Friday, July 05, 2013

ALA Poetry Blast 2013

I am so happy to report that Marilyn Singer and Barbara Genco were able to bring back the Poetry Blast at the ALA convention in Chicago last weekend. This time it was held in the exhibit hall at the Pop Top stage on Monday morning. It was a nice screened off area with a great sound system, so you could hear perfectly. And as always, Marilyn and Barbara had a great line up of poets with marvelous introductions of each one. I took photos and film and am happy to share a few nuggets here. Enjoy!


Rebecca Kai Dotlich read from Grumbles from the Forest, the forthcoming Grumbles from the Town, When Riddles Come Rumbling, and here's one of my favorites, her poem tribute to her dad from Lemonade Sun. Such a sweet and moving moment!


I was so tickled to hear Bob Raczka (rhymes with Nebraska) since I'm a big fan of his witty Guyku and Lemonade. He read from Guyku, his forthcoming Joy in Mudville, a "Casey at the Bat" riff, and Santa's Haiku Journal. Bob definitely delivered with humor and cleverness. Kids are going to love that Joy is a girl baseball player. I did!


Tamera Will Wissinger was also a new treat since I hadn't heard her read before and I love her new (first) book, Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse. I loved how she wove a story through multiple poem forms and character voices.

Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, collaborators on the new poetry/prose book, Yes! We Are Latinos each read a poem from that book. They each brought such passion to the topic and to their readings. (Those video files seem to be too big for Blogspot, so I wasn't able to upload those. Sorry!)


Loved hearing Sid Farrar read from his recent (first) book, The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons. His dry, droll voice added a fun twist to these lovely poems for the calendar year.


Laura Purdie Salas was up next and is such a natural teacher and reader sharing gems from Bookspeak! (book poems = a librarian's best friend) and Stampede (school poems = a teacher's best friend) as well as one of her poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology. (Thanks bunches, Laura!)


The marvelous Nikki Grimes read many selections from her new novel in poems, Words with Wings, with dear Ed Spicer sitting front and center-- the teacher referenced in that lovely book about the power of daydreaming. She also shared her powerful poem from Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.


And the Blast ended once again with co-host Marilyn Singer sharing some of her latest gems: poems from Follow, Follow, her new companion to Mirror, Mirror, as well as some fascinating and funny selections from her presidential poems, Rutherford B., Who Was He? 

Thanks to Marilyn and Barbara for fighting to bring the Blast back and to Albert Whitman (and Michelle!), Charlesbridge (and Donna!), Disney-Hyperion (and Dina!), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (and Lisa!), and Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press (and Kerry!) for sponsoring a wonderful session. I am so glad to see the Blast back and hope it will be on the docket in Vegas next year! Poets in sparkle and sequins-- I can see it already!


laurasalas said...

So great to see you in Chicago, Sylvia. The session you and Janet did was the bomb (teehee, don't I sound authentic using that phrase?)! I will be sharing it and your fabulous Book Links Take 5 article. Holy moley. Everything a teacher needs to know to feel comfortable with getting poetry in their classroom--fast! Great resource. Hope we get more time to catch up next time we're at the same conference--but two sessions--not too bad:>) XOXO, Laura

LInda Baie said...

Thank you for sharing so much of this 'blast'. I loved each one, and bookmarked what I don't already have of the books. Terrific to 'hear' the poets read!

Keri said...

What a rock star line-up of poets! Thanks for sharing these with us, Sylvia. So many books on my wish list!

Douglas Florian said...

Marilyn blasted it out of the park!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! There's nothing quite like hearing poems read by the poets themselves. I never ever get tired of that! :-)

Mary Lee said...

Sounds like loads of fun!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

So cool - hearing poets read, there's noting quite like it! I'm bookmarking these to share with my kiddos in the Fall.

Violet N. said...

Thank you!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Next best thing to being there! Thanks so much, Sylvia, for the glimpse at what a blast that Blast must have been.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

PS- Bob Raczka's puddle poem was a hoot!

Marilyn Singer said...

Thank you, Sylvia, for sharing this. You're one amazing poetry advocate and all around great teacher!

Charles Waters said...

Thanks for the post Sylvia. Holy smokes that's sounded like a heckuva good time. BRAVO!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thank you all for hanging out here for a bit! And thank YOU, Marilyn, for making the Poetry Blast happen once again-- and for inspiring our Texas version, the Poetry Round Up! We're celebrating our 10th anniversary at TLA in San Antonio next spring! Yee haw! :-)

Renee LaTulippe said...

What a treat to see all these poets read! I hope to see them in person one day. Thank you so much for sharing these snippets.