On this, his 80th birthday, we are honored to feature Lee Bennett Hopkins’s most recent poetry book for young readers. Everyone in the world, make way for this stellar author, poet, educator, editor, and master anthologist!
We are first introduced to this beautiful collection of ekphrastic poetry with this perceptive quote and sketch by Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci:
Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.
In his Foreword, Hopkins explains that the book’s title was inspired by da Vinci’s drawing:
Though rough, the sketch reveals sharp details of the animal’s strong facial features, powerful muscles, and grasping claws — a stance as if the bear forewarns: World make way!
In World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Abrams BYR, 2018), we are treated to 18 original poems written by contemporary poets in response to 18 visual masterpieces from the Met’s vast collection. The art represents a diverse world view, spotlighting different time periods, artists, and cultures, and it is rendered in a variety of media (oil, tempera, pencil, ink, watercolor, silver, gold, acrylic) on different bases (canvas, paper, wood, silk, PVC panels). The poets (who were specially commissioned for this project), are among the finest writing for children today. In short, an exquisite book — a heartful, soul nourishing feast for the eyes and ear.
Here are the poets (*swoon*):
Alma Flor Ada
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Joan Bransfield Graham
Lee Bennett Hopkins
J. Patrick Lewis
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Naomi Shihab Nye
Ann Whitford Paul
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Carole Boston Weatherford
Art begetting art — what could be more life affirming or gratifying?