What on earth is a concrete poem? Well, for one thing, it's a lot more playful than a regular poem. The arrangement of letters or words, or the way the type--and even blank space--is placed on the page, or the typefaces chosen... all of these things can contribute to the creation of a concrete poem. In this marvelous collection selected by Paul B. Janeczko (Very Best (Almost) Friends, etc.) and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Chris Raschka (Yo! Yes?, etc.), you never know what might happen from page to page. In John Agard's "Skipping Rope Spell," for example, the words are shaped into four spirals, representing the motions of hands as they turn the jump rope. "A Seeing Poem," by Robert Froman, is printed in the shape of a light bulb. The words of the poem in conventional order go like this: "A seeing poem happens when words take a shape that helps them to turn on a light in someone's mind." And Monica Kulling's "Tennis Anyone?" covers two pages. The poem is split down the middle, so readers must swivel their heads back and forth as if they were watching a match! Raschka's unique, terrifically captivating illustrations, done in watercolor, ink, and torn paper, are a perfect match for the wackiness and joy of the poetry. (Ages 5 and older) --Emilie Coulter
"These aren't poems to read aloud, but to look at and laugh at together, with young children and especially older readers, who will enjoy the surprise of what words look like and what can be done with them." —BOOKLIST (starred review)
Concrete poems startle and delight the eye and mind. The size and arrangement of words and letters can add or alter meaning — forming a poem that takes the shape of crows that fly off the page or becoming a balloon filled with rhyme, drifting away from outstretched hands. Here, in a single extraordinary volume, are thirty poems from some of the world's finest visual poets, including John Hollander, Emmett Williams, Maureen W. Armour, and Douglas Florian. New to the paperback edition, tucked inside the front cover, are tips, guidelines, and inspiration for writing your own concrete poems.
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