Poetry Monday: “Cookie” by David L. Harrison

 Howdy, cowpokes!

‘Bout time you moseyed over, cuz I’m lookin’ to rustle up a posse and head this no-good outlaw off at the pass:

Yeah, yeah, looks innocent enough, but the folks ’round here kin tell ya a story or two. Rumor has it that this cowboy roams the range spoutin’ that stuff called po-et-ry, gittin’ the young bucks and mares all riled up, causin’ mayhem of a general variety. And if that ain’t enough to spin your spurs, we heared he’s been gallopin’ from one end of the county t’other, hootin’ and hollerin’ and…


Dagnabit! So here’s the lowdown: Goes by the name of David L. Harrison, and by all accounts he’s got more trophies under his ten-gallon hat than a rodeo star on a hot streak. The guy’s strung enough words together to fill eighty books for the young’uns, includin’ this here one that’s the subject of all his recent shenanigans.

COWBOYS: Poems by David L. Harrison, Illustrations by Dan Burr
COWBOYS: Poems by David L. Harrison, Illustrations by Dan Burr

Ayup, I reckon it’s all right, what with them lifelike pictures by Dan Burr. That Burr — he’s the accomplice, ya see, a master of disguise. Turns out he’s harborin’ a wanted man in plain sight, tryin’ to pass him off as a cowboy.

Why, just t’other day, we heard this David character’d been seen chowin’ down out on the range. Got so worked up ’bout the cook’s stew that he set himself to versifyin’ right then and there, swingin’ his eatin’ irons in the air and clangin’ on his tins like a tumbleweed banshee.

If you’re a good deputy, you’ll be able to eyeball Harrison in this picture here. His accomplice caught the whole scene in paint. See him?

Cowboys-Cookie: Where is David Harrison?
Who’s that suspicious fellow hunkered down back there?
(Illustration copyright Dan Burr. All rights reserved.)

No? Well, then, take a gander at this new-fangled movin’ picture thing and see if there’s a clue. Aw, go’on — go ahead and enjoy the po-et-ry. I won’t tell the sheriff. When you’re done, I’ll meet ya back at the ranch.


Tonight’s your lucky night, boys.
Look what I fixed for you!
Stood all day in the burning sun
to make this son-of-a-gun stew.

Longhorn steaks two inches thick,
dig in while they’re hot.
The coffee’ll keep you up all night,
belly up to the pot.

You know your Cookie loves you, boys,
loves to see you fed.
Stood all day in the burning sun
to bake this sourdough bread.

Sop up all the stew, boys,
take another steak.
Have another hunk of bread.
You know I love to bake.

You know your Cookie loves you, boys,
tell you what I’ll do—
tomorrow I’ll fix steak and bread
and a big old pot of stew!

[heading style=”1″]SNICKERVIEW™ with DAVID L. HARRISON[/heading]

Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s David!

He cleans up nice

David, let’s get serious now: who are you, where are you, and how long have you been a rhyming fool?
Okay, Renée, you asked for it. I made up my first poem when I was five or six. It was a triplet and was inspired by the smell of the fish my mother was preparing in the kitchen. Here it is in its entire, unabridged version.

Sometimes I wish
I had a little fish
Upon a little dish.

Now aren’t you sorry you asked? That was my early poetry period. Some say it was my best work, but that hurts my feelings.

The early poetry period was followed by the joke period. I felt certain that Mr. Bob Hope desperately needed the outrageously funny jokes that I made up on the spot. Lots and lots and lots of them. The callous Mr. Hope never responded. Looking back, I have my suspicions that Mom never mailed them.

Then came my comic book period. I wrote and illustrated a number of them and published them at home for an audience of two, if you counted both parents. Some of the dialogue was brilliant: “POW! BAM! GOT YOU, YOU DIRTY RAT!” Some say it was my best prose, but that hurts my feelings.

After that I took up art. Need a turkey for Thanksgiving? A snowman for Christmas? I’m your man. Or was. These days, not so much.

I ran through all these careers before I was ten. After that came trombone, baseball, and girls. The girl period was rather long and confusing and led, eventually, to my being married. I don’t remember many details. Oh, yes, I went to college, too, and became a scientist.

