Douglas Florian: ‘Young poets should keep their eyes, ears & mind open’

By Maryann Yin Comment

Happy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. To kick things off, we have award-winning children’s poet Douglas Florian.

Florian (pictured, via) started off as a cartoonist for The New Yorker. He now works as children’s poet and illustrator. He has also exhibited his abstract paintings.

In his new collection, unBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings, the poet explores the world of honeybees. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: Has the Internet changed the way you interact with readers?
A: With the Internet I get immediate feedback from students, teachers and librarians. But I still love to visit schools and hear directly from the kids. My well neglected blog is Florian Cafe.

Q: How did you publish your first book?
A: I had illustrated other author’s book, such as The Night It Rained Pancakes by Mirra Ginsberg. My editor, Susan Hirschman suggested I write my own so I created A Bird Can Fly.

Q: Any advice for reading poetry out loud?
A: When reciting poetry try to catch the rhythm of the poem and look for cues such as bold type, underlining, italics, or shapes that suggest a reading.

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: Young poets should keep their eyes, ears, and mind open. Also read a lot.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: Poetry, prose, and pistachios. My new books are UnBeelievables (Beach Lane), and Poem Runs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).