Saturday, April 12, 2008

Linda Sue Park comes to Texas

You may have heard of Linda Sue Park. She picked up a little thing called the Newbery Award for her book, A Single Shard, a historical novel set in twelfth-century Korea. But for the upcoming Texas Library Association Poetry Round Up she dons a different hat, that of poet. But first, a bit of background info. She was born in Illinois, is a Stanford grad, married an Irishman, is the mother of two, worked as a journalist and teacher, and is an avid reader, reviewer and blogger. Her previous works include: the novels: Seesaw Girl, The Kite Fighters, When My Name Was Keoko, Project Mulberry, Archer’s Quest, the unique collaboration Click, and her latest book, a "sports" novel set in 1950’s Brooklyn, Keeping Score. She also has several picture books to her credit including The Firekeeper’s Son, Bee-Bim Bop, and Yum! Yuck!

When it comes to poetry, she has long been a contributor to literary journals and has now published her first work of poetry for young people, Tap Dancing on the Roof; Sijo Poems—a unique collection of traditional Korean poems with surprises in the last line. Her extensive author's note at the end is especially wonderful and offers history, advice and encouragement. Here’s a lovely sampling:

by Linda Sue Park

For someone to read a poem
again, and again, and then,

having lifted it from page
to brain-- the easy part—

cradle it on the longer trek
from brain all the way to heart.

From: Park, Linda Sue. 2007. Tap Dancing on the Roof; Sijo Poems. Clarion.

Isn't that beautiful? It reminds me of other poems about poetry-- a topic I love. Here are two other favorites:

The Poem as a Door
by Eve Merriam

A door
is never
A door
is always

You cannot skip over,
you cannot crawl under;
walk through the wood,
it splits asunder.

If you expect it to be bolted,
it will be.

There is only one opening:
yourself as the key.

With a sigh of happiness
you pass through
to find on the other side
someone with a sigh of happiness
welcoming you.

from Merriam, Eve. 1992. The Singing Green: New and Selected Poems for All Seasons. New York: HarperCollins.


The Bridge
by Kaissar Afif
translated by Mansour Ajami

Poetry is a river
And solitude a bridge.

Through writing
We cross it,
Through reading

We return.

From Nye, Naomi Shihab. comp. 1998. The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems and Paintings From the Middle East. New York: Simon & Schuster.

What are your favorite poems about poetry?

Picture credit:


Anonymous said...

These are wonderful! Thanks for posting them.

Swati said...

'Thus doth she, when from individual states,

She doth abstract the universal kinds,

Which then reclothed in divers names and fates

Steal access thro' our senses to our minds'