Monday, April 6, 2015

Three Favorite Sparklie Poems

I so enjoyed April Halprin Wayland's interview with Paul B. Janeczko! Thank you, April!

And congratulations to Jone M, who won IN DEFENSE OF READ-ALOUD!

Continuing our celebration of poetry, here's another of my favorite poets.

 Cynthia Cotten   is a gentle writer. Her poetry sparkles like the water on a creek chanced upon during an early morning walk. Very gentle and soothing, and unexpected. Cynthia’s poetry, like all good poetry, is an emotional exchange. The language of the poem, as Mary Oliver taught us, is the language of the particulars. And Cynthia’s language incorporates images that are at once tender and sensuous. Her rhythm twinkles, as in her Night Light, and sometimes the rhythm pops like a good smirk, as in her Ack!

But sometimes, just like that early morning creek, Cynthia's poems sends shivers up our spine, as in her poem, Missing.

Night Light

 Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
 I know what you really are:
a blinking bug in flickering flight,
 lighting up my yard tonight,
in the treetops, near the ground,
 winking, flashing all around.
 I watch you and I'm mystified--
 how did you get that bulb inside?

(from Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems, collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. Illustrated by G.Brian Karras. Candlewick Press, 2010)


 I always know just what to say.
 The perfect words are there--
words that render others speechless,
uttered with such flair.
My comments are insightful,
my wit is unsurpassed.
Oh, yes, I know just what to say--
too bad the moment's passed.

(from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School - compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Pomelo Books, 2013)


 My brother is a soldier
 in a hot, dry
sandy place.
He's missing--
missing things like
baseball, barbecues,
fishing, French fries,
chocolate sodas,
flame-red maple trees,
 blue jays,
and snow.

I'm missing, too--
his read-out-loud voice,
his super-special
banana pancakes,
his scuffed-up shoes
by the back door,
his big-bear
good night

There are people
with guns
in that land of sand
who want to shoot
my brother.

I hope
 they miss him,

 (from America at War - Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008)
“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.” -- Mary Oliver 

And don't forget our giveaway!   Enter here to win an autographed copy of Paul's newest anthology, his 50th book, Death of a Hat, illustrated by Chris Raschka.  You can enter between now and 4/22/15 (which just happens to be TeachingAuthors' 5th Blogiversary!)

Bobbi Miller


Rebecca C said...

I was not familiar with Cynthia's work until today. Loved all three of the very different poems, and yes, the third one did send a shiver down my spine. Thanks for sharing her work and introducing me to a new poet!

Anonymous said...

I love all three of Cynthia’s poems—all so different from each other, yet they each evoke a real sense of character, place, and emotion in a timeless way.

Bobbi Miller said...

Hi Rebecca: You'll love Cynthia's picturebooks, for all the same reasons I love her poetry. They are great read alouds. Her recent book -- I believe -- is The Book Boat's In, illustrated by the immensely wonderful Frane Lessac.

Bobbi Miller said...

Hi Marcia: One of Cynthia's strengths is her sense of place in all of her books. A real master!

Damon Dean said...

I have learned about Cynthia and her poetry firsthand (she whupped me in March Madness this year) and admire her work...loved the examples today. I'll have to look for her latest book, the Book Boat's In. Don't think my library has it...but they will!

Bobbi Miller said...

Damon: That was an AMAZING duel between the two of you! An amazing battle of words. You were both spectacular!