About No Water River

Why “No Water River”?

When I was writing all the poems for the book Lizard Lou, my husband and I would often have brainstorming sessions for titles and ideas. He’s Italian and came out with the phrase fiume senz’acqua — river without water — a notion I really loved in its English form.

Suddenly my mind was filled with questions: What could it be? Why doesn’t it have water? Or does it have water and it’s just called that for mysterious reasons? What happens there? Who lives there? How do you get there?

It just seemed like such a fantastical place, a place where anything could happen, and I couldn’t wait to write the poem “Down by the No Water River” for inclusion in the book. But alas, as I explain in my very first post, that poem will not be written. It doesn’t want to come out. My husband has even written a couple of delightful versions in Italian, but my English translations are clunky and heavy-handed. So I’m waiting.

Nine months later, I was still wondering what happens at the No Water River…and realized that it might be the perfect place to bring children’s poetry and picture books alive.

The Mission

And magical things have happened! Since launching the blog in January 2012, I have met dozens and dozens of children’s writers, poets, artists, and teachers, all with the common goal of creating great literature for kids. This wonderfully supportive kidlit community has given me the energy to keep moving forward with No Water River, and has helped me define what it is I want to do here.

The initial purpose of NWR was to provide a place for me to practice the craft of children’s poetry, appreciate gorgeous picture books, and have some fun along the way. After doing a few poetry videos, I thought, Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to invite some other people over to hang out at the river? So I did, and it was fun indeed.

So much fun that now I’m on a regular little mission to create a vast video library of poets reading their own work — a library that I hope becomes a poetry resource for teachers, parents, and kids. Right now, the site offers:

  • over 100 poetry videos by published and unpublished authors
  • interviews with guest poets and illustrators
  • Spotlight on NCTE Poets video series with Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • extension activities for many of the featured poems and picture books
  • features on poetry books and picture books
  • links to more in-depth info on poets, writers, and illustrators
  • resources including big lists of children’s poets and poetic forms and terms
  • random giveaways!

Why Video…and Why Am I Always in the Woods?

Poetry is alive! Poetry is meant to be spoken and heard and savored by ears, mouth, eyes, bodies! You just can’t do that in a chair.

And I love the idea of setting poetry free, untethered, no walls or ceilings to contain it. It’s as simple as that.

That’s why, at No Water River, you’ll see my guests and me reading poetry in country lanes, castle battlements, crocodile pits, and cactus patches, setting poetry free in the wild.




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