I also decided to become a writer. After all, I had plenty of experience with poetry, jokes, and comics. After only six years and 67 rejections, I sold a story and banked a cool check for $5.03. The rest is history.

Was Cowboys inspired by your own time on the range?
My family moved from our home in Springfield, Missouri to Ajo (pronounced Ah-ho), Arizona when I was four. I cried halfway there because my life was over. We moved back when I was 8 ½. I cried halfway back because my life was over. During the years between, I fell in love with the west. I loved the cactus-strewn deserts, the purple mountains on the horizons, the songs, and the idea that real cowboys with real boots and real Stetsons could be found along almost any street.

When I was a little older, well, okay, 72, I asked my talented artist friend, Dan Burr, if he would like to do another book with me. Before that we had done Pirates together and had a fine time. Dan lives on a ranch in Idaho and has a lot of cowboy friends. I had all that experience as a five-year-old staring up at cowboys, so it was a natural for both of us.

The poems in this book are free verse. Do you have a preference between free verse and rhyme, and why? Which is more prevalent in your books?
Renée, do I need to repeat my first poem to remind you of what a swell rhymer I am? If you read “The Bunkhouse,” you’ll see how cleverly I rhymed

“Reckon this place could use a cleanin’.”


“Some boys hang their clothes on the floor.”

Well, okay, that one didn’t turn out very well. But how about “Cookie”?

“Tonight’s your lucky night, boys.
Look what I fixed for you!
Stood all day in the burning sun
To make this son-of-a-gun stew.”

Now that really does rhyme. So ha! (Ha. Hahaha. HAHAHAHA! As all the toughest cowboys say…OOPSIE! I must have been dippin’ into the moonshine before writing that question. For the record, David is, indeed, a swell rhymer…and the poem he did in the video that you just watched for my blog that you are currently reading…well, it rhymed.) 

But I guess your question is about which I like better: verse (that rhymes) or free verse (that doesn’t rhyme). The answer is, I don’t know. Some poems need to rhyme. I don’t know why. They just do. And others wouldn’t be caught dead rhyming. All I know is that I begin with an idea, roll it around in my head long enough for something to start taking shape, and then experiment with how to write it. Being a cowboy on a cattle drive was serious, dangerous business. Many of the men were young, hardly out of their teens, so you know they must have played a few pranks and shared some songs and laughter, but somehow most of the poems in the book didn’t want to rhyme and I wasn’t going to try to make them.

Besides being a storied cowpoke and outlaw, you are also the Poet Laureate of Drury University and you have an elementary school named after you! Did you have to buy a twenty-gallon hat after all that? What do you see as your “mission” or responsibilities as a children’s poet in light of these honors and, more importantly, did they come with a lifetime supply of sourdough biscuits?
I told them that I prefer chocolate chip cookies to sourdough biscuits. So far I’m still waiting. The problem in writing for kids is that you have to be honest with them. They need the truth. If I get a fact wrong, my readers will learn false information. A nonfiction writer spends a lot of time worrying about getting the information right. A poet must be careful about keeping his poem open and accessible so that young readers can “get it” and find some pleasure in it. Unfamiliar words need to be defined or demonstrated in the text. Learning takes place when a young person encounters something new, understands it, and incorporates it into his/her growing body of knowledge.

That sounded pretty grown up and I apologize. When they named the school after me, the superintendent of schools told me I had to behave myself for the rest of my life and, to make sure I did, he gave my wife the responsibility of keeping an eye on me. Now that’s just not fair!

You’ve written 80 children’s books, many of them themed poetry collections. Which subjects have been your favorites and why? Do you prefer writing for one age group in particular? Poetry or prose?
Now you’re sounding grown up and you should apologize. (You’re right. I’m sorry. The covered wagon carrying the rest of the jokes sank in the Mediterranean, so this is what I ended up with.)

Okay, yes, my degree from Drury was in science and my master’s from Emory involved the study of parasites. You satisfied now? How about this? For my research, I had to study a tapeworm called Hymenolepis diminuta. It starts inside a small beetle called Tribolium confusum and infects rats that eat the grain or flour the beetles have invaded. (Delicious!) That’s why my favorite group to write for is rats, but most rats despise poetry, especially poems about fishes on dishes, so sometimes I write for kids.

