Friday, April 5, 2013


Is it just me, or is it sad to read a book of poems by a poet who is no longer with us? Especially when you really love the poems. Sigh.

Valerie Worth wrote such brilliant little poems, and here, in PUG AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, we get eighteen poems about animals we might see on any given day: fox, wood thrush, bull, dachshund, fly... well, maybe not the bengal tiger, which happens to be one of my favorite poems, but who knows? Maybe you live in a place where there's a zoo nearby.

The two poems I'd like to share with you are about creatures quite different from one another, yet the poems share a theme of captivity/escape/freedom -- which is a theme near and dear to my heart.


The Bengal tiger
Batters his cage:
HIs rage is thunder,
Sharp stripes flash
In his fur--
Is it too wicked
To wish
He would break out,
Fill the zoo
With storms,
Run his lightning
Into the world?

- Valerie Worth


A fairy
Tale come
True: the

Humped brown
Gnome Split
Up the back,

The silver-
Caped prince
Set free.

- Valerie Worth

This is a book I will return to. Love! Don't forget to visit Robyn for Roundup, where she has a fun little something that relates to next week's gig at Fay B. Kaigler children's book festival in Hattiesburg, MS! And the Progressive Poem is progressing beautifully... check out the latest at Doraine's blog! Y'all are awesome. xo


  1. I so love Valerie Worth. I will have to get this.

  2. I love the question in Bengal Tiger and imagining how he could "Run his lightening/ Into the world." I recently took part in a workshop with my poetry critique group, focusing on the poetry of Valerie Worth. I wasn't able to get a copy of PUG, but here's another reminder that I need to search it out again. Thank you!

    1. I know, Sheri, I love that question too! We should put more questions in our poems, I'm thinking. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love Valerie Worth too. It is a shame to know you'll run out of books with their writing in, once they are gone. We'll just have to imagine her writing on clouds or something.

    1. Valerie Worth writing on clouds! I love that, Catherine. Especially here in my "sky" year. :) Thank you!

  4. You know what? I hear that Valerie Worth was reincarnated in . . . Irene Latham! PSSST! Pass it on!!

    1. Janet, you make me smile. Thank you for being such a brilliant speck of stardust. We will do you proud in Hattiesburg! xo

  5. I've heard of this collection but haven't seen it. I so love Valerie Worth's poetry! Thanks for sharing today.

    And, thanks again for putting together the Progressive Poem for this year! It's a delight to watch it unfold. :0)

    1. Thank YOU, Robyn! We have so much to catch up on when we see each other, you busy busy gal. Looking forward to it. xo

  6. One of the reasons I liked your book, Don't Feed The Boy, Irene, is that it made me appreciate zoos more than I usually do. I have a hard time going & seeing those tigers pacing in their cages. They seem so unhappy! Valerie Worth's poem expresses that feeling so well. And the cicada, "A Fairy Tale Come True"-how special an image! Thanks for highlighting this collection!

  7. Sigh. Another Must Have book!!

  8. I've had one of her books on my wish list for ages now. I always love the snippets of her poetry I see.

  9. I agree with Mary Lee. I need this book. Love, love, love Valerie Worth and Steve Jenkins is one of my favorite illustrators (and he's from Colorado!). Can't imagine that a book with both of them would be anything but terrific!


Your thoughts?