Friday, November 27, 2009

Party for a Poetry Man

I was away in Philadelphia for a few days last week for the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention. The reason I attended the convention--for the first time ever--is because I wanted to be there to celebrate with lots of other poets at the Poetry Party for Lee Bennett Hopkins, the 2009 recipient of the NCTE EXcellence in Poetry for Children

L to R: Janet Wong, Pat Lewis, Kris George, Moi, Rebecca Dotlich

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong compiled a special book of poems as a tribute to Lee. I was thrilled to be one of the poets as to contribute to Dear One. Click here to read Eating Poetry, the poem I wrote in honor of Lee.

Pre-Party Pictures

L to R: Pat Lewis, Rebecca Dotlich, Michele Krueger

L to R: Moi, Pat, Rebecca

Let the Tribute Begin!

Sylvia Vardell Gets the Poetry Party Rolling

Lee Bennett Hopkins Comes to the Podium

Lee & The Poets Who Shared Their Poems & Remembrances of Him
L to R: Walter Dean Myers, Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Sylvia Vardell,
Lee Bennett Hopkins, Janet Wong, Jane Yolen, Pat Lewis

More Poetry Party Pics

Bobbi Katz
Sara Holbrook

L to R: Pat Lewis, Jane Yolen, John Grandits

And here's one of my all-time favorite poems about poetry. This one's for you, Lee!

Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

You can read the rest of the poem here.


At Political Verses, I have Who's the Turkey?: A Poem about Sarah Palin.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Becky’s Book Reviews.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Win a Copy of "Dear One: A Tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins"

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have a few extra copies of Dear One, the special "festschrift" book of poetry that they compiled in honor of Lee Bennett Hopkins, the 2009 recipient of the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award. They have proposed a mini-competition for giving away the last dozen copies. Here’s the challenge: You have to list the name of a past NCTE Poetry Award winner whose work you are thankful for (and provide the titles of a couple of favorite books or poems written by that poet) in the comments section of this post at Sylvia's blog Poetry for Children: Be thankful for our NCTE poets. (No limit to your entries, but you can win only once.)

I wrote the following poem, Eating Poetry, for the tribute book. The words in italics are titles and a subtitle from poetry books Lee has published.

Eating Poetry
by Elaine Drabik Magliaro

Here we are
sitting side by side,
eating through a day
full of poems,
chewing on wonderful words,
delicious words
full of surprises
words that flit, flutter, fly
from our tongues,
words that taste of
April, bubbles, chocolate,
words with the scent of sky magic.

Here we are
sitting side by side
savoring similes,
munching on metaphors,
rhymes dribbling down our chins,
licking rhythm from our lips.

Here we are
sitting side by side
in the city I love
eating poetry
a l l d a y l o n g…

Dear One: A Tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins features original poems and anecdotes written by 61 poets, many who are friends and collaborators of Lee. Contributors included are listed below (appearing in reverse alphabetical order—as they do in the book):

Jane Yolen
Joyce Lee Wong
Janet Wong
Allan Wolf
Karen Winnick
Carole Boston Weatherford
April Halprin Wayland
Ann Wagner
Eileen Spinelli
Sonya Sones
Marilyn Singer
Joyce Sidman
Alice Schertle
Laura Purdie Salas
Joanne Ryder
Susan Pearson
Ann Whitford Paul
Linda Sue Park
Naomi Shihab Nye
Walter Dean Myers
Heidi MordhorstPat Mora
Donna Marie Merritt
Jude Mandell
Elaine Drabik Magliaro
J. Patrick LewisJonArno Lawson
Julie Larios
Michele Krueger
X.J. Kennedy
Bobbi Katz
Alan Katz
Paul Janeczko
Sara Holbrook
Mary Ann Hoberman
Georgia Heard
Juanita Havill
David Harrison
Avis Harley
Lorie Ann Grover
Nikki Grimes
John Grandits
Joan Bransfield Graham
Charles Ghigna
Carole Gerber
Kristine O’Connell George
Helen Frost
Betsy Franco
Douglas Florian
Ralph Fletcher
Bob Falls
Emma D. Dryden
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Graham Denton
Jill Corcoran
Leslie Bulion
Calef Brown
Brod Bagert
Kathi Appelt
Jaime Adoff
Arnold Adoff

Monday, November 23, 2009

Party for a Poetry Man

I haven't had an opportunity yet to write up a post about the Poetry Party that was held in honor of Lee Bennett Hopkins last Friday at the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention in Philadelphia. It was a BLAST!!!