I grew up collecting objects of nature: turtle shells, insects, fossils, snake skins, and such. I still love to be outdoors where I can watch and learn. Like all cowboys, I live on a lake in Missouri and fill journal pages with descriptions of the plants and creatures I get to look at every day. I love writing for young people. Many of my books are for kids in elementary grades, but sometimes I take on those big kids in middle school. They’re scary, but when you get to know them, they’re okay.

Your degrees are in science. How did a science guy end up moseying along the path to publication, especially considering how difficult it is to get poetry published?
During my last semester of college at Drury, I took a writing class and rediscovered my love for writing. The professor encouraged me to stick with it, so I did. For a number of years I wrote stories for grownups. Somewhere during that time I accepted a dare from a friend to write something for kids. I liked that better, and over time transitioned from the adult market to the children’s market.

Maybe I’m a poet today because of the fish that Mom cooked when I was little. I have to blame someone! Poetry can be hard to write well. It’s hard to sell. Not everyone likes poetry. One of my books doesn’t even have the word “Poetry” on the cover. We tried to sneak up on ‘em.

Robert Frost called poetry a word game. He also called a poem a feat of association. I think he said that. Anyway, it sounds pretty good, so if he didn’t say it, he should have. A poet friend of mine called this morning and we complained to each other for thirty minutes about how tough it is to get poetry published. By the time we hung up we had not solved one thing. All we agreed on was that we’re poets, so we’re stuck with being poets. It’s sort of like having the shingles, but it lasts longer.

What’s your best advice for kids who want to write poetry?
Choose poems you like and have fun reading them. Read them aloud. With expression. To somebody. More than once. Decide what you like or don’t like about each poem. Pick a theme – school, family, friends – and make a list of subjects you might want to write about that theme. Write a poem about something on the list. Work on it until you like how it sounds when you read it aloud. Don’t be afraid to change words here and there to make it sound better.

Now pick something else from the list and write your second poem. When that one’s done, write your third poem. Don’t stop having fun. I forbid it! I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of poems, but I’ve been writing for more than one hundred years, so I have a head start.

What’s your best advice for poets who want to get their poetry published (other than “git along, little dogie”)?
Think long term. If you expect to be published right away, I wish you the best but caution you about setting yourself up for frustration. Poetry has a long history of being hard to publish. In today’s market, the number of poetry books published is small and the competition is worldwide. You have little chance of breaking in with anything less than the best you can do, so prepare to polish your work until it practically glows in the dark.

Study the market, but don’t try to mimic what you see there. Think of something that isn’t there so your editor will see something fresh and new.

Consider the magazine market. Many magazines will publish a poem or two now and then. Submit your work to contests, send poems to publications that produce newsletters, post your work on your own blog or others’. Get your work out there in as many ways as you can think of. It not only feels good to see your poem in print or on a screen, but you increase your chances of eventually getting paid for your work.

What do you do when you’re not galloping into sunsets?
Sandy, my mean old wife, makes me take wonderful trips to places like St. John in the Virgin Islands or Napa Valley in California. Sometimes she makes me go to New York City and watch a bunch of fantastic plays. During the winter, she makes me go have fun in Florida for several weeks. I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

Oh yes, I love to read, too, but doesn’t everybody? The correct answer is yes.

Quick: a rhyming couplet using the phrase “puddin’ foot” (“an awkward horse” according to this Western slang dictionary).

Ack! That’s hard! You don’t play nice!

Puddin’ Foot’s an awkward horse,
So they call me Puddin’ Foot, of course.

Moving right along . . .

And finally, can we come visit you and peruse your wares? (Online, of course, not at your house! Unless you’ve got some leftover son-of-a-gun stew, in which case, we’ll bring our eatin’ irons.)
If you come to my house, I charge a chocolate chip cookie at the door. So it might be cheaper to just hang out with me on my website or blog. I started blogging in 2009 and haven’t missed too many days posting something since then.

One of my favorite pages on the website is for teachers. It suggests several tips to help students get more excited about writing. All of us who write have our own pet methods, so there’s the place where you can find some of mine.

The blog gets a lot of visitors, and many are students. One feature is called “Word of the Month Poetry Challenge.” There’s a division for adults and another for students. Each month I post a new word and challenge poets of all ages to make up a poem inspired by that word. It’s a wonderful exercise for the imagination and serves well to remind us that every word has stories in it when we stop long enough to think about them. Poets in several countries have posted their work.

