It’s a sad Poetry Friday today. (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
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I wasn’t posting this week for Poetry Friday, but poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins died yesterday morning. In the 1990s, when I first thought, Hey, what’s this children’s poetry stuff?, it was Lee’s anthologies that invited me into the genre. In his books, I met some of my very favorite poets. I learned so much about the range of form and emotion and beauty that children’s poetry could take. What a blow for children’s poetry!
At my first ALA Poetry Blast, Lee and Rebecca Kai Dotlich held my hands to calm my nerves before I read. Lee’s invitation to submit poems for I Am a Book led indirectly to my own book, BookSpeak. His poetry master class in L.A. introduced me to many poets to learn from. I wrote poems for two of his anthologies, Dizzy Dinosaurs and Lullabies and Kisses Sweet. And I contributed this poem to Dear One: A Tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins.
Lee was a force of nature, and all of his considerable energy went toward advocating for poetry. One more star has blinked out this week, but Lee’s legacy of poetry remains to guide the way.
For more poetry (and I’m guessing many more tributes to Lee), don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone.