I enjoy writing mask poems. It's especially fun
taking on the personality of an animal that I have learned about and speaking
in its voice.
One of my favorite books of animal mask poems is Marilyn
Singer's TURTLE IN JULY, which was beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. In
this book, Singer speaks in a different animal's voice each month--a deer in January,
a barn owl in February, a bear in March, etc. She also speaks in the voice of a
bullhead fish in each of the four seasons.
TURTLE IN JULY and Karla Kuskin's ANY ME I WANT TO
BE are the two books that got me hooked on writing mask poems. Unfortunately, ANY
ME I WANT TO BE is out of print. You might be able to find a used copy online. I think TURTLE IN JULY is still available
in library binding. I highly recommend both books!
Last year, I worked on a collection of mask poems
told in the voices of familiar animals and plants that takes readers through the
cycle of a year. I wrote four poems about spring peepers--one for each season.
Listen to spring peepers at this link:
from my winter sleep
ready to mate—I peep and peep
night to woo a lady fair.
heartfelt singing fills spring air.
this vernal pool I wait
special someone who will be
perfect froggy gal for me!
day we hatched from jellied eggs…
looked like fish. We had no legs.
breathed through gills. We had no lungs.
didn’t have long sticky tongues.
didn’t look like frogs…for sure.
then we started to mature.
day by day we changed and grew.
tails and gills we bid adieu.
we have lungs and four fine limbs…
we can croak
was fun—so full of flies,
ants, and sunny skies,
song…warm, lazy nights,
in the grass and other delights.
it is time to find a space
a log—a snuggly place
I can hibernate till spring
I will reawake and sing.
jog this log
need to get a good long rest.
spring, I must be at my best!
Don't forget! I'm giving away signed copies of my book THINGS TO DO during April. All you have to do to qualify to have your named entered into next Sunday's drawing is to comment on one of the blogs that I posted during this third week of National Poetry Month (April 15-21).