Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Monarch’s Progress and Avis Harley

Avis Harley has a new book of poetry out this spring: The Monarch’s Progress; Poems with Wings (Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press). Once again, she approaches a nature topic through a variety of poetic forms, including haiku, alphabet poems, acrostics, sonnets, cinquains, limericks, and more—all about the monarch butterfly. Plus, there are interesting endnotes that correspond to each poem. Here’s my favorite, the final poem:

by Avis Harley

The butterfly was there
before any human art was made.
Before cathedrals rose in prayer,
the butterfly was there.
Before pyramids pierced the air
or Great Wall stones were laid,
the butterfly was there.
Before any human, art was made.

From Harley, Avis. 2008. The Monarch’s Progress; Poems with Wings. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. p. 27

*Invite kids to join in on the repeated line as you read it aloud.
*Pair with the Orbis Pictus award winning nonfiction picture book, An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly by Laurence Pringle and Bob Marstall

And for more about Avis Harley and her work, check out Poetry People. Here’s an excerpt:
Avis Harley’s poetry writing is characterized by its diversity and experimentation. She enjoys trying poetry in all its different formats and is adept at demonstrating poetic form for children. Her first collection Fly With Poetry: An ABC of Poetry (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press 2000) includes twenty-seven original short poems, generally one for each letter of the alphabet such as acrostics, blank verse, cinquain, etc. In addition, a brief definition of the form is provided as a caption at the bottom of each page. Fourteen additional poetic forms are shared in the back of the book. This is a tremendous resource for children who want to try their own hands at creating poetry. Harley’s poem examples are brief, vivid, and clear.

Harley has a second volume of poetry organized around the same alphabet theme, Leap Into Poetry (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press 2001). In this book, she provides 26 poems about insects, each demonstrating another poetic form or literary term, such as "jargon" or "karanamala." Once again, each term is also defined in a single line across the bottom of the page.

Avis Harley used color photographs as the centerpiece for her book Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press 2006) illustrated by Margaret Butschler. Each of these 27 poems was inspired by a photograph of a sea creature, and again Harley incorporates a variety of poetic forms–including rhyming couplets, haiku, tanka, and nursery rhyme parody. The poems are brief, well-crafted and clever, full of wordplay and accompanied by exquisite images. Brief endnotes provide additional information about each sea creature.

For playing with form and language, Avis Harley is a poet to watch!

Picture credit: Amazon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i like this book i wish i could meet the author