Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Poems for Your Pockets

Tomorrow is “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” the second national celebration urging us to keep poems handy and ready to read and share at a moment’s notice. What a great idea! And what a great title for a collection of poetry—and for a sequel.

Poet and anthologist Bobbi Katz, has just such a gem out this spring with More Pocket Poems (Dutton, 2009) illustrated by Deborah Zemke. It’s a follow up to her popular Pocket Poems (Dutton, 2004) illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, and an equally appealing compilation of classic and contemporary poems.

A spacious Table of Contents sets the stage for introducing the 44 poems contained in this inviting picture book anthology. You’ll find old friends by Emily Dickinson and Ogden Nash excerpted to their crystalline core alongside newbies like Jorge Torres. Nice cultural mix, too.

I particularly like how the poetry begins with spring (and a “pocket” poem) and then proceeds through the calendar year; so you can start tomorrow and keep going throughout the months and seasons ahead, poem by poem. What a fun way to capitalize on the enthusiasm for National Poetry Month, too.

The art by Deborah Zemke is so appealing with watercolor images focusing on children at play. It’s reminiscent of Arnold Lobel’s illustrations for Jack Prelutsky’s classic Random House Book of Poetry, with scenes and cartoons kids that play across the pages telling small visual stories.

The first poem in the collection sets the stage—and I have permission from Bobbi herself to share it here.

Put the World in Your Pocket
by Bobbi Katz

Pockets are nifty
for holding a quarter,
for holding a key,
or for holding a shell.
But the world is full of many more things
that don’t fit in pockets so very well:
You can’t put spring in a pocket—
not summer,
not winter,
not fall.
How could you pocket a giggle?
An elephant won’t fit at all!
Yet you can carry a sunset,
people, the sea, or a home
neatly tucked inside a pocket
when they’re tucked inside a poem.

Used with permission, copyright Bobbi Katz 2009
Katz, Bobbi. 2009. More Pocket Poems. Ill. by Deborah Zemke. New York: Dutton, p.1.

Kids will love this musical and memorizable assortment of poems. They’re particularly short and pithy and great for performing, especially with movement or simple props (quarter, key, shell). In the final “Note” at the back of the book Katz hopes that kids will “recognize bits of themselves and their world captured and made manifest by brief poems” and I believe the answer will be an enthusiastic, “YES!”

Image credit:

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2009. All rights reserved.


Linda said...

Bobbi's poems are always so magical. I admire her work so much.
This is a great poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Absolutely! I agree on all counts!
Thanks for stopping by--

Henry Lawson Poems said...

Happy poem in your pocket day! Is it in May?