I don’t make a lot of school visits these days because of so many cutbacks in school budgets. I still love to do it when I can and enjoy working with teachers and students on various aspects of writing.

About the time this interview is posted, Let’s Write This Week with David Harrison will be on the market. It’s a set of twenty videos on DVD. Each one is a 5-minute writing tip presented by me for students in grades 3-5 or so and essentially represents what I do during my school visits. The DVDs are sold as a kit that also includes a teachers’ guide book, twenty copies of a student writing journal, and three of my trade books – one each of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry – that I used as examples with the writing tips. The kit is published by Phoenix Learning Resources and distributed by Stourbridge Distributors. Teachers can also take this as a three hour graduate course online from Drury University.

Website:  http://www.davidlharrison.com/
Blog: http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/

(I highly recommend checking out David’s blog because it’s a ton of fun! He recently had a couplet feeding frenzy, followed by a poem parody picnic that brought poets out of the woodwork.) 

Also, we didn’t get to it in the interview, but David has also waded into the waters of self-publishing, an area that interests me a great deal. David’s project is a collection of poetry for adults called Goose Lake, beautifully illustrated by Sladjana Vasic and available for Kindle. David wrote a post about the whole shebang!

Goose Lake: A Year in the Life of a Lake, poems by David L. Harrison
Goose Lake: A Year in the Life of a Lake, poems by David L. Harrison

Thanks for stopping by, David, and for adding “Cookie” to No Water River’s video poetry library, which I hope is going to grow and grow and grow. I thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of it.

Renée, it’s my pleasure to be here, as well as in No Water River’s video library. This is me clapping loudly for your efforts to make more poetry by more poets available for those who want to sample from a full menu of tasty poetic offerings. Thank you so much for inviting me.

It’s sort of like having the shingles, but it lasts longer.
–David Harrison, on being a poet

You heard it here first, folks!

[heading style=”1″]More Stuff about David[/heading]

[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities for “Cookie”[/heading]

[heading style=”1″]Coming up next: Poetry Friday, 9/21, is here. It’s a doozy.[/heading]

Video Location: The sometimes scummy but usually lovely Goose Lake in Springfield, Missouri. Oh, wait…I mean out on the dusty range with three thousand heads of cattle and some burly cowboys…

See more poems in my poetry video library.

“Cookie” copyright © David L. Harrison. Published in Cowboys, Wordsong, 2012. All rights reserved.

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  1. Doggonit, this blog is dangerous, I nearly fell out of my saddle into them there cacti!

    I suspect David’s biggest problem is the nationality of rats he has been trying to write for. i feel if he would try and woo a French or Italian rat with his words, he might have even more publishing success?

    Loved the whole post, from the sourdough to the puddins and the advice.


    1. Une jeune femme!

      I lick my lips at your muse’s thinking,
      French food! Oui to a la stinking!
      They have the best trash cans in the alley,
      I go there first on my evening’s sally.

      — Auguste Rodint

        1. Oui, le Moulin Rouge by far
          Appeals to me beneath the bar,
          While on the stage it’s ooh la la,
          I dine on wine and caviar

          1. Alas, this rat is home on the range,
            All these fancy names sound strange
            To my poor tongue, although it tries,
            (I will say, I like your fries),
            But I can tell you, in my haste,
            I’d love to have a little taste
            Of all the delectable treats in France,
            If one day I should get the chance.

  2. Passing on the Son of a Gun Stew, thanks. I’ll be scouring the library’s shelves for David’s books for my boys. The art in Cowboys is beautiful, just beautiful. It reminds me of CM Russell’s western paintings. You are building up an incredible video poetry library here and, as always, you’re resources are the cat’s meow. (Not western slang, I know, but give a girl some slack until she’s had her morning coffee)

    Thank you!!

  3. What a terrific fun interview! Loved Cookie, loved meeting David, loved all the poetry advice! Definitely need to check out David’s blog and poem of the month challenge… even though I don’t really write poetry it sounds fun! It’s always a treat to read your interviews, Renee – they make me laugh 🙂

    1. Greetings, Susanna,

      I’m glad to meet you here at Renee’s fun spot. Thanks for your kind remarks. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview!

