Monday, July 5, 2010

Will the Real Joe Sottile Please Stand Up?

I love this photo, and if had started reading at his age, maybe my whole life would have been different. As it was, my life is more complicated than I ever thought it would be. That is, because I wear many hats in my so-called "retirement." 

We all wear different hats in life, especially as we get older. My hats include those of a husband, father, grandparent, uncle, friend, teacher, essayist, instructor, tutor, performer, golfer, biker, children’s poet, and an adult poet.

Over the past three decades I have written many children’s poems.  During that time, I sometimes have played this recording in my head, “Someday I am going to get more serious about writing adult poetry and join an official writing group.”  Now I feel old enough, and I have taken the plunge. I am more than willing to share my poetry for adults and chase around for publishers.

I feel passionately about poetry, whether it’s written for children or adults. Exactly how passionately? Well, I have strong beliefs about the value of poetry. I am working on a poetry handbook for homeschoolers, and what follows is an excerpt from the introduction:

“Poetry can help you understand the world better and yourself better. Poetry can provide an avenue for you to untangle mixed-up feelings. Poetry can make you laugh and encourage you to take problems in stride. Poetry can give you words of courage to remember in times of stress.

Poetry can be a friend that goes wherever you go. Poems can be tucked into your book bag or your brain matter, and taken with you on any journey, short or long. In other words, poetry can play an important part in your life as a road map to courage, compassion, laughter, fun, success, and self-knowledge. This will become clearer as you read on.

Getting involved in poetry can make you a better listener, observer, reader and writer. Most kids will admire your brain power, and adults will clap wildly as you enter the room. (Okay, am exaggerating about the loud applauds, but you can do that in poetry—exaggerate, and you tickle someone’s funny-bone. You have the power to make others laugh or to take your words  seriously.) Poetry is great stuff, and best of all: you’re the boss of your words. You can do whatever you set out to achieve, if you are determined.”

I am determined to share what I have learned and what others have learned about the world through poetry. I have a popular website for kids, parents, and teachers at , which features a monthly poetry contest for kids in grades 1-12 and photos of where “Silly” Sottile was last seen usually doing poetry.

You can help me to blog more often about what I believe in as a poet and person who wears many hats, if you become one of my “followers” at My main goal is to blog about stuff that is meaningful to writers and change the world on poem at a time.

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