Greg Pincus is determined to introduce poetry to as many people as possible. That’s why the poetry lover, library volunteer, and Los Angeles-based screenwriter is celebrating National Poetry Month by showcasing the unpublished works of 30 well-known children’s poets on his blog, GottaBook.
Pincus cooked up the idea of using his blog as a place to debut the unveiled works of 30 established children’s poets. Dubbed “30 Poets/30 Days” (@30poets30days), this year’s effort will feature unpublished poems from such well-known writers as Ellen Hopkins, National Book Award-winner Thanhha Lai, and Bruce Colville.
Followers of his blog love the annual online ode to verse making, says Pincus, who came up with the idea in 2009. “The real joy of the event is hearing from teachers and librarians who read the blog, then share the poetry with their students,” he wrote in an email. “I’ve heard from school librarians who feature each poem with the books by the poets or create a wall of the poems that grows all month. I’ve heard from teachers who get their kids to write based on whatever the poet of the day has conjured up or simply start each day by reading a poem or two, then moving on.”
Has it been tough to get recognized writers to submit their work to GottaBook? “It is not hard to get people to participate. In fact, folks love to take part,” says Pincus. “All of us want as many kids as possible exposed to as much poetry as possible, and ’30 Poets/30 Days’ is a fun way of doing that.” Pincus will post at least one poem each day in April.
Pincus, who wrote the screenplay for the 2000 TV movie Alley Cats Strike, volunteers two days a week at his kids’ school library, at Larchmont Charter School in West Hollywood. There’s no professional librarian at the facility so parents pitch in. There’s also no budget for buying books. But, says Pincus, there are still lots of books on the shelves.
“Over 10K with no budget ever, I’m proud to say,” he wrote in an email of the effort parents put out on behalf of the library.
As “30 Poets/30 Days” lives on a blog and is being promoted on Twitter, Pincus’s paean to the wonders of poetry is an exercise in digitizing the arts, but it’s much more about introducing poetry to as wide an audience as possible.
“To me, the fact that poems and poets can go from my blog into homes and classrooms is what keeps me going forward each year,” he says.