      I’ll love to have you drop by my place anytime.

      1. I’ve just been over to read September’s poems of the month so far – starting with Jane Yolen! – and they’re all so good! I think I’m too intimidated to post anything 🙂 But what a great blog you have! And I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed the rat banter above between you, Joanna and Renee! 🙂

  4. Renee, I am delighted and flattered by all your hard work to try to make me look good! You did the best you could so I hope no one blames you. Thank you for your skilful handling of all this material. It’s wonderful to be in such good hands.


    1. Well, sometimes the material just speaks to me, David. And in this case, it said “that there’s a dangerous, versifyin’ outlaw, so ya better git to huntin’ ‘im down right quick.”

      I have a lot of these voices in my head.

  5. Renee, your cowboy talk had me cackling like a coot! And I could listen all day to David’s soothing voice reciting his poems. But don’t let his sweet manner fool ya. He had some rip-snortin’ comebacks to your witty questions.Fun! Thanks for the laughs 🙂

    1. Hello, Iza,

      I’m having a good time today reading notes from Renee’s visitors and friends. I appreciated your kind comments very much. I have some educational books coming out next spring that contain 96 new poems, and I think I’m going to get to record them. I’m looking forward to that!

  6. Yeehaw! This here post had me snortin’ and spinnin’ my spurs!!

    I really believe this is my favorite interview EVER! I felt like David’s personality came through in such a way that it makes me want to saddle up and head on up to Missouri! Not in a stalking sort-of way…. but in a I-wanna-pick-your-brain sort-of way!!!

    I am definitely roundin’ up some of your books, David.

    Renee, you’ve done it again! Your interviews are just full of spit ‘n’ shine!

    (Ok….I tried the cowboy talk thing! You’d think I’d be mighty good at it livin’ in West Texas….but I’m lacking for sure!)

    1. Hi Penny!

      If you show up in my front yard, I’ll be peeking out the curtains to welcome you! Otherwise, I’ll look forward to hearing somethng from you on my website and/or blog. Not many people think to sign on the guest book but I always look, just in case.

  7. FUN! And what a lovely background for your video, David, sitting by Goose Lake. (Your GOOSE LAKE e-book looks fabulous on my iPad, by the way!)

    1. Thank you, Janet! I love it when you talk that way! (Hint, hint, wink, wink)

      Renee, I DO hope your readers are paying attention to this subtle byplay.

      1. Yeah, we’re on to you, David and Janet!

        I hear GOOSE LAKE is quite the inspiration for poetry. Why, if I were you, I might even put together a collection of poems, maybe for adults, and call it GOOSE LAKE and sell it in an ebook version…

        …but that’s just me. 😉

  8. Renee,
    Your cowboy voice was as much fun as David’s poem! Seems like you should write yerself a cowboy story!
    David, I will share your poem with my kiddos when they wake up. Very fun! And I’m heading over to your web site/blog! Thanks for the interview!

  9. Yeehaw! This is such a rich compilation of poetry, interview, video, and downright hilarity! What a great resource you two have created here. I’ve been a big fan of David’s for years– his poem, “My Book” from SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK (1993) has been a mantra in my children’s literature classes forever. And we love his new book COWBOYS here in Texas Big Time! Keep on with the great work, both of you…

    1. It’s a mutual admiration, Sylvia! I must say that Renee brings out the serious side of me. It may take a while to get my sense of humor back.

      Thanks for mentioning “My Book.” Have I told you that the poem is sandblasted into the sidewalk of The Children’s Garden in Phoenix’s Burton Barr Library? It’s also lettered all over a bookmobile van in Pueblo, Colorado. That poem gets around!

    1. Hi Catherine!

      Thanks for coming by. I need moral support with all these Italian and French ladies throwing poem challenes at me!

      As for Kobo, only time will tell. To play it safe, I’m working on a book for kids that I think might sell. It’s called FIFTY SHADES OF DIRT. I’m going after boy readers.

  10. In today’s edition of “As Poets Match Wits” hostess Snickerviewer Renee LaTulippe may be unseated by reigning word-ropin’ tapeworm expert David L. Harrison!