I'm sending along a million thanks to Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong--two people instrumental in organizing the party and getting funding for and compiling a book of poems and anecdotes as a special tribute to a man who has done more than anyone else to bring poetry into the lives of children.

Anyone interested in reading about the party and the tribute book, Dear One, should check out Sylvia Vardell's overview of this special occasion at her blog Poetry for Children: Hurray for Hopkins.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Poetry

I’m leaving for Philadelphia tomorrow for the 2009 Annual NCTE Convention. I won’t be posting on Poetry Friday—so here is some Thanksgiving poetry for you on Wednesday.

Giving Thanks
Author Unknown

Giving Thanks
For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home -
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought -
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the Free" -
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

From Thanksgiving
by Ivy O. Eastwick

Thank you
for all my hands can hold-
apples red,
and melons gold,
yellow corn
both ripe and sweet,
peas and beans
so good to eat!

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Click here to read my review of Nancy White Carlstrom’s book of poems Thanksgiving Day at Our House.

You may also want to check out this other Wild Rose Reader post: THANKSGIVING: Book Lists, Book Reviews, Resources, & Crafts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

THANKSGIVING: Book Lists, Book Reviews, Resources, & Crafts

Thanksgiving Book Lists

Reviews of Thanksgiving Books from Wild Rose Reader

Thanksgiving Resources for Teachers and Parents

One More Resource

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving

Written by Joseph Bruchac

Illustrated by Greg Shed

Silver Whistle/Harcourt, 2000

This historical fiction picture book is excellent for reading aloud in the elementary grades. Bruchac narrates the story in the voice of Squanto (Tisquantum), a Patuxet Indian. The book opens with Squanto telling about his capture by Captain Thomas Hunt who took him and other Patuxets to Spain to be sold as slaves in 1614, how Spanish friars set Squanto free and helped him to get to England, and Squanto’s return to America in 1619 when he found that his people had been devastated by a disease. In the rest of the book, we learn about Squanto’s building a friendship with the Pokanokets and Nemaskets; Samoset, a Pemaquid Indian; the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower; and the relationship between Squanto and the English that helped the settlers at Plimoth make it through their first year in the New World. The book includes an author’s note and a glossary.

Milly and the Macy’s Parade
Written by
Shana Corey
Illustrated by
Brett Helquist
Scholastic, 2002

This is a tale about a young girl named Milly whose family has immigrated to the United States from Poland. Milly’s father works at Macy’s Department Store. He—along with other immigrants who work there—miss their families and the holiday celebrations they had back in their homelands. Milly listen to them talking and gets a grand idea.

Meanwhile, Mr. Macy is concerned because his salesclerks are frowning instead of acting festive before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. He thinks the salesclerks are depressing the customers. He’s trying to figure out a solution to this problem. That’s when Milly approaches Mr. Macy and explains her idea. She tells him how she thinks “Macy’s could bring a little bit of everyone’s home to America.” Mr. Macy is receptive to Milly’s suggestion that the store sponsor a celebration that will remind the homesick employees of their holidays back home. The following day the store posts a sign advertising its Christmas parade. Word spreads quickly.

On Thanksgiving Day, Milly, her father, and all the other Macy’s workers dress up in costumes and march in the holiday parade. They all enjoy singing and strolling down the street—just as they had done in the old country.

This is a highly fictionalized account of the origin of the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade--but it's an entertaining story. Shana Corey includes an Author’s Note with background information on the parade—including the fact that it missed only three holidays. It was canceled from 1942-1944 because of World War II.

Click here to view some of the interior illustrations from the book.
A Little Poetry for Thanksgiving Day

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain.
So open wide the doorway-
Thanksgiving comes again!

Thanksgiving Magic
by Rowena Bastin Bennett

Thanksgiving Day I like to see
Our cook perform her witchery.
She turns a pumpkin into pie
As easily as you or I
Can wave a hand or wink an eye.
She takes leftover bread and muffin
And changes them to turkey stuffin’.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Small Graces November Auction Is On!!!

Bid on eBay and support the FCB

This month "Small Graces: A Painting a Month to Benefit the FCB" features another fabulous painting by the talented and generous author/illustrator Grace Lin. This is the 11th painting to be auctioned on eBay as a benefit for our programs in under-served schools.

Here's how it works: Every month a small (5x5 inch), unpublished, original painting will be auctioned on eBay with 100% of the proceeds to support the FCB's author/illustrator visits and residencies in urban schools. Each painting will illustrate a bit of wisdom, a proverb, a "small Grace."

