Friday, April 24, 2009

J. Patrick Lewis - The Poet of the World

The Poet of the World
J. Patrick Lewis

"How ho-ho-hum has the planet become!"
      Cried the Poet of the World.
"I must sonnet the wind, sestina the sea."
      Then he dipped his pen and he swirled

Out a poem where braves become braver, and knaves
      Wander under a vinegar sky,
And a Duchess receives purely innocent thieves
      Who are normally camera-shy.

"The heroes are villains, the geniuses mad!"
      So he spun them a roundelay.
"All the people who live in the Ivory Land
      Would be happier villanelle gray."

Then he thought, "I must metaphor girls in gold
      And simile boys in blue."
He looked up from his Book, and he said, "I forgot,
      Which character are you?"

©2009 J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
From A Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year – Little, Brown, Ethan Long, illustrator

J. Patrick Lewis, I humbly submit, would do a fantastic job as poet of the world. He's got a mastery of words, possesses an incredible ability to write poems about most any topic (like an underwear salesman!!!!), taught economics yet made the choice to switch to writing children's poetry thus is possessed with both knowledge and judgment that I trust, and he's an incredibly supportive and encouraging fellow, to boot.

It truly is astonishing to pick up a pile of J. Patrick Lewis's books and see the depth and breadth of forms he plays with and topics he tackles so successfully. He's also well published for adults in a variety of journals (in fact, I realize now that the first J. Patrick Lewis poetry I read was probably in Light Quarterly not in a children's book). Pat was the first person to send poems to me for 30 Poets/30 Days. I kept stalling in picking one because he kept sending more, and I was having the time of my life getting to read them before anyone else! The truth is they were all fantastic, and it's a treat and a pleasure to be able to have any one of them here at GottaBook.

Hey, hey, hey! It's Poetry Friday once again -- the last one this National Poetry Month, in fact. This week, you can find the roundup of posts over at Lisa Chellman's blog. Go on over and check it out!

Yesterday gave us Nikki Giovanni's My Sister and Me. Tomorrow... No Strings Attached by Julie Larios!


Mary Lee said...

Hard to believe there are less than 10 days worth of new poems left! Reading your blog has been like turning the pages of a new anthology. Thank you (a bit early) for an amazing Poetry Month!

Elena D. said...

Love this! Metaphor girls in gold and simile boys in blue is just fantastic!

I love J. Patrick Lewis's riddle poems, by the way. The kids in my classes always love them, too!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I've been a big fan of Pat Lewis's poetry for children ever since I first read his book A HIPPOPOTAMUSN'T. He is so talented and so prolific.

I love the light verse he writes for adults. He is a true master of the genre. Pat was so generous as to grant me permission to post some of his adult poems over at Political Verses.

Thanks for giving us all this great poetry during April, Gregory!

jama said...

What a treat: sonnet the wind, sestina the sea . . .

BTW, I think you've done that all month long with 30 Poets/30 Days. Thanks so much!

Julie said...

Pat, if you're reading this, thank you, thank you. Your work always delights me.

And Gregory, thank you ten times over - what a pleasure 30 Days/30 Poets has been so far - and I'm looking forward to the last week's worth!