Friday, August 15, 2008

Poetry Friday Review: My letter to the World and Other Poems

What is your favorite series? Mine is Kids Can Press's Visions in Poetry--a collection of picture books for readers ages 10 and up.

Picture books for readers ages 10 and up? What can they be thinking? Based on the three Visions in Poetry titles I've read--The Owl and the Pussycat, The Raven, and now Emily Dickinson's My letter to the World and Other Poems--Kids Can Press is thinking exactly the way publishers must in order to inspire a generation of poetry fanatics.

The simple-yet-brilliant concept behind Visions in Poetry is the pairing of classic poems with innovative, stunning illustration. The Raven is enhanced by Ryan Price's sinister blacks and grays. The Owl and the Pussycat is charming in Stephane Jorisch's whimsical, psychedelic pastels. In My letter to the World, Isabelle Arsenault brings a Gothic sensibility (with a palette of blacks, whites, browns, and grays--highlighted with just splashes of pink, orange, or yellow) to seven of Emily Dickinson's most famous poems.

These books make perfect gifts for teens and adults who love cutting-edge illustration but don't read poetry. Or, they are great presents for teens and adults who adore poetry and will appreciate classic poems in a new context. In other words, if you know anyone who is older than the age of 10 or so, put these on your gift list now. Are you listening? Stock up now. (And, no. No one is paying me anything for this recommendation.)

For this week's Poetry Friday entry, I'll quote the first two stanzas of the first poem in My letter to the World--"There's a certain Slant of light..."

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter afternoons--
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes--

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us--
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are--

read the rest of the poem here at The Literature Network...

I can't even read this poem in winter, if you must know the truth. From the safe distance of August, it's lovely--especially when glorified by Arsenault's street scene, which is in turn accented by the pink in a young girl's face in the center of the page. My letter to the World and Other Poems, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, is highly, highly recommended.

The roundup is here this week. I always do the roundup old school, so leave your comments and I'll update throughout the day.
The first links are in at midnight!

Tricia of The Miss Rumphius Effect is off to the mountains and celebrates with "
Pied Beauty,"
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Kelly Fineman talks pantoum at Writing and Ruminating and provides a great example of the form by Peter Oresick.

It must be Emily Dickinson week! Little Willow shares "It's all I have to bring to-day..." at Bildungsroman.

More in the morning...

And now it's "morning," if you count 10:21 as still morning. (But I had to stay up and watch Iowa girl Shawn Johnson compete. Go Shawn and Nastia! ) Okay, here we go...

Suzanne of Adventures in Daily Living brings us Mary Oliver's "Heron Rises From the Dark, Summer Pond."

Michele of Scholar's Blog is going to see David Tennant AND Patrick Stewart live and playing Shakespeare! She celebrates with Sonnet 23.

Sylvia Vardell readies for Back-to-School with reviews of three child-friendly poetry books at Poetry for Children.

Katie D., at Creative Literacy, is also thinking Back-to-School: She shares her five favorite poetry books for primary students.

Karen Edminsten shares "If Everything is Lost," by Dom Julian, this Friday.

Poet Julia Larios contributes "A Duo of Triolets" at her newish blog The Drift Record. (Bookmarking now, Julia. Welcome to the land of blogs!)

MmeT (who shares a striking resemblance to Project Runway's Chris March) has found Matthew Dickman and shares his "Trouble" at Destined to Become a Classic.

Sara Lewis Holmes shares a wonderful way to memorize Shakespeare (and some reasons why) at Read Write Believe.

Mary Lee celebrates 10 great years after concluding treatment for breast cancer (go, Mary Lee!) with Arnold Wesker's "Count Ten" at A Year of Reading.

Carol is also thinking Back-to-School, sharing a poem ("Now," by Prince Redcloud) she'll use on the first day at Carol's Corner.

Tadmack shares math angst and "Flash Cards," by Rita Frances Dove, at Finding Wonderland.

Jama Rattigan is talking teddies, lobster, champagne,and John Betjeman today at Alphabet Soup. It's a post bound to raise your spirits. Thanks, Jama!

Janet shares "crutch" poetry at Findings. Get well soon, Janet!

Sarah Reinhard brings some termites to the party from Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. Um, thank you, Sarah?

Laura Purdie Salas shares 15-word poems celebrating tweens and summer. Looks like it was a great trip, Laura!

Cheryl Rainfield shares an original poem celebrating books this week!
Thanks, Cheryl.

Here's a teacher desperate to hold on to one last summer Friday: Stacey shares Eleanor Farjeon's "There Isn't Time" at Two Writing Teachers. (Stacey, I'm 100% behind you. It's my LAST Friday before teaching starts, and I need to make a to-do list.)

Jules talks Karen Rigby's new chapbook Savage Machinery over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Looks cool! Thanks, Jules, for the heads up.

Lisa Chellman talks about Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Withinthis week . (I had no idea Stephen Fry wrote poetry. Interesting!)

Ms. Mac issues a challenge and invitation to you all! She's building a list of great poetry books for her school library. Head on over to Check It Out and nominate your favorites!

Diane shares some prompt sources over at The Write Sisters. Thanks, Diane!

Barbara H. shares some Richard Armour at A Home for the Stray Thoughts of an Ordinary Christian Woman.

Yat -Yee Chong shares "The Seed," by Alleen Fisher this week.

MotherReader shares J.Patrick Lewis's "The Tallest Roller Coaster" from his fabulous The World's Greatest Poems this week.

Susan Thomsen contributes Naomi Shihab Nye's wonderful "Last August Hours Before the Year 2000" at Chicken Spaghetti. (I guess Junior doesn't start school this Thursday like we do in Smalltown. Enjoy the summer, Susan and Junior!)

More later...