This month's painting (above), painted in gouache on watercolor paper, is on auction beginning today, Monday, November 16 through Friday, November 20. To bid on this painting, click here for the eBay link. For those who find original art from children's books beyond their budget, this is a great way to buy affordable art! Please spread the word and bid!

Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of more than a dozen picture books, including The Ugly Vegetables and Dim Sum for Everyone! Grace's critically acclaimed children's novels include The Year of the Dog and The Year of the Rat. Read more about Grace and her work here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Personal Poetry News

I’m an incoming member of the NCTE Poetry Committee. I didn’t want to announce it until it was official.

Click here to find out who the other incoming members are.

This is our charge: To recommend on a regular basis every two years a living American poet to the NCTE Executive Committee for the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in recognition of his or her aggregate work; to sustain the collection of poetry books of award winners, past and future, in the University of Minnesota, Kerlan Collection; to recognize and foster excellence in children's poetry by encouraging its publi­cation; and to explore ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry through such means as publications, programs, and displays.

More NCTE Poetry Award Information

I'll be heading down to Philadelphia for the NCTE Convention next week. Let me know if you're planning to attend the convention. Leave me a note in the comments.

Friday, November 13, 2009

POETRY FRIDAY: Double Dactyls

Back in October, Tricia asked people to try writing double dactyls for a Monday Poetry Stretch. You’ll find those stretch results at the following post at The Miss Rumphius Effect: Poetry Stretch Results - Double Dactyls Galore!

I wrote three double dactyls for that Poetry Stretch, which I posted here—at Blue Rose Girls.

For Poetry Friday this week, I revised one of those double dactyls—and I wrote a few more. All of the double dactyls I’m posting today are about characters from children’s books and fairy tales.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Charlotte Cavatica,
Writer and weaver,
Spun tales for her friend,

Wilbur, the runt pig
She nurtured and cherished.
That spider was loyal
And true to the end.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Vegan Pete Rabbit
Pilfered some lettuce
And carrots and kale.

Mister McGregor
Chased after that bunny
But Peter escaped
By the fluff of his tail.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Poor Sleeping Beauty
Slumbered for decades
Because of a spell.

Prince Charming knelt down and
Kissed the prone princess.
They married. They’re happy.
There’s no more to tell.

Higgeldy piggeldy
Sad Cinderella
Sat in the ashes
Bemoaning her fate.

Godmother fairy
Said: “Honey, don’t blubber.
My magic will score you
A rich, handsome mate.”

Higgeldy piggeldy
Beauty was grossed out
Watching the ugly Beast
Gnoshing raw boar.

“God,” she said, “can’t you please
Masticate quietly!
Dining with you is
A distasteful chore.”


I have three new posts at Political Verses this week: Driving Drunk: A Short Poem about Mary Strey; A Dead Rabbit Toss Competition Poem; and Making the Grade.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have some light verse by Arthur Guiterman.

Gregory K. of GottaBook has the Poetry Friday Roundup here: The Lament of Thursday the 12th (a poem) and the Poetry Friday Roundup!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In November: What Do You Do with a Book Like This?

In November
Written by
Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by
Jill Kastner
Voyager/Harcourt, 2000

In November has a spare, lyrical text. It is not a storybook. It’s like a book-length prose poem that speaks to the essence of a month when the colorful beauty and fruitful bounty of the fall season is in the past. In the book, Rylant talks about snow blanketing the ground, trees that have lost their leaves, birds moving away for winter, animals sleeping more, food having an “orange smell” and tasting better, and people coming together to share a special holiday with each other. Rylant repeats the phrase “In November” several times in her text. This use of repetition throughout the book is one of the author’s writing techniques—along with the rhythm and flow of her evocative language—that helps her text read like poetry.

Here are some excerpts from the book to give you the “autumnal” flavor of In November:

In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.

In November, animals sleep more. The air is chilly and they shiver.
Cats pile up in the corners of barns.
Mice pile up under logs. Bees pile up in deep, earthy holes.
And dogs lie before the fire.

The book closes with my favorite passage:
In November, at winter’s gate, the stars are brittle. The sun is a sometime friend. And the world has tucked her children in, with a kiss on their heads, till spring.

Kastern’s full-color illustrations done in oil paints are as evocative of the month as are Rylant’s words. The uncluttered illustrations with changing perspectives and close-ups of leaves and birds and other animals draw a reader into the quiet text…into a “chilling” time of year when people and many animals draw into closer confines to keep themselves warm and to shelter themselves from the cold and long hours of darkness.

