NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF NATURE POETRY

Hi everyone,
J. Patrick Lewis
J. Patrick Lewis’s latest anthology is out. It’s called NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF NATURE POETRY: MORE THEN 200 POEMS WITH PHOTOGRAPHS THAT FLOAT, ZOOM, AND BLOOM! Publishers Weekly says, “Few books make it clearer why nature inspires so many poets to reach for the pen.” It’s a highly entertaining and inspirational book and I recommend it. The poets who are in it have been sending high-fives to one another. It’s that kind of book. Pat Lewis and Book of Nature Poetry

My contribution reflects on the act of union between a stalagmite and stalactite that touch at last and join as one after eons of reaching toward one another in the dark.

You’ll find many of your favorite poets in this collection as well as several talented names you need to know better. Thanks, Pat!

Pat Lewis’s book and Sandy Asher’s play

Hi everyone,

First, a reminder about Sandy Asher’s upcoming play, WALKING TOWARD AMERICA, at the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row. Sandy Asher See http://walkingtowardamerica.wordpress.com for info about the festival, the play, ordering tickets to the Saturday, October 17, 4 p.m. performance — and possibilities for the earlier sold-out performances. Please share. For those who want to support, consider boosting Sandy at GoFundMe campaign at http://gofundme.com/walking.

Pat Lewis and Book of Nature Poetry
I’ve now received my advance copy of National Geographic’s BOOK OF NATURE POETRY, edited by J. Patrick Lewis. Here’s the cover and here’s an Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1426320949?ref_=gfix-ews-form .
J. Patrick Lewis
The combination of Pat Lewis’s encyclopedic knowledge of poetry coupled with National Geographic’s treasury of stunning photography combine to make this latest partnership a book for everyone of all ages. The contents are arranged into general categories such as In the Sky; In the Sea; Across the Land; In Season. The range of poetic voices represented throughout makes it one of the best anthologies of this scope (192 pages) you’ll find.

Of course if I weren’t in it, I wouldn’t like it nearly as much. But I am so you can’t go wrong.

Comes out October 13. Order as soon as you can. You’ll be happy you did.

What does poetry mean to you?

Hi everyone,

I appreciate your contributions to the chats about increasing our poetry reading audience, how we keep records, and turning our thoughts to poems about bugs for the wee set. Next up is none other than J. Patrick Lewis, former United States Children’s Poet Laureate. Here is Pat’s suggestion for a topic to chew on.

“David,
Robert Frost said that ‘a poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.’ My friend John Barr, former President of the Poetry Foundation, said that a children’s poem ‘begins in delight and ends in delight.’ The definitions of poetry are endless, but do you suppose your readers might be interested in weighing in with their own descriptions of poetry or children’s poetry? Who knows? They might just come up with one as simple yet brilliant as William Carlos Williams’s line: ‘If it ain’t a pleasure, it ain’t a poem.’”

So there you have it. How do you define poetry? Do you define poetry for children differently? I’ll leave this up today and tomorrow.

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More favorite poems, 3

Hi everyone,

I’m glad to say that I have permission from J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, and Marilyn Singer to post the poems I described from their books. I’ll do one a day for the next three days. Sadly all three books are out of print.J. Patrick Lewis

From HEROES AND SHE-ROES by J. Patrick Lewis, published in 2005 by Dial. Posted by permission of the author.

THE UNKNOWN REBEL
Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
June 5, 1989

The rulers were in hiding,
The day darkened with shame.
The Square would flood with students’ blood
Till a man without a name

Appeared from out of nowhere
With nothing on his mind
But to stop the clank of a Chinese tank
That rattled humankind.

Suppose we call him Courage,
Defiance-to-the-Bone,
The symbol of a cut above,
The One Who Stood Alone.

(c) J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved

Pat chose the narrative voice in three regular ballad stanzas to remind us of the courageous young man who, in 1989, walked into Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China and faced a tank that was grinding across the square in a demonstration of the government’s might. The young man was pulled to safety and his fate is unknown. But his act, and Pat’s poem, remind us of our “defiance-to-the-bone” need to be free.

Favorite poems?

Hi everyone,

Lately I’ve been enjoying several books of poetry for young people that I bought at Springfield’s Friends of the Library book sale this spring. I can’t post anyone’s poems here without permission but I thought I’d tell you about a few of them and why I like them. I’m sure you can track them down if you wish.
Douglas Florian
I’ll start randomly with the book on top the stack, which is by Douglas Florian. I have others by Douglas but the one I purchased is called BOW WOW MEOW MEOW, published by Harcourt in 2003. In this collection we meet a number of dogs and cats painted and poetically described by Douglas with the wit and tongue in cheek word play for which he is so well known. I’m going to go with “The Whippet” because in a 4-line long ballad stanza told in couplets he manages to work in a pun and a wry ending that laments that although the whippet would make a wondrous pet, he hasn’t caught one yet.
J. Patrick Lewis
Next is HEROES AND SHE-ROES by J. Patrick Lewis, published in 2005 by Dial. Pat is a former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and a prolific writer of poems on numerous themes. This book focuses on men and women selected for being “Amazing and Everyday Heroes.” Some of those included have recognizable names while others represent individuals in professions that make a positive difference in our lives. I like the poem about Helen Keller (“The Seeker”) but am going to go with “The Unknown Rebel.” Pat chose the narrative voice in three regular ballad stanzas to remind us of the courageous young man who, in 1989, walked into Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China and faced a tank that was grinding across the square in a demonstration of the government’s might. It was a bloody day. Hundreds died. The young man was pulled to safety and his fate is unknown. But his act, and Pat’s poem, remind us of our “defiance-to-the-bone” need to be free.
Jane Yolen
Room for one more in today’s post. I’ll take this up again tomorrow. Jane Yolen’s book, RING OF EARTH, was published by Harcourt in 1986 and consists of four long poems that describe the seasons from the perspective of the weasel, spring peeper, dragonfly, and goose. All are finely done but my personal favorite is “Autumn Song of the Goose.” Here Jane gives full flavor to the point, the majesty, and the dangers of the annual migratory flight. Her masterful use of language (“…dying land/where the headless stalks/of flowers bend”; “Along the road of air/where the strong winds blow”; “where the trees rise up like fists”) makes fascinating reading for readers of any age.

I don’t believe that Douglas Florian follows this blog but Pat Lewis and Jane Yolen do. If I received permission to post their poems, I’ll do it gladly but, if not, you shouldn’t have much trouble locating these books, and I promise you it will be worth the hunt.

David