Monday, July 27, 2009

Paul Janeczko's Birthday

Paul Janeczko, a poet was born on this day in 1945 in Passaic, NJ.

Janeczko, Paul.
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms.
Candlewick Press.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

In this splendid and playful volume, acclaimed poetry anthologist Paul B. Janeczko and Caldecott Honor illustrator Chris Raschka present lively examples of twenty-nine poetic forms, demonstrating not only the (sometimes bendable) rules of poetry, but also the spirit that brings these forms so wonderfully to life. Featuring formal poems, some familiar and some never before published, from the likes of Eleanor Farjeon (aubade), X. J. Kennedy (elegy), Ogden Nash (couplet), Liz Rosenberg (pantoum), and William Shakespeare, the sonnet king himself, A KICK IN THE HEAD perfectly illustrates Robert Frost's maxim that poetry without rules is like a tennis match without a net.

This is a great resource for teachers who are sharing poetry with students! Throughout the book a huge variety of types of poems are shared, along with details that describe that form. Combined with the form, is a written example so students (and teachers) are able to gain an understanding of that particular form of poetry! For example, a poem written about a cow, called a Triolet, an eight-line poem in which line 1 repeats as line 4 and 7 and line 2 repeats as line 8. The rhyme scheme is abaaabab.
The Cow's Complaint" by Alice Schertle

How unkind to keep me here
When, over there the grass is greener.
Tender blades - so far, so near -
How unkind to keep me here!
THrough this fence they make me peer
As sweeter stems; what could be meaner?
How unkind to keep me here
When, over there the grass is greener.
Janeczko, Paul.
A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout.
Candlewick Press.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Whether rhyming, tongue-tying, or defying structure, here are more than three dozen poems that simply beg to be read aloud. The creators of A POKE IN THE I and A KICK IN THE HEAD complete a triplet with this collection of lively rhymes and tricky tongue twisters, poems for more than one voice, bilingual poems — and poems that may just inspire kids to memorize them. Paul B. Janeczko offers a range of gems, from classic Shakespeare and Lear to anonymous rhymes to contemporary riffs on everything under the sun, while Chris Raschka counterpoints with the vibrant accents of his wittily detailed artwork.

This book is full of funny poems... definitely making it worthy of sharing! I never really appreciated poetry as a child, perhaps because of my limited exposure to it. However, I do think it's a medium worth sharing with children. In order to get poetry to appeal to young readers, they need to have funny poetry that they can understand... My favorite from this book:
Lone Dog
Irene McLeod

I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog and lone,
I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own!
I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
I love to sit and bay the moon and keep fat souls from sleep.

I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
A sleek dog, a meed dog, cringing for my meat.
Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate.
But shut door and sharp stone and cuff and kick and hate.

Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
Some have run a short while, but none of them would bid.
O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best
Wide wind and wild stars and the hunger of the quest.
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to