Thursday, July 15, 2021

Curious about Curating?

Janet (Wong) and I are jumping into a new venture-- leading online workshops! After 10 years of collaborating and 10+ anthologies of poetry published, we've learned a few things along the way. We have presented together in-person at conferences and teacher workshops MANY times and always get lots of questions about HOW we do what we do, so we thought we might use this crazy Zoom tool to share the things we have learned with others. Come join us! 

Our workshop will include the following components:

Anthologies 101

Presented by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

Thursday, August 12, 2021   

Noon - 2pm (Eastern)   


    Publishing Goals

Having single poems published in anthologies

Creating anthologies to submit to traditional publishers

Creating your own indie-published anthologies of new poems

Curating previously-published poems in new anthologies

Creating anthologies of student work

    Content Creation

Poetry versus Poetry PLUS

Front and back matter

Illustrated/decorated or text-only

Choose a theme for your own anthology 

A discussion of:

A World Full of Poems by Sylvia Vardell

The Poetry Friday Anthology by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

The Poetry of Science by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

   Collecting and Evaluating Submissions

Reprinting poems

Open call

Requesting poems

Evaluating submissions

Diversity and inclusion

    Nuts and Bolts

Printing issues (print-on-demand, small print runs, e-books, etc.)

Legal and financial considerations

Publicity and promotion

    And lots of Q+A

If you're interested in joining us, email

Meanwhile, head on over to Nix the Comfort Zone where Molly is hosting our Poetry Friday fun. 

One last plug for our Anthologies 101 workshop:

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Meet the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate: Alexandra Huynh

I was looking for a way to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and voice my support for efforts to stop AAPI hate, but I had already posted so much about poetry by Asian Pacific American poets. See my February post here with a list of poetry books by AAPI poets, for example. But there is always so much to celebrate about the beauty of work by AAPI writers, like my dear friend Janet Wong. (Watch for my video interview with her coming soon!) 
Image source: Urban Word NYC
And then this news popped into my e-mailbox! Kismet! This week, the new 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate was named and it's Alexandra Huynh. Congrats to this bright new talent! Urban Word NYC (the home of the Laureate program) made the announcement saying, "A second-generation Vietnamese American, Huynh employs poetry as a tool of self-reclamation and social justice for marginalized communities. This fall, Huynh will be a freshman at Stanford University where she aims to combine her passions for creative writing, science, and civic engagement." 

This is the same program that gave us Amanda Gorman! You remember her, right? The bright, amazing young woman who presented her original poem at the Inauguration of President Biden in January! The other finalists in the Laureate program included Serena Yang (NYC Youth Poet Laureate and Northeastern Regional Ambassador), Alora Young (Nashville Youth Poet Laureate and Southern Regional Ambassador), and Faye Harrison (Ann Arbor Youth Poet Laureate and Midwest Regional Ambassador), and Alexandra Huynh (Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate and Western Regional Ambassador) who was named the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate. What a group of young women to watch! 

Urban Word NYC notes: "As the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate 18-year-old Huynh will serve as a cultural ambassador for the United States using poetry as a platform for the literary arts and civic engagement. Huynh will represent the National Youth Poet Laureate program and the national youth literary arts community through a series of performances and civic engagements through May 2022."

Urban Word NYC has an excellent YouTube channel with lots of fabulous footage. Watch Alexandra perform at the Kennedy Center ceremony here:

WOW, right?
And in her original "application" video to the Laureate program she talks about her "poetry journey."

It's young people like this who give me such hope for the future! Their voices, their views, their passions, and their poetry are all so powerful and inspiring! 

Next, go to Michelle Kogan's place where she is hosting all our Poetry Friday posts this week. So much to read and ponder and celebrate! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Tribute to Mary Lee Hahn

I'm delighted to join the Poetry Friday fray in celebrating the wonderful Mary Lee Hahn! Mary Lee is retiring from classroom teaching, but not from continuing to impact the world of poetry for young people. She has been the tracker of Poetry Friday hosting gigs, organizing us all to keep us moving forward and maintained her own blog, A Year of Reading since 2006. WOW! It has been a mainstay in our field for insights into teaching young people, reviews of the latest literature, and as a source of poems, poetry, and poetic inspiration. Mary Lee is also a poet and author herself, publishing Reconsidering Read-Aloud (Stenhouse) and her own poems in multiple anthologies. Janet Wong and I have been lucky enough to feature her contributions in several of our anthologies and I want to pause and share those gems (featured in graphics I created). 

See? Mary Lee has such a range of topics, tones, and styles she implements to craft poems that are engaging, informative, and inspiring. Her poem "Cancer" is especially meaningful to me since Mary Lee and I are both cancer survivors and she reached out to me privately with so much care, love, and support when I was first diagnosed nearly ten years ago. (We're fine now!) That's exactly who Mary Lee is-- kind, caring, creative, organized, determined, collaborative, and so much more. It's a real pleasure to pause and honor her as a person, a poet, a teacher, a leader, and a friend!Do you want to learn more about Mary Lee Hahn? Check out the posts of many other Poetry Friday bloggers who are showcasing #MarvelousMaryLee and #PoemsforMaryLee today. Start at Christie's place, Wondering and Wandering. See you there!