My first poem was “Scrawny Tawny Skinner.”
My ideas for poems come from many different places, including:
- Things I see around me
- Things that happen to me
- Places I go
- Things I like
- Things I don’t like
- Things from my imagination
If you would like to see how you can come up with your own ideas for poems, try reading some of the poetry-writing lessons on this site.
I am an author, and not a publisher, editor, or literary agent, so I can’t personally help you get published. However, I can recommend the following resources:
If you have written poems that you would like to have published, click here here for a list of places where kids can get their poems published online.
If you would like to get your poems published by a traditional children’s book publisher, I recommend the following resources:
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown
- The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Also, for most prospective children’s poets, I recommend you read a good book on meter, such as this one:
- Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction by Derek Attridge
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a favorite poem. I have written so many hundreds of poems that it would be impossible to pick just one as my favorite.
I do like some poems more than others, though. For example, while most kids seem to like my poems that involve bodily functions, such as Swimming Ool, I tend to prefer poems that are more imaginative and impossible, such as One Warm Sunny Day, and tongue twisters such as Shelley Sellers.
Not exactly. In a way, writing poetry is both my job and my hobby. It’s what I do for fun as well as to earn a living. However, I do enjoy going to the movies every once in a while when I find myself with some free time. I also enjoy cooking. But I’m not sure that cooking and going to the movies count as hobbies.
I guess I have this strange notion that anyone can change the world if they really want to. Even you. Even me. I know it always makes me feel good when I read a funny poem or hear a funny song. So, in my own small way, I’m trying to do my part to help people laugh, and just maybe make the world a happier place.
Yes. I am the middle child of three boys, so I have an older brother and a younger brother. My older brother’s name is Ross and my younger brother is Danny.
I went to John Muir Elementary School in Fresno, California from Kindergarten through third grade. For fourth through sixth grades I attended Kirk Elementary School, also in Fresno. In 1973 my family moved to San Diego, California, where I attended Pacific Beach Junior High School, followed by Mission Bay High School and La Jolla High School. I took classes at San Diego Community Colleges before attending National University, where I majored in Computer Science.
My poems have not won any awards that I know of, but I won the most prestigious award in children’s poetry, the Children’s Poet Laureate award (now called the Young People’s Poet Laureate), in 2013. This award is given every two years by the Poetry Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting poetry in American life.
I’m sorry, but I can’t write poems on request. My schedule is always very full, and sometimes it is difficult just finding the time to write new poems to post on the website. I recommend you read the Poetry Lessons section of the website to learn how to write your own poems.