Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Wild Rose Reader 2011 National Poetry Month Post Featuring Children's Poet Marilyn Singer

I thought I’d wait until National Poetry Month to do a post about Marilyn Singer and her poetry collection Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, which was the winner of the 2010 Cybils Poetry Award. Mirror Mirror was one of my favorite children’s poetry books of last year. Singer’s poems in the book are brilliant and Josée Masse’s illustrations are colorful, stunning, and a perfect companion for Singer’s reversible verse.

From the Cybils Website:

The poems in this collection are called reversos because they're written as two different versions of the same story. In the case of Mirror Mirror, the stories are fairy tales. It was the determination of the poetry judges that the form - the style, the poems themselves - inspire creativity, as evidenced by the number of readers inspired to create their own (inevitably discovering that a true reverso is difficult to achieve indeed).

That one can tell a single story from two different points of view by reversing a poem is quite impressive. Every word in a reverso has to be chosen properly; the placement of the words affects the meaning of the poem, since placement dictates how it is read upwards as well as down. As one of our judges noted, "For some poems, the reverso form actually gave me aha! moments, causing me to look at a familiar story in a fresh way."

Click here to watch a video of Marilyn Singer reading In the Hood at the 2010 NCTE Annual Convention (Poetry for Children)

You can read Kelly Fineman’s review of Mirror Mirror here.

You can read a review of Mirror Mirror written by Jules at 7-Imp here.

More about Marilyn Singer and Poetry

Poetry Goes Full Blast: A passion for the spoken word sparks an explosion of programs by Marilyn Singer—School Library Journal, 10/01/2005

Knock Poetry Off the Pedestal: It’s time to make poems a part of children’s everyday lives by Marilyn Singer—School Library Journal, 4/1/2010

Poetry Makers: Marilyn Singer (The Miss Rumphius Effect)

Poetry Tag: Marilyn Singer is IT (Poetry for Children)

Video Interview with Marilyn Singer (Reading Rockets)

Transcript of the Reading Rockets Interview with Marilyn Singer


Janet Wong said...

MIRROR, MIRROR is BRILLIANT. I remember having extreme envy when I first read it, a feeling of "oh, gosh . . . if only I could write such a book!" And it seems to have done what I always dream about for each new poetry collection; it has reached people who never have enjoyed (and bought) poetry before. I'm hoping that the many people who bought it will go ahead and also discover Marilyn's dozens (and dozens) of excellent and varied collections . . . and then move on to discovering the rest of us and sharing our poems with kids!

Elaine Magliaro said...


MIRROR MIRROR is truly a brilliant collection of verse. When I first read it, I was impressed. Then I tried writing a reverso--and I was truly awed by what Marilyn had done. Writing "reversible verse" is difficult indeed!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for this featuring this clever, infectious collection from an amazing poet. Happy Poetry Month!

Bridget R. Wilson said...

Mirror, Mirror is one of my favorite poetry collections. I haven't yet tried my hand at writing a reverso, but I do admire the technique.