National Poetry Month — An Original from Meg

It’s Poetry Month so of course the sixth graders are working on poetry. My oldest, Meg, worked on a few haiku tonight, and a few limericks, as well as a free verse. But my favorite by far was the limericks. Just have to share:

There once was a reddish wool sweater

which made everything feel much better. 

It fell in the sink

which caused it to shrink

and now I can’t wear my red sweater. 

                             –Meg Dempsey

And her other one was:

There once was a girl from Brazil

who sometimes became an ill pill.

She jumped all around

and fell to the ground

and her mother said, "What is your deal?!!"

               -Meg Dempsey

They made me giggle. πŸ™‚


I just spoke on the phone with Carmen de Lavallade, dancer, actress and wife of Geoffrey Holder. Carmen is a cousin of Janet Collins, whose historic performance as prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera is the focus of my forthcoming book with Philomel.

I have to share with you what Carmen has to say about Art and Finding your Own Place in whatever you pursue. I think some of it is applicable to writing as well as to dance.

National Poetry Month — Original Monday

I was the guest of the day recently at  ‘s live journal where I shared the original poem "Outside Dog at Dinnertime". So as not to leave the cats out, here is the feline companion to that poem:

Said the Cat

Don’t worry with me.

Go ahead,

enjoy your spread.

I wouldn’t want to be a bother.

I’ll just wait


for my kibble

while you piddle

with yours.

–Kristy Dempsey (all rights reserved)

National Poetry Month

I think Anne Bradstreet had been reading my novel when she wrote this poem. Or my thoughts. πŸ™‚

The Author to Her Book


Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view,
Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joynts to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
In Criticks hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

National Poetry Month

I spent yesterday with the 3rd and 4th graders of Wellford Elementary School in Wellford, SC creating some fabulous poetry, so it has me thinking just a bit on what makes us poets. I like this below from Wendell Barry:

How to be a Poet
by Wendell Berry

(This is just the last part of the poem, read the rest here.)


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

In other news, I’m the poet of the day at Jama Rattigan’s journal! I share an original poem, a recipe and a picture of our adorable dog. Pepper would love for you to stop by and go gaga over her. πŸ™‚

National Poetry Month — Original Monday


A list of words for nevermore:
hate and anger, lies and war,
and anything in any place
that judges anyone by race.
No more greed or selfish gain,
No more causing others pain,
No more hunger, no more debt,
No destruction, No regret,
No more jokes at your expense,
No more my side, no more fence.

A list of words for evermore:
love and peace and good rapport,
and everything in every place
that celebrates one human race.
A sacrifice for global gain,
A shoulder for our common pain,
Divide what isn’t fair and just
and multiply good will and trust.
Build the bridge we bombed before
Ever Ever Ever more.

–Kristy Dempsey (all rights reserved)

National Poetry Month

So many of us have been spring cleaning today, this one seemed appropriate. I’ve shared it through my favorite line and then you can find the rest at the Poetry Foundation site through the link. Read it several times slowly. There’s a lot to enjoy here. 

Cleaning an Attic


The day had finally come
when everything there

seemed misplaced or out of place
as an ex’s box of things. The unused

beside the irreplaceable, the easy-
to-assemble uncomplicated now

by disuse. Some hand
of randomness leaving behind

its lampshades stained
like ancient maps, its ladders

still climbing upward, and enough
old tools to restart a world.

Every drawer filled
with the other half of things.

Read the rest here.

Friday Five

 There are things I’ve forgotten to tell you and things I couldn’t tell you until now:

1. Once upon a time there was a manuscript that I loved. The first time   read that manuscript she said, "I’d love to see Floyd Cooper illustrate this." That manuscript helped me get a scholarship to the Highlights Foundation Chautauqua conference. And then an agent. And then an editor asked me to revise it and didn’t know if I could revise and still love it as much. Then I revised and loved it even more. Then Tamra Tuller at Philomel aquired that manuscript and it will be published in January of 2012. Guess who will be illustrating that manuscript? Floyd Cooper. THE Floyd Cooper. Anne Marie Pace must be psychic. 

2. Also in 2012, I’ll have picture book coming out from Abrams, SURFER CHICK, which will be illustrated by the genius Henry Cole. Yes, Henry Cole of MOUSE WAS MAD, and BIG CHICKENS, and KATY DUCK, and many, many other favorites. Just look at the chickens. LOOK at those chickens! Isn’t he the perfect choice?!

3. I was interviewed today by the lovely Tarie Sabido on the Through the Wardrobe blog. I shared some about ME WITH YOU, and my forthcoming picture book with Bloomsbury, MINI RACER, illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo. 

4. Tomorrow will be soccer day round these parts. Two different games on two different sides of town. At least it’s not supposed to rain. 

5. School visit next week in Wellford, SC!!!!

National Poetry Month — Poetry Friday

I love this Kenneth Patchen poem, especially that last line with "the souls of ancient bells in a child’s book". Read it and take it in and see if it doesn’t lower your blood pressure.

Be Music, Night


Be music, night,
That her sleep may go
Where angels have their pale tall choirs

Be a hand, sea,
That her dreams may watch
Thy guidesman touching the green flesh of the world

Be a voice, sky,
That her beauties may be counted
And the stars will tilt their quiet faces
Into the mirror of her loveliness

Be a road, earth,
That her walking may take thee
Where the towns of heaven lift their breathing spires

O be a world and a throne, God,
That her living may find its weather
And the souls of ancient bells in a child’s book
Shall lead her into Thy wondrous house