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.)
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!