Saturday, April 04, 2009

TLA poet J. Patrick Lewis: The Underwear Salesman

I’ve been trying to get J. Patrick Lewis to Texas and the TLA conference for years and it finally happened! Pat was on our fantastic poetry panel on Thursday and did a terrific job sharing his amazing range of poetry. He was funny, ironic, informative, inviting. He read from several of his FIVE new books, as well as from upcoming collections like the hysterical epitaph poem anthology he’s doing with Jane Yolen.

Today I’d like to feature one of his new 2009 poetry collections, sure to be a kid-pleaser: The Underwear Salesman, the flipside to Tracie Vaughn Zimmer’s book, Steady Hands, that I wrote about yesterday. You gotta love a poetry book with “underwear” in the title and I counted 48 separate profession poems in Pat’s new underwear book (plus an opening and closing poem) that range from showcasing the “Paleontologist” and “Gymnast” to the “Cuckoo-Clock Repairman” and “Bubble Bath Tester.”

The poetic forms are also very varied and skip and hop from the extremely clever and punny to the quietly thoughtful and poignant—all with a natural sweep and swing. The illustrations by Serge Bloch are a fun complement with a mix of loose and jangly cartoons sketches blended with textured and googly-eyed collages. Is there a librarian poem? Of course there is! (And the publishers created a lovely bookmark for the TLA conference featuring this poem—thanks, Michelle!)

by J. Patrick Lewis

No one has more fun than I!

I’ve met Harriet the Spy,

Ferdinand the Bull, and Pooh.

(Eeyore says, “How do you do?”)

Mole and Badger, Toad and Rat

Come to dine and stay to chat.
With the Little Prince in hand,
Alice in her Wonderland,

Call of the Wild
(a pedig-read),

What else could anybody need?

Fables, folktales, nonsense verse

I carry home in my big purse.
Have as much fun by yourself!

Take a book down from the shelf.

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse. Ill. by Serge Bloch. New York: Simon & Schuster/Atheneum.

This is one of several poetry books that Simon & Schuster is publishing this spring and I was privileged to create a downloadable Poetry Guide for these spring titles that is available online here. Scroll down halfway and you’ll find the “Poetry Guide” link. There’s also a terrific downloadable “Celebrate Poetry” brochure with fun poet commentary. I've included several activities to accompany this fun underwear (funderwear?) book. Check it out!

Image credit:


Marinela said...

Well done!

Unknown said...

Hooray for Pat, a phenomenal talent and a kind and generous man.

The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse sounds like a must buy/must read/must laugh!

Lucky you to enjoy Pat's warmth and humor at the TLA conference.

C. Patterson said...

J. Patrick Lewis was so enjoyable at TLA! Thank you for coaxing him to come!

laurasalas said...

This is such a fun book, and Pat seems like a force of nature. I hope to hear his speak/present someday!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Yes, he is a gem. He's hilarious and generous in person, too-- just like his work! :-)