Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Special shout-out to all our poet-friends and educators at NCTE! Welcome to Roundup. Please add your link below.
First, be sure and check out the new weekly poetry column headed up by David Harrison! This edition of "Poetry from Daily Life" is written by guest-poet Ted Kooser, and it's a beauty that will remind you to play. (I needed that reminder this week!)
Second, I want to shout-out the latest from Geisel-Honor-Award-winning author/poet/friend Vikram Madan. It's a rhyming graphic novel. I know! Brilliant, right? Perfect for Dr. Seuss fans. It's called Zooni Tales, and it's sweet and fun and just perfect for beginning readers.
Vikram takes us behind the scenes in this blog post. Rhyming AND illustrating...such talent!
Also, here's a quick flip-through video of the book.
So many thanks to Vikram for allowing me to share below the sea-spread, which I love! I just want to place this book in the hands of all the young readers in my life, and I hope you will, too. 💜
Finally: I've been thinking lately about the last poem in a collection of poems.
Perhaps you, like me, upon picking up a collection of poems flip right to the last poem of the book. Last poems are often my favorite poems in a collection–sometimes the only poem I remember or truly care about. And, since in addition to being a reader, I am in the business of creating poetry collections (just like many of you!), that got me thinking: why?
What should the last poem in a collection do? What purpose does it serve? What message or mood should it convey?
I want to say right up front that I'm sure there are as many answers to these questions as there are poets in the world. What we crave in collections is personal, subjective. But whatever my (and your!) personal preferences, I think we can all learn something from this discussion, yes?
So, for me, as a reader, I love last poems that are soft, tender, thoughtful.
I like being left with a question, a wistfulness, a wonder.
A fat moment, a place to linger.
Acceptance, hope, awe.
I don't want a conclusion, so much as a jumping-off place.
I want a shift in my mind/heart to someplace else.
I want a sense of mystery, yet something that also feels satisfying—like an acknowledgement of the journey we've just been on in reading the book, and some hint of what direction to go next.
An end AND a beginning.
What poetry collections offer this? Here are just a few from my personal shelves:
The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog: And Other How to Poems ends with "How to Pay Attention" by April Halprin Wayland.
A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye ends with "Thoughts That Came in Floating—"
Cherry Moon: Little Poems for Big Ideas Mindful of Nature by Zaro Weil ends with "twilight"
Requiem: Poems of the Terazin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko ends with these ten words, untitled, which are embedded in my memory:
I wish I were
Meanwhile, during my ArtSpeak: Harlem Renaissance series, I wrote a poem titled "The Last Poem," which offer a poetic way of exploring this topic.
And now, this week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem. I struggled a bit this week...couldn't settle on an art piece, and then when I did, I wanted to poem to accomplish SO MUCH, partly because I love this piece of art so much...and also because I mean it as a love poem to you and you and YOU! The poem gets its title from good ol' Walt Whitman. Thanks so much for reading.
Because You Contain Multitudes
I find in your face
enough space for everything—
triangles of mischief
spangles of awe
curves of questions
swerves of certainty
squares of yes
flares of no
and in your eyes
a thousand round skies, all aglow.