Poetry (Part Two)
(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)
Oh goody. Now my character limit is back. It just doesn’t get any better.
Moving on . . .
Finally there was Charles R. Smith Jr. who was a bit of a problem for some of my compatriots. I don’t mind distractingly good-looking poets, but there were certainly those in the audience that found the man’s pretty face took their mind off hearing him tell poems like, "I am a Poet". As one librarian told me as we left that day, "I am so mad at you for not doing the Hot Men of Children’s Literature anymore!" Sorry, dudes. As it stood, Mr. Smith was the only poet of the three who I knew I’d reviewed a book of in the past. It was a long long time ago, granted, but if you look at Hoop Queens on Amazon you’ll see my decaying 2004 review of the book still sitting there all by its lonesome. You may know him better for his much lauded Twelve Rounds of Glory which got a Coretta Scott King Honor Award in 2008. Mr. Smith was particularly comfortable talking in front of a group about engaging kids in poetry. It was clear that he’d done a lot of school groups and wasn’t afraid to discuss it. Not a fan of teachers dissecting poems, his general attitude towards the question, "What does the author mean in this poem?" was "If you want to know what the poet meant, e-mail us." A take. I did like that he spoke about how some publishers try to avoid putting the words "poems" or "poetry" on the covers of his books. "Saying ‘poetry’ is like saying ‘pornography’," he said. Memorable. He has a title out with Little, Brown this year called The Mighty 12, which is poetry + the Marvel style of comic book drawing involving the Greek gods.
And when these crazy kids started riffing off of one another, dropping in notes or offering tips, it felt like a kind of performance. So just in case you’ve ever desired a poetry panel of three children’s poets, might I suggest this particular trio. Everyone agreed that they rocked the party, and then some.
About this time, Mr. Smith thinks to himself, "Why on earth is this crazy librarian taking pictures?"
Wild Rose Reader has the Poetry Friday round-up for the day.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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