Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Renee LaTulippe - April 26

Happy Birthday Renee LaTulippe - April 26

Contains over 40 Rhymes
by Renee LaTulippe
April is National Poetry Month. It was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets with the hopes of "increasing the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry's ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated." (  At the start of the month, I pegged April 26th as the day our family would experience poetry with a birthday celebration of one of my favorite poets and with one of my favorite poetry activities.

Today we are celebrating Renee LaTulippe's birthday.  I have gotten to know Renee through the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. One of the things I have learned about her is that the word "busy" does not even to begin to describe her life. She is an author, poet, editor, video blogger, wife, and mother of twin boys -- and she sings in a local choral group in her town in Italy!  She writes educational materials for All About Learning Press and has published books with her co-author, Marie Rippel including Lizard Lou: a collection of rhymes new and old and What am I?: a collection of short stories. Renee has been described as, "one of the top editors in the educational market today,"  and also works with adult authors to polish their work. (WordSpark Editing).

I have become one of the biggest fans of her unique blog, No Water River, where she delivers her poetry not only in text but also in video. To celebrate National Poetry Month, Renee expanded her video poetry platform to feature numerous poets and authors sharing their own poetry including the U.S. Children's Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis and Deborah Diesen, author of The Pout-Pout Fish (a family favorite!). Renee expressed her thoughts on video poetry on Katie Davis' Blog, "Poetry is alive! Poetry is meant to be spoken and heard and savored by ears, mouth, eyes, bodies." Additionally in an interview with DeoWriter she said, "I like the idea of setting a poem free in the wild, unfettered by walls and ceilings."  Our family had to try our own video poetry to celebrate Renee's birthday.  Her idea of presenting the poems "in the wild" actually led us to write poems about two events that are happening right now in our own backyard.

Three days ago we noticed a bird's nest under our deck.
My daughter was worried that the nest contained trash. She asked, "Should we take it out for them?"
This picture was taking through the slats of wood on our deck.  The first day we saw that the nest had only one egg.  When we took this picture there were two eggs.  The following day we saw three eggs.  We learned that American Robins will usually stop at four eggs. My kids are looking forward to the seeing the last egg.
Here is my daughter, who will be seven years old next month, working on her poem. I was excited to find a post that Renee wrote for the All About Learning Blog describing her first poem that she wrote at the age of seven.
Here is my daughter's first "real" poem, Here Lay the Eggs:

Here lay the eggs
all blue and light
in a nest made with straw.
One egg the first day,
Two the next,
maybe three,
maybe four.
Two weeks to wait then
on the third week
check every day
soon you'll see
two or more
baby birds.
Chirp! Chirp!

My poem was inspired by my latest adventure of beekeeping.  My bees arrived on April 18, 2012.  We had beautiful weather for two days and then it got unseasonably cold! I was quite worried about my new bee friends so I wrote this poem:
My suit is bright white.
My hive is brand new.
I'm a beekeeping newbie
with so much to do.

The weather is cold.
I must keep them warm.
I am knitting them sweaters
so they do not swarm.

It is complete coincidence but so appropriate that, April 26th, is also national Poem in Your Pocket Day. I decided to carry the poem Jake the Snake by Renee LaTulippe in my pocket.  Random strangers better watch out while I am running my errands today as they may hear some hissing coming their way as I read this fun poem to whoever will listen!   Stop by No Water River today to find a poem by Renee LaTulippe or one of the many other poets to carry in your pocket.

(I absolutely love the idea of carrying a poem in your pocket for children.  It is an excellent social and reading activity. If you are interested in my experience of coordinating a Poem in Your Pocket Day at a local school check it out here.)

I emailed Renee to ask if she would share a birthday memory or story.  Here is her response:

My most memorable birthday was when I turned 30 and celebrated by jumping out of a plane.  When I was a little girl, I remember going to the airfield with the family to watch my dad skydive, a hobby he had picked up when he was in the Army and stationed in Germany.  This was back in the day when they used the traditional white silk parachutes and the landings were harder, so before jumping, Dad practiced the hit-and-roll by leaping off a really big crate. After that, off he'd go in the plane, and we'd be there scanning the sky, waiting to see the white dot.  The funny thing is that -- at least in my little girl memory -- we usually heard him before we saw him. My Dad had a big tenor voice and sang all the time -- though apparently he had also picked up yodeling on a couple of side trips to Switzerland, so he'd yodel his way down from the sky. Those are images that never left me, and I always wanted to know how it felt up there in that vast quiet blueness.

So I jumped from 13,000 feet.  And since I knew I would probably do it only once, I got the deluxe package that included a somersault out of the plane and video and pics on the way down.  The best part was the free fall, an exhilarating 45 seconds of rushing wind and tilting horizons. Then the chute and total peace.  That's when I understood the yodeling, and had I been alone (it was a tandem jump, of course), I might have tried it myself. It's such a feeling of liberty that singing is practically mandatory.  The only thing that could have improved that birthday memory is if I had jumped with my Dad...but by then he'd come to his senses!

Renee, thank you so much for sharing your birthday story and for inspiring our family to create our own video poetry. We hope you have a wonderful birthday! Eat lots of cake!

1. No Water River
2. No Water River - YouTube Channel - Lots of Video Poetry
3. Follow No Water River and Renee on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
4. WordSpark Editing
5. Text Interview - Deo Writer
6. All About Learning Press + Renee's blog posts
7. Renee Talks About Video Poetry - Katie Davis' Blog, On the Way to Somewhere by Rena J. Traxel

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