Review Request Sign up for Newsletters Tips and ideas Write for us

Follow by Email

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by Cordelia Jensen - Guest Post & Giveaway

About Cordelia Jensen

I started my first diary on November 6, 1987. And I have been scribbling things down ever since. I remember once saying to a friend in middle school, “Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing in the world to, like, be able to write an essay about each of your friends?” She looked at me like I was crazy. But, well, here I am writing about teenagers.

For a long time I worked with teenagers. Along with my MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults, I have a Masters of Education in Secondary School Counseling from Shippensburg University. And for eleven summers I worked as a camp counselor for a very special summer program called Longacre Leadership ( I also attended Longacre as a kid and it is where I met my husband Jon Jensen (that’s another, longer story.)

Recently, my son asked me, “Mom, do you know why people like to do what they are good at doing?” And I thought about how long I have loved to write and how long I have been fascinated by kids and how, now, I feel so lucky to actually have a book deal and be able to write professionally for a group of readers I have always loved to watch and interact with. I answered him this way, “the more you like something, the more you practice doing it.”

I should have said earlier, yes, I grew up in New York City. However, after graduation I had the fortune to attend Kenyon College in rural Ohio where I was able to major in creative writing, which I adored. And some of the lines from Skyscraping I can trace back to writing I did in college. All this is to say, I practiced what I loved to do for a long time. And I am practicing still.

My daughter says she’s going to be a songwriter and a poet when she grows up. I find her in her room sometimes, bits of papers scattered around her, singing loud with her own words in her hand. I hope thirty years from now she is out there, somewhere, practicing still.

Creative play is the thing of life.


Books by Cordelia Jensen

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads Bookdepository
What makes my heart beat faster 
Poems by Cordelia Jensen

Heart Races One

My heart beats
clonk, clonk
all the way in my ears
so loud
when I have to speak
bang, bang
to a crowd
with hot cheeks
and a breath I can’t catch
my heart races like there’s a finish line or a mountain top to climb
boom, boom
Will I fall?
Will I trip?

My mind goes blank words, words, words
come out in a jumble I think?
What are they thinking about what I’m saying?
The world spins and speeds as fast as my heart beats.

when I come down
off stage
retreat to my seat
there is no mountain or race
just a slow-moving stream,
a patch of grass,
a sun-lit walk
down a tree-lined path.

Heart Races Two

Back when we were young
and you would touch me
between my waist and hip
and pull me in
and then out
and then our eyes would make something
new, together

Back then when there was the night rain
and the heat from the garden
and the trees we could escape into
and when we would pass each other
and catch each other’s secret smiles
my heart wouldn’t just race
it would skip whole beats

Heart Races Three

I am 5 or 6
and I don’t want to eat the sandwich
my dad made me.
I don’t want him to see me
throw it away.
I don’t want him to see me
not eat it.
I don’t want to hear him say my name
in that disappointed tone
I can still hear
even now
like he is still in the room.

So, I take the sandwich
heart racing
into the bathroom
I think somehow
I could flush it down the drain.

But as I drop it in
as it sits there
he opens the door

I wish I could tell you that he laughed
but that would be a story
and this is the truth.

The truth is a spanking
I couldn’t run from.

The truth is
a disappointed tone
I can still hear.

The truth is
a heart sped up
and then stopped.

Heart Races Four

As I watch my son sing
songs I listened to
way before he was born
my heart beats so loud
it explodes

As I listen to my daughter read
her poem to a huge crowded audience
my heart swells so big
it bursts

People say being a parent
is like having your heart live
outside your body.

For me, for me
it is like my heart grew
then split
in two
the day they were born
one for him
one for her
and wherever they are on the outside
they are with me.
Sharing a pulse.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Way the Light Bends and an 'Imagine it then make it real mug' from Cordelia Jensen.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Great guest post. Love the poems.

  2. Beautiful poetry! Thank you for sharing.

  3. fantastic poem, wish I could write like that!!

  4. What a generous giveaway, thank so much and I have my fingers crossed. :-)

  5. Wonderful poems in this guest post. Something I always dreaded at school was when we had to write a poem - my mind went blank and it still does, lol

  6. Wonderful guest post, thanks for sharing!

  7. It takes you away to another places, I live poetry

  8. i would Love this- Thanks so much! p.s. beautiful poems

  9. You are a new author to me and I'm looking forward to reading your books.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article

  11. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  12. Beautiful poem. From the reviews the book sounds wonderful. Thank you for inspiration and giveaway.

  13. Cordelia, your last poem about your children gave me goosebumps.