What Do You Do with a Book Like This?

Write a Collaborative Class Prose Poem

In November would be a great book to read aloud in the early elementary grades at this time of year—a book that could serve as a springboard for a creative writing exercise. So often children are asked to write about the signs of fall…but usually during an earlier part of the season when pumpkins and apples are growing plump and round in garden patches and orchards and trees are wearing leafy crowns of bright autumnal colors—or, in November, they’re asked to write about all the things they are thankful for as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

Why not lead students in writing a collaborative “In November” prose poem modeled after Rylant’s book? I would even suggest taking kids for a walk outside, on a hike in the woods, or on a field trip to an orchard or farm after the first reading of the book. Taking children outdoors to get in touch with the sights, sounds, and smells of November will help to get them revved up for writing.

I would read In November aloud a second time and then discuss with students the things that came to Rylant’s mind when she wrote about November. Next, I’d read the book aloud a third time slowly from beginning to end and ask children to listen carefully to the detailed/poetic language and figures of speech Rylant used in her text. Following that, the teacher could point out passages or a phrase or two from the book herself as examples.

For example:

Trees “spreading their arms like dancers”

About birds: “The air is full of good-byes and well-wishes.”

About the smell and taste of food in November: “It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog.”

At Thanksgiving, people “talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider.”

At this point in the process, the teacher and her students should be ready to start work on the first draft of their collaborative class prose poem. An easel, a pad of large chart paper, and a marker are all the supplies a teacher will need.

Writing the Class Poem: Ask children to think about the sights, sounds, and smells that come to mind when they think of the month of November. As children share, write down their responses on the chart paper—leaving large spaces between the responses. When the class has finished its rough draft, leave it up for a day or two to give children time to reread it, to suggest additions to the poem, and to think of more specific/detailed language and figures of speech that could be used when revising the class poem. The teacher can write down the children’s suggestions and ideas on another sheet of chart paper.

When the class is ready to write the second draft of their prose poem, the teacher can cut the different lines of the first draft into strips. This will make it easier for students to organize their poem. It will also make it easier for them to insert the words “In November” in several places in the text of their poem. Once the teacher and students have read through their prose poem together and determined that is ready for its final draft, the teacher should rewrite it on a new sheet of chart paper.

Suggestion for making illustrated In November Books: The teacher could type the entire prose poem on the computer—putting just one or two sentences on each page. The teacher could run off a copy of the poem for each student to illustrate. Students could design their own book covers. Finally, each student’s book could be stapled or bound together. Their In November books would be wonderful gifts for them to take home and to share with their families at Thanksgiving time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Three Original "NO" Poems

Earlier this week, Tricia of The Miss Rumphius Effect challenged her blog readers with her Monday Poetry Stretch - What Isn't There. She wrote in her post: “Since my poems often try to capture what I see and hear, smell and touch, I thought it might be interesting to write a poem about something that describes it by virtue of what isn't there.”

I started working on a poem for the stretch when it dawned on me that I had written an animal mask poem about earthworms over a year ago that would fit the bill of a poem about “what isn’t there.” Then I was inspired to write two more poems. I’m referring to all of these as my “NO” poems. I think you'll understand why.

First, here is my earthworm poem:


We have…

No bones
No shells
No teeth, as well—
No lips, no beaks
No chins, no cheeks
No horns, no claws
No talons, jaws
No legs, no wings…
No fancy things
Like fins or scales
Or fluffy tails,
No blubber like the big blue whales.

We’re soft. We’re small…
Not much at all.
We’re nondescript—
But we’re equipped
To eat your dirt.
It doesn’t hurt
Us--not a bit.
In fact,
We like the taste of it.
We toil in soil.
We’ve got true grit!

Then, after looking out the window for a while, I was inspired to write a “quickie” triolet about the weather up here on Monday.

No Sun Today

No sun today.
No blue sky bright.
The clouds are gray.
No sun today.
No dazzling rays.
No yellow light.
No sun today.
No blue sky bright.

You can read all the other wonderful contributions to Tricia’s “What Isn’t There” Poetry Stretch here.

Here’s my third “NO” poem. It wasn't written for children.

Analysis of a Fling

No knots
No ties
No long goodbyes
No heartfelt emotion
No loving devotion
No bond
No connection
No REAL affection
No one’s committed
Nobody clings
One must remember
There are
NO strings!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Poetry Friday Roundup Is at Wild Rose Reader Today!

