Archive for the 'Poetry Friday' Category

A Visit with Calef Brown

h1 Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019


“Mindy’s FAVORITELEVISION / sits upon a ladder. /
She watches the SILLIESTUPIDESTUFF — / it doesn’t seem to matter.”


 
Today, I’ve a visit from poet and illustrator Calef Brown, who talks about his latest book, Up Verses Down: Poems, Paintings, and Serious Nonsense (Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt, June 2019), as well as the book that came before it in 2015 — Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything. He discusses why he sees them as companion books; what they have to do with The Tao of Physics and miniature paintings; and how Twitter can spawn a poem. Or two.

I always like to see what Calef, the “inveterate punster” (as Kirkus has called him), is up to. I thank him for visiting today.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Cindy Derby

h1 Friday, May 10th, 2019


“polka dot polka dot / you are not at all what i thought …”
(Click to enlarge spread and read poem in its entirety)


 
Over at Kirkus today, I write about new picture books from Stephen Savage and Fiona Woodcock.

That is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about Shannon Bramer’s Climbing Shadows: Poems for Children (Groundwood, March 2019), illustrated by Cindy Derby. I’m following up here today with a few spreads.

Enjoy!

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The Art of Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

h1 Thursday, January 11th, 2018


“… Mrs. Vandenberg / holds up her hand.
Write about anything! / It’s not black and white.
But it is. / Charles is black, / and I’m white.”


 
Last week at Kirkus, I wrote here about Irene Latham’s and Charles Waters’s Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (Carolrhoda Books, January 2018), illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls.

Today, I’ve a bit of art from the book.

Enjoy. …

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Love Wins

h1 Tuesday, January 9th, 2018


“Paula the cat / not thin nor fat / is as happy as house cats can be …”
(Click to enlarge and read poem in its entirety)


 
I’ve a few spreads today from Nikki Giovanni’s I Am Loved (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, January 2018), illustrated by Ashley Bryan.

This is a collection of primarily free verse poems from Giovanni — some previously published and the rest, brand-new. The poems are about memory, loss, friendship, and family — and (delightfully) there’s one about a house cat, “not thin nor fat,” who tires of her view and heads out to sea (pictured above). “Quilts,” a poem dedicated to artist Sally Sellers, comes from the point of view of an elderly woman, who likens herself to a “fading piece of cloth.” The ending is striking in its poignancy:

When I am frayed and stained and drizzled at the end
Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt
That I might keep some child warm …

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I
Did Last Week, Featuring Ken Min and Bob Raczka

h1 Friday, April 22nd, 2016


— From Bob Raczka’s Wet Cement
(Click to enlarge)


 

— From What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?


 
Today over at Kirkus, I write about Bethan Woollvin’s debut picture book, Little Red (Peachtree, April 2016). That is here, and next week I’ll have some art from it here at 7-Imp.

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Last week at Kirkus, I talked here to Emma D. Dryden, and I wrote here about Bob Raczka’s new poetry collection. In this follow-up post today, I have some images from Bob’s Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems (Roaring Brook, March 2016), and some of Ken Min’s illustrations from Rana DiOrio’s and Emma’s What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur? (Little Pickle Press, January 2016).

Until Sunday …

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Marvin Bileck and Ashley Bryan:
One Unique Collaboration Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


“Spades for the circling turrets / Clubs for the towers above /
Diamonds for sparkling windows / And hearts for love …”
(Click to enlarge)


 

Do you know one reason I like to keep my eye on what Alazar Press is doing? They have previously published the work of Ashley Bryan (see this older 7-Imp post), and they’re doing it again this year. But this time it’s a very unusual collaboration they’re bringing into the spotlight, one that’s been 50 years in the making.

The book is called By Trolley Past Thimbledon Bridge and was released in early May. Once upon a time, Marvin Bileck—illustrator of Rain Makes Applesauce, a 1965 Caldecott Honor Book—created the illustrations for the only children’s manuscript written by Virginia Woolf. However, her estate withdrew the text after more than a decade of Marvin’s work. Ashley Bryan then stepped in to collaborate with Bileck on a new text, securing the help of the legendary Jean Karl, who founded Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Still, though, the book has taken decades to see light of day — and now it is on shelves, thanks to Alazar.

“When [Bileck] told his friend Ashley Bryan,” an opening note from Bileck’s wife states, “they began playfully bantering back and forth with words here and there, in and out of the drawings, and that’s how By Trolley Past Thimbledon Bridge came into being.” It’s a set of ten poems with a hand-lettered text all throughout the book, as well as Bileck’s delicate, whispery illustrations. “Bileck and Bryan capture the stuff of dreams in this mesmerizing and multifaceted pageant,” writes the Kirkus review.

