Stepping Down As Poet Laureate

I am updating my Public Profile FB page, as well as my web site to reflect my current endeavors!

Please take a minute to VISIT and LIKE “JoAnne Diodato” on FB, and visit my web site

My personal FB page Jo Diodato will remain the same.

As I prepare to step down as Hanover’s Poet Laureate, I am glad that I am passing the baton to Bitsy Sanders, because she loves writing as much as I do, and she sees the power of words. The title will be in good hands. Congratulations, Bitsy!

Haiku in the Streets Workshop Success!

Haikus in Hanover: Kids hit the streets at poem-writing workshop

It’s important to expose children to poetry at an early age, said poet laureate

By Lauren Linhard

@linhardreports on Twitter


Zakiya Alston gets help counting haiku syllables from her mom, Christine Miller, on July 14.

Zakiya Alston gets help counting haiku syllables from her mom, Christine Miller, on July 14. (Clare Becker – The Evening Sun)

Poet Laureate JoAnne Diodato bowed to the children attending the Haiku in the Streets workshop at Guthrie Memorial Library, asking “Now, who knows how to say hello in Japanese?”

The seven participants repeated “konnichiwa” to each other as they began the July 14 workshop on haiku poetry and the culture from which it originated.

Some of the students were as young as second grade, Diodato said, and the earlier you introduce children to poetry, the more likely they are to enjoy it as they grow up.

“Haikus are a more approachable form because it’s short and involves topics kids already have experience writing about,” Diodato said, adding that a haiku is a three-lined poem with a five-seven-five syllable pattern that communicates an emotion or experience related to nature.

A participant looks at the Japanese symbols for the seasons during the Haiku in the Street class taught by JoAnne Diodato on July 14.

A participant looks at the Japanese symbols for the seasons during the Haiku in the Street class taught by JoAnne Diodato on July 14. (Clare Becker – The Evening Sun)

“Making poetry fun shows them it’s not just something stuffy to learn about in school.”

It may sound easy, but expressing a thought in 17 syllables is pretty tough, Diodato said as she watched the kids help each other spell words and count syllables.

Once the poems were completed, group members went outside to decorate the library’s sidewalk with colorful chalk renditions of their work.

Eight-year-old Bella Crotty, who attended the workshop with her sister, said even though she doesn’t normally like poetry, the lesson was fun because she got to write her poem outside with chalk. Each line of her haiku, which was written about her favorite summer shoes, was in a different neon color and decorated with hearts.

Logan Reed was also excited to share his work with library-goers, commenting on how nice the sidewalk looks now with the group’s decorations. It gives people something to enjoy on their way to check out books, the seven-year-old said as he chalked out his haiku about reading.


New U.S. Poet Laureate


Stacia M. Fleegal

York Daily Record multiplatform journalist

Charles Wright, a native of Tennessee, author of 24 collections of poetry and winner of a National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award and a Bollingen Prize, has been appointed the next poet laureate of the United States.

According to The Washington Post, “In an advance copy of Thursday’s announcement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, ‘Charles Wright is a master of the meditative, image-driven lyric. Wright’s body of work combines a Southern sensibility with an allusive expansiveness, for moments of singular musicality.’”

Learn more about Charles Wright by visiting The Poetry Foundation, or by picking up a copy of one of his books. The author himself, in the Post’s story, recommends 1984′s “The Other Side of the River” and his most recently published book, “Caribou.”

Maya Angelou Passes

Today I am too sad for words, too sad to write anything poetically.  Maya Angelou not only inspired so many of us, her words were some of the most powerful and moving things I have ever heard or read.  We all lament her passing, and we all strive to be half the poet she was.

“Listen to yourself, and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God”—Maya Angelou’s final message

A Rainy April Night

Sometimes I wish I could just sit down and write poetry, instead of setting up all this social media stuff—poems are much more fun!  Ah, well, it’s for a good cause if it gets the word out there.  So much wonderful poetry and writing information, and so many events!  I love that I am getting to meet new people who have such interesting and diverse points of view! 🙂