Poetry Is…a Journey, with B.J. Lee

At long last, I’m so pleased to present the fourth installment of the “Poetry Is…” series! This series is an occasional feature written by a guest poster who may or may not have anything to do with the world of kidlit on a professional basis, but who has some sort of special relationship with and story about what poetry has brought to her life. The guest poster has free reign to fill in the blank with whatever word she wants that has something to do with her personal reflection.

Today I welcome children’s writer and poetry pal B.J. Lee, an active member of the Poetry Friday community and of my poetry critique group, Poets’ Garage. B.J. shared her praying mantis poem with me a couple of years ago and it stuck to me like a stinkbug (in a good way). In fact, it’s one of those poems I wish I’d written — so smooth, so moody, so delectably twisty at the end. When I went looking for another victim for the Poetry Is… series, B.J. was first in line on the twig.

Take it away, B.J.!


by B.J. Lee


Poetry is a journey in many ways. For me, it is a journey inside your imagination, inside point of view, and inside form.

Poetry is a journey inside your imagination.

Writing poetry is a fascinating business! I like to dig deep to try to come up with the most imaginative approach to a poem subject. When studying the praying mantis, I found myself asking what its prayer might actually sound like, and this poem was born.

 (Click any poem image to enlarge and read.)


Poetry is a journey inside point of view.

I always ask myself if straightforward third person is always best for the poem I have in mind. When writing a poem about a sailboat, I first considered writing an apostrophe poem — addressing the sailboat directly — but then I hit upon writing from the point of view of the sailboat itself in this mask poem. Inanimate objects can have a lot to say!


Poetry is a journey inside form.

Discovering the right form is, possibly, my favorite aspect of writing poetry. Forms I love to work with include the silly limerick, the story-rich ballad, the musical roundel, and the lyrical pantoum.


(A big thank you to Renée for having me on No Water River and for getting me in front of the video camera to record a poem!)


About B.J.

An award-winning poet, B.J. Lee has published over 80 poems in anthologies, magazines, and online. Anthologies include The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (October 2015), The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrationsand One Minute Till Bedtime (Spring 2016)Magazines include Highlights for Children, The Journal of Children’s Literature, and The School Magazine (Australia), and online work includes several March Madness poems. A former music librarian at The Boston Conservatory, B.J. has a M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a B.A. in English. She lives and plays in Florida with her poet husband, Malcolm Deeley, and toy poodle, Bijoux. Visit her website at www.childrensauthorbjlee.com and her blog at www.bluewindow.weebly.com.

Take a voyage over to The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha Yeatts is hosting Poetry Friday.

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See more poems in my poetry video library. All poems © B.J. Lee. All rights reserved. All images are in the public domain. Post content © Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.