Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crackles of Speech: Poems by Steven Withrow is here!

BIG NEWS: My first collection of poems, CRACKLES OF SPEECH, is now available for purchase (along with a preview) at this secure link through 

This book is a gigantic milestone for me -- more than a decade of work and play -- and I am grateful for your support!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I have poems in two groundbreaking books

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have released an amazing anthology of poems and classroom activities for grades K-5, and my poem "Green Sea Turtle" is part of the fifth-grade section.

J. Patrick Lewis chose my "Moray Eel" and "Mussel" for this beautiful collection of poems and photographs. It's an honor to be published alongside many of the greatest poets for children (and for anyone) of all time: Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, David McCord, Valerie Worth, X.J. Kennedy, Carl Sandburg...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What It Means to Be a Poetry Advocate, or How a Poet Is Like an Egret

A short essay/mission statement for my new organization, Poetry Advocates for Children & Young Adults:

Poetry is pronounced dead, and reborn, so often that a phoenix metaphor springs too easily to mind. Poetry's fiery demise and ashy reincarnation might be the oldest news in literature; Sumerian scribes must have jived about it in cuneiform.

A more complex metaphor, and the one I prefer, is to see poetry not as a rising firebird, but as a wading waterbird.

Take the egret, for example. Its French name, aigrette, means both “silver heron” and “brush.” During breeding season, long filamentous feathers waterfall down the egret’s buff back, and these decorative plumes, prized by hunters and hatmakers a century ago, nearly brought about the egret’s extinction.

But the egret kept on, standing long-legged in liminal space—that transition point between land and water, past and present, life and death—stirring wavelets with its wings and harpooning breakfast with its bill.

Poets, too, live on this threshold: colonial or solitary, motionless or migratory as it suits us. This has always been our way.

In creating a grass-roots, not-for-profit organization devoted to advancing poetry for kids and teens, I am not concerned with staving off poetry’s passing or reinventing poetry’s purpose for a new generation. Rather, I am celebrating poetry as a living thing—as many living things at once—and I’m sharing it with everyone I know or hope to meet.

To advocate for poetry, in my view, is to live with an intense love of written and spoken language and a willingness to tell and show others (especially the youngest) how you feel and why.

Each day new poets are born.

There’s no phoenix flash or gunpowder delivery.

Just the raised voices of hatchlings, their musical, crook-necked cries.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Profile of me at Seven Impossible Things!

Jules Danielson has invited me to contribute monthly "Fieldnotes" to her amazing children's book blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. I'll be posting a regular interview/feature with a children's publishing professional -- starting December 15th with art director and book designer Susan M. Sherman.

There's a fun profile of me -- with plenty of pictures and a poem -- up today. Check it out!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Illustrating Children's Picture Books Arrives!

Lesley and I received our first advance copy of Illustrating Children's Picture Books from RotoVision in the UK today. We're both really happy with how the book came out -- an inviting, solid production in every way. It has a smaller trim size than my other books, which makes it very easy to hold and suits its subject matter well. We can't wait to share copies with the contributors and hear back from all of you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Five books in six years!

...and what a whirlwind it's been!

The Ilex Press/Watson-Guptill Publications, 2003

The Ilex Press/Barron's Educational Series, 2005

RotoVision/Focal Press, 2007

RotoVision/Rockport Publishers, 2008

RotoVision/Rockport Publishers, August 2009