Tag Archives: William Carlos Williams

Seasonal Poetry for Poetry Season

7 Apr

It is April, and it is poetry season. What better time to look at poems about seasons.

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Koo the panda, along with Jon Muth, present this delightful collection of haiku.Twenty-six haiku celebrate the unique natural wonders of each of the four seasons in this charming picture book. Some of the verses will prompt smiles while others will bring readers up short and gently nudge them to look at things from a different perspective. The watercolor illustrations are as expressive as the poems.

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Firefly July and Other Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, looks out over a year in very short poems.

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The poets in this collection range from Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams  to the unfortunately named Adelaide Crapsey (creator of the cinquain) and former poet laureate Ted Kooser.

There is much to love here. The selection of poems is a place to start. Each of the 30+ little gems can be enjoyed for its own sake. Couple with Melissa Sweet’s illustrations, they are astounding. As a reader, I want to linger with each poem, think of what I would illustrate, want to memorize that poem so I can share it at just the right time.

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If you are nervous about poetry, start with one of these two books. They will ease you in. If you are already a fan, just simply enjoy.

Classic poetry for Dogs

4 Feb

Many people wonder what their dog might say if s/he could talk. Sometimes the girls look at me as if they are on the verge of speech.I shudder to think.

But imagine a world in which dogs channeled long dead poets. Which poet would your dog channel? What would they wax poetic about? Well, the answer is here. Jessica Swaim, has written a brilliantly funny book of poems written by dogs with names such as Elizabeth Basset Browning. You can see what this is so appealing to me.

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It is not just a basset thing, though. This book is really wonderful. for each poet, whose name incorporates some sort of poundage, Swaim rewrites a classic, in the voice of that dog. Funny, yes, but way a marvelous way to engage students who fear or dislike poetry. A few of the poets included are William Shakespaw, Edgar Allan Pug,Henry Wagsworth Longfellow ,Emily Doginson,  Walt Whippet, Rudyard Kibble, William Corgi Williams,  P. P. Cummings, Droolin’ Thomas, and Anonymutt.

Let’s look at what Swaim does with one of my favorite poets to use in the classroom, William Carlos Williams, aka William Corgi Williams.

First, she creates a biography and a picture  (by illustrator Chet Williams) that blends the poet on whom she is basing her work with the breed of dog.

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Then, she writes poems in imitation of the poet. I like to use WCW’s poems because they are short and the language is simple. Here are two poems that I, and many teachers, often use, in the voice of William Corgi Williams.

Red Fire Hydrant

so much depends upon

a red fire hydrant

gleaming in the sun

beside the relieved Dalmatians.

Oh, By the Way    

I have gobbled the bratwurst you left on
the counter,

the fries,
the kosher pickle, and two-ply napkin

then threw them all up
on the new rug in the foyer.

Forgive me,
but was white
a wise
choice of colors?

Poetry lovers, dog lovers, people who teach poetry to teens, will all enjoy this book.

I reviewed this book from a pdf provided by the author. The book will be published March 1st. You can get more information about the book at  Jessica Swaim’s website.

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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