Flashy, Clashy, and Oh-So Splashy: Poems About Color


Last week, I received the author copies to the last book out of my set of 6 Capstone poetry books

I think this was the third book I wrote in the series, and it presented a little bit of a special challenge. Because the theme of the book was color, I wasn’t quite sure whether the poems needed to each be about a color, or whether color could just figure prominently in the poem in some way, even if it wasn’t the actual topic.

My editor, Jenny Marks, and I talked about this a little bit, and it turned out the poems didn’t all have to be about the color. Which was good. I was thinking that the same approach would get a little old in 14–16 poems!

The photos Jenny sent me were amazing! So many bold, terrific images with attention-getting colors. I actually had a fairly easy time working on this set, once we confirmed that the poems didn’t have to all describe or define colors and once I saw the fabulous images. In fact, I wrote about 20 poems to turn in, which was more than I needed to write.

Jenny provided her usual insight into changes that would make the poems stronger, and I revised. The whole process was incredibly smooth.

The only poems I really struggled with were the white and black ones. In a white poem I wrote, I was trying to refer to white light being composed of all the colors of the spectrum, but both I and the editor wondered if it could be wrongly interpreted to feel like it had a superior tone to it. And I didn’t want that.

And for the black poem, I initially had night sky images, and I just couldn’t get past the cliches. When Jenny sent me some black jaguar images, I wrote a poem I loved. Unfortunately, it didn’t get used!

Here are a few poems from the book. Please note: These are NOT the images from the book. They’re just to give you an idea of what the poems are describing.

This Is the Brown

This is the brown
of my tight-braided hair
This is the brown
of my old teddy bear

This is the brown
of the field where I spend
day after day
with my best-brown friend

OK, for this one you just have to imagine a picture of a big pig with a blue ribbon on her!

A Blue-Ribbon Gal

This pig is a beauty, you see that it’s true,
Clippety-cloppety, troppety-slop.
As gentle and light as the morning’s first dew,
Slippety-stroppety, flippety-clop.

I noticed her first at a pig beauty show
Oinkety-boinkety, shuffley-huff.
She twirled a baton and she sang like a pro
Oinkety-ploinkety, truffley-stuff.

She’s graceful and smooth for a pig of her size
Squealety-mealety, chunkety-shove
She won a blue ribbon! She won the big prize!
Wheelety-flop, I’m in piggety love.

It’s a really silly poem, fairly unlike what I usually write. Jenny said it was a huge hit, a favorite of the group that was reviewing the poems. Figures:>)

Orange You Jealous of My Color?

I’m flashy
and clashy
and beautifully
and everyone notices me!

I’m bright
and unwhite,
quite a dazzling
I certainly hope you agree!

The title for that one, of course, came from the knock-knock joke: 

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Banana who?
(repeat the above until the other person is ready to smack you, and then…)
Knock knock
Who’s there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

I just realized I shared all rhyming poems, but this collection does have examples of haiku, acrostic, cinquain, and free verse, too. When I do a two-day school visit at the beginning of April, this is one of the two books I’ll be sharing heavily with the K‑3 classes.

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