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Tanya Lee Stone

April 28th, 2011

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Tanya Lee Stone
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April 28th, 2011

 I explain all in my guest blog for National Poetry Month

In case that link isn't working, here is what I wrote:

Poetry is the sunny spot on the carpet. It is a sea salt caramel. It is a hermit crab tickling its way across my raspberry-punch-painted toes. It is an orchestra tuning before the curtain rise.

Poetry came with me from somewhere. I remember hearing poetry as early as I remember seeing the world from the height of a stroller.

Poetry helps me breathe. It makes me consciously calm.

Poetry is voices.

When I started writing A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, the characters talked to me in whispers, pieces of sentences, snippets of thought. They visited me when I was half-awake, wondering if it was late night or early morning.

As someone who most often writes narrative nonfiction, I am regularly asked why I decided to write a YA novel in verse. The answer is: I didn’t.

What I did decide to do was not say no to an old friend. I decided not to care that poetry “wasn’t what I wrote” as a grownup. I decided to remember that poetry was what I always wrote when I was young.

I decided to listen.

I listened to that first voice, that first new day. Her name was Josie. An orchestra began tuning in my brain. It played Nicolette for me a different day. And then Aviva.

I listened. I wrote. I listened some more. I wrote some more. Poetry had come back to me.

Maybe it came back because I went looking for it.

Like the sunny spot on the carpet, and sea salt caramels.

I am certain I will write poetry as fiction again.

For now, it visits me still, dancing into my nonfiction, adding shadows to lines of prose.

There are poems that accompany Almost Astronauts, and poetic prose describing some of the events in that true story.

The WWII black paratrooper heroes in my soon-to-be-finished nonfiction book Courage Has No Color risk their lives to jump out of airplanes and be of service to their country, at a time when their country was not of service to them. What is more poetic than these great men?

--Tanya Lee Stone

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