    Stay tuned for more after these messages…


          1. Poor think had a heart attack and dropped dead off the high perch in the cage. I’d been urging it for weeks to say it’s name: Tim. “Pretty Tim,” I’d say. “Say ‘Pretty Tim. Say Tim.'” After weeks of that, Tim looked at me, said something like, “Ack,” and died.

            I wept copious tears. Feeling remorseful, I buried Tim in a Folger’s coffee can in the yard and put a little stick cross over his grave.

            That night I kept thinking that I had just buried my opportunity to add Tim’s beautiful wings to my collection. It wasn’t like he was needing them now. And I was sure he loved me. He would want me to do the right thing.

            Next morning I exhumed Tim. He smelled pleasantly like a cup of coffee. I clipped his wings, feet, and tail feathers and started to rebury him.

            And that’s when I realized that I had no parakeet skull in my skull collection . . .

    1. Erik, thank you. I’m glad you liked Cookie’s menu. As for me — and don’t breathe a word — I’m off to a friend’s house tonight to eat Kentcky Fried Chicken.

  11. Great interview, video, and book! David Harrison has quite a range … I was working at Parents Magazine Press and was fortunate to have his adorable book, Detective Bob and the Great Ape Escape, on the list. Here’s to many more David Harrison books!

    1. Stephanie, what a wonderful surprise! I hang onto my last copy of DETECTIVE BOB and still receive the occasional fan letter about the book. It was my effort to write to the TV generation of children who were accustmed to seeing visual hints. Thanks so much for bringing back good memories!


      1. Hmm, 2 1/2 you say? Hmmm. I have several books that would be just right for them, in about five years. The only books I’ve done about cars and such went out of print a long time ago so you would need to find them somewhere in used books. CARS AND TRUCKS; LET’S GO TRUCKS! and BUSY MACHINES were publshed by Western Publishing waaaaay back. After Random acquired the book assets from Western, I lost track of most of my old work. I forgot, ELOISE AND THE OLD BLUE TRUCK was in that group too.

        As for current books in print, I would recommend WHEN COWS COME HOME; THE ANIMALS’ SONG; PIGGY WIGLET; and maybe FARMER’S GARDEN or FARMER’S DOG GOES TO THE FOREST.

        Thanks for asking!

          1. Hope you find something your boys will like, Renee. Thanks again for asking. One of my titles, THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES, was translated into Italian sometime in the 1970s. I doubt that you could find a copy but it’s always a possibility. It’s probably better suited for children slightly older but yours would love the pictures and would soon grow into the words.

    1. Hello Carrie!

      I haven’t even had my first cuppa yet and you go tearing down the road in verse! What a delightful ditty. Thanks so much.

      1. Carrie’s like that, David. No compassion at all. She’ll be on the blog in October, by the way, with a very clever poem!


        I thank you for your metered verse
        So perfect (even if it’s terse)

        It’s hard for poets to converse…
        To speak this way is like a curse.

  12. How does a poor ol’ prairie farm girl have a chance with all this cowboy lingo? Here I am, stuck in the city, not a cow or a steer or a bull in sight, just some dang ol’ pigeons rulin’ the roost.

    I feel like I’ve been out on the range now, though, (I think I slept on a cactus), and I want to give a hoot and a holler for Cowboy David’s rootin’ tootin’ poetry, and a yahoo for Cookie’s stew!

    Great post, great poem, great interview. My cowboy hat is doffed to you. Wait. I don’t have a cowboy hat. Will a baseball cap do?

    1. Dear Beth,

      I stuffed a pigeon once, back in the days when I wanted to become a taxodermist. I stretched the neck skin so that the poor, wretched thing, when finished, looked as though there had been a giraffe in the woodpile. But anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself with this blog presentation. My hat is off to Renee for all her wonderful work to make it seem so easy!

  13. I had the extreme pleasure of not only working with David at the Highlights Foundation Poetry workshop, but also getting Cowboys signed by him. My son is so in love with that book I have to pry it out of his hands to put him to sleep at night sometimes!

    David, hearing your voice always makes me smile. The joy infused in your work comes out so clearly. A truly wonderful addition to Renee’s library!

    1. Hello there, Julie! It’s good to hear from you and I thank you for your kind words. I’m especially happy that your litte one likes my book!

      Thanks for leaving a comment to let me know you were here. That’s always much appreciated.

