HotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Richard Michelson

Richard Michelson is a poet, children’s book author, art dealer and former Poet Laureate of Northampton.


☕ Cuppa of Choice: “I am no tea snob and try everything—green, black, white, oolong. No sugar, no lemon. But most often I reach for the herbal mint teas in the afternoon. Chamomile in the evening. And Nighty Night or Sleepy Time before bed.”

☕ Hot Off the Press: S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet, illustrated by Doris Ettlinger (Sleeping Bear Press, 2014), More Money Than God (Pitt Poetry Series, 2015).

☕ HotTEA in the Flesh: Mr. Michelson will be reading from More Money Than God at The Emily Dickinson Museum/The Homestead this evening (April 2) as part of the Amherst Art Walk (5-8 p.m.)

☕ Visit his Official Website


☕ ☕ ☕ Bonus Poem with mention of tea from Animals Anonymous (Simon & Schuster, 2008):


The SNAIL Ideal

When I was just a baby snail, I chose all clothes of blue.
I giggled goo goo ga ga. Mama answered coochie coo.

But as I grew, I knew I looked nice in chartreuse and pink.
And Mama never cared a whit ‘bout what the neighbor’s think.

Be yourself, she said, for that’s the thing we all do well.
Let no one tell you what to wear when you’re in your own shell.

When I was just a baby snail, Dad bought me soldier rattles.
And just before my bedtime I would watch them wage their battles.

But as I grew, he and I brewed pots of rosemary tea,
And perfumed all my dollhouses with passion potpourri.

Be yourself, my Daddy said, don’t let other’s presume
To tell you how you should behave when you’re in your own room.

When it was time for dating, I went out to meet my fate.
I eyed the hunks and harlots till I spied the perfect mate.

We belched at all the ballgames, and we swooned at the ballets.
Together we attended the hermaphrodite soirées.

Be yourself my partner said. Someday you’ll be my spouse.
No one can tell us who to love when we’re in our own house.

Of all God’s creatures, mollusks might not be the most evolved,
Though prejudice, I’m proud to say, is one problem we’ve solved.

We never try to impede anybody’s natural growth,
Whether they are happy being female, male, or both.

~ Posted with permission of the author, copyright © 2008 Richard Michelson. All rights reserved.

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Hot enough for you? 🙂

*fans self*


Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

21 thoughts on “HotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Richard Michelson

    1. And I wouldn’t have known about it if Richard hadn’t sent it! The collection might be something you’d enjoy sharing with your students.


  1. Oh, that POEM. Cute, cute, cute – also I now want to find/hug some snails. Which is worrying…

    I love that you’re doing this series. HotTeas are such a fab and fun idea.


  2. Great mix of subjects in there. Jama. My daughter brought in a bowl of snail shells yesterday.


  3. “The SNAIL Ideal” is charming & hefty while reading elegantly all at the same tea time. I wish it a wide audience, especially among young readers. Eager to send it to a special someone I luv. Thank you Jama & Richard Michelson (a poet new to me.)


    1. I like your description of the poem as charming and hefty — yes, indeed. 🙂 A little food for thought is always good.

      Have you seen Rich’s latest PB, S is for Sea Glass? I featured it on Poetry Friday last summer.


  4. Thanks Jama and everyone. As it happened I had just read the Snail poem at an event the day before Jama emailed me, so I am glad it was fresh in my mind. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend.


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