Friday, November 10, 2017

Songs of the Night SHIMMER Bright!

 I'd like to welcome fellow poet and Spork Sister, Raven Howell to the Storyteller's Scroll. Raven and I write poetry for children and today I'd like to help her celebrate the release of her collection from SPORK.

Raven was kind enough to share her passion of poetry with us, and following her inspiratuion is my review of SHIMMER, Poems of the Night! *****

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I grew up in a creative household. My mother sang like a bird and led dance groups. My father is a poet, and my older sister and brother were successful musicians/singer/songwriters in their teens, so there was never a lack of the arts in our house! I wrote poetry and prose before I literally knew how to write. I'd come up with sing-song-y rhymes, stories, verses, plays, and my grandmother would jot them down. I never made a conscious decision to become a writer. It’s simply what I’ve always done. 

How long does it take you to write a book?

I’ll use food and cooking as an analogy to writing a poetry book. Sometimes, the work is best in its original organic state, like a crisp, flavorful carrot that may be eaten raw, instead of roasting the heck out of it until it caramelizes and becomes sticky. But other poems may need some steaming since the asparagus is way too stringy and bitter. So that takes time (perhaps years) to perfect to just the right texture. And then, there’s that delicious compilation or rhyming story that’s as sweet as apple pie. But take a bite and  discover that delight has too much sugar sprinkled on top – time to spend a few months to revise the ingredients!

What’s your work schedule like when writing?

My work schedule in general remains the same whether I’m working on a project, book, or writing a requested magazine poem. I live, eat, and breathe poetry and I love a challenge. My editor at Kelsay Books seemed to have a lot of that up her sleeve. I worked hard on my manuscript for their Daffydowndilly Press imprint, day and night, with very focused intent. She doesn’t take poetry lightly and has high standards for her poets. I’m so proud of the resulting book, A Star Full of Sky, which was just released this autumn.

What is your interesting writing quirk?

One thing I always bring up in my poetry workshops is how poetry allows one to view things a different way – look at something perhaps with a little magic or wonder, and I believe that’s been a characteristic or quirk I’ve always carried, providing much of the inspiration and basis for my writing.

If my husband asks me to pass the fruit. I’m thinking: fruit? Just fruit? That’s a green Granny Smith apple in that bowl! And a sweet little Green Granny Smith grandmother with round silver framed glasses, apple blossomed hair, apple-cheeked face, wearing an apron of apple peel smiles crookedly in an orchard. And you know the title of this rhyming story has to be “The Myth of Granny Smith”, right?

When did you write your first book?

I published my first children’s poetry collection a few years back. I found many children in classrooms and in homes acting out in an ADD or ADHD fashion. I felt a need for sweet, calming verse that wasn’t just appropriate for bedtime, but anytime. Also, there were very few children’s pieces written for the autism community and I wanted to provide a collection of poems for easing the mind, providing peace, focus and quiet contemplation. The book is titled Dozy Poems, Cozy Days and it’s available through Background Noise Books.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in the process of creating books?

I'm continuously surprised how illustrators connect deeply with my poems and are on target with what I portray in my words. It literally took me two years of unsuccessful attempts to create watercolors myself for the poems in my first book. I tried everything – acrylics, pencils, you name it, but couldn’t reach that inner child abstract sensibility the poems needed. My son, Maris, was involved with art classes, so I handed the job to him and he connected immediately to what I was looking for. And as for my latest book, Shimmer, Songs of Night, the illustrator, Carina Povarchik, instinctively knew how to give my poems life! There’s a creative dance we do, and it’s a surprisingly joyous thing!

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have five published books. My favorite is not released yet – stay tuned!

Raven Howell paints imagery with her words and Carina Poverchik designs words with her pictures. A perfect match between author and illustrator, SHIMMER boasts the best of each artist.

Free verse, couplets, pantoum, and haiku dance across the pages woven between colorful, shimmery illustrations. A perfect gift for any child! A perfect book for any classroom! A wonderful representation of twilight to dawn, and what whirls in the imagination of children (and some adults) during those magical hours.

Links to purchase SHIMMER!

Leave in a comment below with the tilte of your own "Brilliant" children's poem about shimmers and light for a chance to have it critiqued by Raven or me.

Two winners will be chosen by

And stop the The Storyteller's Scroll next week for an interview with another SPORK creative.


  1. I'd love to have my poem critiqued by Raven. My title is The Silvery Moon.

  2. "The Journey" is a poem about five friends: a snake, a sad and spotted cow, a dancing bee, a hummingbird and a snail. I'd appreciate a critique very much.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I have a poem called "Rapunzel and the Dragon". Admittedly, it's more for the ADHD crowd, as I have inattentive ADHD. ;)

  5. I’m a closet poet with no poems for children, but Raven’s words, “. . .poetry allows one to view things a different way – look at something perhaps with a little magic or wonder. . .” really resonated with me. I’m always astonished by the leaps of imagination I discover in poetry.

  6. My poem is called "The Squid Balloon"!

  7. Will Sofia and Margaret please contact me through my website. www, so that Raven and I may critique your poems. Thank you.

  8. Gayle, the critique was incredibly helpful! Thanks a million!


Fall Frenzy Writing Contest 2020

 I entered this last year and it was a great writing experience. This year’s rules: 1. Choose a fall image from Lydia Lukidis’s blog