I know I’m not the first to mention Marilyn Singer’s newest book of poetry, WILD IN THE STREETS, 20 POEMS OF CITY ANIMALS, but my copy only arrived yesterday. I read it before I went to bed last night and this is my first opportunity to brag on my friend’s work.
This one falls in the category of books “I wish I’d written,” which is the best kind of flattery I know to give. If you follow my tales of Goose Lake, you know my fascination with animals that live among us in our communities. Marilyn shares that interest and goes a huge step farther by writing about animals that live in other cities around the globe such as deer in Nara, Japan; pythons in Singapore; coyotes in Chicago; and falcons in New York City. Here’s a stanza from her poem about millions of Mexican free-tailed bats that roost by day below a famous bridge in Austin, Texas and swoop off in enormous living clouds by night.
Over the wide bridge
people passing. Underneath
spry bats amassing.
Not only that, Marilyn provides in fascinating prose the back story about each species and why/how it comes to flourish where it does. Kids and adults will love the surprising variety of city dwellers that either have moved to town or live where they’ve always lived while we humans have built our communities around them.
What I always enjoy about Marilyn Singer’s books is that she works seriously at her craft. You never get anything trite or sing-song in her offerings. You get variety that distinguishes her writings from the fare dished up in too many purported books of poems for children. I love it that in WILD IN THE STREETS, she takes the time to explain the poetic forms she chose to use in this collection. They include examples of triolet, haiku, her own reverse, cinquain, acrostic, sonnet, terze rima, and villanelle.
So by all means get a copy of WILD IN THE STREETS. It’s illustrated by Gordy Wright and published by Quarto Publishing. A new book by Marilyn is always a time to celebrate.