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JooHee Yoon’s Beastly Verse (Plus a Sneak Peek …)

h1 Tuesday, May 26th, 2015



(Click each image to enlarge)


 
I’ve got artwork below today from illustrator and printmaker JooHee Yoon’s first picture book here in the U.S., Beastly Verse, published by Enchanted Lion Books last month. Does anyone else remember when JooHee visited 7-Imp back in 2011 to share some art? It’s exciting to see this book now.

This is a collection of animal poems, many from poets long-gone (Ogden Nash, Hilaire Belloc, Christina Rosetti), with gatefold surprises and Yoon’s distinctive and stylized art, so vivid in its palette that the spreads pop off the page. (You’ll see this below.) Daisy Fried wrote in the New York Times that “[k]ids appreciate the bizarre and off-kilter, and are too often denied it when grown-ups edit for positive messages and sweetness. Hooray for Yoon for countering that.” I love that.

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Douglas Florian and Diane Goode

h1 Friday, March 21st, 2014



“The boogie man is coming. / I can hear him in the night. /
He has chains he likes to rattle / when my mom turns out the light. …”

(Click to enlarge spread)

Above: A poem and drawing from Douglas Florian’s Poem Depot,
followed by a spread from Karma Wilson’s
Outside the Box,
illustrated by Diane Goode

This week at Kirkus, I’ve got two picture books all about moving — Liz Garton Scanlon’s The Good-Pie Party, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, and Rosemary Wells’s Stella’s Starliner. This is something my family needs to do—move into a slightly bigger space, that is—but it’s so stressful to think about, this ginormous task of schlepping all your stuff from one place to the next, that the subject quickly gets changed every time it comes up.

That’s to say: Moving is not for the faint of heart. In many ways, as these stories tell us.

Also, we don’t often see families who live in trailer homes in picture books, but we do in one of these.

That column is here this morning.

And since my column from last week, a tribute to Uncle Shelby himself, included mention of Douglas Florian’s Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles (Dial, February 2014), as well as Karma Wilson’s Outside the Box: A Book of Poems (Margaret K. McElderry Books, March 2014), illustrated by Diane Goode, I’ve got some art from each today. (First up is one more spread from Outside the Box, followed by some more poems and drawings from Florian’s book.)

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What I’m Up To at Kirkus This Week

h1 Friday, September 20th, 2013

I really have no idea how the voices in my books come to me. I’m not sure any writer does. Walter Dean Myers once said that when he has to explain how he came up with the idea of a certain book, he mostly makes stuff up, because the whole thing is a mystery to him. It’s a mystery to me, too! And everyone does it differently.”

That’s Joyce Sidman, pictured here. We chatted yesterday morning at Kirkus about several things including taking risks, how a poet turns off the noisy world for a while (including loud social media-type places), and collaborating once again with illustrator Pamela Zagarenski. We also talked about her newest poetry collection, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings (Houghton Mifflin, October 2013). That chat is here.

This morning, I ended up writing an ode of a sort to author/illustrator John Burningham, who is one of my all-time favorite illustrators. Candlewick has released a new(ish) book of his, and if that “ish” confuses you, well … you can read more here.

Until Sunday …

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Photo used with permission of Joyce Sidman.

A Poetry Break

h1 Tuesday, January 15th, 2013


“At first you’ll joy to see the playful snow, /
Like white moths trembling on the tropic air, /
Or waters of the hills that softly flow /
Gracefully falling down a shining stair. …”
— From Claude McKay’s “To One Coming North”

(Click image to see spread in its entirety)

I’m preparing for two presentations about children’s literature this week, on top of my regular work, so I’m going to be brief today. I share some artwork here from Karen Barbour, rendered in watercolor, ink, and collage, from African American Poetry (January 2013, though technically the copyright date is 2012), the latest in Sterling’s Poetry for Young People series.

Edited by Arnold Rampersad (Stanford University) and Marcellus Blount (Columbia University), this is a collection of poetry celebrating the works of African Americans over the last two hundred years. Blount selected the poems, and Rampersad writes the informative introduction. There’s a wide range of poetry here from the likes of Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and many more well-known names, as well as some lesser-known poets. Each poem opens with an annotation, which includes biographical info.

As the Kirkus review notes, one interesting thing about this collection is that “[a]typically, the editors steer largely clear of explicit racial or religious themes in their selections,” with but a couple of exceptions.

See? I really was brief. For once. ‘Cause I really do have my work cut out for me this week. Here’s another piece of Karen’s artwork from the book. (Note: The final illustration as it appears in the book is slightly different from the one below.)

Until later … Read the rest of this entry �