Sunday, January 22, 2006
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Form
Janeczko, Paul B. 2005. A KICK IN THE HEAD: AN EVERYDAY GUIDE TO POETIC FORM. Ill. Chris Raschka. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 07636606626 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
Janeczko’s latest anthology is a quick overview of 29 poetic forms, beginning with “couplet” and ending with “pantoun.” He includes at least one selection (with accompanying illustration) for each, along with an almost incidental definition on the page (augmented by a slightly longer thumbnail discussion at the back of the book). Raschka’s brightly colored collages extend and enrich the selections, and he has also designed an icon for each form which can either serve as a memory aid or clue to scansion, or both.
The selections range from Shakespeare to contemporary poets, including two by Janezcko himself. They are beautifully chosen for young reader interest, and are mostly lesser-known poems which deserve greater exposure. Kristine O’Connell George’s senryu, as with so many of the examples, should invite budding poets to try their hands at this form: “First day, new school year,/backpack harbors a fossil…/last June’s cheese sandwich.” By arranging the forms from simple to complex, Janeczko not only makes the forms more logical and comprehensible, but also easier for readers to become writers, too.
Choose favorite forms and write original poems for a group collection.
Discuss some of the poetry themes of this book: the natural world; school; disasters such as the 9/11 tragedy. Why is it that poetry can express these themes so well yet so succinctly?
Other poetry collections compiled by Janeczko:
Janeczko, Paul B. A POKE IN THE I: A COLLECTION OF CONCRETE POEMS. ISBN 0763606618
Janeczko, Paul B. DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE. ISBN 0688162517
Vardell, Sylvia. POETRY ALOUD HERE: SHARING POETRY WITH CHILDREN IN THE LIBRARY. ISBN 0838909167
By Julie Brinker