A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Frogs, Poems, and a Princess

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 18, 2015


Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

Copyright 2015 Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

“Frogs, Poems, and a Princess” by Linda Martin Andersen

April is Frog Month.  It’s also National Poetry Month.  And since Joy Acey is “The Princess of Poetry,” she seemed a natural for an interview that combines frogs, poems and a princess.  Thank you for accepting this invitation, Joy Acey.

Please give Joy a big Writer’s Playground welcome!

Q:  When did you begin writing poetry, Joy? 

A:I think I’ve always written poems and little rhymes.

I probably was pushed out of the womb on an iambic pentameter beat. In Junior High my English teacher encouraged me to enter a Scholastic writing contest and one sponsored by the American Red Cross. I didn’t win, but the rhyming was just a fun thing to do. I invented little songs and had fun experimenting. But I didn’t study poetry until I met Bernice Cullinan, editor of Wordsong, the poetry imprint of Boyds Mill Press. I was standing next to her waiting for a bus at Chautauqua while two other women chatted with her. Bernice turned to me and asked about the poetry I wrote. I hadn’t said anything about writing poetry to her, she somehow intuited we should talk about my writing. She took my poetry seriously and that made it OK for me to take it seriously too.

Q:  What a great way to come into the world.  I know you’re called “The Princess of Poetry.”  When were you dubbed with this title?

A:The “Princess of Poetry” title came when I was working with children in the Durham County Schools. We lived for a year in Great Britain and it was interesting to me how the locals were fascinated with the Royals. The citizens took responsibility for helping to raise the princes and princesses. So, I wanted the Durham students to know they could be princes and princesses too. All they had to do was try everyday to do their very best (so striving to be better becomes a habit.) As the Princess of Poetry, it was their job to help me try to do my very best. If I wasn’t doing something right, I needed their help to do better. Actually, once I accepted the title, I needed a tiara and I had a good time shopping for just the right one. I wore my tiara when I wrote. This turned out to be a really fun thing. I got several published articles out of the process.

Q:  Joy, I love that you invited your audience to be princes and princesses too.  I enjoy reading and following your blog post.  I am amazed that you write and post a poem daily at http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/  How and when did “Poetry for Kids Joy” begin?

A:I really have to give credit to Bridget Magee for my blog. I had been thinking for a couple of years about starting a blog, but I just couldn’t get a handle on what I knew that would be of interest to someone else. Bridget was doing daily poems at that time at www.weewordsforweeones.blogspot.com

When I saw what she was doing, I realized I could do a blog for children’s poetry. I started on April 20, 2011. I named the blog Poetry for Kids Joy because I wanted poetry to make kids happy. The title still fits. In fact, you’ll find a little poem I wrote in third grade at that first post. I can’t believe I didn’t include an introduction or a welcome. There isn’t even an announcement for a new blog. I started the blog because I wanted to force myself to write a poem daily. I journaled daily, and now my journaling includes a poem and my poetry has gotten better with the practice.

I just checked the statistics on my blog and I’ve posted over to 1450 poems and have had over 180,000 page views. There are folks in Canada, England, Australia, Italy, France, Africa, Russia, China, South America and lots of places I’ve never been, who follow my blog. This is so much fun. I have met so many interesting people on my blog.

Q:  Impressive stats, Joy.  You’re so dedicated.  What poetry groups or workshops have inspired your writing journey and in what ways?

A:I’m a firm believer in professional growth. I’ve attended poetry workshops at The Frost Place, The Vermont Studio, Breadloaf, Wildacres, Georgia State College, NC State College, Pima Community College, Chautauqua, Highlight’s Educational Foundation. I made the decision early on that I wanted to focus on Poetry—Poetry for Children. In general, I skip the workshops that cover all genre because I don’t want the work watered down with fiction and nonfiction. Poetry is my thing.

Q:  Please name three favorite poems by current poets.

A:Poems, 1, 2, 3 are all in this year’s Newbery winner THE CROSSOVER written by Kwame Alexander. This is a brilliant book that includes wonderful poems and great life lessons for kids. If you haven’t read this book yet, you must.

Here’s a piece of trivia for you. What children’s poet collects frogs? The answer is Jack Prelutsky. Everything he’s written is worth reading.

Q:  I’ve got to read The Crossover.  Where have your poems been published?

A: I have poems in all of the POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGIES. The most recent is the PFA for CELEBRATIONS. My poem “Camping”is for June’s National Camping Month. The Poetry Friday Anthologies are compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for Pomelo Books. There are 115 poets and 156 poems presented in English and Spanish in the CELEBRATIONS Anthology. Just reading the Poetry Friday Anthologies is a great way to find out the current state of poetry for children. I’ve learned a lot from these books.

Q:  An anthology is a great addition to a home library.  Just for fun…Have you ever kissed a frog?  Have you considered it?  Have you been asked this before?

A:Actually I have kissed a frog (a lot of two legged toads too.) My daddy used to go frog gigging in the summer and I’d go with him occasionally. I’d play and joke with the frogs. If you pull the leg tendons you can make a dead frog kick. I tortured my sister with the dead frogs. I’d help my dad dress the frogs by pulling the leg skin off. No one has ever asked me this before.

Q:  Loved your sense of adventure.  Would you share a frog poem or two that you have written?

