Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poetry Tag: Lesléa Newman is IT

Yesterday featured a poem by Heidi Stemple, tagged by her mother, Jane Yolen. Today, Heidi tags her friend and writer, Lesléa Newman who writes, “I loved Heidi Stemple's poem, as I am a big fan of ballet (and of Heidi)! As a child, I took ballet lessons; now I am content to be a member of the audience. I wasn't the best ballerina, but I was very enthusiastic. In fact, my book, MISS TUTU'S STAR which is forthcoming from Abrams this fall, is about a little girl who is a bit clumsy, yet loves to dance.” Here is her “dancing” poem (also an interesting counterpoint to Alice Schertle’s “May” poem featured on April 11, by the way).

May Day

By Lesléa Newman

All winter long the old apple tree waits
outside my window poised like a prima ballerina
its twisted trunk a delicate arch
its bare branches holding an elegant pose.
Still, still, still, until today
when God tapped his baton
and the tree leapt to life
covered with scores of pink blossoms
that rustled sweetly in the breeze
like a thousand dancers in taffeta skirts
clustered before a dressing room
mirror mirror on the wall
each one the fairest of them all.
Oh, I too was once a girl
with ribbons streaming through my hair
with a spring in my step
and satin slippers on my feet
completely wrapped up in my own dark beauty
until it all unraveled and I was left out in the cold.
So come, come, come rush outside with me.
Bow your head and breathe, breathe deep.
Reach your arms out and take what is given.
It isn’t too late to accept the bouquet.

©2010 Lesléa Newman

Five fun facts about Lesléa Newman
*she published her first poems as a teenager in Seventeen magazine
*she was poet Allen Ginsberg's apprentice
*she has written board books for young children, including Mommy, Mama, and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me (Tricycle Press, 2009).
*she is the Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA

*she is the author of the ground-breaking book, Heather Has Two Mommies

Look for these selected books (written in verse) by Newman:
*Miss Tutu's Star (Abrams, 2010)
*Just Like Mama (Abrams, 2010)
*Skunk's Spring Surprise (Harcourt, 2007)
*Where Is Bear? (Harcourt, 2004)
*Runaway Dreidel! (Holt, 2002)
*Cats, Cats, Cats! (Simon & Schuster, 2001)

Next up: M
arilyn Nelson

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.

Image credits:;;;


Bridget R. Wilson said...

What a beautiful poem!

Jane Heitman Healy said...

I just love it! This poem is a dance by a wise one who still reaches out. I can see it and feel it. Thank you!