The “Things” Of Poetry

by Dianne White on April 8, 2015

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Over the past ten years, Paul Janeczko and Chris Raschka have collaborated on four poetry anthologies for young and not-so-young readers. Each collection has focused on a different aspect of poetry: A Poke in the I is a collection of concrete poems; A Kick in the Head explores different poetic forms, such as Haiku, Triolet, Limericks, and Villanelle; A Foot in the Mouth focuses on the read-aloud, “speak, sing, and shout” qualities of poetry. A Kick in the Head

The duo’s newest anthology,  The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects (Candlewick Press, 2015), traces the canon – from the Middle Ages to present day – through the lens of major literary periods and the objects and concerns of the poets of each era. Though the collection is merely a taste, readers are certain to be inspired to search out other poets and collections from among the more than 1000 years of poetry captured in these 50 poems.

Readers will have their own favorites. Here are several of mine –  “A Solitary Wildgoose” by Cui Tu, translated by Witter Bynner; “So Breaks the Sun,” by Ben Jonson; “Mushrooms,” by Sylvia Plath; and the very familiar and lovely, “The Summer Day,” by Mary Oliver.  

TEACHERS – looking to introduce poetry into your classrooms? Don’t miss Janeczko’s  A Short List of “Poetry Tips.”

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