A: I can’t believe that I’ve written at least 10 frog poems posted on my blog. (Maybe I need to work on a collection of frog poems.) Poems aboutpoisonous dart frogs, about dancing frogs, or little boys with frogs in their pockets.But the post your readers might enjoy most (sorry, I can’t help myself) is one with lots of frog jokes posted on August 23, 2011. Or they might enjoy

Ribbet, Ribbet by Joy Acey copyright 2015


Ribbet, Ribbet,
    Sings a frog,
While he sits
     Upon a log.

He watches, listens

     and he sighs–
Out darts his tongue,
     Zapping flies.

Art and poem:  Copyright–Joy Acey

 Thank you for all you shared, Joy.  You’re one special lady and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with you.  A real JOY!  And as the frogs would say:  Ribbet-ribbet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Gkn9hvejY

Thanks for having me Linda.  This has been fun.

Please leave a comment of your own.  Thanks for visiting.  Come again soon and bring a friend.  Children 13 years old or older are invited to  comment.  See: http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm



30 Responses to “Frogs, Poems, and a Princess”

  1. gwen07 said

    Linda — great interview. When my son was in elementary school (in very rural western New York) he would participate in the annual fall jumping frog contest (after reading a version of Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. I am still amused at the memory of -getting home from work trudging down to the creek watching as my son searched in the reeds and mud for a frog of some estimable size — seldom finding one— so he settled for Flora & Freddie — two small tree frogs – different ones— every fall. They never won or even placed but cute as ever. There was always a ceremony when we made it back to the creek after the contest to let the current Flora & Freddie get back to the business of being tree frogs. Thanks for the interview and the memories.

    • Gwen, I’m so glad you enjoyed Joy Acey’s interview. I’m especially happy to hear that the topic brought back fond memories of an annual Fall jumping frog contest you and your son enjoyed together. What a great community event.

      You’ll have to ask your son to tell his version of the jumping frog contest stories. Should be fun!

      Thanks so much for commenting! Wishing you all the best with your writing. Maybe a frog inspired piece will result from this. Happy Frog Month.

    • joyacey said

      Thanks Gwen I’m glad this post brought back pleasant memories for you. It was interesting to hear about the journeys of Flora and Freddie frog.

  2. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda, Thank you for interviewing Joy Acey. She is indeed pure joy and very talented in the writing of poetry.

    Dear Joy, I love your poetry. The one you shared about frogs is fun! I am amazed at the number of years and days you have been faithfully writing poems for your blog.

    Love, Joan

  3. mary hagan said

    I really enjoyed reading this. you do some amazing work!!

  4. Thanks for this interview, LInda. FUn hearing about Joy’s process and how she became the “Princess of Poetry”! THe tiara truly fits her!

  5. A big welcome, Joy, to Linda’s wonderful blog! I loved your frog and your poem. And Linda, I’m sure your hubby enjoyed this post as he loves his froggies which I noticed in the top right corner photo.

    • Tracy,
      I’m glad you got to visit and read Joy’s interview and enjoy a sample of her art and poetry. Yes Tracy, my hubby let me photograph his froggies. You’re very observant and very complimentary. Thank you. I’m so glad you joined in on the fun.

  6. bmagee10 said

    Fabulous interview! Who knew that dead frogs kick. Love the artwork that goes with your poem, Joy.

    • Thank you very much for commenting on Joy’s interview. Isn’t she a great and lovely princess? I love following her daily poetry posts. She shares so many exciting travel adventures and yet she knows how to live each day to the fullest, wherever she might be. I admire her outlook on life.

      I’m glad you learned a few tidbits about frogs here. I enjoyed having you visit and I hope you’ll come back often. Thanks again for commenting!

  7. Linda Baie said

    I’ve had the ‘joy’ of meeting and writing with Joy at one of the Highlights Foundations workshops. Thanks for a great interview, and Joy, I didn’t know the origin of your “princess of poetry”. What a nice story that is. I en JOY every poem every day. You make so many happy with your talent and your whimsey!

    • Linda Baie,
      So nice to see your name appear on my blog. I have read your positive comments on many poet’s sites. You are good at following and commenting on blogs. What a blessing you are. I’m glad you and Joy are friends and have memories of poetry outings. It’s great that you learned something new about Joy here. She’s a delight! Thanks for commenting here. Come again soon!

  8. Becky Shillington said

    Thanks for the fabulous interview, Linda and Joy! I enjoy reading Joy’s blog as well, and it was delightful to learn more about her and her passion for poetry!

    • It’s great to hear from you, Becky. I enjoy following your blog. I especially liked your most recent poem posted there. Thanks for the compliment regarding this interview. It was fun learning more about Joy and I’m so glad readers enjoyed it too.

  9. Kathleen said

    Linda, great getting to know Joy in your post. She is very talented! Love her sense of humor-born to iambic pentameter 🙂

    • Kathy,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed learning more about Joy Acey. She’s a delight and her poetry shares her daily walk,her creativity, and her sense of humor.

      Joan passed along your message for me. Great to hear from you through her. Thank you. The Highlights Foundation Workshop was fantastic!

      Thanks for commenting. Happy writing!

  10. […] Frogs, Poems, and a Princess […]

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