I couldn't find out where the Poetry Friday Roundup was--so I thought I'd do it here!


At Wild Rose Reader, I have a review of The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination, a wonderful new anthology that connects science and poetry. It was compiled by US Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman and her good friend Linda Winston.

Jama Rattigan is celebrating the joys of peanut butter today in honor of National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Who else would know there was a month set aside for such a thing??? Get on over to Alphabet Soup and read The Great Peanut Butter Smackdown.

Laura Salas is in with an excerpt from J. Pat Lewis's new book The House and the 15 Words or Less poems inspired by a funny/sad photo.

Liz Garton Scanlon has literature on her mind. Check out her post Bright Books, which includes a poem by Henry Vaughan.

Jules of 7-Imp has One Impossibly Quick—But Fun—Q & A before Breakfast with Children’s Poet Bobbi Katz.

At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee has Sonnet by James Weldon Johnson for those experiencing difficult times. Her post is titled Beyond Surrounding Clouds.

Julie Larios admits to being “moon drunk” lately. She has some photos taken by a friend and an original poem, December 21. Why don’t you steal away to The Drift Record to see what she’s got for us today.

At the Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia has a poem by Ted Kooser titled Gabardine that reminds her of her father. P. S. Don’t forget to wish Tricia a Happy Third Blog Birthday here.

My poem of the Week at Political Verses is HOT DOG!: A Turley Blawg Verse.

Sara Lewis Holmes has selected a poem by Rick Barot titled Reading Plato to share with us today at Read Write Believe. She says she chose the poem because—among other things—it describes the writing process.


Andy says The Write Sisters are checking in with a 1919 look at the 2009 flu pandemic. She’s offering The Flu by J. P. McEvoy for Poetry Friday.

Jone of Check It Out has a poem for us celebrating rain by Zaro Well titled From My Window.

At All About the Books, Janet Squires talks about Dav Pilkey's humorous Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.

Charles Ghigna, aka Father Goose, has some poetic Inspiration for us this Poetry Friday.

Check out Poetry Friday—Haiku, A “New View” at Random Noodling.

Kurios Kitty takes a look at Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed…and Revealed.


Janet has Valerie Worth’s poem Library for us today at Across the Page.

Don’t forget to travel over to the Bonny Glen for Melissa Wiley’s post— Then Again, Perhaps She'd Be Offended by That "Corwin, Tim'rous" Business.

Author Mitali Perkins is sharing a short video of four poems by Naomi Shihab Nye read by the poet.

Teacher and children’s poet Heidi Mordhorst joins us today with Robert Frost’s In Hardwood Groves at her blog My Juicy Little Universe.

Kelly Fineman says she’s FINALLY in with a review of The Monsterologist by Bobbi Katz and Adam McCauley.


At Book Crumbs, Priya has an original poem for us titled Tuesday Morning.

Maya Ganesan and Miss Erin have a collaborative poem to share with us called Carving.

Lisa said that she’s having a great weekend in New York City at a poetry workshop at Poets House, a beautiful library on the Hudson River filled with poetry! She’s posted a sweet poem she found there, Human Heart by Gregory Orr.

Author Tabatha A. Yeatts has three poems for us—including Dove Rengger-Thorpe’s The Hatching.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have Toucan Talk: An Original Animal Mask Poem.

The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination

The Tree That Time Built
A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination
Selected by
Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston
Published by Jabberwocky/Sourcebooks, 2009

From The Evolution Revolution (Publishers Weekly): Mary Ann Hoberman, current children’s poet laureate, has witnessed firsthand the struggle to teach evolution in the classroom, or in some cases, to even allude to it. One of the poems that she often recites in classrooms contains a line about monkeys being almost like people. Hoberman stated that when she would often recite the poem, she began to notice “frosty looks” on the faces of teachers and parents. “I was getting fed up with what was going on in this country,” she says. And it was this frustration that led her to begin compiling, along with Linda Winston, an anthology of poems dealing with nature and the idea of evolution. The anthology, The Tree That Time Built, will be published in October.

Click here to read the rest of the article at PEN American Center (Posted may 7, 2009)

(I should note that there isn’t a line about monkeys being like people in the poem. There are lines, however about apes—chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans—being like us.)

Here’s the poem Mary Ann was speaking about:


The next time you go to the zoo
The zoo
Slow down for a minute or two
Or two
And consider the apes
All their sizes and shapes
For they all are related to you
To you.

