Thursday, November 14, 2013

Poetry Pleasure

          Jama Rattigan, at Jama's Alphabet Soup, is hosting Poetry Friday this week.  Thank you for all the "pleasure" you serve us each week Jama, always tasty, thoughtful, and beautiful to see!



Upon Reading A Book of Poetry

Poems
     please me

     tease me
     invite the pleasure
     of their company - easily

with china cups  
of sweetened tea
I settle in for
my word party

Poems
     choke me
     change me
     their lettered lines
     rearrange me

Placemats are set
the way they should be
complete with words
created freely 

Linda Baie©  All Rights Reserved

          I wrote last week that I have been finding poetry books nominated for this year’s Cybil’s award, to read ahead so I can be somewhat prepared for my work as a second round judge.  It’s going to be a challenge to choose the finalists for those first round judges this year!
          The poetry I’ve read this year is marvelous and creative.  As a literacy coach, the writing has made my work a pleasure because I can share poems and poets that both show the possibility and the joy of poetry.  I always find poems to copy and share with teachers and students from the youngest to the oldest, kindergarten through 8th grade.  If you haven’t discovered the poetry published this year for children and teens, go to the Cybil’s blog here, and look at this wonderful list!


       This week I’d like to share a new collection, What The Heart Knows, Chants, Charms &
 Blessings, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.  It is joyful and serious, heartfelt and heartbreaking.  The poems will touch older kids and adults too.  It’s divided into 4 sections: Chants & Charms, Spells & Invocations, Laments & Remembrances, and Praise Songs & Blessings.  Each of the parts’ title pages offers brief definitions of the topics.  For instance, the book shares that a charm is “A verse spoken aloud that acts as a talisman or protection.”  
         Joyce Sidman has found ancient words once believed to solve life’s problems, and she has now re-worked them into her own beautiful poems.  The illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski make fine companions to each poem, sometimes filling the page as the poem tackles a more complex topic, and at other times, adding one small thing, the ‘heart’ of the poem.  For example, in Praise Songs & Blessings, there is a poem titled “Teacher”, with a student telling how she (in this math class) loved her chair “next to the window,/which was there if I needed it.”  The student goes on to show the love for the math teacher, and that she hated numbers “until she saw them sprout from your hands.” The illustration shows a chair, a window, and at the top, a hand spilling numbers down to the seat. Beautiful to see!
         The “Song of Bravery” ends with “into the glare of the arena/to face the lions.”  There are “Time Spells” which includes one for speeding up & one for slowing down.  I imagine you can guess who would love each one.  Another that will connect to teens is “Gift Spell” with the illustration showing the character seen often on the pages holding a box where, as we see inside, it's the outside, on wheels.    If that seems complex, it is, like many of Pamela Zagarenski's illustrations.  The poem talks of freedom and a wish for “metal teeth and a whiff of speed.”  Magical!

           I would love to share each page.  You’ll need to find the book and read it.  One of the final poems is “Silly Love Song”.  Among many pairings, it reads, “If you are the Maserati,/then I am the oil change.” and “You are this, I am that./Just kiss me.”       

32 comments:

  1. "Poems please me, tease me" - and isn't that the fun of them! Great lines!

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  2. Despite today's grey sky, your poem puts me in the mood for a lovely poetry-filled, Friday morning! Joyce Sidman's book will generate some sunshine for sure!

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    1. Thanks Michelle. The book is quite a joy to read!

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  3. I love this poem, Linda. It is a keeper and deserves to be published widely. And I also know the beauty of Joyce's book. I have a copy. May bring it to NCTE for her to sign, but I often will not stand in lines when I can be at a session. So we will see.
    I have a suggestion for all publishers....or for book signings. Make it like the airlines. Give out those raffle tickets (the cheap kind) and call folks by number in groups so you can wander the book store or the area. (Harder at conventions, I know.) If you miss your time, well, you need to get a new ticket.....all good. At a smaller conference, you could have it be like a cocktail party (with punch) and let folks mingle and then get in line for the author(s). So much better.......I think.
    See you soon!!!
    Janet F.
    Favorite part though I like it all:
    Poems

    choke me

    change me

    their lettered lines

    rearrange me

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    1. Thank you much, Janet. I'll spend much of the weekend getting ready-so exciting! Hope we'll get to spend at least some of the time together! Maybe browsing!