  14. I’m really late to this party and boy did I miss a rootin’ tootin’ time. Even the comments were a blast.And GOOSE LAKE is now on my kindle for pc! I’d say ‘I can’t wait to crack it open’ but my pc might not like that so I’ can’t wait to double click’ will have to do.
    Thanks to David and to Renée for all the rhymies (and not rhymes) and laughs.

    1. Greetings, Dana,

      Better late to a party than not at all. This way you get all the leftover peanuts and chips. Renee is a bad influence on me. I hope she doesn’t invite me back, but I do have a picture book coming out in spring that I might like to talk about. Glad you like the rhymies. They’re definitely cuter than the the regular ones.

    2. Dana, I also meant to thank you for getting a copy of GOOSE LAKE. If you enjoy it, I hope you’ll tell the next 500 people you meet. If you don’t, well just shut up about it. Sounds fair to me.

  15. I am sorry to be late commenting Renee & David, but couldn’t not say this was a wonderful post, interview, filled with so many funny words & information. The ‘shingles’ comparison seems quite apt. But-I am thrilled this was about you, David. I am from Missouri originally & lived on a lake in the outskirts of KC, Mo. I bought your “Goose Lake” the first time I discovered it & have loved it, especially because of the time we had on our lake. Thank you for those beautiful poems, & for Cookie, too. You are a clever poet! Thanks again to you both.

    1. Dear Fellow Missourian!

      Thanks so much for your compliments. It’s hard to beat living on a lake. My notes about this place run into the hundreds so I had a lot of material to choose from when I finally sat down to start the GOOSE LAKE collection. The poems are for a general audience that includes young people as well as adults. Each spread includes a prose description and a poem inspired by that scene. I loved writing the book and am always happy when I hear from someone who enjoyed reading it.

  16. Love the comments too! I also had forgotten that you are the author of The Book of Giant Stories, which I own & read to my children when they were growing up. Try to find it Renee. It is good!

    1. Thanks again, Linda! I need to put you on my payroll!

      When my editor called from New York to say that GIANTS had just won a Christopher Medal, I was in the process of moving from Kansas City to Springfield and didn’t see how I could justify a trip to NYC to accept the award. She went for me and shipped the medal, which sits on a shelf next to the dozen or so translations of the book. I’ve always wished that I had managed to make that trip.

  17. I want to thank Renee again and all the delightful visitors who have been by this week to leave witty and supportive comments. Thank you thank you thank you!

    Also, I decided to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of my blog today (Thursday) through Saturday. The real date was August 9 but I didn’t get to it.

    I don’t want to steal any of Renee’s friends and visitors but I’d like to borrow you long enough to invite you to my blog to say hello or just check it out. After all, a guy my age has few 3rd anniversaries left to celebrate! http://davidlharrison.com

  18. Renee once again you knock it out of the park with an informative interview. David once again I learn something new from you in regards to writing and submitting work. Your advice of “thinking long term” when sending work out is spot on. The No Water River video library gets richer and richer by the month!!!!!!

    1. Dear Laura,

      Thank you! I’ll tell Dan Burr that he’d better come back and read the comments about his work that have come in since he visited here a couple of days ago. He was pleased then and would be thoroughly tickled now!

  19. Hi Renee,
    What a lovely place you have here. NO WATER RIVER is such a cool name!
    I have enjoyed reading ALL your poems on David’s blog. And what a treat to visit your ‘ranch’, mingle with the cowboys and cowgirls, listen to David’s rendition of COOKIE, and laugh, smile, and laugh.
    Great interview. I will be back for more.



    Hi David,
    What a joy to hear you reading Cookie! It brought me back to THE BARN. Once again you forgot to don your cowboy hat. The interview was so much fun. My mind is swirling in cowboy talk — II think I will immerse myself in a good COWBOYS book…


      1. Thank you, Renee. I promise to gallop on by as often as I can.
        I forgot to mention how much I love the $50 000 Reward WANTED … Alive poster of David.
        AND I am enjoying the comments very much.


    1. Dear Cory,

      You are always so supportive. When I think of you, one image that often comes to mind is you on the swing in the yard at Boyds Mill.

      I don’t know how many countries are involved in this long list of comments. Canada, Italy, France, United States . . . I wonder who else?

