Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poetry A-Z: Q is for Quilted

Here we have another letter that often flummoxes alphabet book writers. I, however, cannot be thwarted and have the perfect word in mind.

QUILTED -  (of a garment, bed covering, or sleeping bag) made of two layers of cloth filled with padding held in place by lines of stitching 

The books I'm highlighting today are all gorgeously illustrated in quilts. 

PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS & QUILTS, written and illustrated by Anna Grossnickle Hines, is a collection of 20 poems that span the seasons. When you open the book you won't know whether to marvel over the poems quilts first, as each is lovely. Together, however, they pack quite a punch.  Here's a  bit of info from the flap copy about Anna.
Anna did not do any serious quilting until she decided to use quilts to illustrate the poems in this book. Inspired by her mother, who has been making prizewinning quilts since her retirement, Anna made her first quilt for the book in 1996. Working between other projects she pieced four more over the next two years, and from April through November 1999 made the fourteen remaining quilts.
Are you amazed? If not, you should be. Before even reading the poems I recommend reading "The Story Behind the Quilts", a two page illustrated description of the process. You'll be surprised to learn that each of the finished quilts is only 12 x 18 inches! Given the detail in the quilts, this must have been painstaking work.

PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS & QUILTS, isn't just a gorgeously illustrated book, but a beautifully written one. In fact, Pieces was awarded the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award in 2002. This annual award goes to the best book of children's poetry published in the United States in the preceding year. Here are two of my favorite poems from the book.
Good Heavens

Our lawn is astronomical
with dandelion blooms.
A green sky filled
with a thousand suns
and then
a thousand moons
that with a puff
of wind become
a hundred thousand stars.



The trees are wearing
scarlet gowns
and golden crowns
and bits of them
are falling down.
You can learn more about how Pieces was created at Anna's web site.

Anna followed PIECES with the book WINTER LIGHTS: A SEASON IN POEMS & QUILTS. Here's what she says about the quilts in the book's endnotes.
The quilts for this book turned out to be much more complicated than I expected, particularly those done with the tiny twisted triangles. The finished quilts, including the borders, are 31 by 19 inches--about twice as big as this book--so the pieces are very small. It took almost two and a half years and eleven and a half miles of thread to complete all fifteen quilts. This time, even think I'm crazy . . . but I'm not sorry. (Click on the book cover for a better view.)
WINTER LIGHTS celebrates a variety of winter holidays and traditions, including Yuletide, Santa Lucia, Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. The quilts that illustrate the poems move from light to dark and back again, each one a perfect backdrop for its poem. Here are two of my favorite poems.

Star Catcher

an icicle grew,
catching the stars
above my window.
in the sunlight



Oh, no!
Not fair!
How can this be?
The sun tires out
so long before me.
You can learn more about how Winter Lights was created at Anna's web site.

Anna's newest book PEACEFUL PIECES: POEMS AND QUILTS ABOUT PEACE, is a collection of 28 poems that explore the meaning of peace in varied forms. Readers will find poems about quiet peace, the peace of nature and home. There are also poems about the peace that comes from prayer and acceptance. Finally, there are poems that look at what happens when we don't know peace. those poems speak of anger and war. The back matter of the book contains short biographies of "The Peacemakers" and includes information on Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, and others.

Here's one of my favorite poems.


I have never fired a gun
but have shouted words
that pierced and stung.

I have hurled cutting remarks,
ignited flames with hateful sparks.
I've shot daggers from my eyes
at those I momentarily despised.

I have never fired a gun
but want to learn
to hold my tongue.

You can learn more about PEACEFUL PIECES at Anna's web site. Check out this book trailer for a glimpse of the gorgeous quilts and the poetry.

All poems ©Anna Grossnickle Hines. All rights reserved.

That's it for Q. See you tomorrow with some P inspired poetry ponderings.


  1. I just want you to know how much I'm enjoying your posts this month. I ordered some books from the library that you highlighted. Thanks again!

  2. Whenever I think of quilted, I think of Edi Campbell, who quilts, but doesn't write poetry but reviews tons of books. I also think of Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, by Deborah Hopkinson, and the adult versions of that book, and the quilt a friend of mine has hanging in her living room - pieced of all the miniatures of all of the "message" quilts from the Underground Railroad. This is a topic which never gets old to me, despite the fact that I can't even sew. I love that there's POETRY with it. ☺