Monday, April 08, 2013

Poetry A-Z: S is for Sylvan

I knew when I decided on this project that many of my words would have Latin roots. Although I am constantly embarrassed by my mono-lingual status, I do not regret a single second of the years in high school and college (5 of them) that I spent studying Latin.

SYLVAN - consisting of or associated with woods; wooded

DARK EMPEROR AND OTHER POEMS OF THE NIGHT, written by  Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen, is a collection of 12 poems that highlight nocturnal animals and events in the forest. Here are the first two stanzas from the introductory poem.

Welcome to the Night

To all of you who crawl and creep,
who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
who wake at dusk and throw off sleep:
Welcome to the night.

to you who make the forest sing,
who dip and dodge on silent wing,
who flutter, hover, clasp, and cling:
Welcome to the night!

Poem ©Joyce Sidman. All rights reserved.

Each double-page spread contains an illustration, a poem, and informational text about the subject of the poem and the life of the forest. In one section of text (facing the poem Cricket Speaks), the text begins "Night in the woods is noisy."

The poems and illustrations are lovely, giving readers a real sense of the nighttime forest. The informational text is clearly written, engaging, and interesting.

Let's start this next book with a trailer.

FOREST HAS A SONG: POEMS, written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Robbin Gourley, is a collection of 26 poems about the flora, fauna, and seasons of the forest. One time through will have readers puling on their boots and ready to take a slow, watchful walk through the woods. It opens with this poem.


I heard
a pinecone fall.
I smell
a spicy breeze.
I see
wildly waving
rows of
friendly trees.

I'm here. 
Come visit.

Poem ©Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. All rights reserved.

One of my favorite poems in the book, Forest News, speaks of the stories that animal tracks tell when left in mud or snow. There are poems here about lichen and moss, as well as the owl, deer and woodpecker. For young and old alike, this is a lovely introduction to the forest.

A WHIFF OF PINE, A HINT OF SKUNK: A FOREST OF POEMS, written by Deborah Ruddell  and illustrated by Joan Rankin, is a collection of 22 poems about forest life. It begins with this poem:


It's spiderwebs
and dogwood trees,
a muddy trail,
a blue-green breeze.

A nest, a leaf
a sycamore trunk.
A whiff of pine,
a hint of skunk.

From the serious to playful and silly, Ruddell's poems invite reader's into the forest and sometimes the minds of the animals living there. Here's one where we get to hear an animal's thoughts.

A Wild Turkey Comments On His Portrait

I find it most insulting
that you traced around your hand
and colored all my feathers
either plain old brown or tan.

Where's the copper? Where's the gold
that a turkey should expect?
Where on earth is raw sienna,
and where is the respect?

Finally, I'm baffled
that you've made me look so dumb.
My head is quite distinguished
and it's nothing like your thumb.

Poems ©Deborah Ruddell. All rights reserved.

That's it for S. See you tomorrow with some R inspired poetry ponderings. 


    Oh, that turkey poem I love.
    And yes, the woods hold just that piquant HINT of skunk at times. An excellent collection, that.

  2. Oh, woodsy-delicious! I'm waiting for my copies of Forest Has a Song to arrive so I can lie in a clearing and read. I love my Latin too, and if Daisy's brother had been a girl she would have been Sylvie. Thanks for these generous posts, Tricia--I especially liked learning about Arnold Adoff's out of print collections. That "Her She Bar" is a phenomenon...

    Don't forget to stop by and play my NPM game, too--

  3. Yes! These are some of my favorite forest poetry books. Thanks for this!