some questions about exploring poetic possibilities.

SCBWI CenCal: Your workshop, “Rev Your Poetry Power: Poetic Forms, Voices, and Choices,” is billed as an intensive poetry writing workshop. What does intensive mean? How much writing will we be doing?

Joan: We will write at least five to six poems, but things won’t be intense. We’ll be having fun! “Interactive” would be a better description. I encourage participants to bring a favorite brief poem or poetic phrase to share if they’d like.

SCBWI CenCal: In your workshop, we will be learning about form and voice. How do the two work together in poetry?

Joan: They embrace each other and do a tango. For example, in my book Flicker Flash I have a “Sun” poem shaped like the sun—concrete in form—but its voice is that of the mask: the sun gets to speak for itself. Musicians have many forms to explore—jazz, classical, soul—to best convey what they wish to say. Artists may use oil paints, collage, watercolor—many different styles of media. Poets have many forms and voices available to best express themselves.

SCBWI CenCal: As we look forward to being inspired and challenged in your poetry writing workshop, can you tell us what your inspiration was for your latest book The Poem That Will Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices?

Joan: As the book itself says, “It started with a rhythm, a rhythm and a rhyme,” and I kept adding to it. We hear so much about writer’s block, I thought it might be fun to do the opposite: have someone who can’t stop writing poetry. Our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate selected The Poem That Will Not End as his December pick on the Poetry Foundation website—so exciting!

Each poem you write is a mini-story, an act of discovery. You learn more about yourself and about the world around you. Everything that poetry teaches—essence, economy, impact—can enrich any kind of writing you are doing. Writers are infinitely imaginative, and poetry is a perfect place to share that energy and connection. Come prepared to encourage and inspire each other in an easy-going environment!

Joan Bransfield Graham’s award-winning books, Splish Splash and Flicker Flash—shape poems about water and light—were both SLJ Best Books of the Year and NCTE Notables. Her poems have been published in anthologies, magazines, textbooks, and on CDs. Joan’s new book is The Poem That Will Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices.

Please join us for Joan’s workshop “Rev Your Poetry Power: Poetic Forms, Voices, and Choices” on Saturday, May 16, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Westlake Village. Find details and register at https://cencal.scbwi.org/events/cencal-poetry-workshop-with-joan-bransfield-graham/

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CenCal PAL Party

 This event follows the “Rev Your Poetry Power” workshop.

On Saturday, May 16, from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Westlake Village, SCBWI CenCal PAL (published and listed) members are invited to a social to mingle, share, and celebrate new publications. In addition, we’d like to hear ideas on how we can better serve our PAL members and talk about possible opportunities for PALs with our new mentor program.

Feel free to bring your latest publication, a snack to share (optional), and ideas for future PAL events. To reserve your spot, please email Rebecca Langston-George the4george@cs.com

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Ann Rousseau Smith

SCBWI CenCal Regional Kite Tales Editor

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