Maria James-Thiaw’s most recent poetry collection appeared in 2013, but she published her first book of poems in second grade. “The poems were about flowers, bumblebees, things like that,” she says about Little Poems for Little People, published by Seattle Public University Young Writer’s Conference. Her first inspiration was her father. James-Thiaw remembers him performing for captivated, excited audiences. Because of him, she explains, “I knew that as soon as I learned how to put those things—those marks—on the page, that I was going to make a poem…I had decided I was going to be a poet before I knew how to write.” Then, as soon as she was writing, her teachers at St. James School in Kent, Washington took notice; they valued her collection of nature poems by submitting them to a contest.
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