Friday, September 28, 2012

Conte Online

I'm happy to post the new edition of Conte Online: the Journal of Narrative Writing, which includes my poem Snip, written about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire 101 years ago. 146 people died--mostly immigrant girls--when their factory caught fire. The door was bolted so no one could steal merchandise. A series of horrific and inexcusable errors followed as the girls clamored to escape: the fire escape collapse. The fire fighters arrived with ladders that were too short and a trampoline that, shall we say, cushioned no one's fall. Fire safety standards were revised because of this, but in my poem, I imagine myself into that overworked room, just before the spark. The conditions under which those immigrants work still exist today. Read the poem here.

I have tremendous respect for the editors of this journal. They actually had some editorial comments on my poem, and we had a bit of a back-and-forth that I found very enjoyable. It was the most thoughtful critique I've received on my poetry since grad school. Here's to you, gentlemen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kevin Henkes

Growing up, it was always my dream to live within walking distance from a library. (That should tell you a lot about me.) Now I do, which is wonderful, because baby Abigail and I walk over there at least once a week to get children's books. We'll find an author we like and read through them. More and more, I find myself heading for the H section to check out the wonderful work of Kevin Henkes.

Henkes' children's books have playful illustrations, a nice sense of humor, and a spot-on way of seeing the world from a child's point of view. His books with mice (most famously Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, although there are lots) feature pre-schoolish protagonists, but with a 9-month old I can get away with slightly longer children's books. More recent works, like Old Bear, Little White Rabbit, and the Caldecott-award winning Kitten's First Full Moon are perhaps more geared for younger children. They have a fabulous sense of imagination and wonder. I find myself reaching for these books at bedtime, happy to read them over and over. What a pleasure.