Friday, October 28, 2016

Sometimes A Poem Needs a Friend: Write a Poem for a Poem

On Tuesday, this book, edited by Kenn Nesbitt, illustrated by Christoph Niemann,
and published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers will be born.
It is chock full of all kinds of poems and spare, whimsical pictures.

Image result for one minute till bedtime
Available at Your Local Book Shop

I am so happy to have a poem in this collection. You can read it here.

(Click to Enlarge)

A friend read an early copy and asked,
"How much of 'Our Kittens' was taken from real life?"

I love questions like this one.

Q:  How much of "Our Kittens" was taken from real life?
A:  All of it!

"Our Kittens" is a true story from our family, and it happened about two years ago.
Considering my friend's question, I realized that my poem needed a friend poem.
It needed the other point of view.
And so I wrote a poem in the voice of Fiona, that last kitten from "Our Kittens."

Photo by Hope VanDerwater

Students - Sometimes a poem needs a friend poem.  This week when I got my own copy of ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME, and when I thought about my friend's question, I realized that there was more to this story. And so I wrote "My Boy," the poem I imagine our sweet Fiona really would write for Henry if only she could hold a pencil.

At twelve years old, Henry really did read books to a frightened tiny Fiona, and he helped her trust him and helped her trust the world again.  Now she seeks him out, snuggles him, touches his face with her paw. Fiona loves Henry.  And he loves her.

Sometimes an image stays in your mind for a long time.  The image of my boy reading to a lost creature is one of my favorites, and honestly...I think it's been rattling around in my heart, just waiting to find a home in a poem.

Sometimes a poem needs a friend poem.  Sometimes an image you've carried for years finds you when you are writing.

Creating is funny like that.  We never we must just keep at it.

On this thread of creating, I am thrilled to welcome artist and art teacher Tim Needles to Sharing Our Notebooks this month.  I've admired his work on Twitter for a while, and it's a delight to peek into his fabulous notebooks and to learn about his faith in process.  Don't miss - and please leave a comment to be entered into a book giveaway.

Halloween is Monday, and Election Day is on the horizon.  If you have not noticed, I have placed poems to go with each in the left sidebar here. Enjoy!

This week, Linda is hosting the Poetry Friday extravaganza over at TeacherDance.  So waltz, fox trot, or tango on over and enjoy the good fun and good people.  All are always welcome to read, comment, and link on in.  Happy Poetry Friday!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Amy, what a great idea! "Our Kittens" is very sweet, but Fiona's voice in "My Boy" is so heartfelt. That last stanza reminds me of how attached my son was to our cat when he was a kitten. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Friend poems are a great idea. Sometimes they turn into series on a subject, too.

  3. I love that you call this second poem a 'friend' poem, Amy, that footnote of love for your Fiona, who found that it was just right to be left behind. Looking forward to this new book coming!

  4. What sweet poems. Love the idea of a friend poem too, and hearing about Henry and Fiona.

  5. I've seen this collection everywhere this week, it seems like so many talented Poetry Friday bloggers have poems in this beautiful collection!! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

  6. Congratulations on being included in this collection. I love both poems - Fiona is a lucky kitten/friend. =)

  7. Love these poems because the come from real life AND how true they are to the heart. My son needs the poem, My Boy. I will be sharing it with him. Wonderful poems this week. And, many congratulations on One Minute Til Bedtime! Can't wait to read all of the poems.

  8. It's about connection, whether it's with human or non-human animals. And love and understanding.

  9. I love everything about this post! The companion poems! The two different points of view! And most of all, how sweet your son was with this little shy girl! It says a lot, I think, about his heart and character, that he would love little Fiona like that!