Poetry News & Quotes

April is National Poetry Month and I have two exciting (at least to me!) bits of news related my poetry to pass along.

  1. This month a mentorship I’ve had the good luck to be involved in since the fall is wrapping up. During the program funded by the Writers Union of Canada, the poet Barbara Nickel (also a writer of children’s book) has offered generous feedback on poems I’ve sent her, has suggested exercises related to line breaks, sound, and form, and has recommended poems and poets whose work demonstrates some of the things we discussed during our monthly zoom meetings. I now have more than a dozen poems that are close to being ready to submit to journals.
A portrait of Poetry Mentor Barbara Nickel
  1. This month I also signed a contract for a children’s picture book poem with a house I have long hoped to one day work with. The names of two of the characters in the poem have been in my head for over thirty years!

That book is scheduled for publication in 2026, so I won’t be saying more about it here for a while. But next month I’ll be revealing an inside spread from a book coming out later this year, so stay tuned! (There’s something coming next year too.)


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In the meantime here are three of my favourite quotes about poetry. All of them apply to things I’m having great fun learning to do and do better.

T.S. Eliot: “No ideas but in things.”

Ezra Pound: “Make it new.”

J.R. Lowell: The last thing that a poet learns is how to throw away, / And how to make you thrill and creep with what he doesn’t say.

What are you having fun learning these days?

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Janet Barclay on April 17, 2024 at 1:06 pm

    I’m learning about a way to share files with selected people on a website, rather than using a third party service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

  2. Kat on April 17, 2024 at 2:31 pm

    That’s wonderful! I am so glad you are such a geek! <3

  3. Ann Benedek on April 17, 2024 at 3:57 pm

    Why do I consistently hear from publishers that they are not interested in ‘rhyme’ for children’s books!!!! There are some wonderful children’s books written in the poetic ‘form’ , but still the argument against that exists. Congratulations on a contract for your latest picture book poem though!

    • Kathy on April 17, 2024 at 7:13 pm

      Thank you, Ann, for your congratulations. I can hear the frustration in your message. I think publishers say what they do because they’ve seen so many attempts at rhyme and rhythm that are clunky and/or trite that they want to discourage people from submitting it. But if you’re confident you’ve got a great story that couldn’t be told any other way, then send it out. The worst that can happen is it gets turned down — as my project did by several before it found its rightful home. Write on!

  4. Ann Benedek on April 18, 2024 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks for your supportive words Kathy! I continue to send out my YA novel (keeping in mind the helpful words you printed a while ago about ‘rejection’).
    Have had one rejection so far, but the editor was very kind in offering worthwhile suggestions and support! Most of this business is a ‘Waiting uGame’…four to six months seems to be what most publishers say.
    Question: What do you think about acquiring an agent?

    • Kathy on April 18, 2024 at 2:53 pm

      You should definitely feel encouraged by a turn-down with suggestions. No one puts in that kind of time saying no-thanks unless they see excellent possibilities there.

      Yes, lots of waiting, and I’m honestly not sure that having an agent helps much with that aspect of the business.

      But we carry on!

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