Recipe for a Poetry Book–Happy Birthday, Lee Bennett Hopkins! [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Without Lee Bennett Hopkins and his books, I don’t think I’d be writing poetry for children today. When I first got the tiniest of inklings that I might like to dip a toe into the waters of poetry, Lee’s beautiful anthologies were some of the first books I found. In them, I found superlative examples of poetry written for kids. I discovered more poets to explore. I rethought my definition of what poetry for children could include. Having poems in two Lee Bennett Hopkins anthologies are two of the highlights of my children’s writing career! There is nobody doing more to advocate for children’s poetry at a personal, institutional, and societal level than Lee. And…it’s his birthday on Friday! (How absolutely fitting that his birthday is during National Poetry Month–I don’t think it would have the nerve to be in any other month!)

I’m sharing a poem I wrote in honor of Lee almost 10 years ago, when he was the recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell put together a lovely little anthology to honor him. You can see other posts related to Lee’s work here.

Happy birthday, Lee! Thank you for all you do!

Recipe for a Poetry Book


And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Robyn at Artsy Letters!  I bet you’ll come across some other tributes to Lee in this week’s Poetry Friday offerings. Thank you to Robyn, Linda Kulp Trout, and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who all had hands in creating this online celebration of Lee and his work!


20 Responses

    1. Thanks, Kimberly! PS I did get your email/link to the interview. Utterly buried this week, but can’t wait to look at it tomorrow or Saturday. Thanks so much for sending!

  1. Well, I missed this ten years ago so delighted to read now, Laura! Perfect for Lee’s birthday — this poem “stays fresh forever,” like Lee’s work. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tribute poem, Laura! I love “Reduce to almost nothing, / Secretly, / frequently / lick the spatula.” Such a great metaphor for writing poetry.

  3. Oh my goodness, Laura, this is beautiful, a “Lee” poem for all of us, too. Each line brings a smile, and your opening, “from soul to bowl” reminds me too of Strand’s words, “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth/I have been eating poetry.” Exactly what the world needs, a huge helping!

  4. Love this poem (I missed it too 10 years ago). Wonderful alliteration and lots of crunchy words. Fabuous!!

  5. I love this! Like several others, that “licking the spatula” line is where my brain and eyes and heart want to linger. Can’t wait to share this one with kids!

  6. Lovely tribute! I’m glad you shared your recipe for poetry again since I missed it the first time. Now that’s a recipe to try again and again for every favorite meal!

  7. You have my mouth watering over this poem, so delicious and a wonderful tasty tribute.

  8. Such a scrumptious concoction and memory for the birthday boy. Favorite line: “reduce to almost nothing.” That’s the magic of poetry, isn’t it? So much said in so few words. Cheers!

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