Thursday, March 22, 2018

Going On A Jabber-Walk!

            Poetry Friday is with Laura Purdie Salas today at her blog, Writing The World for Kids! She's sharing more about her new book out, Meet My Family, which I reviewed a few weeks ago and had the joy of also winning a copy. Laura signed it for my granddaughters and they are thrilled! Be sure to visit to learn about her book (if you haven't already seen it). It's great!  



         Until last year, Juan Felipe Herrera was our country's poet laureate. You can find a brief biography of him here. The last year I taught, I remember being so excited about a new book for older students that was published: Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems In English and Spanish. It was a wonderful addition to my poetry collection about growing up in a very different environment from most of my own students.
         Recently, thanks to Candlewick Press, I received an advanced copy of Herrera's most recent book, this time for varied ages, perhaps kids especially, but I love it, too, all about writing poetry, in this crazy and mixed-up world of ours. Oh, how I wish I was still teaching. It's a "crazy and mixed-up" poetry how-to from him, guaranteed to make everyone smile and take off! Starting with a quote from Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky itself:

 "And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!"
                                             Herrera hurries into the pages with "The Incredible Chapter Uno", and introducing us readers to "Jabberwalking in a Fast, Fast World!"

       Herrera asks the reader (writer) often to rush into things without much thought, with some play on words like "blue-cheesy", not "cheesy". He writes that "You do not have to know where you are going! Or what you are saying" Art from Herrera's words, by him, too, is fun, clever, and (my word) doodles of extraordinary detail. With the words, it's exhilarating to know one can take off with a notebook and pen or pencil and catch a poem, or a sketch of what one sees or what one thinks. 



          There are some longer text pages, Jabber notebook entries, with shared parts of Herrera's life, growing up, moving, working the farms. There are some other unexpected bits like he is often looking for his dog, using old words in different ways, like sharing a "puffy secret" or writing a "leaping poem". I know what fun I had with this book, reading, jotting down a few words, then taking off myself on my own Jabberwalk!  There is much more I'm not sharing. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout and for us English speakers, a new idea to use other language words in writing. 
          Here is the beginning of one poem written as a 'jabber' poem by Herrera: 

"To Be A Jabber Walker" 
                --to be a Jabber Walker 

it takes
many walks alone--unnoticed
on a sidewalk you have never walked
or with friends
that come and go
         (sorry, the rest is only available in the book)

            And here is one page from my journal. I drove to a block I had never walked before, FYI, but found no friends there, except trees. Hope you can get a copy of the book and enjoy it as much as I have, and with students too if you can!

Poem-Burble-On-The-Run

So many trees as I walk
or drive in my city - old
                                         old,
                                             arms reach up, across, touch
                                     each other
                                            now waiting, waiting
                                     some buds there, still, in March
                                     April must come first
                                            Then a burst, green-brushed
                                     limbs, but watered down, hints,
                                     clues for spring
                                            the spruce, fur, pines keep
                                     green in memory so we won't
                                     forget
                                            I found one tall, tall evergreen
                                     today, arms by its side --
                                        jabber words - resting
                                                                   dejected
                                                                   sleeping
                                                                   relaxed
                                                                   old, balding
                                                 keeping its own counsel
                                                                                 Linda Baie, burbled 3/18

37 comments:

  1. I must get this book! What a fabulous review....especially if it's inviting new writing. Thank you. And, what a wonderful burbled poem. Those jabber words...that tree knowing them and keeping it all to itself. Wow.

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    1. It is a most enjoyable book, Linda, and yes, inviting writing (listening, sketching) all through it. Thank you!

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  2. I'll be requesting this book at the library. It looks very good. Thanks for sharing a bit of your creative process and your lovely poem.

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    1. Thanks, Kimberley. I hope you like it! Much fun for every writer/poet!

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  3. So cool, Linda! I love Herrera's advice in this book--I believe deeply in writing and seeing what just burbles up out of the brain. I enjoyed all the internal rhyme bits in your poem and the great details. And Mary Lee Hahn wrote a teaching guide for this book!

