Friday, February 22, 2019

YELLOW SONNET: In Honor of Paul Janeczko


Many of you may already know that the poet and anthologist Paul B. Janeczko passed away earlier this week. He was a friend and an inspiration to me. I have dozens of his books. I have selected a poem to post in his honor today. It's from his book The Place My Words Are Looking For--which is one of my favorite poetry books.

Paul Zimmer wrote Yellow Sonnet after the death if his beloved mother. He said that writing the poem gave him an opportunity "to present a loving tribute" to his mother. I'm presenting the poem as a loving tribute to Paul Janeczko--who introduced me to many of America's finest children's, young adult, and adult poets.

By Paul Zimmer

Zimmer no longer wishes to write
About the dimming of his lights,
Recounting all his small terrors.
Instead he tells of brilliance,
Walking home from first grade
In springtime, light descending
To hold itself and dazzle him
In an outburst of dandelions...
Click here to read the rest of the poem and Paul Zimmer's explanation for why he wrote this lovely poem as a "love gift" to his mother. He tells readers that he felt "dismal" after her passing and wrote some sad poems. He said that he had many "warm and bright memories of her"--and "wanted to make a warm and bright poem in her memory."

Robyn has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Life on the Deckle Edge.


Friday, February 15, 2019

A Poem for Harriet Tubman

More than a decade ago, I wanted to compose a special poem in honor of Black History Month. I wrote a cento in the voice of Harriet Tubman. I used only the titles of books written by African American authors or books about the African American experience…with one exception—Come with Me, a book of poems that was written by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Cento for Harriet Tubman
by Elaine Magliaro

My Brown Angels,
Listen to The Distant Talking Drum.
Hear it Spin a Soft Black Song
Under the Quilt of Night

I’m Only Passing Through,
Goin’ Someplace Special
To The Other Side
Where there’s A Sweet Smell of Roses
And Freedom Like Sunlight.

I’ve Seen the Promised Land
A place for All the Colors of the Race.
Now Is Your Time
To be Freedom Walkers.
Follow me on The Road North
To Liberty Street.

Come with Me
To The Other Side
Where we will Make a Joyful Sound.
We will Lift Every Voice and Sing
Sing to the Sun.
Sing Free at Last!

Hush by Jacqueline Woodson
Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers
The Distant Talking Drum by Isaac Olaleye
Spin a Soft Black Song by Nikki Giovanni
Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson

Only Passing Through by Anne Rockwell
Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia C. Mckissack
The Other Side by Angela Johnson
A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson
Freedom Like Sunlight by J. Patrick Lewis

I’ve Seen the Promised Land by Walter Dean Myers
All the Colors of the Race by Arnold Adoff
Now Is Your Time! by Walter Dean Myers
Freedom Walkers by Russell Freedman
The Road North by Bettye Stroud
Liberty Street by Candice F. Ransom

Come with Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Make a Joyful Sound: Poems for Children by African-American Poets edited by Deborah Slier
Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson
Sing to the Sun by Ashley Bryan
Free at Last! By Doreen Rappaport

Jone has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Check It Out.