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Hey, YOU! -- A Poetry Friday book review

We interrupt this book review to bring you the following announcement:
This year, I will again be posting poetry-related material daily during the month of April. Unless I miss a day, but that's not the plan. And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming:

Hey, you! Yeah, you! Wanna read a cool new anthology chock-full of poems of address?

I'm guessing you do. But that first, you might want a brief reminder as to what a Poem of Address is. It is a poem written as if addressing a person, place or thing. Think Robert Burns's poem "To a Louse: On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet, At Church". Only in this case, more updated, with less Scots in it, and suitable for kids.

And poetry anthologist extraordinaire Paul B. Janeczko has pulled together quite a collection of poems of address in his latest offering, illustrated by Robert Rayevsky:

HEY, YOU!: Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes and Other Fun Things

Many of the poems are paired by related subject matter. Thus, X.J. Kennedy's "To a Snowflake" is paired on a two-page spread with "Hat Hair" by Joan Bransfield Graham. Emily Dickenson's "Bee, I'm expecting you!" is with "Straight Talk" by Nikki Grimes (which also addresses a bee). Penny Harter's "Buffalo" is with Kristine O'Connell George's "Bison" (one of the only illustrations I have an actual quarrel with -- the Bison looks quite angry based on how its eyes were rendered, yet the poem reads (in part) as follows:

Yet, when I look
into your cloudy eyes
you seem to be trying
to remember something,
something important
you need to tell me.

"Cloudy eyes" to me are soft, not hostile. Yet the bison looks more like a regular bull, ready to charge, than like one of the gentle giants from the central plains. Ah well.)

Two of my favorite poems in the collection are on facing pages of lovely blues and greens, since they are ocean-related poems. The first is Ogden Nash's "The Octopus," the second is Douglas Florian's "The Sea Horse".

So you can compare and contrast:

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs,
Is those arms, or is they legs?


You're not a colt
Nor mare
Nor filly.
You're called a horse.
I call that silly.

Of course the full poems are longer, but you can get an idea of style and content from the excerpts here.

Definitely one to amuse kids, and to get them thinking about poetry in a whole new way. I'm sure many readers will write their own poems to their books, sneakers, stuffed toys, and animals after reading the poems in this anthology. And knowing Paul Janeczko's enthusiasm for getting kids to write, I'm sure that was the point.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 30th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
A poetry Friday haiku for Kelly (a really, really bad haiku).

Wanted to say hi.
Hey Kelly, how's it goin'?
Waving hi to you!

Ok, it's not even a real haiku, except for the syllables. ;)
Mar. 30th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to write a haiku for me -- I enjoyed it so much!

I am waving to you too. And hoping I get to actually see you this year. I'm not going to the Poconos, and so I have no idea how to make that happen unless I go through with last year's plan to visit NYC for a day just to see you (and check out the CBC).

Or perhaps check out BEA. Hmmmm. . . .will have to ponder.
Mar. 30th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
It would be great to see you this year. I'm not going to the Poconos either, so that's not a miss ;)

I've been thinking about going to a few of the semi-local (north-eastern) conferences in the next few months, including the one you are speaking at. But I don't want to go unless I'm feeling better. As great as the NY conference was, I really, really shouldn't have been there.

I will be at BEA though. I think I'll be there for work, but if not, I'm going just for me.

Otherwise, once I feel better, maybe we could meet somewhere in the middle for coffee and stuff :0)
Mar. 30th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
I heart Ogden Nash!
Mar. 30th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
Me too. I own a copy of Poetry Speaks to Children, which comes with a CD of selected poems from the collection -- it includes Nash reading part of The Adventures of Isabel, which he wrote for his daughter.
Mar. 30th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for another great book recommendation. I'm going through your old posts looking for books to order.
Mar. 30th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
Get Dear Mr. Rosenwald by Carole Boston Weatherford, if you don't have it -- one of the best collections from last year.

I liked Thanks a Million as well, by Nikki Grimes.

And for fun, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich.
Mar. 30th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Oh -- on the day I bought this one, I also bought Doug Florian's newest book about the planets, Comets, Stars, The Moon and Mars, and it's WONDERFUL. Better, even, than HEY YOU! But I'm saving my book review for next week, since I need poetic content to fill my entire month, starting Sunday.
Mar. 30th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Kelly! My library list gets longer and longer. I must get the new Doug Florian, yes? As well as Hey, You.

I look forward to keeping up with your daily poetry posts in April.

C. Spaghetti
Mar. 31st, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
You must get the new Doug Florian. For sure -- beautiful book design in addition to great poems.

And if you don't have it -- an older book, but one of my favorites is Plum by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Mary GrandPré.
Mar. 31st, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
love your book blurb! :-)
Mar. 31st, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks Julie!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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