It’s Poetry Friday. Molly at “Nix the Comfort Zone” is hosting today. She shares photos of Maine and a gorgeous bouquet of haiku in celebration of the nature of summer.
Here are the poetry books I read this week:
August 11, 2023 – The Land of Counterpane by Robert Louis Stevenson
August 12, 2023 – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and Dinosaur Dance! and dozens more board books of poetry and prose that my baby grandson sat and listened to. Or sometimes crawled around while I finished.
August 13, 2023 – What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer – This is a wonderful anthology in three parts (dating, marriage, and children). Kate is beautiful and brutal in her honesty. It was a gift of poetry from my daughter. Follow Kate at @KateJBaer (If you haven’t heard of her, you won’t be disappointed.)
I found these A. A. Milne books at a library sale, and realized I hadn’t read them for decades, so they were two of my books this week.
August 14, 2023 – When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
August 15, 2023 – Now We are Six by A.A. Milne
August 16, 2023 – E. E. Cummings Selected Poems edited by Richard S. Kennedy.
August 17, 2023 – Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Oh, my. I missed this beauty when it was published in 2010. It’s really a long found poem, created from the author’s favorite book of all time: A short story collection called The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. The Author’s Afterword is fascinating and heartbreaking, and I cannot do it justice in summary here. Suffice it to say, the story of this book includes the Holocaust, the Wailing Wall, along with Schulz’s senseless killing and most of his creative work being lost during the war. In the Afterword, Foer writes: “At times I felt that I was making a gravestone rubbing of The Streets of Crocodiles, and at times I was transcribing a dream that The Streets of Crocodiles might have had.”
Here are two pages transcribed, which I think show the typical poetic gems in this book:
The earth was covered
with a tablecloth of winter
The hours of darkness
hardened with boredom
One cut them with blunt knives
August has passed,
and yet summer continues
by force to grow days.
They sprout secretly
between the chapters
of the year,
between its pages.
For one who can’t imagine how the book was designed, like me, Tree of Codes is a feat of paper engineering magic.
August’s Ethical ELA Open Write begins this weekend. I will be hosting on Saturday, so I hope you’ll come and check out the prompt and join us with a draft of your own to share.