These are gloomy times and we all need poetry to uplift us and make us laugh. This is why I am sharing a new book by Vikram Madan. It’s A HATFUL OF DRAGONS: AND MORE THAN 13.8 BILLION OTHER FUNNY POEMS. I guarantee you will smile and laugh.
I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour.
In 2013, another Madan book, THE BUBBLE COLLECTOR, was nominated for the CYBILS Poetry Award. It was a playful poetry book that my students loved.
Vikram graciously answered five questions:
1. I love 13,841,287,201* Nonsense Poems in One. How did you come up with that idea for a poem?
As a kid I was a fan of classic Mad Magazine features like ‘write your own speech’ or ‘make your own song’ using fill-in-the-blanks. I always desired to create a ‘write your own rhyming poem’ in the same format. It wasn’t until I finished writing mine that I realized I had created 13,841,287,201 possibilities! Hopefully it’ll keep some kids very, very busy (in a good way!).
2. Which comes first the sketch or the poem or does it depend?
Generally the words have to start the ball rolling because I often don’t know where a poem is headed till I start writing it! As I am putting the words down, a part of my brain starts conceptualizing visuals so both usually develop together as the poem proceeds. I love creating poems where the words and images work together tightly. That said, there are poems where the images just play a supporting role, and there are poems that were entirely sparked by a visual. So it depends.
3. What does your writing routine look like?
When I am working on a poetry collection, what works best for me is to go to the library, make sure I have an offline thesaurus and rhyming dictionary, and absolutely no internet access. This allows me to be productive and focused without distraction. I don’t have a daily writing schedule as my day job is ‘visual artist’ and I generally spend more time painting than writing. Writing for me is very project-based. When I have an idea I want to develop, I just keep working on it, on and off, but consistently, till done.
4. What are you working on currently?
I recently finished two public art projects as well as a couple of dummies for an early reader project. Once ‘A Hatful of Dragons’ launches, I hope to start working on another poetry collection. Someday I hope to also create a graphic novel.
5. What is one thing you’d like readers of all ages know about you?
Ten years ago I had a corporate tech job and spent most of my time in project-management meetings. If someone had told me then that one day I would be a full-time artist and published author, I wouldn’t have believed them. But what do you know, it’s entirely possible to follow your dream – it just takes perseverance and hard work.
I invite readers to follow my work on social media: @ArtByVikram (instagram, facebook, twitter).
A HATFUL of DRAGONS is a full of laughter 64 page book of poems, wordplay, and reader participation. If you are Jack Prelutsky or Shel Silverstein fans, you are going to love Madan’s poems.
“13,841, 287, 201 * Nonsense Poems in One” asks for reader participation. And how could you not be drawn to write one? I will definitely use this when I get to sub again. Here’s mine (my word choices are in CAPS).
I met a PANDA sitting by the BOOKSTORE.
She said, “Can we travel by PAPER PLANE?
Can you spare SIX SYLLABLES for THESE DRAGONS?
The GERMS are conspiring against my reign!”
I gave her FRIES AND HAGGIS and TWO OLD SOCKS.
She said, “MY HAMSTER MOONLIGHTS AS A SPY.”
She hugged MY BEST KAZOO and DID SOME YOGA–
Then TWIRLED away without waving goodbye.
Feel inclined? Share your poem in the comments.
STUDENT POETRY POSTCARDS
There is still time for Student Poetry Postcards. In this time of social distancing, they might bring cheer.
I have about fifty postcards created by students. I want to sent them off to good homes for National Poetry Month. Please sign up below.