Featuring cherita!

March 26, 2015

Poetry Friday--Down to the Wire

Originally, the deadline for the Sketchbook Project was January 31, 2015, but, it was extended to March 31, 2015. Bad move. It gave me more time to procrastinate and now it's down to the wire. Will I get it in the mail and postmarked by March 31?

Silly me, I thought the sketchbook was the size of half a 8.5" X 11" piece of paper. I should have known better and taken it out of the envelope and measured it. I spent a lot of time setting all the photos and poems in place so that I could print it on the photocopier and when folded in half would be a perfect little book. My plan was to simply replace the sketchbook pages. I did print it on the photocopier and folded it. It looked great--spaced right, the photos ended up next to the poems, etc. However, the sketchbook, it turns out, is 5" X 7" and I'm up the proverbial creek without a paddle. So, now I'm resizing it, trying to figure out how to set the margins so that it prints only in a portion of the sheet. It's like a giant puzzle, and I'm not a puzzle person. I may not make it. Thirty-two pages never seemed so long!

If you click on the Sketchbook Project link on the right-hand side of the page, you can see the poems in the Sketchbook Project that I have posted since last spring. There are two that I hadn't posted earlier; I'm going to share those today.

I was reading through old reports from The National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) and "found" this poem that I used for the first poem in the book:
Collective Guilt
A poem composed of the words of Florence Kelley found in the "Report from the National Consumers' League" from the Proceedings of the Third Annual Meeting of the National Child Labor Committee, 1907

Young children pick the cotton
that we are wearing;
they help to spin it.
They help to stitch
it in the factories.

They have to do
with the distribution
of all our goods.

They are in the shoe factories.
They are in the garment
trade by thousands.
They are in the hat factories...

No one is free today
from participating in this
particular evil.

No one.

The photo and poem I used to end the book:
Title: John Howell, an Indianapolis newsboy, makes $.75 some days. Begins at 6 a.m., Sundays. Lives at 215 W. Michigan St.) Location: Indianapolis, Indiana. Created: 1908 August. Library of Congress: LC-DIG-nclc-03225


This photo is unusable.
I am in it.
The story is not about me.
I am merely the means,
I hope--I pray--
to a happy ending.

Here's a photo of an NCLC exhibit panel, which I have decided to use on the back cover:

If I get the book turned in on time, then it will be digitized, and, you'll be able to see it online. I'll let you know if and when that happens.

I'm probably not going to purchase a sketchbook for next year. I think the project is better suited for artists and the media they use. If I'm going to put that much work into a book of poems, then I might as well use the effort to try to sell it! I did enjoy what I created over the past year. I probably could write a few more poems and have real book, but for now, I'm stepping away...

Stop by the Poetry Friday Round-Up where today it is being hosted by Jone at Check It Out.


  1. What a terrible disappointment to get so far and then have technical difficulties! I hope you are able to get this done -- your work is too insightful on such a significant topic to let it go by the wayside. We are all cheering you on, Diane!

    1. Thanks, Keri. It'll go out, just not in the shape I imagined!

  2. Good luck getting the technical stuff straightened out. Glad to hear you enjoyed all the work you did for this project. Looking forward to seeing your book online!

    1. It's not looking good, today. :-( The copy machine is my enemy.

  3. I'm rooting for you, Diane! You've spent so much time and passion on this project, it's GOT to go forward. Your last page poem gave me chills.

  4. So powerful. I wish there was not still truth in that 1907 poem.

    Good good luck. You always do such cool things!

    1. The children around the world work so we can buy cheap goods. You have to wonder why we need so much of it.

  5. I've enjoyed all your poems, a reprise of the child labor problems of the past. Sorry for the problems when you've worked so hard to do this, Diane. It would make a book that would be important I think. There are still children laboring today, more hidden, and the laws on the books still don't keep them safe.

    1. So true, Linda. We don't help matters by electing politicians who think that workers have problems because they're lazy.

  6. What a project! What a journey! The way you use historic photos and primary source material is worthy of a book. Seriously. You could write a book for teachers who are HUNGRY for ways to get kids to this material and use it creatively...as you have!

  7. Hi Diane i took part in this chllenge and
    I am inviting you to write a poem on love in Ten Lines if you wish to participate follow link below

    much love...

  8. Diane, I hope the machine(s) will be nicer as the deadline looms. Technical glitches can't undo the magnificent work you've done, though, in telling this story/these stories. Thank you for sharing along the way.