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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - The Poetry of US

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Are your bags packed?

 

This week the third National Geographic volume of poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis launched into the world, THE POETRY OF US.  (Earlier collections are THE BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY and THE BOOK OF NATURE POETRY - both full of natural wonders and animal magnetism!)

 

THE POETRY OF US invites readers to journey from one end of the country to the other to savor the culture, history, and quirks of the many varied places we call home. It is divided into eight sections:  New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains West, Pacific Coast (including Hawaii and Alaska), and Territories. You'll find thoughtful poems, cheerful poems, challenging poems, heartbreaking poems... I've only just begun to delve in.  

 

I'm beyond thrilled to have a poem included, along with many other Poetry Friday folks.  (I hope there are lots of sneak peeks celebrated in posts!)  My Philadelphia-themed poem shares a page with a powerful one by Charles Waters called "City of Brotherly Love."  And just a couple pages back are a couple of 'our' Lauras on the same page - "Beach Day" by Laura Shovan and "Water, Water Everywhere:  A Delaware Chant" by Laura Purdie Salas.  It's an honor share book space with so many poetry friends and their fine poems in each geographical section.  

 

There are traditional poems such as the Navajo "Twelfth Song of Thunder" and several poems with translations, as well as timeless poems by national literary lights including Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Frost, among others.  More than 200 poems in all!

 

A Frost quote leads us in, in fact: 

 

"All poetry begins with Geography."

 

Our editor extradordinaire offers an enchanting introduction and a final note with poetic invitation. I look forward to sharing this volume and all its breadth and depth with my third-grade-teacher daughter, Morgan, and with family and friends, as well as with young readers and writers in schools. 

 

Here's my contribution, celebrating the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, the nation's largest public art project.  (If you're in that vicinity, it happens to be Mural Arts Month with events from Sept. 28 through November 3!  Click here for more info.)

 

 

Mural Compass

 

Tall figures rise from city ground.

They speak to me without a sound

from vibrant faces, facing sun -

these paintings are for everyone.

 

Chartreuse and purple pop the street,

kaleidoscoping at my feet.

Graffiti marks are now long gone.

These paintings are for everyone.

 

On buildings bare and bridges wide

where history and hope collide

shine songs of freedom, fame, and fun-

These paintings are for everyone.

 

©Robyn Hood Black

 

 

This poem is a kyrielle - a centuries-old French form with eight syllables per line and a repeating end line in couplets or quatrains, with a minimum of three stanzas.  (Its origins are liturgical; the name comes from Old French kyriele, literally, kyrie eleison, from Late Latin, according to Miriam Webster.)

 

Deepest thanks to J. Patrick Lewis for this national treasure of a collection.  Lewis has penned more than 110 poetry and picture books for young readers and in 2011 he received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. He served as US Children's Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.  He continues to travel across the country inspiring students and grown-ups.

 

Now point your compass over to Deowriter, where the oh-so-talented Jone is hosting the Roundup from her lovely writer blog, and making it a GREAT MORNING all day long.  Thanks, Jone!

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Poetry Friday - Go Say G'Day to Erin!

Happy Poetry Friday!  Our little town was untouched by Florence save for a few loose palm fronds.  Prayers for so many up the highway and in North Carolina.  Nonetheless, the unplanned travel rendered me behind all around- I'm taking a 'bye' on posting this week.  Please welcome Erin to the "host" side of Poetry Friday - another Aussie! - and enjoy all the goodness rounded up at The Water's Edge.

(I do love the edges of things, myself.... ;0) )

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Poetry Friday - Blue Worlds by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

 

Greetings from the Georgia foothills, Poetry Lovers!  As I write this on Thursday, we are 300+ miles from our little coastal home and pondering the best time to head back, watching Florence updates.  Our prayers are with all in the path of this and other storms.

 

Poetry is always good medicine in times of stress.  Today I am grateful to Rebecca Kai Dotlich for allowing me to share her beautiful poem from the new anthology by Lee Bennett Hopkins, WORLD MAKE WAY - New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Poetry Friday regulars have no doubt enjoyed peeks into this gorgeous collection, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers in partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You'll see some familiar Poetry Friday names among contributors, too! (Click here for a wonderful interview with Lee by NPR's Scott Simon, which aired on March 31.) 

 

Rebecca wrote in response to Mary Cassatt's Young Mother Sewing (Oil on canvas, 1900).

 

 

Blue Worlds

 

I grow up in a world the color of water.

Sometimes when breezes blow just right,

when sun puddles in blue folds,

mama talks of blue things, wild things;

sea glass and butterflies,

peacocks and poppies.

 

While clocks keep perfect time

ships sail on seas yet named,

and birds sing odes to skyight.

Cornflowers turn to tufted stars

while mama threads light rain,

stitching my name

into air.

 

©Rebecca Kai Dotlich.  All rights reserved.

 

In my corner of the country, as folks react and respond to the power of water unleashed by a storm, I'm comforted by Rebecca's poem.  Its water imagery opens doors to wonder and connection, and to this exquisite painting of a tender bond between mother and child.

 

And, an aside about 'voice': When I first read, excerpted in Lee Bennett Hopkins's foreword, "cornflowers turn to tufted stars," I did not need to see who had written it - I knew that lyrical line must have come from Rebecca's pen. *Swoon*....

 

To learn more about Rebecca and her work, click here, and click here for the website of Lee Bennett Hopkins.

 

For the Poetry Friday Roundup, find some high ground and inspiration at The Poem Farm this week with Amy, who just happens to be one of the poets whose work graces the pages of WORLD MAKE WAY!

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Poetry Friday - Visit Carol This Week!

Thanks to all who participated in last week's Roundup - I always love hosting!  I have glue-covered fingertips this week, trying to get ready for First Friday After Five downtown... Please go enjoy all the offerings at Beyond Literacy Link, where the tireless and inspiring Carol is hosting our Roundup.  See you next week! 

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