Friday, December 30, 2016


Hello and Happy last Poetry Friday of 2016! Be sure to visit Donna, my Winter Poem Swap partner!, at Mainely Write for Roundup.

ETA: Why/how has this posted a day early... and says "Friday" on the header when it is but Thursday?! O Mystery!

I'm in with a few poems from the delightful ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME, edited by Kenn Nesbitt, illus. by Christoph Niemann, brought to us by Little, Brown & Co.

I love this book. So often these big anthologies are wildly uneven -- a shining poem here, a meh poem there. And sometimes, when there are so many poems, they just kind of all run together ?? (This could be just me.)

What's great about ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME is that pretty much wherever you crack open the book you will find something surprising, something delightful. And many of the poems are short, which is good. And the illustrations really add to the fun of the book -- some poems are presented sideways, or upside-down. On one spread a lion turns into a bed! This is good book-making. Thank you to all involved! It reminds me of those Shel Silverstein volumes I so treasured as a child. This book, I think, will be enjoyed for many years to come.

And now for a few poems from the book that are calling to me this morning (so hard to choose! so hard to choose!):

A Hard Rain
by Greg Pincus

Tonight the rain is falling hard.
It's washed the colors from the yard.
It's scrubbed the paint right off our house.
It's rinsed the fur right off a mouse.
The rain's turned fields to huge mud pies.
It's cleaned the stars up in the skies.
Rivers run and try to hide.
Tonight I think I'll stay inside.
I love this page in the book! The poem is presented sideways, and the page is mostly black. Delightful! Side note: my son Eric LOVES rain! He always goes OUTSIDE when it's raining to write songs and take pictures and ponder life. Fun.

Btw: Greg's newest middle grade novel THE HOMEWORK STRIKE (coming in January) is a JLG selection! Congrats, Greg!

Bedtime on 7th Avenue
by Ron Koertge

Big old dog sighs and lies down.
Spider closes her many eyes.

In the vacant lot, weeds lean against
each other.

Even graffiti opens its loud neon mouth
and yawns.
Can't you just see those (unexpected!) weeds leaning against each other? And the "loud neon mouth" -- wonderful! (Want to know Ron's secret to a long life? Click Ron's name above.)

Rolling down the Hill
by April Halprin Wayland







This poem is so April! It's zany and fun and makes me smile every time I read it! (I suspect April wrote this poem after actually having the experience in the poem!)

Wild Flowers
by Bob Raczka

Our dandelions
are tame, but their color is
a loud yellow roar.

Perfect example of a short, vivid poem... and the illustration is adorable! ROAR! Also check out Bob's latest WET CEMENT, which has earned a whole constellation of starred reviews!

Sky Story
by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Who has the keys
to the moon,
to the moon...
who has the keys
to the moon?
Not me,
said the owl,
said the owl;
no keys.
Not me,
said the mouse
as he nibbled his cheese.
Not me,
said the bee,
Nor I, said the fly.
Only I, said the sky.
Only I.
This poem is magical! I love all the animals in it, the repetition, the rhyme... and the "unexpected inevitable" at the end: of course the sky is the only one with the keys to the moon. Of course! If you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to read Rebecca's THE KNOWING BOOK, which I adore! (Look up!)


Such a slim space you're tucked into,
stuck to
the underside
of this dripping leaf,
wings shut tight like a 
flat gray purse holding
ribbons of color.

Can you see the cocoon?? Beautiful example of how language need not be compromised in a shape poem. (Shape is just one tool -- don't forget language!) The cocoon does look like a gray purse, doesn't it? And speaking of stars... weren't we? Joyce's new BEFORE MORNING has also received a lot of shiny!

November Volcano

November volcano
a lava of leaves

Another short, powerful poem! I am completely enamored of "lava" in this poem. And the illustration! Joy! For more poetic goodness, check out #haikuforhealing on Twitter, which features many wonderful poems, including a slew of them by Heidi!

and finally.....

Good-Night Poem

Now the long day
feels complete.

Tuck your feet
between clean sheets.

Tuck your body
into bed.

Tuck sweet dreams
into your head.

Tuck your covers
snug and tight.

Tuck the good
into the night.

I love how the poem and illustration work together on this page... the poem is tucked into the curve of the moon! And how delightful is that last stanza?!

Thanks so much for reading... support poetry and poets and have fun doing it: get this book!


  1. You are absolutely right! So many perfect lines....short and vivid and inviting. Thank you for sharing these. I love YOUR line in your post, "This is good book-making" I think that is going into something from me sometime soon. Have a wonderful New Year!

  2. Oh that November volcano! Can't wait to see the illustrations!

  3. Those are all great. I wouldn't be able to choose a favorite. Luckily I asked for the book for Christmas, and now I can read them all whenever I like. :-)

  4. Great choices, Irene! I, too, LOVE this anthology! So well put together. Did you read the partial article about it in the SCBWI Bulletin? It was wonderful!

  5. "Tuck the good into the night". Yes. My favorite line here! I think that sums up my feelings today as I hit the sack, and as we wrap up the year.

  6. Thanks for sharing all of these terrific poems. I think I need to own this book!

  7. This collection is absolutely magical!! I love what an imaginative poet can conjure up with only a few carefully selected words! Thanks for sharing these. :-)

  8. I bought two copies of the book for Christmas gifts! Ron Koertge's line, "Spider closes her many eyes," made me stop and think. And that's what a good poem does, it makes you think in new ways about things you're already familiar with (or thought you were). Do spiders have eyelids for each eye? If so, do they close sequentially or all at once? Etc.

  9. I bought this book x 2 - one for my grandkids and one for me, partly because it has poems by many people I know and some I've even met. You're right, it's wonderful--rich and brief and pithy and original. It accomplishes what I really want of a poem (whether written for adults or kids)--helps me see life a little differently. Thanks for this lovely reminder - and Happy New Year!

  10. Oh, Irene ~ Thank you for pulling out some of my favorites! "Even graffiti opens its loud neon mouth
    and yawns" maybe my favorite line in the whole book. Wonderfully written post. Merci and love in the new year

  11. Like many others I'm giving this book all around for the holidays. Thanks again for putting me here in such good company, and Happy New Year to you and all yours!

  12. I am so glad that you featured this book in your PF blog. I have been meaning to purchase it but forgot the name. I also love that you provided samples that make me want a sweet little child next to me. The poems you chose are delightful to read but Ralph's reminds me of when I tucked my children into bed decades ago. Happy New Year, Irene.

  13. What a lovely selection of poems! So different and all so wonderful. I agree about this anthology. Since I am all about the moon these days (well, I'm always kind of about the moon:>), Rebecca's Sky Story especially warms my cold morning!


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