Debbie Kahl – YA & Children's Fiction Writer

{July 22, 2010}   Poetry & Picture Books

Recently I started a series of poetry workshops at QWC with Poet in Residence, Emily XYZ.  For the first session, my very talented friend Robin and I sat quietly in a room full of strangers and listened carefully to everyone else read their outstanding poems. I willed myself silently not to feel out of my depth and questioned the worth of my work.  Here I was surrounded by a group of confident and talented poets, who all had important themes to impart on the world. All I had to talk about was a pair of lonely shoes. I had never felt so out of place. All too soon, it was my turn to read my poem to the group and, after giving the context of my poem – that I’m writing the text of a children’s picture book and not critiquing society – I began to read hesitantly.

There is nothing more frightening than reading your work aloud to a room of strangers and trying to stand on the virtues of what you’ve written. It’s also quite unnerving when the room is silent and remains so, even after you’ve finished. Luckily, Emily XYZ broke the silence and to my complete amazement, told me she loved my poem. A sentiment that was quickly reinforced by the other poets in the room. Even Robin, who has read the poem numerous times, was impressed by the message that came through so clearly when I read it aloud. As Emily so eloquently put it, “What I loved about it is you made me care about those fricking shoes”.  She also told me to never apologise for my work, regardless of what it is. Everyone writes something that touches someone else, and there will be lots of little girls out there who will love going on adventures with my shoes.

Now I’m inspired again to go back to this shoe series which has such an amazing personality, and keep on polishing  these texts. Hopefully it won’t be too far in the future, for everyone else to care about these shoes as much as I do? I can only dream. Have a great week everyone! x


Hi Debbie,
Glad you received such a wonderful rap at the poetry workshop. I too loved your poem … Karen :))

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