November 02, 2007

Poetry Friday: Savoring and listening

The library is one of our family's favorite places, a home away from home. And Valerie Worth's little nugget is just the right size for our busy week, which was full of Halloween festivities including another party and trick or treating, a home school facilitator meeting yesterday, and, yes, our weekly trip to the library to pick up the latest goodies.


by Valerie Worth (1933-1994)

No need even
To take out
A book: only
Go inside
And savor
The heady
Dry breath of
Ink and paper,
Or stand and
Listen to the
Silent twitter
Of a billion
Tiny busy
Black words.

From One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children, compiled by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark; originally appearing in Small Poems Again by Valerie Worth. The New York Times wrote in its 1994 obituary of Miss Worth,
Mrs. Bahlke, who wrote under her maiden name, Valerie Worth, had many interests, from astronomy to gardening to meditation, which became the subject matter she wove into her poetry. She sought to present ordinary things in a fresh way.

She was most widely known for her "small poems" for children, composed in simple free verse. The poet and teacher Myra Cohn Livingston wrote of Ms. Worth's work in The New York Times Book Review in 1988, "The treasures Ms. Worth offers do not lie in some distant, golden land but in the everyday world."

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Valerie Worth's posthumous Animal Poems has already been nominated in the poetry category of this year's Cybils (and reviewed here by two-time poetry panelist Elaine Magliaro), and just this morning I nominated the new picture book edition of the late Myra Cohn Livingston's Calendar, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand.

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Today's Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Literacy Teacher at Mentor Texts, Read Alouds & More. Thanks, LT!

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