Poetry Friday: By Taking Advantage of an Opportunity, I’m Published!

I have always been interested in being published. This interest has permeated every career that I pursued and possessed. Because of the variety of professional positions I’ve held, my writing has taken different forms. I was first published in the late 1980s as part of a team of baccalaureate prepared nurses working at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital NICU. We published a neonatal drug handbook for other nurses working in the same setting. Until this moment, I forgot I had a prior publication.

Since that time, I’ve changed careers and went from being a master’s prepared (1990), nationally certified pediatric nurse practitioner to being a master’s prepared (2018) environmental educator. I started several medically related articles hoping for publication, but never finished them. One featured an adolescent female in whom I helped to diagnose an ovarian tumor. It was a scary and unusual occurrence to write about. However, I never finished the article. I had learned that it was difficult to work full time in demanding career such as being an extended provider in health care (CPNP), and still fulfill dreams of publication.

When I was between professions, I spent time providing enrichment experiences for school aged children. This provided a great deal of opportunity to develop and write curriculum and well as help my students become published in compilation at the ripe age of nine years! Although helping my students to write haiku accepted for publication made me extremely proud, it did not satisfy my need to write and publish. I needed to create the same opportunity for myself that I had pursued for them.

This year I started to pursue opportunities to become published. I went beyond my comfort zone and began to submit my poetry to contests and publications seeking submissions. Although my writing was not met with a great deal of criticism, it also was not accepted by those to whom I submitted my work. Thus, I started to look for opportunities to both grow my knowledge of indie publishing and networking with those who were author/publishers.

Last year, I took a self publishing course offered by a local author. It was a webinar and well done. This year, I decided to pursue an opportunity to learn from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell of Pomelo Books. As both authors and publishers, they offered a course called Anthology 101. I participated in that course and then took advantage of another opportunity called Anthologies 201. Through this course work, I had the opportunity to be published.

But, it was more than just being published. For me, it was a chance to be “walked through the process” of publication. It was also a chance to be edited by professionals. I jumped at the chance. The result? Publication in the brand new book THINGS WE DO by Pomelo Books.

My poem called INVENT, an ekphrastic poem, written about a picture of a young girl inventing a robot, was accepted by Janet an Sylvia! They made suggestions for revisions, to which I listened to carefully. One important point was that when you revise, do not try to make it better, make it different! And, for me, that turned out to be the advice that changed my opportunity to be published into a reality. For I took two invent poems I had written for their review, and edited them by saving the good parts and combining those saved portions into one poem that speaks to what I saw happening in the photo used for the word INVENT.

The page in THINGS WE DO that contains my poem written for the photograph. © 2021,

By taking advantage of an opportunity to learn from two very gracious and experienced authors and publishers, Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, I met a goal I had set for myself – being a published author! I cannot thank them enough! You can check out more of Pomelo Book’s publications at https://pomelobooks.com/new-books-1 and Pomelo Books. They provide poetry across the curriculum for teachers, librarians, and parents to share with students.

The book THINGS WE DO is available from the following:

Amazon Books @ https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937057305?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

A small press at QEP Books: https://www.qepbooks.com/Products/Things-We-Do-Coming-10212021__Pom7305.aspx.  There is discounted shipping from this supplier for more than 3-4 books. (I hope those of you who have early childhood classrooms and staff our district libraries will take advantage of this).

In addition, all of the proceeds for THINGS WE DO go to a charity that supports children in crisis. No one profits from the book. The generosity of this project is something that held great appeal for me. IBBY Children in Crisis Fund: https://www.ibby.org/awards-activities/activities/ibby-children-in-crisis-fund.

THINGS WE DO has also been awarded the designation of Hot off the Press Books by the Children’s Book Council. Congratulations to Janet and Sylvia and all of the included authors!

Finally, since it is Poetry Friday, Sylvia Vardell of Pomelo Books has graciously supplied a graphic with links to some of the other authors featured in THINGS WE DO. Please check them out! Thank you, Sylvia and Janet, for your graphic contributions highlighting our poetry in THINGS WE DO.

Some of the authors in THINGS WE DO are writing about the book on their blogs!

I cannot say enough about this learning opportunity and experience! I hope to continue to find publishing opportunities in the near future or maybe, just maybe, create some of my own!

Congratulations to all involved in the ekphrastic poetry anthology THINGS WE DO! We did it!

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host this week is Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Thank you for hosting this week! Jama always offers some yummy photos as well as words, so be sure to stop by!

