A Poetry Break

h1 January 15th, 2013 by jules

“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 …

“When I go spinning, / your care is given / to the steel nerves / of reticent angels. …”
— From Afaa Michael Weaver’s “A Meditation for My Son”
(Click image to see spread in its entirety,
which also includes Weaver’s “My Father’s First Baseball Game”)

* * * * * * *

POETRY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY. Copyright © 2012 by Sterling Publishing Co. Illustrations © 2012 by Karen Barbour. Published by Sterling, New York. All images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

One comment to “A Poetry Break”

  1. Really love the way the illustrations project the tone of the poetry without taking too literal an interpretation.

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