Friday, May 27, 2016

POETRY FRIDAY: "Mosquito Season"

Ah, lively, deadly life! With Zika and other viruses on the rise, I've heard many variations on "The only good mosquito is a dead mosquito." As frightening as these health threats are, I can't say I agree. Nature doesn't play favorites with the food chain, the odds of survival shift for each of us, and when I look, I find much to admire about these graceful, resilient creatures.  

Mother Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito with her egg raft
  
Mosquito Season

Mother fends off  
Net and swatter,
Hovers over
Standing water

Where she works
Her subtle craft,
Conjures up a
Cradle-raft

Made of eggs,
Laid with care
In the hollow
Of a chair

Puddled by a
Passing storm—
Perfect place to
Raise a swarm.


© 2016 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved


Aedes mosquito larva

This week's POETRY FRIDAY is hosted by Julie Larios at The Drift Record.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Barding Around Massachusetts for National Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month has brought me and my "Syllable Sounds: The Poetic Power of Vowels and Consonants" presentation to schools and libraries across my home state of Massachusetts. The month culminated in my being guest poet at the Quills & Quotes Poetry Awards for the Falmouth Public Schools (grades 1-12). Here are a few pictures!


Photo: Andrea Carter/Falmouth Enterprise







Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Children's Poetry Career Takes Off in 2016!

Bloomsbury/A&C Black, August 2016
Little, Brown; November 2016

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crackles of Speech: Poems by Steven Withrow is here!


BIG NEWS: My first collection of poems, CRACKLES OF SPEECH, is now available for purchase (along with a preview) at this secure link through Lulu.com. 

This book is a gigantic milestone for me -- more than a decade of work and play -- and I am grateful for your support!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I have poems in two groundbreaking books


Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have released an amazing anthology of poems and classroom activities for grades K-5, and my poem "Green Sea Turtle" is part of the fifth-grade section.



J. Patrick Lewis chose my "Moray Eel" and "Mussel" for this beautiful collection of poems and photographs. It's an honor to be published alongside many of the greatest poets for children (and for anyone) of all time: Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, David McCord, Valerie Worth, X.J. Kennedy, Carl Sandburg...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What It Means to Be a Poetry Advocate, or How a Poet Is Like an Egret

A short essay/mission statement for my new organization, Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults:

Poetry is pronounced dead and reborn so often that a phoenix metaphor springs too easily to mind. Poetry's fiery demise and ashy reincarnation might be the oldest news in literature; Sumerian scribes must have jived about it in cuneiform.

A more complex metaphor, and the one I prefer, is to see poetry not as a rising firebird, but as a wading waterbird.

Take the egret, for example. Its French name, aigrette, means both “silver heron” and “brush.” During breeding season, long filamentous feathers waterfall down the egret’s buff back, and these decorative plumes, prized by hunters and hatmakers a century ago, nearly brought about the egret’s extinction.

But the egret kept on, standing long-legged in liminal space—that transition point between land and water, past and present, life and death—stirring wavelets with its wings and harpooning breakfast with its bill.



Poets, too, live on this threshold: colonial or solitary, motionless or migratory as it suits us. This has always been our way.

In creating a grass-roots, not-for-profit organization devoted to advancing poetry for kids and teens, I am not concerned with staving off poetry’s passing or reinventing poetry’s purpose for a new generation. Rather, I am celebrating poetry as a living thing—as many living things at once—and I’m sharing it with everyone I know or hope to meet.

To advocate for poetry, in my view, is to live with an intense love of written and spoken language and a willingness to tell and show others (especially the youngest) how you feel and why.

Each day new poets are born.

There’s no phoenix flash or gunpowder delivery.

Just the raised voices of hatchlings, their musical, crook-necked cries.