“Hi friends. I’m Phil, and I’m a poet, just like you.”

What more needs to be said? I couldn’t be more excited to launch the first episode of a series dedicated to celebrating all of the incredible young poets out there.

Let me know if you check it out, and if you know any incredible poets with something special to share, I hope you’ll check out the submission page above. “See you next time, and until then, keep writing!”

I’m incredibly excited to announce that I will be collaborating with Lake Orion Community Schools to kick off Poet, Show It!, a new series made specifically to highlight all of the incredible poets out there – like you, and you, and YOU.

I started the channel very recently, while author visits and readings are not possible, in an effort to find an engaging way to reach out to students. It will feature videos with me reading my own poetry (Phil Writes Poems), poetry tips and tools (Poetry Workshop) and of course, Poet, Show It!

The show is a natural extension of my annual digital author visits with the 2nd graders at Stadium Drive Elementary in Lake Orion, MI – and I can’t wait to start reading!

Students, with their parents’ help, can submit their poems HERE


Hey friends.

Just launched a YouTube channel. As you can imagine, there isn’t a lot going on over there just yet… but I did do a reading of one of my favorites that has never found its way into a book or elsewhere.

The goal for the channel is to give kids, parents, and educators a resource for poetry readings – and more importantly – an opportunity to share their poetry with the world. (More to come on that soon).

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Maya Peterson, Erica Hendry, Phillip Van Wagoner, Alexandra Woog, and Jeremiah Radel speak onstage at Velocity X Creative Summit Los Angeles on December 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Viacom)

Had an amazing opportunity today to talk about my writing, joining some awesome Viacom coworkers in a panel discussion around our passions and projects.

Sharing the stage with a podcaster, a world-ranked Tri-Athlete, and a medium was fun – and even more fun because I “know” them all, and then realized that I really didn’t know much about my coworkers at all.

Thank you to Dario and the team for setting up CxV, which turned out to be an awesome experience and opportunity to learn more and connect on a personal level with a lot of the people we see every day.

Got to share The Ugly Sweater while I was at it. Come to think of it, it’s that time of year again…

One day or night, some time ago,
When things were quiet, still, and slow,

And nothing much was moving ‘round,
A special something-else was found.

It sat in wait, and waited, still
It was untouched, unmoved, until

The cover, accident’ly read
Left questions in the reader’s head.

Just how could such a thing be true?
It warranted a brief review,

A fleeting glance, a little look
At “The Never-Ending Children’s Book”…

My wonderful wife got me a letterboard for my birthday! As if, between pens and pencils and laptops and smartphones, I didn’t have enough ways to play with words, now I have another!

Super fun gift, and something that will be ever-changing in our hallway.


As you may know already, Spencer and I are hard at work on the next book, which will be primarily focused on outer space and our place in the universe.

Working through some ideas for the book – I don’t know that this one will make it – so I figured I’d share it here. This is an image I made that let’s us see just how far away the moon really is from the earth, which I thought was kind of mind-bending. The distance from earth to moon, and the sizes of earth and moon, are all to scale.

Hopefully we’ll be coming back with some good news and more details about the next book soon!

Had an amazing time on Skype with the brilliant students at Stadium Drive Elementary! I got to read a lot of the students’ poems this year and in 2018, this class mastered the shape poem.

Anytime a student (Alisha) writes a poem (Calculator) so reminiscent of one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems (Homework Machine), I get really excited to share them both.

And Cooper’s response poem to Could You Hug A Cactus? was so good (and a very solid argument against the idea) that I had to response poem back to his response poem. New penpal? Maybe…

A huge thank you to Stadium Drive for having me my digital representation once again. Looking forward to next year!!!


This past Saturday, Spencer and I got to visit the truly incredible children’s book store, Once Upon a Storybook, in Tustin, CA. Susie, Erin, and Tina there have created an absolutely beautiful store and an even more amazing community, bringing in authors, hosting weekly book readings, and truly building something special in just a few years.

Of course, the Cactus had to come with us, and sat proudly at the store entrance to take pictures with people coming in. Upstairs, Spencer and I got the opportunity to hang out, read poetry, and even make new illustrations with some awesome kids and their families.

If you get the chance to check out Once Upon a Storybook, I highly recommend it. It’s a prime example of why local bookstores and businesses are so important and an absolute treat to peruse.

Super cool. I’ve been accepted into the field of 64 (again) for the 2017 March Madness Poetry Competition, hosted by Ed DeCaria at ThinkKidThink!. It was a ton of fun in 2015, and I’m looking forward to doing better this year than my first round exit in 2015.

Follow along with all the action HERE.