A Poet's Life

An interview with
Eileen Spinelli
Eileen Spinelli was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in Upper Darby, PA and Secane, PA. She has been writing since she was six, and she has written over thirty books. One of her poems, "Bathtub Rules," appears in A Bad Case of the Giggles. She is married to fellow author Jerry Spinelli, and they have six children and fourteen grandchildren. Her hobbies include reading, theater, travel, collecting tea-related items, and yard sales and thrift shops. She is currently studying Italian. Her dreams are to see a whale, learn to make pottery, and be able to hold a fairly interesting conversation in Italian.

Q: What first got you interested in poetry?

ES: It was not "what," but "who"-a lovely librarian, Miss Armstrong. She seemed to delight in words and books and I caught that delight.

Q: When did you start writing poetry?

ES: When I was six years old. My first poem was about a sailboat. It must have been funny because my Aunt Mae laughed when she read it.

Q: Where do you get ideas for your poems?

ES: I go into a pet shop. I see a sweet heap of kittens. I get an idea. I read the newspaper-an article about the whooping crane. I get an idea. I look at old family photos. I get an idea. Ideas have a way of presenting themselves as I go about my life.

Q: Of all the poems you've written, what is your favorite?

ES: My poems are like my children and grandchildren. I don't choose favorites. I love them all!

Q: How many books have you written?

ES: About thirty or more. Some are not even published yet-but will be.

Q: What are some of your books?

ES: Two books of collected poems are Where is the Night Train Going and Tea Party Today. Other books include Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch; Boy Can He Dance; Lizzie Logan Wears Purple Sunglasses; Lizzie Logan Gets Married; Lizzie Logan, Second Banana; Sadie Plays House; Naptime Laptime; When Mama Comes Home Tonight; Coming through the Blizzard; Six Hogs on a Scooter; Night Shift Daddy; and Song for the Whooping Crane.

Q: What are you working on now?

ES: Clearing the clutter off my desk!

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