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Thanks, Thanks and More Thanks

I first took this project to Debbie Milner, who happily presented it to Susana Cordova, and she has sponsored and championed it ever since. I am grateful to them both. Deb Brennan was assigned to help me, and went above and beyond the call of that duty. This year, similar thanks are due to Michelle Delgado, Graciela De Anda, Grace Aguirre-Garcia, and Jennifer Walmer. Oh, and mention must be made of DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, too! He helped us publicize Volume four and then went on to write the introduction for Volume Five! I will always be grateful for his help and enthusiasm.

Judy Joseph of Paros Press, an independent publisher and strong DPS supporter, has volunteered her time and energy to coordinate the publishing, printing and delivery of every book through the years. I met Judy when her stepdaughter Morgan was a student in my fourth grade classroom, surely one of the luckiest connections of my entire career. We have now published ten books together, including these five poetry collections for Denver Public Schools.

The beautiful, sensitive and fun design of each book was created by Scott Johnson of Sputnik Designworks. He loves student artwork almost as much as I love student writing!

I was helped with the Spanish language poems by the considerate and devoted professionals as the DPS Department of Translation and Interpretation Services. Other translation assistance was provided by Ingrid Yardenay, Travis Bruner, Adriana Santacolama, Sharon Winter, Rick Land, Jennifer Lowell, and Claudia Alvarez.

My talented friend Lauren Shellberg, our art teacher at Bromwell, helped me numerous times by asking students for additional art to plug in holes on pages that would have otherwise been left blank. I was given immense support and help by my grade-level partner Andrea Lewis, as well as Julie Anderson, Brennan Randall, Cindy Probst and Mary Mendez. My colleagues and friends, Cindy Kraybill, Cathy Oglesby, and Catherine Witt, attended the receptions and helped out wherever they were needed.

Many of the above individuals were mentioned in thank-yous on the copyright pages, and some were further honored by dedication notices in the books themselves.

Our first volume was dedicated to all DPS students. Our second volume was dedicated to Judy Joseph ("Publisher, Fairy Godmother, and our own Patroness of Poetry"). Volume Three was dedicated to Debbie Milner, for her own "dedication to Denver's children."

For Volume Four, I did something a little different. That whole volume was different in design and organization, so that seemed appropriate. I dedicated it to a number of teachers who were most supportive of this project, year in and year out. They were Linnea Wilkinson, Rod Noel and Susie Fultz, Brian Clark, Lina Quintero, Sue Workman, Gretchen Allgeier, Elizabeth Mathews, Lynne Rerucha, Angelina Mendoza, Rose Ann Bilodeau, Robby Herd, Haleh Torbaghan, Jennifer Lowell, Marco Jaen, and Carol Wilcox. I could have easily included another dozen names, and maybe I should have! Many of those named attended that year's reception, and shared their appreciation for being recognized. I was happy to honor them, and also to meet many of them face to face for the first time!

Volume Five was dedicated to Susana Cordova, where she is (appropriately and accurately) described this way: "DPS student, teacher, principal, administrator... and DPS mom, too! She’s a guardian angel for Denver’s children and the guiding light to Denver’s parents and teachers."

On Volume Four's title page, Rebecca Havekotte's name appears. She is the devoted teacher who brought the CEC students together to illustrate that volume. I had often thought it would be fun to have one volume illustrated by high school students, just as high schoolers had edited the first two books. Rebecca made that dream come true.

Also in that volume, my good friends Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit of The Flobots wrote the introduction. They are both DPS grads, and their band continues to make important contributions to help kids and schools in Denver.

Matt Miller of The Tattered Cover, my boss for a short time more than thirty years ago, was our gracious host for one reception. Sue Lubeck of The Bookies has been a steadfast friend and supporter of this project, even sometimes driving to my school herself to pick up extra copies. All teachers and parents owe their stores a debt which hopefully will manifest in continued patronage. Their work is not only educational, it's cultural and artistic, too.

Work that's educational, cultural, and artistic – this is true of all the teachers who helped, certainly, and it seems right to return to them at the end this long page of thanks. Many teachers would never consider themselves as poets. But that's how I think of the hundreds of teachers who sent me more than fifteen-hundred poems through the mail during these last five years. No one loves words more than a poet, right? No one loves words more than teachers, either. No one fights more for literacy, or cares more about reading, or works longer hours to understand the skills that create writing. No one celebrates more than teachers when a student reads or writes or loves their first poem. To me, teachers are all poets.