I love writing novels, but my passion is poetry. And while I have two collections of poetry for adults, it wasn't until 2011 that I sold my first poems in the children's market. And one of them -- "You Cannot Measure Courage" -- appears this month in Scholastic's Scope magazine.  (It's not the first one I sold, but it's the first one to appear in print!)

The poem was written in response to the documentary film TOUCHING THE VOID, about two climbers on a remote mountain in Peru. After my poem was accepted for publication, the editor asked if I might do a video explaining my approach to the subject. In other words, how does a writer get from point A: raw information, to point B: creative work?

Here's what it's like for me:

And here's the poem:

You Cannot Measure Courage
 by Irene Latham

And you cannot
one life

above another.
But what if you must?

Click to read the complete poem.

Writers: how do you get from point A to point B?


  1. I like your description of approaching things "sideways," Irene! Well put. For me, doing my best work is a matter of pulling the covers of life aside; getting past the cliches, the expectations, the familiar to the honest and raw emotions that await.

  2. Remember those Family Circus cartoons that tracked the way one of the kids got from one point to another--which usually involved long and winding journeys through backyards and up trees and in-between crannies? Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me...

    Congrats on your poem, Irene!

  3. Congratulations, Irene, and thanks for sharing the behind-the-scenes peek into the poem's creation. Oh, point A to point B? I meander. Then I get really focused. Then I think of revisions while changing the cat litter or something!


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