Yes, they all are related to you
To you.
And they all are related to me
To me
To our fathers and mothers
Our sisters and brothers
And all of the people we see
We see.

The chimpanzees, gorillas, and all
And all
The orangutans climbing the wall
The wall
These remarkable creatures
Share most of our features
And the difference between us is small
Quite small.

So the next time you go to the zoo
the zoo
Slow down for a minute or two
Or two
And consider the apes
All their sizes and shapes
For they all are relates to you
To you.

Anthropoids is just one of the more than one hundred poems included in this fine anthology that connects poetry and science. The book truly is a celebration of our world, of nature and imagination—and of the “tree of life.” It exemplifies how poets who carefully observe the planet, its animals and plants, can bring their creative resources to bear in expressing their thoughts and emotions about such things in ways that help us to appreciate the wonder of it all.

From the book’s main introduction:

Have you ever wondered why there are so many kinds of living things in the world and where they come from? Or how and why some of them have disappeared? Or how people fit in with all the other forms of life? Scientists and poets alike ask these questions.

Scientists explore these questions through systematic methods and procedures, transforming their observations into ever-unfolding scientific knowledge. Poets, too, through observation and imagination, discover new truths about our world. But in their case they transform their insights into works of art.

The Tree That Time Built is truly a substantial anthology—and not just because it contains so many poems. It is the quality of its poetry selections, the thoughtfulness with which it was compiled and organized, the information imparted in the introductions to each section, and the notes included with some poems that help expound on the subjects addressed in them or touch on some poetic technique used by the writers, that make it such an exceptional book.

In addition, the anthology includes an extensive glossary that explains poetic as well as scientific terms and an About the Poets section with information about the writers whose poems are included in the book. But that’s not all! You’ll also find Suggestions for Further Reading and Research in the back matter and an audio CD with 44 poems read by 20 poets and artists.

Poetry books don’t get any better than The Tree That Time Built!!! It is truly a magnum opus. I know that it was a labor of love for both Mary Ann and Linda. The book was nine years in the making. It was a literary and science project to which these two intelligent women were truly dedicated. They were committed to seeing this project published. And I am grateful for their determination and perseverance—for they have given us a book that is sure to become a classic.
The Tree That Time Built is a book for people of all ages. It contains poems to delight and provoke thought in children and adults alike.
Here are the titles of the different poetry sections in the book:
  • Oh, Fields of Wonder
  • The Sea Is Our Mother
  • Prehistoric Praise
  • Think Like a Tree
  • Meditations on a Tortoise
  • Some Primal Termite
  • Everything That Lives Wants to Fly
  • I Am the Family face
  • Hurt No Living Thing

Just look at this partial list of the poets whose works are included in the book:
William Blake, Joseph Bruchac, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Emily Dickinson, T. S Eliot, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Douglas Florian, Robert Frost, Thomas Hardy, Langston Hughes, Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, D. H. Lawrence, Myra Cohn Livingston, David, McCord, Eve Merriam, Lilian Moore, Ogden Nash, Mary Oliver, Rainer Maria Rilke, Christina Rossetti, Carl Sandburg, Alice Schertle, Joyce Sidman, Wislawa Szymborska, Dylan Thomas, Mark Van Doren, Walt Whitman, and Valerie Worth.
Linda Winston & Mary Ann Hoberman

There is so much more I could tell you about this outstanding anthology--but it's 3:00 am. I must get some sleep.

Look Inside the Book
Click on the following link to look inside the book:

NPR Interview with Mary Ann Hoberman & Linda Winston
Listen to Mary Ann and Linda being interviewed on the Here and Now radio program on WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, on October 28, 2009. The interview is interspersed with poems that are included on the CD that comes with their poetry anthology The Tree That Time Built. Click here to listen to Mary Ann and Linda’s interview on Here and Now.

More Links
Just for Fun: Here is my unfinished tongue-in-cheek response to Mary Ann’s poem Anthropoids. I'm still working on the second stanza!

The apes aren’t related to me
To me.
They aren’t a part of
My family tree.
I am not descended from low level creatures
That didn’t have delicate humanoid features.
There is no resemblance. Oh can’t you see?
The apes aren’t related to me.
Missing second stanza
The next time I go to the zoo
The zoo
I’ll stop for a minute or two
Or two
I’ll look at the apes
All their sizes and shapes
And shout: “Darwin was wrong about me and you.”
I’ll shout: “Charlie was wrong!” And that’s true!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Books & Resources for Native American Heritage Month 2009

Book Lists & Reviews

Resources and Activities for Native American Heritage Month