Posted by: jeannineatkins | April 2, 2010


April is National Poetry Month, and I’m looking for ways to balance reading poems posted on blogs with writing my own new ones. Or at least parts of new ones. Balancing inspiration and taking the time to follow it up in the privacy of my computer. Other bloggers will be more public. Ones I’ll be following including Liz Scanlon liz-scanlon and Jeni Bell jeniwrites who have have pledged to write a haiku a day and see how the practice widens their worlds. Susan Taylor Brown susanwrites is writing with her trademark honesty and emotion about the father she never knew. Kelly Fineman kellyrfineman will be featuring favorite poems with her always astute analysis. Sara Lewis Holmes is offering quotes about poetry.

There’s much more, of course. I especially look forward to is Jama’s Poetry Potluck jamarattigan where I’m one of the guests this month bringing a poem and recipe. My themes are Laura Ingalls Wilder, procrastination, and hermit cookies.

And today Joyce moyer-girl posted an interview with me about researching and writing Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, and Marie Curie. Just click on the link to read her good questions and my answers. She also has a contest where you can win a copy of the book or my picture book, Anne Hutchinson’s Way.

The mothers and daughters I wrote about still feel very close to my heart. When I told a friend there would be a book launch party coming up at the end of the month, Jess said, “You’ve spent a long quiet time writing. Now is the time to celebrate that hidden work being seen.” There’s joy in that, as well as the trepidation many writers feel as we leave our sometimes lonely but also safe-feeling corners. There’s the need to connect with actual living people and the need to step back to the corner where today I’m flipping through pages, mulling, jotting down notes, making something new from something old. The process of writing a new book of poems about a woman half-lost in history is much like writing Borrowed Names. I’m being the biographer – researching fairly exhaustively – then the poet, letting myself take chances and small leaps. Then being my editor, making sure the facts and leaps go together, forming words that won’t make people say: huh?

To read a roundup of today’s poetry-related posts, bound to be robust and glorious, visit:



  1. Thanks for the shout-out! Looking forward to your visits with Jama and Joyce!

  2. Oh! I just saw this (today has been a little nuts). Thank you so much for following my experiments with haiku! You made my day. And I hope you do take time this month to celebrate in ways big and small, and that you are enjoying every bit of your visit with your daughter. Happy early Easter! Jeni

  3. I am looking forward to the whole month. And am so impressed by your project already.

  4. It’s wonderful being with my daughter. I had to postpone Easter celebrations at home for a week, but it means we’ll have more of a houseful (including my nephew’s four month old!) So I look forward to that, too. Have a happy Easter!

  5. Good interview, Jeannine. I tried to interlibrary loan your book. (You know my book list is too long to buy every book I want.) But my library said your book is too new to get through ILL, yet. So I’m hoping maybe a nearby library may purchase it so I may read it.
    That is one thing I miss about the big city, the great libraries.
    Laura Evans
    all things poetry

  6. Thank you. I have a feeling the month is going is going to be emotionally draining but eventually freeing.

  7. Borrowed Names is very new, so it may be a while to get into the libraries, but I hope one near you orders it soon. And, Laura, if you comment on Joyce’s interview, she will add your name to her hat and you’ll have a chance to win a copy. The odds are not bad! Good luck, and thank you for looking for Borrowed Names!

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