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    1. And thank you for your nice shout out about Meet My Family! xox

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    2. Thanks Laura, and you're welcome for the shout out! I love your new book! Thanks for telling me about Mary Lee's teaching guide. That's terrific!

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  4. A great review Linda. I'm definitely interested in purchasing a copy!

    "April must come first." I'm ready! One more week--bring on the green! And the gold! And the birds!

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    1. I think April must be the most exciting month this year, hoping especially for you in the east! Things are popping up here! Thanks, Diane.

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  5. Appreciations for this energetic post full of moxie & new thinking, inspired by this important poet (new to me.) Made-up words put a skip in my step. So the Jabbermeister is on my list, now thanks to you.. And your poem plus journal sharing - such evocative images. I especially feel pulled to

    "old, balding/ keeps its own counsel."

    Brava!

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    1. Thanks, Jan, I loved writing "from" this new book and about it, too. I hope you can find it and enjoy it.

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  6. Of course I am drawn to the one who keeps his own counsel... thank you for sharing, Linda! (I am a Herrera fan and have the book but haven't really connected with it!) xo

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    1. Thanks, Irene, that tree really drew me in, standing alone apart from the other trees. I think my students would have loved this book!

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    1. Thank, Doraine. It was a fun adventure!

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  8. OH, what a wonderful review! I'd heard of this book and was very curious. It sounds fabulous. Herrera's advice reminds me of freewriting; love the energy in your poem.

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    1. Thanks, Jama. Hope you like it whenever you find it!

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  9. I like Herrera too, but wasn’t familiar with these two books-and have always loved “Jabberwocky,” and taking walks-definitely want to read them both. Love your poem and the lovely old tree-so glad to have any bits of green through winter and now. Thanks for sharing all and your enthusiasm for the books!

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    1. You're welcome, Michelle. I certainly imagine you going out, sketching and capturing all that you love.

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  10. Linda, this is a wonderful review for me to read right before spring break. I think I need to do some Jabberwalking. Love your burbled journal page.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you have a week filled with Jabberwalking, Margaret! We are off to the mountains next week, me to do some writing, the rest to ski, ski, ski!

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  11. Love your burble, Linda! "Jabberwocky" has always been a favorite. I searched the title and was pleasantly surprised at the number of pages I could review of this book online. It is as you say, it's delightful!

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    1. Yes, I'm glad you can have a large "peek" at the book, Alice. Hope you find it all delightful! Thanks!

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  12. Sounds like quite the inspirational book - and it's nice that you took his advice and Jabberwalked yourself into a poem! Herrera's exhortations to "rush into writing without much thought" and to not worry where you're going are similar to a theme I've been trying to impress upon students: to write like no one is reading! (We all know what it means to dance like no one is watching - this is my take on that, to encourage the act of writing and not worrying about what others are going to think.) Thanks for sharing this, Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, Matt. I bet you're having so much fun in your school visits, and also that those students are listening and writing, such a wonderful thing. This was fun to do, hope I will get out Jabberwalking more!

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  13. Linda, I read over this blog twice because it was so fascinating to hear the poet's words, to ponder about taking a jabberwalk and then to be privy to yours.

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    1. Thanks, I'm happy you enjoyed it. I know you do a fair amount of "Jabberwalking" yourself!

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  14. I've ordered the book from the library. What a treat it will be. Thanks for sharing this. And I love where you took the poem.

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  15. This book sounds like so much fun! I love the idea of "catching a poem." Your poem is wonderful, too, especially "pines keep/green in memory so we won't/forget."

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. I hope you'll get the book and can use it yourself or with students!

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  16. Thank you for sharing this book! It looks wonderful, and I've already added it to my list of books I want to read.

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    1. You're welcome, Kay. Have fun with it!

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  17. A fine burble, indeed, Linda! I have this book sitting on my table as I write this, fresh from the library, new book smell intact. I've been excited to crack it open, but now I'm REALLY excited. :)

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    1. Terrific to hear that you have it, Michelle. I hope you enjoy the fun of it and the challenge to do your own "burbling"! Thanks!

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  18. Love what burbled up on your drive! Thanks for the book recommendation--will have to look for it.

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    1. Hope you like it too, especially those wonderful parts about being outside, Buffy! Thanks!

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