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Spring 2019 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for Eloise Greenfield

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2019 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Spring 2019 Publishers’ Previews, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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A boy and his dog reveal how they feel about each other and the world in Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me.

Photo: Kamaria Greenfield.

1. Is there a dog in your life?

I’ve never had a dog of my own, but two dogs I knew, both Shih Tzus, acted as if they had things to say — if only their tongues would cooperate.

2. How did this book come to be published in the UK first?

British publisher Tiny Owl Publishing followed me on Twitter, and I followed them back. Shortly afterward they were nominated by IBBY UK for a publishing award. I then sent the Thinker manuscript to them. I’m glad I did. The book was beautifully produced and has done very well in the UK, receiving several favorable citations, including a Kate Greenaway Medal nomination for Ehsan Abdollahi’s illustrations.

3. Why are people afraid of poetry?

I don’t see the fear. When I watch poets or teachers reading poetry to children and/or adults, the listeners adapt to the mood, laughing or serious. Many people love to write poetry.

4. When does the meter of a poem-in-progress reveal itself to you?

It varies from one poem to another. It can start in my head before I write even one word, or it can come in the middle of a poem, and then I have to go back and revise. Or sometimes, with free verse, I move from one meter to another.

5. How would cat poetry be different?

LOL! That could be funny. But seriously, I would try to view that cat as an individual, the way I do with people and Thinker. Who knows what kind of personality that particular cat would have! I guess I’d have to daydream about it, which is a part of my normal process in writing.

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  1. I love your books! I bought a set of them for my son when he was young and now I’ll get a set for my grandson!

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