Everybody has a song,
be it short or be it long,
in the right or in the wrong key,
Like the hee-haw of a donkey,
Twitter, tweet, tu-whit, tu-whoo,
howl or growl or quack or moo.
Don’t be silent
you must sing
as you’ve been made.
Translation by Stan Dragland of the South African poem “Elke outjie…” by Philip de Vos
Welcome, everybody, to this week’s Poetry Friday, which we are delighted to be hosting. Please leave comments below with links to your “songs” and I’ll be updating this post throughout the day.
The above poem comes from the joyous anthology Under the Spell of the Moon: Art for Children from the World’s Great Illustrators. This superb book, first published by Groundwood in Canada in 2004, then in the UK in 2006 by Frances Lincoln, is now available for the first time in paperback (Frances Lincoln, 2012). Produced by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the book is edited by erstwhile President of IBBY and founder of Groundwood Patsy Aldana, and has a thought-provoking Foreword by award-winning author Katherine Paterson. It provides a fantastic showcase of 32 illustrators from across the globe, who have all donated their work to benefit IBBY – indeed 12.5% of the book’s proceeds go to IBBY. Illustrators include Piet Grobler, who illustrated the poem cited above, as well as many others of my personal favorites such as Mitsumasa Anno (Japan), Peter Sís (Czech Republic/USA), Anthony Browne (UK), Isol (Argentina), Pulak Biswas (India), Luis Garay (Nicaragua) – and the book has also introduced me to many illustrators whose work I intend to explore further…
Each illustrator was asked to “illustrate a text of his or her own choosing, be it a poem, nursery rhyme, song, piece of prose, riddle or street game.” The result is a wonderfully eclectic gathering of mostly verse that is given in its original language, sometimes incorporated into the artwork, and, where necessary, in English translation: and indeed a special shout-out must go to Stan Dragland’s virtuoso translations. The quirkiness of the collection probably comes from this freedom of choice given to the global spread of illustrators: so each page turn brings a surprise, both in text and artistic style. The one thing that links every page is the joie de vivre of the texts and the virtuosity each illustrator has brought to his or her contribution.
And now we turn to the eclecticism of the Poetry Friday gathering – what a joy it is to be hosting today!
Blythe revisits Peter Pan via Helen Marshall’s Skeleton Leaves.
Mary Lee has been as amazingly creative as ever: “I’m recycling words this week. I made a Wordle of some poems I wrote recently, then used only the words I found in the Wordle to create a new poem.”
Renee LaTulippe shares a video reading by Lori Degman (1 Zany Zoo) of her poem “A Snake Ate My Homework”, plus an interview with Lori and follow-up resources.
Liz Steinglass has four witty couplets animal couplets that I know will have me chuckling for the rest of the day.
Robyn Hood Black is “offering something hot and something cold from H. D. (Hilda Doolittle)” to help counter the heatwave in the US.
Joy has been posting poems all week based on her recent field trip to the Tambopata Research Center in the Amazonian rainforest – today she has A Room in the Jungle and challenges us to write a poem about “My Room”.
Tara brings sunshine to Poetry Friday with her focus today on Sunflowers, a poem by Mary Oliver, including a video reading.
Diane has a full platter of offerings – at Kurious Kitty’s Kurio Kabinet she has a very satisfying poem, “Perpetual Between” by Maggie Dietz; there’s a neat quotation from J. Patrick Lewis at Kurious K’s Kwotes; and an ekphrastic poem about “Degas’s Laundresses” by Eavan Boland at Random Noodlings.
Steven Withrow has a new poem, Cormorant that will have you grabbing the binoculars and heading for the sea, in your mind’s eye if you can’t manage it in reality.
Jama has a fabulous, lip-smacking feast today – oodles of brown-ness as well as a proposal for the UPS man… Excuse me while I go and raid my secret stash!
Heidi shares Denise Levertov’s What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person as she reflects on her imminent move to a new home.
Irene Latham shares her favorite beach poem, along with her own poetic descriptions accompanying photographs of both of Florida’s coasts following a recent research trip.
Laura Shoven commemorates a very special meeting with Chu Chen Po’s Hedgehog: “I’ve been teaching the poem “Hedgehog” for years, but I met my first hedgehog last week. It was love.” Check out the beautiful photos too.
Carol shares Linda Pastan’s “To a Daughter Leaving Home” because her oldest son is moving to Phoenix to attend junior college today.
Jeff has a review of Out on the Prairie, a rhyming book set in South Dakota’s Badlands region.
Violet Nesdoly has an ode to a summer storm, “Lightning”, in a dramatic string of haiku format.
Linda Baie has a great review of our fellow-blogger Greg Pincus’ ebook The Late Bird, a collection of fifty of his witty, funny and thought-provoking poems first featured on his blog. Go Buy! (In her Poetry Friday post, Linda also asks us to take a look at her previous post – I’m glad she did – it’s a review plus giveaway of what looks set to becomg a very important book for teens feeling vulnerable because of their sexuality – The Letter Q.)
Andi at A Wrung Sponge has an original haiku with one of her equally beautiful photographs.
April Halprin Wayland says of her post over at Teaching Authors: “We teach you how to write a Hidden Words poem and give you a pretty stinky example of one I wrote. (We’re also announcing our latest book giveaway winner and talking about taking your writing to a different locale to refresh your creativity.)” – And by the way, it’s not a “stinky” example at all!
Tabatha Yeatts focuses on James Flecker’s work today.
Iphigene continues Gathering Books’ focus on the Festival of Asian Literature and the Immigrant Experience with Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus.
Janet Squires takes a look at Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes.
Karen Edmisten has “some rambling”! This post about posting about poetry will make you smile and nod!
Father Goose aka Charles Ghigna has some new snickersome snickers – “a few for the funny bone”.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has a wonderful original poem about an imaginary mechanic.
Donna has “written about farming the land this week to add to my Tugging of Tides poem…”
Betsy has been inspired by Mary Lee’s Wordle idea (see above) and Teachers Write Camp.
Kerry Aradhya highlights the rhyming picture book Subway by Anastasia Suen and Karen Katz.
Lorie Ann Grover has an original haiku “Puckered Pear” (such a great title!).
Julie Larios is on a Poetry Roller Coaster at Books Around the Table (her critique-group blog): “I offer up some thoughts about the up-and-down nature of my love of poetry, and I post a poem by William Jay Smith titled “Moon” which is not about the moon at all.”
Ruth brings us extracts from Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey “in honor of the nature on our vacation”.
Jone has been inspired to write Summer Room by Joy Acey’s call at the beginning of the day to write a poem about “My Room” (see above).
Greg Pincus points to his interview on Katie Davis’ podcast in which he talks “about poetry (and self-pubbing poetry, too). Ya… a self-reflexive Poetry Friday!”
What a wonderful Poetry Friday gathering – a veritable feast. I know the day’s not over yet in some parts of the world so if any more links come in, I’ll update them on my morrow… in the meantime, happy reading!