Poetry Friday -Found, Free, Funchal

My long absence from Poetry Friday ends today! I’ve been inspired by a bit of found poetry found in a used book store. It was published in 1925 or so by the Thomas Cook & Son travel agency. It details the Funchal toboggan on the island of Madeira:
“… the thrill of our visit ashore,
the event of the day at Funchal,
is the excursion up the Monte
and the toboggan slide
down the
to the town below.
This feat is acocmplished
with the aid of
fleet-footed natives
who keep pace with the sleds and
encourage their
smooth progress
by throwing
greasy rags
beneath the
at the same time guiding the strange craft with long ropes.”
If you do a Google search you can see what the Funchal Toboggan looks like. And it does look neat. But it doesn’t seem anywhere near as amazing as what’s described above.

Poetry Friday – Dear Cook Poet returns!

At last, I’ve got another kid poem from the author of “Dear Cook.” Said author has just learned how to rhyme and actually composed the poem on his own. (whereas “Dear Cook” was a letter that read like a poem.)
Tick Tock
North Pole Express

Poetry Friday – Sister-in-law poem

Cece’s sister Sarah, as I may have mentioned before, is a creative force along the lines of, say, Harold Fenster, except she doesn’t focus on only painting, but also puppets, prose, prophecy and, at my request this week, a poem.

Here’s the first stanza of the poem I asked her to write:

Horses trot gallantly around,

pushing up daisies upon the ground

Dream, a horse, whom I met

Only wanted me, and none for the rest

Poetry Friday – Kid poetry by me

Before the bitterness, the skepticism, the grumpiness, the cynicism, the million reruns of MASH, the mistakes, the regrets, the camp sensibility, the summer camp hazing, the reading of His Dark Materials, the negative energy given and received…

…young Tommy Angleberger(that’s my real name), age circa 6, believed in something:


 And 20 years or so later, I started to believe again: in Cece, Positive Energy, Sock Monkey, Jim Henson, Dancing Marlys, Maple Hill Farm, bluegrass music, the Qwikpickers, chocolate chip cookies, early trains, dinosaurs and drinking soda from glass bottles.

Poetry Friday – Kid Poetry Video – Qwikpick Instant Poetry Contest

qwkcovertiny1.jpgIn my book, The Qwikpick Adventure Society, the three kid heroes find a lot of odd ways to fight off boredom — origami contests, listening to 70s music, playing Penny Basketball, eating expired beef jerky and, yes, writing poetry about the smell of the sludge fountain at the sewage treatment plant.This last item, I’ve discovered, is a great hook for getting kids excited about my book and poetry, too.Some might turn up their noses at my methods, but I’ve gotten kids shouting, screaming and generally going nuts for poetry. As you can see in these two videos featuring clips from a library reading and a school visit: The Short Version. The Longer Version.

Keep reading for more details and some really gross kid poems….

Continue reading

Poetry Friday Fizzle!

Johnny Cash ain’t happy folks!

My Johnny Cash-recited poem received almost no interest yesterday! Getting a fraction of the hits that, say, Nikki Giovanni or poop-related kid poetry get. Did people take one look at the name Johnny Cash and just move on down the line?

Sorry, Johnny! I’m half tempted to post the lyrics to “Vincent” and replace each mention of “Vincent” with “Johnny Cash.”

Oh what the heck:

Swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in
Johnny Cash’s eyes of China blue.
Colors changing hue…. etc…

People the guy RECORDED A SHEL SILVERSTEIN POEM AND MADE IT A HIT for crying out loud!!!  He’s a kidlitter at heart! Despite his recasting as a somber ancient, he had a knack for novelty songs and didn’t mind letting down the tough guy act to show kid-like enthusiasm for stuff. Plus he did a great verison of the Laverne and Shirley theme!

Poetry Friday: Johnny Cash recites “The Best Friend of Charleston”

Here’s a poem that is oft heard around the Riddleburger/Bell manse these days.

It’s from a fantastic DVD: Johnny Cash: Ridin’ the Rails.

It’s a 1974 educational, very entertaining TV show that’s basically Johnny Cash talking and singing us through the history of trains in America. Highly recommended, largely because of Johnny’s apparently genuine enthusiasm for the subject. (Frankly, it will make you wonder why, in this world of 300 channels, no one makes shows like this anymore.)

At one point, he appears back in time on the day when the Best Friend of Charleston was taking its first run. That train was the first in regularly scheduled train in the U.S. (So says Johnny.)

As the train picks up speed, Johnny climbs aboard while recited this poem. I don’t know where it came from, but it certainly sounds authentic…

She’s the Best Friend of Charleston,

Neither horse nor breathin’ man.

She’s a rock of rollin’ engine.

Can she run, sir?

Yes, she can.

She’s a horseless hunk of screamin‘, steamin’,

People-haulin’ wheels.

If you’ve nerve to get aboard her

there’s a thrill you’re gonna feel.

Tip you hat and bow down to her,

Christen her upon the way.

She’s the Best Friend of Charleston.

It’s her maiden run today.