Tuesday, February 09, 2010


1. Today I've got a brief review of a book called Quicksand: HIV/AIDS in Our Lives up over at Guys Lit Wire. The book is written by a woman who prefers to remain anonymous, given that she shares some information about her brother-in-law, who was diagnosed with HIV, developed AIDS and, eventually, died from related illnesses. Having lost a dear friend to this illness several years ago, I was eager to read the book, which provides concise, clearly presented factual information about the HIV virus, how it is (and is not) spread, what the treatment is like, and what it feels like to receive word that someone you know has HIV or AIDS. I hope you'll check out my review and, more importantly, that those of you in the library field will be sure to get this one for your libraries. The book says it's suitable for ages 10 and up, and that felt about right to me, given the content.

2. This month, I've got an article up at Kid Magazine Writers about the clerihew: what it is and how to go about writing one. It includes two original poems I wrote to illustrate my point: one about Edmund Clerihew Bentley and another about, well, Derek Zoolander.

Derek Zoolander,
Model grand-stander,
Excellent eugoogolizer
And terrorist neutralizer.

3. Those of you who've written poetry and are interested in free verse, and who happen to be interested in attending the New England SCBWI Conference come May might be interested in the workshop I'll be leading on Sunday, May 16th: "Tactics and Techniques to Fix Up Your Free Verse". Here's the official write-up on it:

Whether you write individual poems or entire novels in free verse, this workshop is for you. It will focus on improving free verse poetry using devices such as alliteration and assonance, refined imagery, improved use of line breaks, fine-tuned similes and metaphors, and more. The workshop is suitable for experienced poets working in free verse who are interested in taking their work to the next level, and will include a folder with handouts and exercises for reference and use at home.

*Note to self: get those folders and handouts together!

And here are three things I hope people will take home from the workshop:

1. Enhanced understanding of the importance of structural components such as line breaks and stress patterns.
2. Knowledge of specific strategies, devices and poetic techniques to improve the quality of free verse poems.
3. Revision pointers and tactics to polish your work, with take-home exercises.

Here's the link to the conference website, where you can learn more about this terrific event.

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