Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
Today is my birthday–whee! I’m feeling extra grateful for friends and decent health and poetry this year. I want to share that two friends of mine, Steve and Vicki Palmquist, are going through tough times. You may not know them, but they are enormous advocates for children’s literature and for poetry. Over the decades I have known them, they have organized events, started organizations, built websites, and supported kidlit authors and illustrators and educators in SO many ways.
I shared a story of Vicki reading my poem Sacred Land before the pandemic. And another time, I shared a photo of Steve Palmquist with Nikki Grimes. And here’s a lovely poetry mosaic they created back in the day during a National Poetry Month–you’ll recognize some Poetry Friday friends there, and you can hear each poet, including me, read a poem. And although I didn’t share it here, just this week, Vicki and Steve sent me a birthday card with a hand-drawn rebus inside. Seriously! I give myself a gold star if I mail cards out to my sisters, dad, and daughters. I’ve never managed birthday cards for friends, even though I think about them on their day. But that’s the kind of people Steve and Vicki are: creative, generous, and nurturing (and old-fashioned in the best ways possible, such as correspondence).
Steve was diagnosed over the summer with a rare form of leukemia, and the treatment and all that goes with it is incredibly hard on them. Another writer friend, Lisa Bullard (oops–the blurry one in the group photo below!), spearheaded a GoFundMe for Steve and Vicki to help with medical bills and related expenses. If you have even just a few extra dollars to spare (and I know not everybody does!), I’d be so grateful if you checked out their GoFundMe page and donated. Good thoughts are also gratefully accepted! I don’t think Steve’s lost his thick hair, but I’m sharing this oldie but goodie in his honor and in honor of all those people I know and love who have dealt with or are now dealing with cancer.
And here’s a pic I love from a game night JUST before the pandemic. I like to send them good thoughts of laughter from times like these! Steve and Vicki have to isolate for a year or so more (as if all the COVID isolation wasn’t enough) because his immune system is so vulnerable, so it’ll be a while before we can gather in person again.