Monday, October 05, 2009

The Poetry of Nature

Yesterday I wrote about some of the diverse poetry offerings I read this year. The list was rather short (7 titles), and of the titles presented, two were illustrations of poems written by Langston Hughes. There's no doubt that poetry is a tough market. However, poetry about the natural world is a bit easier to find.

Here are a few of the nature titles I particularly enjoyed.
The Cuckoo's Haiku: and Other Birding Poems, written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Stan Fellows - Written in field notebook form and divided by the seasons, Rosen use the spare language of haiku to highlight the features of 24 common birds. (You can read more about this book at a wrung sponge. You can also read Michael Rosen's thoughts about the book and see some of the art at Seven Imp.)

African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways, written by Avis Harley with photographs by Deborah Noyes - The photos in this offering are terrific, and the acrostics are inspired. This book is hands-down the best mentor text for teachers who want their kids to write acrostics. (You can read more about this book in my review.)

A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection, written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple - Speaking of amazing photography, Jason Stemple once again provides glowing and vibrant photos around which Jane Yolen has written a series of evocative poems about reflection. While several of the poems in the book are about birds, there are also poems on the raccoon, alligator, deer, snail, cockle, frog, and coyote. (You can read more about this book at The Reading Zone.)

Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings
, written and illustrated by Douglas Florian - As the mother of an 8-year old, I'm a bit tired of dinosaurs. However, any book that makes my son ASK for poetry is a winner. His copy is dog-eared and has post-it notes sticking out of the pages where he's marked his favorite poems. Inside you'll find fabulous illustrations, fun word play, and a whole lot of information about dinosaurs. (You can read more about this book at Poetry for Children. Also, you can check out some of the artwork and poems from the book at Florian Cafe.)

A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems
, written by Deborah Ruddell and illustrated by Joan Rankin - I loved the whimsy of the illustrations and playfulness of sound in this collection of 23 poems about forest animals. (You can read more about this book at Poetry for Children.)

Sky Magic, compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Mariusz Stawarski - Hopkins has once again put together a terrific anthology of poems. This one centers on the sun, moon, and stars. Poems are ordered to take readers from first morning light to the end of day and the sparkling night sky. (You can read more about this book at Wild Rose Reader.)

Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski - In this volume, Sidman explores the seasons through colors. In spring, green is new, it peeks from buds. In summer it is queen and trills from trees. In fall it is tired and dusty. In winter, green waits. Each color is treated this way, with sometimes surprising imagery. (You can read more about this book at A Fuse #8 Production.)
How about you? Have you read any nature poetry this year that spoke to you? If so, please share. I'd love to know what you've been reading.

Don't forget that nominations for the Cybils are open until 11:59 pm on October 15th. If you haven't done so, please do stop by and nominate your favorites in a range of categories.

1 comment:

  1. Aileen Fisher was a wonderful poet with an honest relationship to the natural world. A voice to keep on the shelves.
    Mary Oliver is a treasure.