Lydia Lukidis and Deep, Deep Down: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

From Laura:

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

Lydia Lukidis is one of those kidlit bloggers who is always so generous about celebrating other authors’ books (including mine). Plus she’s an all-around lovely person. And when I read her new book from Capstone, Deep, Deep Down: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench, I knew I wanted to help her share it.

First, full disclosure: This is not a poetry collection. Whew! We’ve got that out of the way.

Deep, Deep Down is lyrical nonfiction, and it’s gorgeous! Juan Calle’s illustrations are just luminous. It’s full of facts and mystery and science. It’s full of lovely sounds and beautiful imagery. Who could resist that?

I asked Lydia if I could send her a few questions about her book, and she sent me back this wonderful post. So, for your reading pleasure, I present Lydia Lukidis.

From Lydia:

The Science of Poetry and the Poetry of Science

Growing up, I had two passions that I felt pulled me in two different directions: poetry and science. For some reason, my brain saw these two disciplines as mutually exclusive. I had been writing poetry since the age of 6 and later acquired my degree in English Literature from McGill University, but I also came from a family of scientists and got my college degree in Pure and Applied Science.

I’ve always had a very creative soul and as a young adult, I decided to “leave” the world of science behind and focus on art. I was a jewelry designer and then a puppeteer for many years. When I was writing plays for children, I recognized how much I loved working with children. That experience also brought me closer to writing, my first love (although I was still writing poetry every day.)

Cut to today and I’m writing kidlit. I could not have written a better destiny for myself! I got my foot in the door through a slew of work-for-hire gigs and wrote a ton of nonfiction. It was fun to incorporate the knowledge I had gained from studying science all those years.

And then I wrote a book in 2015 that changed my perspective. It will be released in 2024 and is entitled DANCING THROUGH SPACE: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights, illustrated by Sawyer Cloud and published by Albert Whitman.

I made a huge realization: art and science are NOT separate! They are intimately connected.

From Deep, Deep Down (all rights reserved) — Click to enlarge

This allowed me to explore a deeper version of myself as writer, and I continued on with this journey with my new STEM book, DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench, illustrated by Juan Calle and published by Capstone Editions, a Capstone imprint. It was released on January 1, 2023.

First off, here’s a short summary of the book:

Deep, deep down, at the very bottom of the ocean, lies a secret world. Through lyrical narration, this spare-text STEM picture book takes readers on a journey to a place very few humans have ever been–the Mariana Trench. The imagined voyage debunks scary myths about this mysterious place with surprising and beautiful truths about life at Earth’s deepest point. DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench shows a vibrant world far below, and teaches readers how interconnected our lives are to every place on the planet.

From Deep, Deep Down (all rights reserved) — Click to enlarge

Why Poetry?

When writing nonfiction, finding the right structure and voice is critical. When I was researching DEEP, DEEP DOWN, I fell into a rabbit hole and watched hours and hours of trench footage. Many creatures were mesmerizing and moved slowly and gracefully, like underwater ballet. That’s when I realized that the Mariana Trench itself is a poem; a mysterious, remote trench at the deepest spot on our planet, full of wonder. To really do it justice, the text would have to reflect the beautiful poetry I witnessed. So, I chose to write the narrative with a lyrical voice and felt it could not have been written any other way.

I used various poetic devices:

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Alliteration
  • Similes
  • Metaphors
  • Repetition
  • Rhythm

My poetry doesn’t usually rhyme, though I may still explore that with another book if it feels right. Instead, I obsess over the formatting; how the words are spaced on the page. The way I wrote DEEP, DEEP DOWN reflects the way I’ve always written my poetry. It felt so amazing to find my true voice, and although I’m sure that will evolve in the years to come, lyricism will always remain dear to me. I hope you all enjoy my book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

From Laura:

I think I do, Lydia! Thank you for the behind-the-scenes story of your writing journey. I agree that poetry and science are intimately connected. A member of our Poetry Friday community, Heidi Mordhorst, wrote, “Within poetry and science beat the twin hearts of observation and imagination.” I feel that in an essential way.

Poetry Friday friends, I hope you’ll say hello to Lydia in the comments and take a peek at her beautiful book. Oh, I almost forgot! I also wrote a poetryaction in response to reading Deep, Deep Down. Here it is:

More About Lydia

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children. Her titles include DANCING THROUGH SPACE: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights (Albert Whitman, 2024), DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023), THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award, and NO BEARS ALLOWED (Clear Fork Media, 2019). A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books.

Lydia is an active member of SCBWI, CANSCAIP, 12 x 12, and The Authors Guild. She’s very involved in the kidlit community and also volunteers as a judge on Rate your Story. Another passion of hers is fostering love for children’s literacy through the writing workshops she regularly offers in elementary schools. Lydia is represented by literary agent Miranda Paul from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

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And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup with poet Laura Shovan! So excited that she’s sharing one of my new picture books!



10 Responses

  1. What a fascinating author and subject for a book. I love science and poems about science. I’d love to read Lydia’s work. Thanks Laura for the post and interview.

  2. So much poetry goodness here, Laura. I love how you captured the wonder of the crinoid in your ode. Deep, Deep Down is one of my new favorites.

  3. Wow! So much wonder and beauty–of course it leads to poetry. thank you for introducing Laura and her new book.

  4. Through many of the posts today, I am ‘observing’ that a lot of ‘noticing’ is going on while writing poetry and your post with Lydia is another example, Laura. I adore so many things about the ocean, look forward to reading this new book “Deep Deep Down” about the Mariana Trench.

  5. Thanks to both of you for a chance to learn about this new book! Enjoyed the sample spreads and seeing Lydia’s poetic expression of facts. Wish science was presented as beautifully when I was growing up!

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