Friday, April 19, 2013

Blast from the Poetry Past: 1979

In 1979, Karla Kuskin was the third poet to receive the National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children (and she also designed the medallion for this award).

Karla Kuskin’s pictures and poetry are brimming over with the experiences of children growing up in a big city. For a wonderful compilation of poems from several previous works, look for Moon, Have You Met My Mother? The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin (HarperCollins 2003). Kuskin also shared insights into her work in her autobiographical picture book, Thoughts, Pictures, and Words (Richard C. Owen 1995).

One of my favorite poems by Karla Kuskin is “I Woke Up This Morning” and I love to share it with kids beginning the reading with a soft voice, then gradually getting louder and louder as the poem builds momentum (and the fonts increase in size in the poem’s text). It’s the perfect follow up to a read aloud of Judith Viorst’s classic picture book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Contemporary Connections

Who wears the “Karla Kuskin” mantle? I nominate Marilyn Singer, Linda Ashman, Rebecca Dotlich, Heidi Bee Roemer, and even David L. Harrison, for the rhythms and subjects of their poetry and for their talents for genre diversity, too. A sampling:

Ashman, Linda. 2008. Stella, Unleashed. New York: Sterling.
Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. 2003. In the Spin of Things: Poetry of Motion. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
Harrison, David. 2009. Vacation, We’re Going to the Ocean! Ill. by Rob Shepperson. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Roemer, Heidi. 2004. Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems. New York: Henry Holt.
Singer, Marilyn, 2012. Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems. New York: Dial.

Whose poetry do you think is Kuskin-esque?

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

Image credits:;rcowen;HarperCollins


Irene Latham said...

Oh, I think you are right on it with Rebecca Kai Dotlich and David L. Harrison! YOu've just given me new titles to check out. Thank you, Sylvia. xo

Linda at teacherdance said...

I turn to Karla Kuskin time and again for poems to share & my favorite poem of hers is "Thoughts That Were Put Into Words", a goodbye poem I've used at the end of the school year with students. She's new, but Amy Ludwig Vanderwater comes close to Kuskin's poems in her small comments of things of life. I love all the others you named too. Thanks for these Sylvia. I've been gone, & will go back to read what other treasures you shared.

Charles Waters said...

Sylvia I couldn't agree more with the names you wrote down. I'm a BIG fan of all of them. We bank off the winds Kuskin set up for us.