November 27, 2011
November 25, 2011
November 22, 2011
November 20, 2011
November 18, 2011
Years ago, I saw Steven Kellogg at some conference, somewhere, and purchased a book that he had illustrated, Snuffles and Snouts, poems selected by Laura Robb. Kellogg drew a huge pig face on the end papers and signed his name with a heart!
The book ended up lost in a pile of books, but, now, 16 years later, I've unearthed it and have found this tender (pun intended) poem that concludes the book:
The Prayer of the Little Pig
by Carmen Bernos De Gasztold (translated by Rumer Godden)
their politeness makes me laugh!
Yes, I grunt!
Grunt and snuffle!
I grunt because I grunt
because I cannot do anything else!
All the same, I am not going to thank them
for fattening me up to make bacon.
Why did You make me so tender?
What a fate!
teach me how to say
I'd suggest that you look for Snuffles and Snouts at your public library since it is long out of print. The illustrations are typically Kelloggian, and, on the back cover, Kellogg has included a little piggy poem of his own to meet the challenge issued by John Ciardi in "Why Pigs Can't Write Poems."
Snuffle on over to Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference for the weekly Round-Up of poetry links.
Photo © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
November 15, 2011
November 13, 2011
November 11, 2011
One of my $1.00 finds at the used book store is The Inner Room: Poems by James Merrill. I took a fancy to the poem below because it appeals to the side of me that despite loving books, is easily distracted by what's going on all around.
The Fifteenth SummerAnd as if to prove the point of my distractedness, after initially reading the poem I found myself looking up an Australian pine. I had never heard of it, but it is true to its name and is found in Australia. Its Latin name is Casuarina, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens tells us that it is "named after the cassowary (Casuarinus) because the long, drooping branchlets were supposed to resemble its feathers."
Scrambling with a book
The hundred-or-so feet
Up the Australian pine
To a slung-rope seat--
The nerve it took!
Small wonder, often as not
He never read a line,
Flaubert or Howard Fast,
Just pondered earth and ocean,
The odd car’s crawling dot:
Why were we here?
To flow. To bear. To be.
Over the view his tree
In slow, slow motion
Held sway, the pointer of a scale so vast,
Alive and variable, so inlaid
As well with sticky, pungent gold,
That many a year
Would pass before it told
Those mornings what they weighed.
Then, in researching James Merrill, I found he was born, and I assume, raised in New York City. So now I have the puzzle of how does an Australian pine end up in a poem by a New Yorker? If anyone has a guess, please tell us in the comments below.
April at Teaching Authors is the host of the Poetry Friday Round-Up.
Photo by Arthur Chapman.
November 8, 2011
November 6, 2011
November 4, 2011
Saturday I went to a local used book superstore, I wrote about it briefly here.
There was section labeled vintage, which had books old and yellowed, some more ancient than vintage! One of my vintage finds was a small book of poems for kids entitled The Little Hill: Poems & Pictures by Harry Behn. (I wouldn't dare call this title ancient since it was published the same year I was born, and let's leave the date as "long ago.")
I was absolutely delighted to find this book! I wrote about Behn back in March. I never expected to find a book of his children's poems for sale in my own backyard!
This copy, although a discard from a school library, seems to have been little used. Either that, or, since it was from a Catholic school library, the users lived in fear of divine (or nun) retribution for returning a book marked or damaged! There was even a borrower's record card still in the pocket! And, it had borrower's names until some time after 1978 when names were replaced by numbers.
The poems in the book are each accompanied by a small, all-red illustration. The paper used in The Little Hill is thick and lovely and perfect for the woodblock prints.
I was lucky to find this little treasure of a book with this little treasure of a poem:
The things to draw with compasses
Are suns and moons and circleses
And rows of humptydumpasses
Or anything in circuses
And hoops and camels' humpasses
And wheels on clownses busseses
And fat old elephumpasses.
Do kids today even know what a compass is--besides a potential lethal weapon? Perhaps not, but they'd sure enjoy the hearing this poem read aloud!
Today's other fun fabulous find is all the wonderful poetry links at our Round-Up hostess, Laura Salas's blog, which is now residing at WordPress.