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Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets

edited by Paul B. Janeczko

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-0881-5
Publisher: Candlewick

For a class, or to work up enthusiasm about writing—and not just poetry—one could hardly do better for young people than this fresh and inviting collection. In a series of letters, usually addressed to the young poets reading the section, contemporary poets write a page or two of inspirational how-to and then add a poem or two of their own. Janeczko has gathered some wonderful contributors, many of whom have made a career not only in writing but in writing for young people: Janet S. Wong, Naomi Shihab Nye, Karla Kuskin, Nikki Grimes, X.J. Kennedy, Joseph Bruchac, Douglas Florian, and many others. Like a favorite poem, their advice has rhythm and repetition: observe; read a lot; listen to words; write and write; revise; say your poetry out loud. The title comes from Kristine O’Connell George’s notion of seeing stories not in the clouds, but in “the blue between.” Andrew Hudgins has a wonderful one-page essay on the benefits of reading poetry in the bathroom. “Poetry names the secrets you didn’t know you were keeping,” says Robert Farnsworth. Teachers and librarians will love this, too—as a classroom tool and as a way of explaining the art of poetry lucidly. (notes on contributors with thumbnail photos, index of first lines, acknowledgements) (Poetry. 10-15)