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Arranged Marriage (poem)

I often tell students that, once I have completed a story or a poetry collection and have rather miraculously gotten it onto the desk of a publisher who’s interested, things are pretty much out of my hands. Who will illustrate? What will the characters look like? What will the cover look like? (I must say I have been wonderfully blessed to be paired with some of the most amazing illustrators available! Still, it’s always a bit of a mystery what the end result will be.)

Here’s a poem I wrote a couple of years back for the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Newsletter.


by Eric Ode

My friends call it foolish.

They say that it’s strange;

this union that somebody

else will arrange.

No dinner or movie?

No late Sunday chat?

No cocktails or coffee?

How crazy is that!

Well, I may be nervous,

but I’m not afraid.

I know it’s how picture books

ought to be made.

It’s me with a story.

It’s her and her art.

It’s passion and magic.

It’s hope, and it’s heart.

No emails or phone calls.

No dating or wooing.

Just faith that the matchmakers

know what they’re doing.

Ten author copies of Camiones en Acción (Busy Trucks on the Go translated to Spanish) hit my front porch the other day. Needless to say I am over the moon (sobre la Luna?) to have this title out and released to the wild. It’s not something I expected to see anytime soon, a title translated to another language. Because most of my books have been written in rhyme, translation is difficult. But from what I can tell through my mediocre Spanish skills, this book stays true to the spirit of the original story while being told in near and true rhymes in Español.

I’m not entirely sure what the connection is between these two stories – working with illustrators and working with translators. I think it has something to do with the power of collaboration and the power of letting go. There is no way I could have created that translation myself. Once again, it’s been a matter of believing in the skills of the other team members and believing the final project would be both different from what any one person could imagine and also so much better than what any one person could create on their own.


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