Posted by: nancyisanders | September 4, 2009

Author Interview: Brian P. Cleary

Brian Cleary
Meet Author Brian P. Cleary!
Web site: The World of Brian P. Cleary

Born in Lakewood, Ohio, American humorist, writer and poet, Brian P. Cleary has 2 million books in print. The Academy of American Poets lists his biography, along with Whitman, Emerson, Shel Silverstein and Robert Frost.

A frustrated student and reluctant learner, Cleary daydreamed his way from class to class until being introduced to poetry in third grade. Ogden Nash, e. e. cummings, Lennon & McCartney – even the lyrics in the Marx Brothers’ comedies set him on a course to explore and celebrate the wonder of words. Ironically, he is now found back in the classroom, as he’s shared his love of our rich language with 80,000 students in 40 states.

He has written cartoon gags which have appeared in more than 600 newspapers worldwide, and written humor essays for national and local magazines and newspapers, and has had an award winning children’s book read on Minnesota Public Radio.

Since graduating from John Carroll University with a degree in communications in 1982, he has worked in one of the 5 largest creative divisions in the world, American Greetings, where he currently holds the title of Senior Editor on the Humor Staff. He has worked on licensed properties from Garfield to Ziggy to Nickelodeon characters.

cleary book
Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What is an Adverb?
By Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by Brian Gable

The best-selling Words are CATegorical(R) series explain in fun, rhyming verse all about nouns, verbs, adjectives all the way through synonyms and homonyms!

Q: Describe your typical writing schedule.
I have a manuscript due about every 10 weeks. My editor gives me research support, and I start to craft the manuscript a couple of weeks before it’s due. (My books are fairly short.)

Q: As a child, what were your favorite books to read?
I loved Dr. Seuss and Ogden Nash.

Q: How do you land most of your speaking engagements?
Most of my recent ones have been from a website;

Q: Share one tip you would like to give about writing poetry for kids.
I tell people not to talk down to kids. If you use a word here or there that they don’t know, that can be a good thing. Balance, here is the key. I try to choose topics that are relevant to their lives, and, having had kids, and also having visited 350 schools over the years, I have a pretty good idea as far as subject and tone go.


  1. Amazed that he can do so well with poetry. What a gift!

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