Eric Ode doesn’t remember the first poem he ever wrote, or the second, but he does remember his first song. Ironically, it was a love song written when he was more interested in getting through third grade and playing kickball games. Growing up in Washington, he and his family spent a great deal of time at the beach. Family summers were filled with adventures among the driftwood piles and noisy car rides home accompanied by his father’s silly-sing-alongs.
Ode attributes his love of loopy word play to those rowdy sing-alongs of his father and his mother introducing him to the poems of Ogden Nash. His interests were furthered by his early teachers, who exposed him to the works of Shel Silverstein, Lewis Carol, Robert W. Service, and Ernest Thayer whose narrative poems inspired his own love of stories told in rhyme.
The combination of influences served to spark Ode’s creative passion and he carried that love for song lyrics and poetry into the classroom when he became an elementary teacher. Armed with years of piano lessons and self-taught skills on the guitar, he wrote and performed silly songs for his students. His silly songs soon expanded into poetry allowing him to engage even the youngest of students.
After twelve years of teaching and having attained a master’s in education technology, he left the classroom in order to travel, bringing his high-energy workshops and performances to schools and libraries across the country. His books and music are delightful literary resources for teaching about many poetic devices including alliteration, metaphor, imagery, rhyme scheme, refrain, and repetition. His poems have won numerous awards and honors and his songs have been included in Grammy winning collections. His CD of loveable pirate songs, “Seven Clever Pirates”was named a 2010 Parents’ Choice Silver Honors Award Winning Album and received a 2010 Seal of Excellence Award from Creative Child Magazine.
He lives with his wife Kim, their two children, two dogs, and four chickens in western Washington state very close to the beaches and coastal adventures he loves.