an interview with poet kenn nesbitt . . .

saharan-wellFilling the Creative Well

This month we celebrate the prolific poet and former Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, whose newest book is the robust anthology of poems One Minute till Bedtime (Little Brown, Books for Young Readers), illustrated by award-winning Christoph Neimann. The anthology includes more than 140 “over-in-a-minute” poems by poets familiar and new, including Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, Nikki Grimes, Lemony Snicket, Jane Yolen, and many more.

CG: Describe your earliest memories of yourself creating something.
KN: When I was five, my parents bought me my first cookbook. In it was a recipe for making a giant gingerbread man, using an entire box of gingerbread cookie mix. The recipe showed how to make the various body parts by rolling different sized balls of dough and flattening them on a cookie sheet. I’ve loved cooking ever since.
 CG:  What does your workspace look like? How does it reflect and enhance your creativity?
KN: I do all of my writing on my laptop, mostly in bed with a huge pile of fluffy pillows. It’s a warm and comfortable place to write. It’s also more free of distractions than other parts of my house. Also, I do all of my writing in an app called Evernote, so that everything is synchronized with my phone, tablet, and other computers. This allows me to jot ideas and make edits from my phone at any time, without having to get to my computer.
CG: Is there a book, song, or work of art that you return to again and again to refill the creative well?
KN: There isn’t one particular work, but I often will read anthologies of poetry to put me in the mood and get my creative juices flowing. I find that reading other rhythmical works will get my brain into a rhythmical mood.
CG: Do you have a go-to activity that rejuvenates your creative spirit when you are feeling the well dry up?
KN: Absolutely. I’m a big walker. If I’m not feeling creative, I put on my shoes and go for a walk around my neighborhood. Getting my blood pumping always seems to improve my mood and can help me feel more creative.

CG: Where can people can find you?kenn-nesbitt-hi-res

Twitter: @poetry4kids
Instagram: @kennnesbitt

Thank you, Kenn!

And congratulations on the publication of your new anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime.