Poetry Friday is here, and I’m starting off with a quick favor request (ack–that is probably not the proper hostess way to begin!). If you’ve read BookSpeak! Poems About Books, would you be willing to go to its Amazon page and either rate it via stars and/or write a brief review (even just a sentence or two helps)? It’s only got 3 reviews, and more reviews/ratings/Likes help it show up higher in search results. Which means more people would at least see it as a reading possibility. Your honest opinion/feedback is really appreciated. I know life is incredibly busy!
Now, onto the party! I’m excited to share one of the best novels in verse I’ve read in ages: The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic (Candlewick, 2011), by Allan Wolf.
Wow–this is a stunning novel in verse that traces the Titanic voyage through the eyes of 23 people, the ship rat, plus the iceberg that Titanic hit. There are the captain, shipping executives, millionaires, crew members, children, adults, teens, steerage passengers…Many of them have secrets, and we get to see right into their hearts. Some of them surprised me with their callousness, but most surprised me with their bravery and generosity. Even though you start this book knowing the Titanic sinks, you still are caught in its grip because you don’t already know what happens to most of the characters portrayed here. Most of the characters are real people or composites of real people. Excellent end matter lets you know exactly what is fact and what is fiction.
One of my favorite characters is the iceberg. It’s a cold-hearted villain (ha!) and adds so much menace. The first poem in the iceberg’s voice ends:
Since then I’ve traveled southward many weeks,
for now that my emergence is complete,
there is a certain ship I long to meet.
Here’s another portion of an iceberg poem:
Could Fate provide a better place to hide?
(See now how Fate is on the Iceberg’s side?)
Titanic will be, too–if all goes well.
Hear how her engines hum across the swells.
See now her razor bow heave into view,
cleaving the sea’s smooth countenance in two.
I see her, too, but she does not see me.
The lookouts on her mast can’t make me out.
We’ve never been so close, my little fish.
Make haste, now. Hurry. Bring their hearts to me.
And do let’s get acquainted as you wish.
Shhh. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick…
There are so many stunning poems in here. Lots of powerful metaphors, great repetition, all while being very accessible and easy to read. My only very occasional gripe was when a rhyme scheme would suddenly seem to appear midway through a poem, or near the end. That would make me stop and go back to see if I missed earlier end rhymes. Usually the answer was no (these poems are free verse, by and large), and I didn’t care for the effect of mixing rhyming verse and free verse within the same poem. This happened in only a tiny portion of the poems, though. Highly recommended–I couldn’t put this book down!
(Review copy from the library)
Please click on Mr. Linky below to leave your links to your Poetry Friday posts and to see the links to visit all the Poetry Friday posts. And of course, please feel free to also leave a comment on the excerpts I’ve shared here from The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic.
Click on Mr. Linky above for the links, but I’ll also be rounding up/categorizing here as I read everyone’s posts throughout the day.
Original Poems (Yay!)
#1 – Vikram Madan is in with a wonderful “villain-elle,” a villanelle from the bad guy’s point of view. And check out his art, too!
#3 – Violet Nesdoly is in with the comforting “Broken Things,” though the art does creep me out a little! Also, Violet has a poem up today on YourDailyPoem.com. Congratulations, Violet!
#4 – Ed DeCaria (of the famous bracketed Poetry Madness event) has a funny shape poem up. C’mon, you KNOW you held your breath through tunnels while chewing gum and being tickled–right?
#8 – Oh, my! Wait until you hear what happens at the “Dragon’s Picnic,” by Renee LaTulippe! Very funny poem, and the cutest dragon art ever.
#9 – Charles Ghigna shares some autumn/Halloween books. Follow the Halloween Night link to see that book on Amazon. Click to look inside and check out “Secret List.” It’s the list every kid mentally makes before Halloween!
#11 – Tabatha is experimenting with Tolkien’s Black Speech, the language he created for Lord Sauron. The result is a really thoughtful poem!
#16 – Heidi shared so much of herself in “Tying the Knot.” I am not usually a fan of longer poems, but I am a fan of this one!
#18 – Betsy gives us part of a Roethke poem and her own related complete poem, full of pond, bird, and mystery.
#19 – Liz Steinglass shares a poem for grown-ups this week–one with the concrete and abstract woven together beautifully.
#21 – Iza Trapani offers up a shocking poem about her exhibitionist vegetables! /
#23 – Irene Latham’s haunting war nonet reminds me a little of the iceberg’s voice in the selections I shared–even though the imagery here is all dry and dusty and rough. Beauteous and scary.
#28 – Joyce Ray’s Mr. Linky link isn’t working for me, so just in case that’s true for you, at Musings, Joyce is sharing a lovely poem honoring St. Hildegard. I love when history inspires poems, and when poetry helps me learn/feel something new.
#32 – Cathy shares a desert-y poem inspired by a very cool piece of sculpture.
#34 – Joanna shares the V, W, and X (yes, X) poems from her A-Z Endangered Species Haiku series. A very cool project!
#36 – Joy Acey is in with a fun clarinet poem, which she says she researched and then didn’t really need any of her research in the poem itself. I think that’s often the very best way to use research. Just background, mood-maker.
#37 – Matt Forrest Esenwine gives us an untitled sonnet about fall, with the beautiful line: Now sullen limbs hang low, with fingers crack’d. Ooh, how could you stop reading there?
#47 – Elaine Magliaro is back! She’s in with a mask poem about one of my favorite autumn things. Hint: Honk!
#41 – Beth answers the question, “Why write?” And this answer should be hung on every classroom wall.
#42 – Lorie Ann Grover is in with a slightly menacing haiku!
#49 – Jeanne Poland shares a fruit fly poem. Yes, fruit fly. I LOVE seeing the wide variety of poems we’re all sharing. That makes Poetry Friday so much fun!
Great Poems by Other Folks
#2 – Robyn Hood Black is in with a gorgeous excerpt from St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun.
#6 – Diane Mayr shares a Robert Penn Warren poem that combines geese and Story. What could be better? (Geese honking overhead is one of my favorite autumn noises.)
#25 – Fats Suela shares an amazing Neil Gaiman poem that he wrote for someone who wanted a poem tattooed on his back! The tattoo? Eh. But the poem? Wow.
#10 – Diane Mayr, at yet another blog:>), shares Carl Sandburg’s “Fog,” plus a video.
#11 – Linda Baie introduces a new-to-me poet, Ben Mirov, and shares the non-traditional ”Black Glass Soliloquy.” It’s unusual, and I hope you’ll share your reaction to it. I’m curious:>)
#14 – Laura Shovan shares stuff I didn’t know about poet Tony Medina, plus a great poem about Harlem.
#15 – Carol plus Douglas Florian plus pirates–Ahoy, mateys–Get yer scurvy-ridden bones over there!
#24 – Jama is also sharing Douglas’ new book! The first two lines of the first poem she shared made me snort my Diet Coke!
#33 – And Douglas Florian himself has a poem up by Mary Mapes Dodge. I love a poet with a wry sense of humor–so Dodge and Floridan both have me won over!
#17 – Mary Lee shares a beautiful Wordsworth poem, but her post itself is even MORE beautiful than the poem.
#22 – Katya has a wonderful Eve Merrium poem up. I feel calmer just for having read this 15-second beauty.
#30 – Karen Edmisten shares a Carl Dennis poem about…well, about a daughter, but so much more. I rarely click through and read long poems, because I like short ones. But this one is worth every line. This ode to imagination and generosity of spirit just made my day!
#31 – Andromeda shares a new picture book collection that all the little builders in your life will love.
#38 – Tara has an Elizabeth Carlson poem that is funny and accepting and is just what I needed to read.
#40 – Julie Larios gives us a James Arthur poem about winter and night and a stranded moon…And Julie helps us read that poem a little more closely and learn from it.
#48 – Janet Squires has J. Patrick Lewis’ Please Bury Me in the Library for us today!
#46 – Catherine Johnson is in with a funny Thanksgiving poem, just in time for Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday. I can especially relate to the last two lines!
#43 – Readertotz shares a beautifully-sung rendition of Goodnight Moon.
How-To and Process Posts
#2 – Make sure to check out the link to Robyn Hood Black’s column on writing and submitting haiku for publication (this link isn’t in Mr. Linky). You’ll find the link to that column at the end of her Poetry Friday post. I’ll be going back to read that one once I’m caught up here!
#5 – Wow. Check out Diane Mayr’s fascinating post about the Spark challenge and the very cool interaction between her and PF regular Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, leading to this lovely art/poetry piece that Diane shares.
#7 – And look at this William Faulkner quotation that Diane shares, which perfectly defines the job and special talent of a poem:>)
#20 – Maria shares the most wonderful story about what happened when she had to skip Poetry Friday in her classroom. Don’t miss it!
#26 – Sylvia offers up a fabuloso list of autumn and Halloween poetry books. Educators, don’t miss this list!
#26 – Sylvia and Janet (that’s Vardell and Wong), the masterminds of the Poetry Friday Anthology, share the beginning of a terrific Michael Rosen poem, plus easy Common Core-related activities to go along with it. (This book is a treasure for teachers/librarians!)
#29 – Amy at the Poem Farm is sharing an original poem, and I love it! But I think the real treasure in her posts is always for teachers/students, as she shares basically a whole intimate poetry lesson with every poem. Amy-azing!
#39 – Go fill out Ed’s pop quiz–and don’t lie!
#45 – Jill Esbaum has a great post on using rhythm in rhyming picture books. Aspiring picture book writers, this one’s for you:>)
And don’t forget to rate BookSpeak, if you’re willing. Thank you, and Happy Poetry Friday!