poetry friday roundup is here!

“Poets sing our human music for us.” ~ Carol Ann Duffy

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Hope you’re having a good April and enjoying National Poetry Month, whether you’re reading, writing, listening to, or discovering new poets (or all of the above). 🙂

I do love poems about poetry, and can’t think of a better time to share this favorite by former UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

I found it in her New and Collected Poems for Children (Faber & Faber, 2014), which includes some new verses along with work from four of her award-winning collections. It’s simply chock full of goodness — there’s even an alphabet poem which I should share some time.

The Queen receives incoming Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy (July 2009).

I find it interesting that UK Poet Laureates serve for such long terms. Although they’re now appointed to 10-year fixed terms, prior to 1999, they served for life (upon recommendation from the prime minister and approval of the sovereign). 

Carol Ann’s tenure was from 2009-2019. She was the first female, the first Scot, and the first openly gay and bisexual poet to be so honored, breaking a longstanding tradition of almost 400 years! UK Poet Laureates receive an annual honorarium and a barrel of sherry. 🙂

“Flying Kites” by Renie Britenbucher (2011)
THE WORDS OF POEMS
by Carol Ann Duffy

The words of poems are nails
which tack the wind to a page,
so that the gone hour 
when your kite pulled you over the field
blows in your hair.

They’re hand-mirrors, a poem’s words,
holding the wept tears on your face,
like a purse holds small change, or the breath
that said things.

                                   They’re fishing-nets,
scooping sprats and tiddlers out of a stream
or the gleaming trout that startled the air
when you threw it back. The words of poems

are stars, dot-to-dots of the Great Bear,
the Milky Way your telescope caught; or breves
filled with the light of the full moon you saw
from your bedroom window; or little flames
like the tongues of Hallowe’en candles.

The words of poems are spells, dropping
like pennies into a wishing-well, remember
the far splash? They’re sparklers,
scrawling their silver loops and hoops
on the night, again in your gloved fist
on November the Fifth.

They’re goldfish
in their sad plastic bags at the fair,
you stood there. The words of poems
are coins in a poor man’s hat; the claws of a lost cat.
The words of poems are who you were.
“Ursa Major” by Kristiana Parn

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Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. Enjoy gallivanting from blog to blog, reading the many words of poems being shared this week. Thank you for joining us and have a nice weekend. You can find the NPM Kidlitosphere Roundup at Susan Bruck’s Soul Blossom Living.

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Another bite for the road.

*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

leaves you wanting Moore

“Ice Cream Man”

When Scott Moore was just six years old, he drew a policeman on a horse arresting a six foot tall intoxicated duck. A sign of things to come? 🙂

Well, Scott didn’t grow up to be a policeman, and as far as I know, doesn’t regularly cavort with quazy quackers, but he is a master of surrealism, or of what he calls, “out-of-scale realism.”

“Milk and Cookies”

A 40-year resident of Laguna Beach, California, Scott painted traditional watercolors before making an international name for himself in recent decades with his photorealistic, fantastical pieces. 

“Toastmaster”

He typically uses two scales in the same painting, placing tiny figures in retro scenes to tell stories inspired by childhood memories, dreams, and his boundless imagination.

He creates these works in a 1,000-foot studio which he built by excavating a second floor beneath his home. He likes having his studio, which resembles an antique store, on a different level. What a cool collection of 50’s and 60’s tin toys, old books, kitchen and household memorabilia! What fun it must be to “shop your own shelves” for a clock radio, milk bottle, cookie jar, or coffee can to add to your pictures.

“Sell Phones”
“Corner Market”

What Scott doesn’t already own, he finds on the internet. His only cardinal rule for painting is “to be true to the light source.” Otherwise, anything goes, as it can, and often does, in dreams: objects float or change drastically in size as they become part of the studied drama.

“Coffee and Donuts”

Artistic talent runs in the Moore family. Scott’s dad was a watercolorist and graphic designer. He encouraged Scott to pursue graphic design in college because it was too hard to make a living as a fine artist.

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[review] Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins and Nicole Wong

After watching his grandfather compose a haiku with brush and ink, Kiyoshi asks, “Where do poems come from?”

Wise and gentle poet Eto answers by taking Kiyoshi on a meditative  walk around their city to demonstrate how sensory perception, mindfulness, imagination, and emotional reflection all play a role in inspiring new poems.

As they stroll along familiar streets, they take note of seemingly ordinary occurrences — a cat perched atop a pile of oranges at the grocers, a flock of pigeons swooping down from a rooftop, a lone teddy bear left behind next to an abandoned building.