32 thoughts

  1. Carol, congratulations! What a fun INVENT poem. This is great, and I love reading your process of revision and what you’ve learned. I can’t wait to purchase this book, and I love that the proceeds go to help children.

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  2. I wasn’t wrong! Your name was on the list for this anthology. I just got mixed up about which anthology. Ha! So exciting. I love how Sylvia and Janet are so encouraging of all the poets, not just a select few. A new collection for me to share with my kiddos.

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  3. Thank you, Carol, for bravely joining us on this poetry adventure and for helping us spread the word. I’m amazed at what you have already accomplished in your career and in multiple paths! Now you are re-INVENTING yourself as a poet! (See what I did there?! ;-)) LOVE your inventive INVENT poem and how your empowering first person voice makes that poem come alive!

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    1. Thank YOU, Sylvia! I am so proud to be a part of this new book. I have re-invented myself, haven’t I? I told Janet that my family has a connection to the word invent and I wasn’t even thinking of myself when I said that in one of our editing communications. I was thinking of my boys! I very much appreciate the support you and Janet offered us all during this process! It made me hungry for more!

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  4. I love that you have a personal connection to the word “invent,” Carol, with members of your family who like to invent things. Poets can (and should) slip in some personal details when corresponding with an anthologist to let them know that the topic is MEANT for them!!

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    1. Janet, I am so glad I told you that in our pre-editing communication. It is good to know that anthologists like to consider personal connections to topics when possible. I believe that INVENT was the word meant for me and you allowed me to invent my poem! Thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement!

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  5. Oh BRAVO, Carol! So nice to be in a book like THINGS WE DO from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell with you. They are a wonderful part of the Poetry Friday community. I am so happy for you because I can relate completely to the thrill of being published when it was your goal and you didn’t have the crystal ball to show you the path. You surely found the right one. I can’t wait to share this book and all the poems with my grandkids and knowing your story will make it all the sweeter when I read them your poem! Congratulations. I love that your picture and poem INVENT combine your original interest in medicine, your creative heart for gardening and environmental teaching and your love of sharing your words with kids (of all ages). WAVing to you from upstate NY. (PS, I looked on your site to check your name late last night and could not find it anywhere, maybe you might want to add it in? Just a thought, not a suggestion/request!) PPS Janet is a fabulous editor and helper. She worked with me on several poems and all were better for her help and guidance. And she is absolutely so positive, enthusiastic and professional.
    Janet Clare F.

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    1. Janet, Thank you for the lovely note. I appreciate all you said and the time you took to write it! Where in upstate NY are you located? I grew up in a small town on the west side of Rochester and then also lived in Amherst for close to ten years. Did you write the WAVE poem? That was one of the three original words that I picked! So funny! I cannot wait to read your work! Kudos on getting a great word write a poem about for THINGS WE DO. I am so pleased that you’ll share my poem with your Grandkids. I am so happy you told me about looking for my name on my blog! UGH! i’ve had the blog for over 4 years and no one has ever mentioned that, nor did I give it a thought. I will definitely fix that. I love the encouragement Janet and Sylvia gave the anthology 201 group! I feel more confident about what I am doing as far as writing and trying to get my words “out there” in the world as publications! The Poetry Friday group is wonderfully supportive – I could not agree more and have been posting to their forum for over a year. Love the feedback! I have a quick question about your blog – when I go to it – fiction, instead of lies – I get that is it published by someone other than you. Am I mistaken? Can you send me a link in a response? Thanks, again!

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      1. Hi Carol,
        First, I don’t have a blog. I should, but I never started one because I did not want to not be able to stick with it and we were on a tear happily due to our grandkids arriving and being so involved in them and their care/needs. They are about a 4 1/2 hour drive away in Penn. but we stop at a friend’s now (Covid) and that means it is closer to 5 hours. That means a loss of a day of “work” at home each trip but we don’t care. We adore them and are so grateful for this experience at our ages. She is in Kdg at age 5 3/4 and he is a little over 3. We have only one child, our son, so a small family. Our dil is also an only child so no aunts, uncles, cousins so we try to do all we can for them and it is fun. I will friend you on fb so if you get a chance you can take a peek as I sometimes share about them.

        I am trying to learn more about Twitter from Janet Wong and tonight’s class was great. She is so helpful. I got my copy of the book today. Hooray. I have read all the poems and just think it is a terrific book I am thrilled and can’t wait to share it with everyone I know. It’s funny I had two other words and a friend, Helen Zax did a beautiful job with VISIT which was another of my words. My friend Moe Phillps did MAKE and I love that though that was not one of my words. It is very exciting to be in this wonderful book and for your first publication it is a true gem for you, I am sure. I have been a part of the Poetry Friday community off and on since maybe 2011. It took me a while to figure some things out but it was obvious that there was a cohesive core group of people who “knew” and respected one another. I loved the comments and the continuing connections. Sometimes when times got so busy I had to step back and I missed it so. I kept trying to be part of it and I have learned a ton. I adore April when so many have such ambitious projects. I marvel at their poetry and creativity. They inspire me. I live in a Finger Lakes town Skaneateles. And we go to Rochester for some medical things for my husband and we have friends who used to live there. My bff lived in Williamstown for quite a while when her kids were young. (I think we connected about this maybe 6 months ago when I first found your blog at PF. I have enjoyed some writing times at Highlights Foundation but due to Covid had to cancel two workshop times. I can’t wait to return. I have found some helpful things online, too, so that is a great gift that has come from this horrible pandemic.
        Enjoy your hiking and visits to the National Parks. My parents took us to see so many but we did not see some of the ones you have mentioned. I would love to think about going, but I am not sure we will do it. My dream is to go to Italy to see where my grandparents were from and to visit with a cousin and see where my father was born. I hope that things get better and soon, though I know the rest of the world hopes for this too.
        I think you said it was your birthday, so hope that day was great!
        Janet Clare F.

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  6. Wow, Carol! Your poem is wonderful! I agree with you, the class was amazing. I learned so much. I hope Sylvia and Janet will offer more courses in the future.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda! It was a wonderful experience! I also hope they offer more classes! I am ready to put to use what else I’ve learned from their expertise! Now, over to your page to read your poem and experience! Thanks! And, Congratulatios!

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      1. We will be offering more classes in the future! Anthologies 101 (on January 22, 2022) and Anthologies 201 (for poets who have already taken our 101 class). . . and also a new Anthologies 301 (for the 201 alums)! The key is seeing if Sylvia and I can agree on what we’ll include in 301; currently we have VASTLY different visions of it!

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  7. Carol, I love hearing the backstory behind your Invent poem. Sometimes Frankensteining a poem together is how we get there. Your earlier drafts are like the cans that let you build the fun, engaging robot of a final poem that lasts in publication–whee! Congratulations! Sylvia and Janet are geniuses.

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    1. Thank you, Laura! I am so pleased that you understand how I edited my own work! As an aside, I have been looking into publishers in the way you suggested in your webinar. I have a list of some that I will send an intro packet to when I get home from vacation! I am excited to try to work for hire! Thanks for commenting about my poem! I appreciate it!

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  8. Wow! You really have changed careers, Carol. And now you’ve gained the latest goal, to be published. I’ve seen about this new anthology from others this Poetry Friday and now love your poem, the ending which I love: “it will be all mine”, true for that young inventor & for you, too! One of my grandchildren builds things all the time. I will share this with her & know she will love it, will connect with it & the pic! Happy writing!

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    1. Linda, Thank you so much! I am glad you can relate to the poem and the fact that my family, particularly my boys, build things all the time drew me to this word! I was so please to be able to bring the photo to life with my words. I am doubly pleased you will share it with your granddaughter, the inventor! Thanks, again!

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  9. So interesting to hear about your careers and how your interest in writing evolved. I love your poem, the whole idea of inventing something new, whatever it is. Congratulations! The poem is so perfect with the picture. I love the beginning of the poem “I found a box of old parts.”

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  10. Congratulations Carol! Yours is an encouraging story of not giving up on a dream. So glad it has come true for you – here’s to many more acceptances in your writing career.

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  11. Congratulations! I loved reading your process notes about revision — looking again, creating something new with parts of two poems…rather like the girl in your poem!

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    1. Thanks, MaryLee! I try to incorporate what I learn and one piece that Janet and Sylvia shared during anthologies 201 was to not strive to make a piece better – just different. So, that is what I tried to do and it was much more beneficial with struggling to improve upon the two previous pieces. Their advice was spot on! I am always glad to hear from you.

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  12. Carol, I never tire of stories about people who reinvent themselves and have the chutzpah to create new chapters in their lives. Thanks for sharing yours! I love hearing about your process of creating and revising your poem by making versions that are “different,” then looking to combine the best parts into an exciting whole. I am glad to be a part of this book and to know more about you!

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    1. Thank you Mary. I apologize for my late reply. I’m glad you enjoyed my post about the process of revision for the INVENT poem. Now that I’m home from vacation I hope to concentrate on my non-blog writing again!

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