Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran is a poet I don’t know a lot about. I often hear lines of his quoted, and they’re gorgeous. But then I go to read a full poem, and I’m not as entranced. I like short poems, and I dislike prose poems. So…I guess his work is not destined to be a favorite of mine. However, he created such beautiful metaphors that it’s hard for me not to fall in love with at least bits and pieces of his writing.
Recently, I read Hope Is an Arrow, a stunning picture book biography of Gibran. It’s written by Cory McCarthy and gorgeously illustrated by Ekua Holmes (coming out next week from Candlewick Press). This is such a beautiful book, and it’s given me a deeper appreciation for Gibran and his writing. McCarthy does a masterful job of using Gibran’s own words to shape/inform this poetic book, which opens, “There once was a boy shot from a bow like an arrow.” Who could stop reading after that? McCarthy adds their own vivid metaphors, too, not depending solely on Gibran’s words. It was fascinating to learn about Gibran’s life and the huge obstacles he faced as an immigrant in the U.S. I also loved learning about how both Lebanon and the U.S. shaped his life and his work. Source notes helped deepen my appreciation of the book and my knowledge of Gibran’s life. They help me value him and his writing, even while acknowledging that his writing often doesn’t fit my personal taste. I think there’s so much value in that! [Edited to add: And the teaching guide was created by our own awesome Mary Lee Hahn!]
Here’s the lovely opening to Gibran’s Song of the Rain VII:
I am dotted silver threads dropped from heaven
By the gods. Nature then takes me, to adorn
Her fields and valleys.
I am beautiful pearls, plucked from the
Crown of Ishtar by the daughter of Dawn
To embellish the gardens.
And for lots more poetry goodness, check out the Poetry Friday Roundup with Janice Sully, who’s sharing an astronomy poem this week!