Recently, I wrote a Nightmare Before Christmas Sticker Art Puzzles book, which is out now from Thunder Bay Press. The entire book is one huge rhyming poem recounting the plot of the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas.
It’s almost Halloween, so I wanted to remind people about this book.
But there’s something else that’s on my mind: This is the third “licensed character” book I’ve written which involves poetry.
There was a Star Wars-themed haiku section in The Official Stormtrooper Training Manual, which came out in 2016 from Scholastic. And there was a Star Wars-themed limerick section in The Official Force Training Manual, which was published in 2018 (also from Scholastic). I wrote both of those books.
And aside from these three books, I’ve never written any poetry.
But here’s my question: Can I call myself a poet now?
I mean, I am (technically speaking) a published poet, in that I’ve written three published books that are either partially or wholly comprised of poetry. And in all three cases, it’s silly poetry. In two of those cases, it’s poetry for kids. But that shouldn’t rule it out as poetry, right? There are plenty of authors who write poems for children.
But if I’m ever at a cocktail party (if those make a comeback, post-pandemic), and I tell people I’m a poet and they ask where my poems have been published, I have no choice but to give a rather ridiculous answer to that question. One of my “books of poetry” is a retelling of the plot of a stop-motion Tim Burton movie, and the other two are batches of poems about the characters in the Star Wars franchise.
So…I think that calling myself a poet at this point is premature.
I will say this, though: I worked really hard on all three of those books, and I’m quite proud of them. And trying to recount the plot of The Nightmare Before Christmas in a mere 15 pages, each page consisting of 6 rhyming couplets, is quite a challenge. It’s even more of a challenge when you can’t use imperfect rhymes or near rhymes. But I think I rose to the challenge, and I think that the end result is a pretty great book.
Even if it doesn’t make me a poet.