Apr 9, 2021

Nature Is Complex: But Take a Close Look at this Poetry Challenge

THIS POEM IS A NEST is written by Irene Latham and illustrated by Johanna WrightAs a fan of Irene Latham's poetry, I opened this new book eagerly. 

"This beautiful poetry collection introduces readers to the art of found poetry as the poet writes a 37-line poem, "Nest," then finds 160 smaller poems within it."

I was not disappointed.

Poetic forms can be challenging, but they can also provide a scaffold for writers (young OR old) to approach and attempt creating their own work.
In this case, the premise of a poem being a nest is described simply and clearly in the opening pages. Latham has written a lovely and comprehensive poem to launch the book, one that is worthy to read and appreciate on its own. Her guidance to readers indicates they are welcome to use her NEST poem, use other published poems, or swing for the bleachers and create an extensive poem of their own to become the nest for further work. 
She described the simple restrictions (I won't call them rules) that allow her to select words from that original NEST poem, so carefully constructed, to produce an impressive collection of other poems on a range of topics and themes. 
This is such a strong conceptual offering for poetry-writers, and the poems she has produced are organized in ways that might inspire additions in themselves. This book concludes with some added (brief) messages from the author, inviting readers to join in the fun and the challenge.

This is a season for keeping eyes (and ears) open to notice nests and nestlings. The more we pay attention to nature, the better we can appreciate what experts birds (and other nesters) are when it comes to  reuse/recycle. The sum, when assembled with care and intention,  is a fine work of art and the individual elements assume new purpose and beauty. Even so, just noticing the bits and scraps might inspire us to pay more attention to the hidden ingredients in all of the beauty that surrounds us. And make a stab at this form of poetry, too!

Overall, this is a wonderful addition to classrooms, libraries, and writing shelves.
So, Happy POETRY MONTH, and happy nesting!


  1. I read this one earlier this year and am reviewing this month, too. Irene is wonderful. I feel like she's doing things no other children's author is.

    1. I know, right? The paradox of complexity and direct clarity just blows me away. I'm looking forward to reading your review, too!

  2. Hooray for nests and hooray for poetry! This has been on my list, so thank you for the reminder. I love Irene's work. :)

  3. Happy to be of service! I read this and reviewed it on Goodreads when it first released. I loved it then, but was all booked up for posts here, at that time. Guess I'll admit that one of the advantages of "THEME" months is the reminder to take second looks, catch up with "to-read" lists, etc. Hope you love it as much as i do!