Poetry Friday: Twist

h1 June 8th, 2007 by eisha

{Note: Today’s Poetry Friday round-up is over here at HipWriterMama}.

What a lovely surprise! Yesterday I received a gift from friend and former Cybils Poetry Nominating committee member Elaine of Wild Rose Reader. It’s a signed copy of Twist: Yoga Poems by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Julie Paschkis. How sweet is that?

If you haven’t already perused this lovely little title, you need to treat yourself. Each brief free-verse poem is inspired by a specific yoga pose, and uses child-friendly imagery to link the name of the pose to the body movement. “Cobra,” for example, “pushes… up from damp soil. / She lifts herself higher, / to dry out her heart.” It’s a great concept, and I think a child who is beginning to learn yoga would enjoy Wong’s ability to personify the poses.

The haiku-like brevity of the verses are nicely counterbalanced by the amazingly ornate watercolor illustrations of Julie Paschkis, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite illustrators EVER. In a style inspired by Indian miniature paintings, Ms. Paschkis devotes an entire two-page spread to each poem. The poem will be centered on one page, and an illustration of a fancifully-clothed child performing the pose is featured on the opposite page. Each verse and pose are framed by mirror-image decorations of brightly-colored vines, paisleys, animals, flowers, etc. Children will enjoy poring over the illustrations, and delight in finding unusual details that enhance the themes of the verses, like the cows with cat’s tails (and vice versa) in “Cat/Cow.”

Here’s one of my favorite verses from the collection(in its entirety, because it’s so short – please don’t sue me, Janet!):


The chick-child curls up and breathes full.

Her body remembers the inside of the eggshell,
the firm roundness of her first home.

This book has inspired me. I think I’m going to go dust off my Yoga For Dummies DVD. Thanks, Elaine!

And if you’re inspired too, check out this excellent review and interview with Janet Wong and Julie Paschkis by Elaine on the Blue Rose Girls.


The roundup is at HipWriterMama today. Head on over!

5 comments to “Poetry Friday: Twist”

  1. I wonder if Sara — who just managed last week, she said, to hold the crow pose — has seen this!

    One of my fondest pregnancy memories (first child) is pre-natal yoga with four other pregnant friends. This book looks great — and love Paschkis, too. Thanks, Eisha!

  2. Eisha,

    I’m glad you like the book. I have been an admirer of Janet Wong’s work since I read her first book of poems GOOD LUCK GOLD. Julie Paschkis is truly one of my favorite illustrators. I thought her illustrations in YELLOW ELEPHANT were gorgeous–and I love her art in TWIST!

  3. Wow, I would love to see this book! Over the past few months–especially as I’ve been working on my most recent book here in Switzerland–I’ve come to really appreciate the interplay in my life between yoga and writing. I really don’t know what I’d have done without it.

  4. Hey, jules from the other Sara!

    Very cool book. I want to give my yoga instructor a little present because she is sooo wonderful, and I think this is it!

  5. […] Twist: Yoga Poems by Janet S. Wong, McElderry […]

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