When did you start writing?
Before the age of 20, I wasnít a big fan of poetry. In fact, I wasnít a big fan of reading and writing either. English was always one of my worst subjects and I disliked doing homework. Even though I didnít like these things, I still worked hard! I completed all of my assignments, studied hard for all of my tests, and always handed in my homework on-time. When I was a junior in college, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. For some strange reason, Childrenís Books popped into my head. I got excited about this idea and truly thought it would be a fun and exciting career for me. That night, I had a dream that inspired me to start writing. Since that day, I have written over 300 poems and have visited more than 100 schools. I guess Iím living proof that dreams do come true! Dr. Martin Luther King
Why do you write poetry?
Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are the 2 main reasons why I started writing poetry. I used to think poetry was dull and boring, but when I started reading their books, I discovered that poetry could be fun and exciting. Once I started writing, I quickly developed a passion for it. I love the challenge of writing funny, rhyming poetry. I also enjoy seeing the expressions on peopleís faces when they read my poems. Whenever people smile, giggle, or laugh after reading or hearing my poetry, I feel like I am making a positive difference in the world. To make a long story short, thatís why I write poetry!
Do you write anything other than poetry?
Absolutely! I think itís extremely important for all writers to explore other areas of writing. Besides poetry, I write short stories, song lyrics, screen plays, young adult fiction, childrenís picture books (rhyming and non-rhyming), and TV commercials. Although poetry is one way to express yourself, I encourage every writer to step out of their comfort zone and try new things!
Has anyone ever inspired you to write a poem?
I have been inspired by many people, but one person definitely stands out from the rest. This person stood up for what he believed in and never gave up. He is a true inspiration to people all around the world! This is the poem that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired me to write:
did a real courageous thing.
He helped people reach new heights
when he fought for civil rights.
He protested unfair laws.
He helped people see their flaws.
Martin never used his fists.
He just simply used his wits.
In his speech, I Have a Dream,
he said we should be a team.
Martin said we wouldnít win
if we judge by race or skin.
People cheered for Dr. King
as he yelled, ďLet Freedom Ring!Ē
Please remember this manís name.
This man showed us weíre the same.
Copyright © 2005 Darren Sardelli
Dr. Martin Luther King
What was your most embarrassing moment at the schools youíve visited?
Luckily, I have never had an embarrassing moment during a school visit, but I have seen embarrassing things happen to teachers and principals! Last year, I was doing an assembly for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders in the gym. The students were seated on the gym floor and the teachers were sitting on folding chairs (side by side Ė lined up around the students). In the middle of my assembly, I read one of my poems and watched the crowd break out into immediate laughter. One of the teachers laughed so hard - She lost her balance, fell off her chair, and spilled coffee all over the assistant principal. The assistant principal wasnít amused by this embarrassing moment, but the students had a field day with it!
Of all the poems youíve written, which is your favorite?
Itís hard to choose one, but here is one of my poems that I really, really, really like:
My left leg is silver.
My right leg is blue.
My shoulders are yellow
and lavender too.
My right arm is turquoise.
My left arm is red.
I have specks of purple
and pink on my head.
My ankles are golden.
My belly is black.
My fingers are green
like my nose and my back.
My elbows are orange.
My forehead is tan.
I shouldnít have thrown
all this paint at my fan.
Copyright © 2006 Darren Sardelli
What are you working on now?
I just started my own publishing company, Laugh-A-Lot Books. My first book, Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie, contains 20 humorous and witty school poems. In Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie, youíll run into a teacher who mixes up her words, one who gives detention to water fountains and bus tires, and one that forgets how to act around students. Youíll meet unusual lunch ladies who serve Candy Cane Craters, Milky Way Shakes, and fresh Corn on the Comet. Thereís also a dog that enjoys doing chores, a parent who gets out of hand at a parent-teacher conference, and a principal that lets kids take over the school on Opposite Day. Pam Catapano brings each poem to life with her colorful characters, brilliant imagination, and delightful illustrations. Darren and Pam have teamed up to make reading fun and enjoyable for even the most reluctant of readers. They are proud of their work and are happy to share Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie with the universe.
Here is one of Pamís illustrations in Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie:
Do you have any advice for young writers?
Yes! Write down all of your ideas! Even if you donít like writing Ė Write Down Your Ideas! If you start writing down your ideas now, it will give you a major advantage in life. Whether itís an idea for a poem, book, movie, business, invention, painting, television show, design, or anything else Ė Write It Down! Always remember that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and YOU CAN DO AMAZING THINGS WITH YOUR IDEAS! When I was a junior in college, an idea popped into my head Ė Writing Childrenís Books. It took me a while to make my idea become a reality, but I did it!
IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
A few more pieces of advice (for everyone) Ė
DONíT BE AFRAID TO TAKE CHANCES!
ALWAYS WORK HARD FOR THE THINGS YOU WANT!
NEVER GIVE UP!