  20. Gosh, I had no idea. The man is insane! Loved every little bit of this fabulous post. I’m up for son-of-a-gun stew anytime :). Dan Burr’s art is also sublime . . .

    Do you think I’m too old to run away from home and become a cowgirl?

    1. Hi Jama,

      I’m loving all these comments, even those that cast aspersions on the state of my mental health! No one even gives me credit for deftly changing the real name of son-of-a-gun stew!

      1. I discovered the real identity of the stew, David, but I was being discreet so as to not ruin your squeaky-clean rep. 🙂

        And Jama, of course I thought of you with the stew! And I heard that there’s no cutoff age for cowgirl school. Yeehaw!

    2. The one and only time I rode a horse was at a “dude ranch” back when I was a teen. That was the day I also discovered I was allergic to hay. And that, Jama, is why I’m not a cowgirl. I’m sure I would have been a great one…

      1. Hi Diane,

        Glad to see you back as promised. First time I was on a horse, it threw me over its head into a fence. The second time I tried a different horse. It threw me differently: threw a barbed wire fence. This is one reason why I write about horses more often that I ride them.

  21. Renee, Thanks for sharing David’s wonderful poem. It brought back memories of my grandfather who was a cookee (that’s the spelling I think he used) for lumberjacks in the Maine woods. Your entire post is terrific!

    1. Joyce, in the back matter of COWBOYS I was able to talk about my good friend’s grandfather who ran away from home at 14 to become a cowboy. Sometimes we forget that our family’s “ancient” history wasn’t that long ago.

  22. So much to love here! I felt like I was riding the range, spying loveliness here and yonder… and then some more!My father has a special love of cowboy poetry (he lives in North Dakota), and I am sending him a copy of this book. Here’s to glowing in the dark! Thanks, both, for inspiration and information.

  23. I think that I shall never see
    better note of what a poet be:
    “like shingles, only longer” —
    verbal scratches just prolong ‘er.

    Going to go look at that recipe for son-of-a-gun stew!

  24. Oh, this was so much fun to be a part of this Poetry Friday! My sixth grades will love this collection, and thanks for the teaching ideas, Renee! I love David’s approach to writing:
    All I know is that I begin with an idea, roll it around in my head long enough for something to start taking shape, and then experiment with how to write it.
    This is what I’ll take to my writing workshop classes next week – it’s what empowers all writers and poets, it’s the joy of the creative process. Thank you, David!

    1. Good morning, Tara,

      I’m glad you found something to take to class on Monday. I love it when a teacher talks like that!

      If you’d like to show your kids something else they might enjoy, visit my blog tomorrow (Monday). I’m posting a word challenge issued by Pat Lewis and it’s a wonderful exercise that will appeal to all ages. Six graders will have a big time with it. It’s at http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com

  25. Wow – a fab interview – and I have to say, I have never cried with laughter over comments before – that poor parakeet – and the pigeon with the giraffe neck! Glad I finally made it to the party and great to meet ‘ya, David – now I just need to see if I can find your books in the UK…

    1. Dear Marjorie,

      I’m glad to meet you too. Renee makes it easy to relax and let a little silliness slip out around the edges now and then. I used to tell kids in schools these stories and many others. These days there’s so much pressure to always be on task that I’m afraid we’ve lost some of the spontaneity that children love when they find it in adults. I’m grateful to Renee for reminding us that it’s important to have fun along the way.

      1. Ooh yes, Renee – now this could get dangerous…

        And David, I fear you are right in the main, though I am often pleasantly surprised by my kids reporting some anecdote their teachers have regaled them with… Nothing quite as funny as yours, though. Yours probably come with flashing lights and sirens these days -“Bwa bwa time-waster – timewaster” – or perhaps you could end up with surreal threads hanging in the air as the anecdote-chopper cuts you off after the permiited 15 seconds!! Yikes – definitely time I shut the computer down for the night!

        1. Marjorie, thanks for the smiles. I can see the anecdote-chopper approaching down the hall now. Ack! My daughter-in-law teaches fourth grade in Beaverton, Oregon. Jennifer has two dogs and sometimes tells her students about them during the school year. On the last day her hubby/my son Jeff takes the dogs to school for a while to let the kids see them. You would think that royalty has arrived. It’s a nice way to make teacher more like a “real” person to her kids.

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