Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘poetry friday’ Category

“Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.” ~ Emily Dickinson

I’ve been curious about Emily Dickinson’s relationship with children ever since learning that she used to lower baskets of gingerbread to the neighborhood kids.

That’s why I loved Burleigh Mutén’s delightful verse novel Miss Emily (Candlewick, 2014). It gave me a good sense of how Dickinson might have interacted with four of the children in her life: her niece and nephew Mattie and Ned (who lived next door at the Evergreens), and the pastor’s kids Mac and Sally, who lived across the street.

This fun and suspenseful adventure, where Emily and the children disguise themselves as gypsies to catch a glimpse of the midnight circus train, is told from Mac’s point of view. It is clear the kids all adore Miss Emily and she, them, united as they are in imaginative play and a singular brand of friendship.

Illustrations copyright © 2014 Matt Phelan

I’m so pleased Burleigh is here today to tell us more about writing and researching Miss Emily. I daresay “the children’s laughing goddess of plenty” herself would be quite pleased with this story, as it celebrates her fondness for children and the importance of remaining true to one’s inner child: therein lies the truth about who we really are and should always strive to be.

Look sharp! The circus train is here. All Aboard! :)

*   *    *

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Mr. Cornelius Cucumber

While looking for more children’s books illustrated by Lena Anderson, I was happy to discover Anna’s Garden Songs – a whimsical, light-hearted collection of 14 fruit and veggie poems written by Mary Q. Steele.

Garden favorites like peas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, beets and onions take their place in the sun with playful rhyming verse and Lena’s fanciful pictures. I may as well confess right now that I’ve always had a thing for giant vegetables, so when I saw how Lena fiddled with scale in this book I squealed with delight. :)

Blond, mostly barefoot, bespectacled Anna is just adorable as she plants, harvests and shares the garden’s bounty with her friends, grandfather, and large pet rabbit, who happily scampers through the pages and almost steals the show (he’s especially good at nibbling and napping).

 

From the moment I opened the book and saw Anna hiding in that big pea pod, I knew I was in for a real treat. I can’t decide which I like most — Anna sitting atop a giant beet, relaxing amongst the tomato plants, or wearing a dress made from lettuce leaves.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Ahem. I’ve known for some time that poets J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian are both crazy. Crazy talented, that is.

Ebullient wizards of comedic timing and wordplay, these two pun meisters should be arrested for having way too much fun. Having tickled the funny bones of kids everywhere for decades, they’ve each published dozens of award winning books that celebrate the many wonderful possibilities of poetry. Such joy! Such cleverness! Such vigorous versifying! Veddy veddy good.

Now, a new book by either one of these beloved poets is a real treat, but having them write a book together is like having your cake and eating it two, three, maybe five thousand times. In Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems (Schwartz & Wade, 2014), Mr. Lewis and Mr. Florian have set their engines at full throttle, pulling out all the stops when it comes to inventing 21 crazy dazy cars of the future.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

We are always eating
or about to, or just done.
We are hungry, we are sated,
we are wishing we hadn’t.
We are making up for it,
or planning our denials,
or confessing them.

~ from “Dieting” by Julia Wendell

I’m pleased today to welcome Maryland poet Julia Wendell, who’s as passionate about words as she is about horses. With a life marked by such difficult personal challenges as anorexia and alcohol addiction, it seems riding and writing have been her saving graces.

The 29 poems in her new chapbook Take This Spoon are presented in seven sections, each leading off with a favorite family recipe to whet the reader’s appetite. As she says in her poem “Dieting,” we spend much of our time obsessing about food. Some are addicted to eating, while others are addicted to not eating. Better to take a lesson from animals:

Self-consciousness doesn’t ruin

their appetite or enjoyment.
They don’t judge what they consume,
or long for what they won’t allow themselves.

They don’t confuse who they are
with what they eat,
fearing they won’t be loved
if they’re fat, or don’t cook,
or overcook, or nearly kill themselves
by making up for their gluttony
with fasting.

Julia explores the complicated relationship humans have with food by fixing a personal lens on her own family. In artfully crafted scenes, (a mother keeping her daughter out of the kitchen so she won’t see her drinking, a young woman bringing home a bohemian boyfriend to dinner at her mother’s “immaculate table,” a woman aching for her deceased mother as she comes across her handwriting on recipe cards), the subtexts of pain, regret, loss, and contention are plated to perfection. Her descriptions of food are lyrical and sensual, her voice intimate and honest, her ability to align what is being eaten with what eats away at the heart and soul is powerful.

Since so many of you enjoyed Julia’s poem, “My Mother’s Handwriting,” I know you’ll find her thoughts about writing, familial relationships, and the love of horses interesting.

Naturally, I asked her to share a recipe. Peanut Butter Pie, anyone? :)

*   *   *

(more…)

Read Full Post »

#49 in a series of posts celebrating the alphabet

Put on your bathing suit and flip flops. Grab your pail, shovel and shades. Let’s go to the beach!

Poet Richard Michelson and illustrator Doris Ettlinger celebrate the sights, sounds, smells, fun and mystery of a joyous day by the sea in their charming new picture book, S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2014).

Written in a variety of poetic forms (ode, haiku, free verse, rhyming couplets), Michelson’s poems range from lyrical to light, capturing the many moods, rhythms, and emotions associated with ocean and shore from A to Z.

Have you ever made a sand angel? Or maybe you’d rather show off your castle-building skills, stroll the boardwalk, or comb the beach for shells or sea glass, letting your imagination run wild with possibility. Was this piece from a “king’s cup/Or medicine bottle” — maybe even a pirate’s decanter? Whatever you decide, there’s nothing quite like a tossed and tumbled “gift from the ocean.”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 504 other followers

%d bloggers like this: