Apr 4, 2015

And the Themes Roll On: April is POETRY MONTH

Candlewick Press, 2015

Poetry, when well done, is a form of prayer. 
It inspires, it lifts the spirit.

It celebrates and laments.
It reveals our humanity
and unites our souls.

Its words, sounds, and  rhythms
set the pace of our pulse. 

Poems make me erupt 
in silly giggles,
gasps, sighs, 
and weeping. 

Poetry's forms are 
as rigid as haiku 
and as free as stories in verse.

All this and more in poems, and only a month to celebrate?

I could use more than a month to sing the praises of just one poet, Helen Frost, and her recent release, SWEEP UP THE SUN. The photographic illustrations by Rick Lieder should, in my opinion, make this title a front runner for Caldecott consideration in 2016

Frost wields poetry like a paintbrush in generating "master-pieces" in the truest sense of the word. I've read each and every book she's written and marveled at her capacity to make even the most complex and challenging poetic forms read like spontaneous storytelling. In each she bends her words to forms that serve the themes, moods, and characters. 

In SWEEP UP THE SUN I transcribed the entire text in an effort to understand Frost's alchemy. The entire text is ninety-eight words. 
I counted by hand, used digital tools, rechecked my transcription. 
Yep. Only ninety-eight words. 
Each is a gem, exquisite in its setting.
I want desperately to quote the introductory passage that provides the titles, but that requires thirty-four words of her total text. I won't cite a third of a book, even with quotations!
I'll stretch this far:
"Rise into the air
On the strength of your wings
Go out to play in the sky, "
Breathtaking, right?
Now imagine equally breathtaking photography that captures some of the most remarkable images of birds in flight that you'll ever see. 
No, you can't imagine his magnificent images -- the action, the lighting, the colors.
Just get your hands on this book as soon as possible and read it.
And again.

As much as I am enthralled by this book, I continue my boycott of naming "favorites" in titles or authors, because so many have done so much so well for so many centuries. 
To demonstrate that, I'll close with several links to other posts that in turn link, and link, and link. Follow those varied trails to savor the richness of poetry and share your own favorites, widely and often.
From the Latin@s in Kid Lit post: Poetry from their archives.
KIDLitoSphere Central: A link to links

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