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  4. Good morning, Linda. I loved these lines of your poem:
    Poems
    choke me
    change me
    their lettered lines
    rearrange me

    Joyce's book sounds like just the thing for some middle school Harry Potter fans I know, who are just itching for ways to stay in contact with the world of spells and charms.

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    1. Thanks Laura. The book doesn't have many spells, but they are good ones!

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  5. Wonderful, Linda. Like others here, I see, I particularly like the drama and sounds of the "choke me/change me" stanza. I have Joyce's book on my Christmas list, but I'm not sure I can wait. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Jeannine. The poem was a 'pleasure' to write, and Joyce's book actually inspired it. I wanted to say more before the review, and a poem appeared!

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  6. I'm with Jeannine - not sure I can hold out from purchasing this book any longer!

    Linda, I love your poem, and it seems the perfect accompaniment to Jama's welcoming Poetry Friday spread today... "Their lettered lines/rearrange me" - wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Robyn-I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Poetry is a perfect end to the week I think!

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  7. Such a lovely poem Linda! It made me smile big time! And I will have to Joyce's book to my growing collection. Thanks :-)

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    1. Thank you Iza. I'm now home from work & look forward to seeing what you & Renee have cooked up for us!

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  8. What a lovely poem, Linda! Of course you had me with these lines:

    with china cups
    of sweetened tea
    I settle in for
    my word party

    And, as others have said, the "choke me, change me" lines stand out -- great energy.

    I just got a copy of Joyce's book! Have only read a couple of poems so far. I'm taking my time to savor every bit of it. I'm also a big fan of Pamela's art -- pretty mind expanding, don't you think?

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    1. Jama, that part of the poem is inspired by you! I thought of all the ways on Poetry Friday that we enjoy each other, and it was recently that you spoke of those beautiful china cups, wasn't it? Thank you! And yes, I love Joyce's book, and had it from the library. I hope to get a copy & my big wish is to have her sign it next week at NCTE!

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    2. Inspired by me? Even cooler :). Have a great time at NCTE!

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  9. Like the others, I really like "rearrange me," Linda. And "word party." The cover of Joyce's book is appropriately very charm-ing :-)

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    1. You are the clever "word-stet" Tabatha! I didn't say much about the illustrations, but they were wonderful too! Thank you!

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  10. I'm lining up with the others for those lines about being rearranged. The Joyce Sidman book is on my wish list.

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    1. Thanks Tara-we'll be having fun this time next week! So exciting to see what we find and do and share!

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  11. You have piqued my curiosity and interest with your wonderful review, Linda! I'm going to see if my library has this book. Thanks!
    Violet N.

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    1. Hope so, Violet. And I hope you enjoy it, too. Thanks!

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  12. I love your word party, and the book sounds great! Adding it to my ever-growing wish list.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth! I hope you can get a copy of the book-it's quite wonderful!

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  13. Oh Linda, I love your poem. At first I thought it was included in the Sidman collection, it's that beautifully written! You really should publish your own collection soon.

    I've been meaning to find this book!!!! I do believe it's perfect for our theme with light vanquishing the dark, amulets charms spells incantations - how perfect! Unfortunately, we still don't have the title in our libraries. Zagarenski is an absolute favourite. I think she has done this otherworldly theme justice. I really hope I can get my hands on this book soon. :)

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    1. Thank you Myra, so happy you like the poem! What a nice compliment. I do hope you can find the book, it is perfect for your theme of course! The poems are wonderful!

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  14. Linda, this is such a lovely commentary on the way we read poetry with joy, delight, and sometimes a bit of apprehension about the results. Change is not easy. Thanks for sharing. I know you are enjoying all your reading for the Cybils!

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    1. Thanks Dori. It is a comfortable thing to read poetry, so enjoying the books!

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  15. Oh, Linda, your poem pleases me - outstanding! And it whets my appetite for more poetry. Thank you for the link to the Cybil website. It's nice to have a one stop listing of everything that has been published this year. I've got some reading to do! =)

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    1. So happy you like my poem Bridget. Thank you! And enjoy all those nominated books-they are treasures!

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