Friday, February 01, 2013

Poetry at ALA Midwinter (Awards)

I’m still working away on gathering my notes and scribbles about the forthcoming poetry for 2013 (which I’ll post soon), but meanwhile I wanted to give a shout-out to the poetry books that got a nod at this week’s announcements of awards at ALA Midwinter.

The good news?
There were several wonderful poetry (and near-poetry) books recognized. The bad news? There were woefully few. (Nonfiction books seemed to be the biggest winners.)

The biggest thrill and surprise was the Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, which I felt was a work of poetry—although many disagree with me. Either way, it’s a tender story beautifully rendered. Spare and thoughtful. With prose written by a gorilla of a writer. You may remember Katherine Applegate’s novel in verse, Home of the Brave—also powerful writing from an authentic (YA) point of view.

Bryan Collier won the Coretta Scott King illustrator award for his art for the classic Langston Hughes poem, “I, Too, Am America.” His graphic collages give the beautiful a fresh and slightly edgy interpretation in the picture book adaptation.

And congratulations to Lesléa Newman for garnering a Stonewall award honor for her heart-breaking novel in verse, October Mourning. That story (about Matthew Shepard’s murder) is so hard, and the poetry from multiple points of view is achingly beautiful—so well crafted.

And that’s it! As far as I saw, these were the only poetry books among the big winners—although the Notables list (released separately) did include several poetry gems. Yay! And I had a good conversation with an ALSC board member about proposing an award for poetry (finally) and he was glad to help move that idea forward. Double yay! He said the task might be “Herculean,” which I know, but we’ll keep hoping that the stars will eventually align to make that happen. That’s my dream: to see an ALA award that showcases poetry for young people every year. And just poetry. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? (I’ll keep you posted, but it will take AWHILE since many good people have been working on this for some time already, myself included!)

Happy February everyone. Watch for the sneak peek list of 2013 poetry coming soon.

And join the Poetry Friday party at Teaching Authors. See you there!

Image credit:

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2013. All rights reserved.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

How wonderful to think of an eventual award for poetry! I'd love to see this, along with a Morris-like award for middle grade.

Andromeda Jazmon Sibley said...

That is a great thing to work toward!! Thanks for highlighting these wonderful books and pushing us forward!

jama said...

Yes, there SHOULD be an award just for poetry! Thanks for working towards making that happen.

Renee LaTulippe said...

I don't understand why it has to be such a Herculean task! What is wrong with people?? We're all glad you're there to help make it happen, though.

Looking forward to your 2013 preview!

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Let's hope they create a poetry'll have been a long time coming!

Bridget Magee said...

An ALA award for poetry is a must - hopefully the powers that be will agree - soon! Looking forward to reading "The One and Only Ivan" - just picked it up from the library (I reserved it BEFORE it won :).

Linda at teacherdance said...

There are so many lovely books that come out each year. I would think that the ALA would love to add an award for poetry. Thanks for promoting this, Sylvia.

Mary Lee said...

I agree that Ivan is poetry!

Doraine Bennett said...

It seems such a simple thing. Makes you wonder why it hasn't been done already.

Anonymous said...

As you well know I've voiced the fact that ALA is the only major organization that does not have an award for poetry. Both IRA and NCTE have major awards. There are many voices who will join you in accomplishing this task; many who
have worked long and hard to bring this to reality.

By now you know there were several ALA Notables for poetry: MAY Rose; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY by Lewis, ed.; STEP GENTLY OUT by Frost; THE YEAR COMES ROUND by Farrar and WATER SINGS BLUE; OCEAN POEMS by Coombs.

I was shocked that Newman's OCTOBER MOURNING did not make the Notable List. It is among one the best books of poetry published in any year. Lee Bennett Hopkins -

Janet Wong said...

As for THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN: I will attest that Sylvia loved this book way back when. She urged me to read it many months ago, which I should've and didn't do--but will! A toast to your good taste and educated powers of prediction, Dr. Vardell!