Fox Township Elementary School students recently enjoyed a visit by poet C.J Heck of DuBois. As the author of the children's poetry book, "Barking Spiders and Other Such Stuff," Heck was invited to speak to students about her work.
Christine Kuhar, Fox Twp. Elementary principal, said the book is very popular among the school's students.
During her interactive presentations, Heck read several of her current poems, as well as selections from the soon-to-be published "Barking Spiders Too."
In addition, Heck discussed the meaning of some of the poems and how they came about.
She also taught the students a tongue twister, which she learned from her mother at a young age.
Students were very entertained as they attempted the tongue twister: "Could ya, would ya, honey please, will ya, won't ya, can't ya, don't ya wanna."
In concluding her presentation, Heck fielded a number of questions from inquisitive students.
According to Heck, she wrote her first poem in fourth grade, stating that her teacher made the experience very exciting. She has been actively writing since 1975. Much of the content of her work was inspired by things her five siblings and three daughters said while they were growing up in Coshocton, Ohio. Now at 61 years of age, Heck is further inspired by her nine grandchildren, on whom she said she tests her poems.
"I only rhyme my poems if they are funny," Heck explained as her rule of thumb for writing the poetry.
This year, Heck said she hopes to publish two or three books, including a preschool poetry book entitled, "Me Too," in addition to the aforementioned "Barking Spiders Too." Her current book is published by SterlingHouse Publishers of Pittsburgh and is available at major online retailers and The Book Nook in Punxsutawney. People interested in her work may also visit her website at www.barkingspiderspoetry.com.
When one student questioned Heck as to why she wanted to become an author, Heck replied that she didn't want to be an author.
"I just liked writing poems. My daughter encouraged me to do something with all the poems I had written," Heck said. "You can all be authors. Just work at it and don't give up.
When you have an idea, write them down right away. I have written things on napkins, menus, church bulletins and on my hand."
Heck interacts with youth of all ages during her numerous school visits with preschool up to eighth grade students. She also conducts poetry workshops and participates in book fairs, library visits and programs for adult audiences.