For each observation, Eto writes a new poem, to which Kiyoshi responds with new insight. About the oranges, Eto writes:

Hill of orange suns.
Cat leaps. Oranges tumble.
The cat licks his paw. 

Kiyoshi puzzles awhile, and then asks, “Does this mean poems come from seeing things?”

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1.  Nothing cozier than settling down in your favorite armchair, book in hand, cat purring, tea and cake at the ready (don’t you love the blue and white china?). 🙂

Self taught UK artist Lucy Almey Bird grew up in rural Somerset, and likes to paint domestic scenes from everyday life. I love the “kinder, gentler” tone of her pictures, many of which show people reading and relaxing, enjoying the fresh air, or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.

Pretty details catch your eye, such as the patterns on clothing or wallpaper, and intricately drawn leaves, branches, or wildflower blossoms. 

The child of creative parents, Lucy was encouraged to draw and paint from an early age. Regular trips to museums and art galleries ignited her passion for art. She works primarily with acrylic on board, and you can order prints by emailing her via her website.

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2. New Picture Book Alert! Just released March 30, 2021: Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari and Felicita Sala (Abrams, 2021)!

A lyrical, gorgeously illustrated look at the majesty of trees—and what humans can learn from them.

Stand tall. 
Stretch your branches to the sun. 
Be a tree!

We are all like trees: our spines, trunks; our skin, bark; our hearts giving us strength and support, like heartwood. We are fueled by air and sun.

And, like humans, trees are social. They “talk” to spread information; they share food and resources. They shelter and take care of one another. They are stronger together.
In this gorgeous and poetic celebration of one of nature’s greatest creations, acclaimed author Maria Gianferrari and illustrator Felicita Sala both compare us to the beauty and majesty of trees—and gently share the ways in which trees can inspire us to be better people.

As someone who lives in the woods, and who’s also a big fan of both Maria’s and Felicita’s work, I am extra excited about seeing this one. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

Be a Tree! has already received **starred reviews** from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, who said, “This book has the advantage of lyrical, accessible poetry and vibrant watercolors from an ever changing palette.”

Sigh. I may have to go outside and read this book to our trees. 🙂

Congratulations, Maria and Felicita!

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something to quack about

QUACK! 

Since spring is Beatrix Potter time in the Alphabet Soup kitchen, thought we’d serve up a blend of old and new, courtesy of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-duck. 

For the last several days, while trying to decide which stories to talk about, we heard a constant quacking in the butler’s pantry. Stray feathers drifted in whenever we opened the front door, and the odd egg or two would appear in unexpected places — next to the toaster, inside the oatmeal box, in front of the clock.

Quite curious, wouldn’t you say?

Well, Clever Cornelius knew eggsactly what was up: Jemima Puddle-duck was jockeying for the spotlight.

Not wanting to quash her quack, we decided to share a newish board book in which she appears with Peter Rabbit, in addition to her classic tale published in 1908. 

A SPRING SURPRISE

In A Spring Surprise, the fifth title in the  adorable Peter Rabbit Tale board book series by Fiona Munro and Eleanor Taylor (Frederick Warne, 2019), Peter and his family are busy preparing for an Easter picnic.

Everyone except Peter knows what they’re bringing. For Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail, it’s blackberry juice, wildflower garlands and jump ropes.

Wanting to bring something just as perfect, Peter goes around asking for suggestions. His mother, who’s making sandwiches, suggests “something sweet,” while Benjamin Bunny (busy with his kite) is in favor of “something fun.” Squirrel Nutkin tells him to “take something that’s a bit different.”

Well, this only makes Peter feel worse because he can’t think of anything sweet, fun, or different . . . until he suddenly spots something small and yellow amongst the bluebells. A flower? No, it’s moving! A butterfly?

“QUACK!”

Ooh, a tiny duckling! He scoops it right up. As he scampers along the path, he sees another, then another and another! Peter knows these ducklings belong to Jemina Puddle-duck, who must be worried sick. When he shows up with them at the picnic, Jemima is ecstatic, and everyone claps and cheers. Peter definitely couldn’t have brought anything sweeter, more fun or different to the picnic. 🙂

Now, despite the missing ducklings, Jemima really likes this story because she gets to do some quazy joyous quacking at the end, and the appearance of her four ducklings kinda picks up right where The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck leaves off.

Do you recall that somewhat harrowing farmyard tale?

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