Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spotlight: And the Crowd Goes Wild!

Today I have the pleasure of having with me the Illinois poets who contributed to the wonderful anthology And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems. This collect of over fifty poems is sure to have children cheering!

From rock climbing to lacrosse, polo to ping-pong, and swimming to soccer, this unique anthology pays joyous tribute to a wide spectrum of sports. Fifty poets, representing 10 countries, share a mix of thoughtful and humorous perspectives on all aspects of athletics. A potpourri of poetry styles pay tribute to an athlete’s determination, agony, and exhilaration, celebrate the spirit of spunk and fair play, and more. Award-winning Canadian author/illustrator Kevin Sylvester lends energy to the poems with exuberant pen-and-ink drawings. Here’s a book that’s sure to be a slam dunk for readers ages 8 - 12.

A portion of the royalties from this book will be donated to Right to Play. How awesome is that!!

The book also includes a page called "Poetry Forms and Poetic Devices" that identifies over twenty poetic forms used--a feature I think educators will appreciate and find useful in the classroom. And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems is a book that promotes appreciation of poetry, the Olympics, healthy lifestyles and active participation in sports for children.  

And now for the interview. I asked the Illinois poets to tell me how they got the idea for the poem they wrote for this exciting anthology, and here’s what they said…

Cathy Cronin author of Rock n’ Rappel 

A: I chose rock climbing because it's a fun, challenging sport that has broad appeal.  Once I started brainstorming, the terse verse form really fit the "feel" of rock climbing. 
Then I had the idea to stack the words up, like the reader is climbing a mountain and rappelling down.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out. 

Find Cathy on Facebook | Blog | Website

Eileen Meyer author of The Letter

A: For my sports poem, The Letter, I wanted to combine two interesting themes: first, introduce a situation where a parent is the coach and highlight the awkwardness that may result on occasion, and second, illustrate that we all have had a sports outing where nothing seems to go our way. I was able to weave these two themes together in a humorous fashion in this poem. Volleyball’s fast-paced action provided the perfect setting for this player’s all-too-silly mishaps.

Visit Eileen’s website

Pat Cooley author of King’s Gambit

A: I was inspired  to write a poem about chess in honor of my son, John, who was the MVP of his high school team for two consecutive years.  Chess is an internationally recognized sport that can be played and enjoyed at any age.  

Patricia Murphy author of Ready, Set, GOLD!

A. I've always been fascinated with the thought processes racing (bad pun intended) through athletes' minds as they compete--no matter the sport. Exploring this idea and pairing it with the OLYMPICS theme resulted in my poem for two voices READY, SET, GOLD! Why two voices? I wanted to feature two competitors' voices with one shared goal in mind.

Find Patricia on Facebook | Twitter | website

Claudia Kohlbrenner author of Weighty Matters

A: I confess that I have no particular interest in the sports of wrestling or boxing, so my weight class-related "Weighty Matters" came about serendipitously after I'd tried with no luck to construct a concrete, "wacky wordy" cheerleader poem using the palindrome "pep" in small letters to construct  a visually larger word, "step," ie., cheerleaders have "pep in (their) step." With a concrete poem in mind, I simply scrolled down through many pages of listed sports on the internet until the words "lightweight, "middleweight," and "heavyweight" immediately triggered the visual idea of using different fonts of varying thicknesses to represent each word. "Sumoweight" then popped into my head along with the image of someone underneath that immense poundage which led to my trusty rhyming dictionary providing the word "deflate" for me.

Carmela Marino author of   At the Chicago Marathon

A: Heidi sent out a special call for poems related to the Paralympics, which many people confuse with Special Olympics. As Heidi put it, “paralympians are elite athletes with world rankings in their disciplines, while Special Olympians have mental disabilities.” Her email reminded me of how inspired I felt when I saw Richard Whitehead, an Englishman born without legs, set a new world record at the 2010 Chicago Marathon, and so I wrote a poem about him.  

Find Carmela on Facebook | Blog | Website

Michelle Schaub author of Mono Skier

A: My grandmother spent her entire adult life in a wheelchair, and she often felt frustrated at being labeled disabled because she was a woman of many talents.  I wanted to write a poem that focused on the ABILITY in disability.  I chose the sport of mono-skiing because I was inspired by the courage and determination of paraplegic skiers, and I wanted to capture the thrill of accomplishment felt in flying down a mountain side. 

Find Michelle on Facebook | Blog

Heather Delabre author of The Master Dance: A Poem for Two Voices

A: This poem was born of a lively debate among friends: one friend who loves football, and another who loves formal dance. The latter friend was expounding on how football is a brutish, ugly, violent sport with no redeeming qualities. The former was saying that dance is not a real "sport" and that it's "lame and ridiculous." As I listened to this conversation, it struck me: football and ballet are so amazingly similar, actually, and the athletes involved in both train extremely hard. So, the poem was born. :)

Thanks to these wonderful poets for being with me today! And congratulations on your new anthology! 

How do you purchase
And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems?
I’m glad you asked! See below for the links…

     And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems
     Paperback (color): Available through FriesensPress, Ingram, and  booksellers worldwide
     ISBN: 978-1-77097-953-6

     And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems
     E-book - PDF file (color): Available through various online booksellers worldwide
     ISBN: 978-1-77097-954-3

Meet the editors of this great book:

Carol-Ann Hoyte, co-editor
Carol-Ann is an emerging Canadian children’s poet. Her poems appear in School Magazine Australia, Smories.com (England), Stories for Children (United States), R.E.A.L. Magazine (Canada), Anansesem: Caribbean Children’s Literature Magazine (United States), and Sheree Fitch’s book, Breathe, Stretch, Write (Pembroke Publishers, 2010). When she is not immersing herself in poetry, she works full-time as assistant librarian at a boys’ private school. Carol-Ann loves novels in verse, limericks, and riddle poems and lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Heidi Bee Roemer, co-editor
With nearly 400 poems, articles, and stories in various children’s magazines and anthologies to her credit, Heidi is also a song lyricist and children’s book reviewer. Her debut book, Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems, (Henry Holt, 2004) received starred reviews and was nominated for the Monarch Award, Mockingbird Award, and Great Lakes’ Great Books Award. Her newest books are What Kinds of Seeds are These? and Whose Nest is This? Since 1995, Heidi has voluneteer in various capacities for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; most recently as Assistant Regional Advisor in Illinois. She is a former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, and currently serves as a writer-in-residence for several Chicago Public schools. “Heidi Bee” has visited hundreds of schools and libraries; her instructional yet playful poetry presentations inspire students to become better readers, writers, and poets. Visit Heidi's website.

To learn more about Carol-Ann and Heidi, check out these interviews:
You can join the fun! Check out the ATCGW Launch schedule below:

Wed., September 26 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Mokena Library— Wendy Asbridge
11327 W. 195th Street
Mokena, Illinois 60448

Tues., October 16 at 7 p.m.
Anderson’s Bookshop—Candy Purdom
123 W. Jefferson Ave.
Naperville, IL  60540

Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. 
The Arlington Heights Library—Lynne Priest
500 N Dunton Ave.
Arlington Heights, IL

Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m
The Magic Tree Book Store—Iris and Rose
141 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park IL, 60301

Thurs. Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
Selwyn House School
95 Cote St. Antoine Rd.
Westmount, Qu├ębec  H3Y 2H8
Website: www.selwyn.ca/

Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m.
The Toronto Public Library
(Northern District Branch)
40 Orchard View Blvd. (2nd floor)
Toronto, ON M4R 1B9
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I'm honored to be part of this terrific team! Thanks so much for shining a spotlight on the anthology, Cherie.

  2. This interview turned out great, Cherie! I really enjoyed reading about the different ways my fellow poets were inspired.