Today I welcome Renée LaTulippe, author of THE CRAB BALLET, illustrated by Cécile Metzger. Renée is the name that comes up every time the subjects of rhyme and meter are mentioned in a discussion on social media. Depending upon who you ask, she is a legend, a guru, an expert, an authority, a master … you get the idea. Her poetry has been featured in several anthologies and and she is known for her writing courses including the highly regarded Lyrical Language Lab. I’m thrilled to be connected with her virtually and would love to visit the beauty of Tuscany and meet her in person one day. For now, I’m happy to share our interview and her fabulous giveaway.
Renée is generously offering one lucky winner a 60-minute Zoom critique of a picture book or children’s poetry collection. Comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
Thank you for having me on your blog, Laura!
I was the complete opposite of my six-year-old daughter, Maddalena. She’s bubbly, outgoing, energetic, and fearless.
I, on the other hand, was very quiet, very shy, and very serious, as you can see in this pic of me “shaving” my dad. I clearly took the task to heart. And I have a distinct memory of my fourth-grade teacher asking me, “Don’t you ever smile?”
But while I was quiet on the outside, I had a rich and imaginative inner life. I loved entering my own world while working on arts and crafts (still do!) and, after writing my first poem at age seven, I spent the next ten years filling notebooks with poetry.
What inspires you?
My three children inspire me daily with their singing and music and art and writing and wit. They are a constant source of surprising ideas.
I never tire of the beauty of Tuscany, the rolling hills, the Mediterranean pines, the jasmine in my garden, the slant of the evening sun, and of course the sea. I’m surrounded by nature that offers me a place of reflection and quiet contemplation that gets my mind turning. I worked out many of the poems in my forthcoming collection while walking back and forth waist-deep in the sea. One of my favorite things is writing on our veranda overlooking the sea, especially when my son Lorenzo is practicing piano upstairs. I love hearing the notes of Chopin float down like petals from the open window.
And I am always inspired by the arts. I can be transported by a soaring voice, an orchestra, a painting, a dance, a play.
What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book, THE CRAB BALLET?
I just want them to enjoy the language and the beautiful art! If after that they make a connection to the story when they go to the sea or to dance class, then that’s just extra goodness. And I always want to foster a love of the arts, both performing and visual, which is a theme in so much of what I write.
What’s next for you?
I am (im)patiently waiting for LIMELIGHT: Theater Poems to Perform, my middle grade poetry collection to be published in 2024 by Charlesbridge. In the meantime, I have a couple of picture books on submission (one about art, one about music) and am currently finishing revisions on a theater-related YA verse novel. And then … so many other ideas percolating!
To learn more about Renée and her books:
Instagram: @renee_m_latulippe Twitter: @ReneeMLaTulippe