Friday, April 17, 2009

National Poetry Month


It's National Poetry Month and there are so many new poetry books out there! Here's a few - some new, some old ...


The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes (2009 Jump at the Sun)

With only one line of verse per double-spread painting, this book is E.B. Lewis' visual interpretation of Langston Hughes' famous poem. Simply beautiful!


Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars by Douglas Florian (2007 Harcourt)

Each double-spread entry in Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars is a whimsical, yet factual description of a planet or other member of the cosmos, accompanied by a whimsical, yet realistic painting. Take Venus for instance,

"Scalding-hot surface,
Nine hundred degrees.
Nothing can live there,
No creatures,
No trees.
Poisonous clouds
Of acid above.
Why was it name for
the goddess of love?"

The accompanying painting, done with "gouache, collage, and rubber stamps on primed brown paper bags," contains an appropriately colored Venus with landmarks, red hearts, the statue of Venus, and a small question mark.
Each painting is equally delightful, and many have cutouts, previewing previous or following pages.

Visually attractive, entertaining, and informative...what more can one possibly ask from a book of poetry?


OR, if you prefer a fantastical, fictional take on the cosmos, try former Children's Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky's new book, The Swamps of Sleethe: Poems from Beyond the Solar System.


Last year's Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (2008 Jabberwocky) is a treat because it includes a CD of poems read, in most cases, by their authors.


Also from last year, Birds on a Wire: A Renga 'Round the Town, by J. Patrick Lewis and Paul B. Janeczko (2008 Wordsong), an introduction to an ancient Japanese poetry form that isn't haiku, and because it requires a partner or two, is much more fun!


There's something for everyone in National Poetry Month!

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