“Plucking Poetry from the Air was written with the intention of inspiring teenagers to create their own original works,” said Reid, who is herself a poet. “Young adults who practice the discipline of writing are not only developing themselves creatively, but are also giving themselves the opportunity to discover their own distinct voices.”
Plucking Poetry from the Air follows the story of Calliope, a sixth grader who has trouble making it to school on time (she’s always oversleeping and missing the bus) but wouldn’t dream of missing her first period class, which is studying poetry and getting ready for the Shining Voices poetry contest, which was organized by the teacher, Mrs. Rutherford. Calliope faces some tough competition from one of her classmates, whose father is a well-known writer. And if that weren’t enough, Calliope realizes she left her poetry journal in the public library downtown—the night before the contest! How will she get her journal back? She needs her journal, which holds all of her poems, to be able to participate in the Shining Voices Contest hosted by a local coffee shop noted for its support of the literary arts.
Calliope tossed under her bedcovers, refusing to open her eyes inside her sunlit-filled room. Monday mornings were always the worst! Soon, her mother would be pounding on her bedroom door, shouting: “Rise and shine, C! Rise and shine!”
It would make getting up an even harder endeavor.
Tap! Tap! Calliope recognized the familiar tapping reverberating from her bedroom windowpane. She forced one eye open and centered on two beaming faces, laughing hysterically through the window.
The faces belonged to none other than Paisley and Stevie—her closest amigos since the first grade. The three friends knew everything about each other. Calliope sauntered slowly across the floor and pushed the window partially up. A cool breeze stirred the curtains, and Calliope wished she had stayed under the covers.
“Are you planning on going to school today, C?” asked Paisley.”
“Thanks, Stevie. That’s why you’re the president of my fan club. How’s membership?” said Calliope, smiling in a condescending manner.
“Three members and counting, yourself included,” chuckled Stevie.
“Well, you’re going to have to drum up some more members,” said Calliope, sliding her closet doors open.”
Her work has appeared in diverse publications—most notably are: The Truth About the Fact: International Journal of Literary Nonfiction Anthology, Shadowtrain, Blue Fifth Review, Burner Magazine, and Monkeybicycle; chapbook, Walking Near the Precipice (Lily Press, 2007) and ebook, Intonations Heard in the Desert (Gold Wake Press, 2008); YA book, Plucking Poetry from the Air (Paraguas Books, 2010).
She is a freelance writer, educator, and jazz composer/musician in Los Angeles, CA.
Get to know CS:
Why do you write?
Writing is an outlet that allows one to reveal their singular style in relaying a
Narrative. Diction, Tone, Exposition are the colors the author utilizes to encapsulate their signature imprint on the page. Additionally, I write to achieve an inner peace to the voice growling within, demanding to be voiced and heard now.
Who are your main influences?
My parents, Charles and Jerene L. Reid, are the chief influences in my life. Their astute guidance and support allowed my artistic spirit to flourish unbridled.
Can you describe the main character, Calliope Spencer, of Plucking Poetry from the Air?
Calliope is based off of my character during my formative years. The way her curly coif cascades upwards is the manner, in which, my mother (Jerene) would style my hair daily.
Calliope is a resilient, young lady who lives and breathes poetry. Calliope will not rest until she creates a poem that soars above all the rest of her classmates’ pieces.
What genres of literature do you write in?
I write in the following genres: poetry, fiction, reviews (music/play/film), plays, screenplays, and YA. It is my belief that an effective writer should be able to compose competent works in many genres. If one has a skill; then, said skill should be proficient and or, transferrable to other platforms.
What books have had the most profound influence on your work?
I adore Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and Blubber by Judy Blume. These books opened up new worlds for me and comforted me when I felt inadequate and was filled with self-doubt. Books allow youngsters a means of escape and a sense of immediate belonging that is oftentimes difficult to find at school. You do not have to say the right words to be a member of the cool cliques.
How do you spend your time when you are not writing?
I compose and produce music, study jazz lead sheets, and photography (developing filmmaker), and frequent music venues that feature live Jazz/R&B Bands. Ultimately, I plan on leading my own Jazz/R&B ensemble in the future.
What are you working on next?
Currently, I am wrapping up a YA narrative that explores Jazz and encourages youngsters to want to excel at becoming proficient musicians. When one becomes proficient in a discipline, he or she develops a level of maturity and sense of self-worth.
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