Friday, April 16, 2010

Bobbi Katz - Lesson

Lesson (working title)
Bobbi Katz

On this daffodilicious day
I am judging a community poetry contest
               in a distant city
swimming on waves of words.
A tsunami of images and emotions
     is carrying me
so deep
        into other lives: Lives of children
who hear things no child should hear.
Lives of adults aching for lost loved ones.
Wounded veterans invisible to passers-by.
Kids fearing death before college.
Teens fenced-in by peer pressure…
or parents living through them…
I do not know their names or faces.
Poems have introduced me to their hearts.

And how to choose just three “winners”
  for each category
  and just three “honorable mentions”?
Each poet is a winner. Each is honorable.
I winnow the piles
         until I too
Sadness swells over my head
sweeping me off my feet.
I know I must take a break.

I walk outside.
Earth sings green and yellow spring songs.
I stretch my arms out and look up.
A young child's poem appears.
Each letter written in a different color:
The sky is in
the sky is in
the sky is in
   the sky.

Imagine a sunshined heart of many colors
Blossoming beneath the poem,
completing it.

 Yes! I'll remember this fine lesson:
   this fine poem
written by a child in a distant city.

© 2010 Bobbi Katz. All rights reserved.

Bobbi Katz can write about anything and make it lyrical and poetic, or at least that's how it seems to me. Whether it's monsters in her wickedly fun collection The Monsterologist (illustrated by Adam McCauley), the desire for a dog in her newest book, Nothing But a Dog, science, grammar, poetry or... well... anything, I tell ya, she creates dazzling images and wonderful phrases on a regular basis.

I admit I'm a sucker for poetry about different aspects of poetry, so her work-in-progress Lesson is a lot of fun for me. I love the emotions it captures, the perspective it offers. Plus, I like to read it alongside this piece Bobbi wrote for David L. Harrison's blog. (And for even more insight but on a broader scale, check out last year's Poetry Makers profile of her over at the Miss Rumphius Effect). Yes, I'm glad she wrote about poetry, but I'd've been happy no matter the topic... just one of the reasons I'm thrilled to have Bobbi Katz here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

It's Friday, and that means it's Poetry Friday here in the Kidlitosphere. This week, the roundup of posts is being held at the always fabulous Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Go on over and check it out for a whole lot of poetry fun. 

Yesterday, Eileen Spinelli gave us Praying Mantis. Tomorrow... James Carter with Clouds Like Us! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


laurasalas said...

Oh. This is just heartbreakingly and heartmendingly beautiful, all in one. Yay, Bobbi! Thanks, Greg, for bringing us this.

tanita✿davis said...

Daffodilicious day!
Wow, the imagery in this poem - beautiful stuff.

Jane Heitman Healy said...

This poem is a tribute to the ways poetry touches the heights and depths of our emotions, connecting us to people we'll never meet, but have compassion for. Thanks, Bobbi!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Wow. Inside the heart of a poetry contest judge. That was beautiful. Those images will flit behind my eyelids all day long now. Happy thought.

Lisa said...

That is beautiful.

Linda said...

Bobbi is amazing! She has a new picture book, NOTHING BUT a Dog. I can't wait until my copy arrives! There will be a book launch on April 17. Check out her website for details

Laura said...

Thanks, Greg, for all of your work gathering up these poems for us. I really enjoy receiving a poem each day from you via e-mail.

Laura Evans
all things poetry

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Judging poetry on a daffodilicious day? I couldn't imagine that... until I read how Bobbi did. Thanks!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

The sky is in
the sky is in
the sky is in
the sky.

I believe this might be what some of us find in writing for and with children: a break from all the sweeping sadness, even when our poems themselves grow out of it.