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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Summer Poem Swap Delights from Irene Latham




You can’t outclever Irene.

A couple of weeks ago it was my pleasure to share my first surprise in the 2014 Summer Poem Swap (dreamed up by the amazing Tabatha ), a lovely and poignant poem and hand painted card from Margaret Simon.

Thursday my mailbox offered up delectable poetic surprise # 2 – this time from my good friend and fellow SCBWI Southern Breezer, Irene Latham.

First, I howled at the packaging. A repurposed Little Debbies Star Crunch box! That bit of cardboard transported me back a few decades ago to summers when I worked at a daycare center– we took the kids skating and took along boxes of Little Debbies Star Crunch treats! Mmmm, still remember how yummy they were…

I opened that box to find another: a cute little take-out carton with wire handle! You know the ones. Irene collaged the outside of this with all kinds of pictorial wonders – images of a light bulb/idea; a big beetle; a pig wearing shades; the words yes! and Love; some eighteenth-century party-goers; some colorful men under a colorful umbrella; and a little girl in make-believe mode hanging out a costume to dry. Sooo very Irene!

Inside the box were some fortune cookies! And, a wee colorful scroll. Oh, I do love a scroll. I untied its ribbon to find this:


Fortune Cookie
for RHB

        1
crisp, golden shell
    happy to hatch

        2
white-winged
   messenger
nestled inside
    tender folds

        3

word-bird
unfurling,
singing itself

    alive



©Irene Latham. All rights reserved.


Is that delicious or what?!?! (And please forgive the less-than-perfect formatting.) I could read that last stanza over and over, and I’m sure I will.

In the interest of poetry of course, I opened one of the fortune cookies. To share whatever its message was with you …

If we only knew the real value of the day.

Now there’s a sentiment a poet can sink her teeth into! (And, yes, of course I ate the cookie… Am I wearing crumbs?)

Speaking of Irene, on the OFF CHANCE YOU’VE BEEN ESCAPING THE HEAT IN SIBERIA OR SOMETHING… Huge congrats on the starred reviews for her first collection of poetry for young readers, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST, to be released from Millbrook in September. Says the one and only Lee Bennett Hopkins:

CHEERS to Irene Latham. Her latest book, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST AND OTHER POEMS FROM THE WATER HOLE (Millbrook) received STARRED reviews from both SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL and KIRKUS reviews. The book is simply beautiful in every way. SLJ cites:
"This will be a much-sought after book...". Seek it out.


I always do what Lee says. Actually, I had the good fortune to see some of these fine poems in manuscript form, and I recently got to see a beautiful ARC from the publisher. To see the cover, and to learn about more poetry books for young readers Irene has coming down the pike, click here.

Many thanks to Irene for allowing me to share her work, and I’m ever grateful to share this journey in poetry with her as well.

All this talk of cookies must have whet your poetic appetite. Please visit lovely Linda at Write Time for more delicious poetic offerings in this week’s Roundup!
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