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!
Thanks so much for this sneak peek, Laura! My husband and I actually are fans of Kahlil Gibran, and had selections of his work read at our wedding oh so many years ago. I’ll have to check this picture book out as I really know nothing about his life and haven’t read any of his work in ages.
Bridget Magee says
Thanks for the introduction to Kahlil Gibran and his PB biography HOPE IS AN ARROW, Laura. I’m always keen to learn how to strengthen my metaphors – Gibran’s work/this PB seem like the perfect tools to help with this.
Linda Mitchell says
You’re singing my song, sister. I like short poems best. This book is beautiful…just the cover. I think my middle school library needs it. I’m adding it to a list right now. Thanks for the rec!
Laura, I am such a Gibran fan and my husband also. I have to find my books saved from our “courting” time years ago. This books seems the right fit for me. Thanks so much for sharing.Have a wonderful 4th of July.
I was given a book of Kahlil Gibran’s poetry when I was but a teenager and showing interest in poetry. This new picture book has a beautiful sound. Thanks for sharing.
I lost my comment for some reason! I, too, grew up reading Gibran’s words, an inspiration for a teen just discovering a new kind of poetry. I have this book & agree, it is wonderful. Thanks, Laura!
Looking forward to reading this book, Laura. Thanks for sharing it here.
Marilyn R Garcia says
Wow, what it must feel like to believe you are dotted silver threads dropped from heaven by the gods. I am putting this PB biography on my request list at the library! Thanks.
These opening lines are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing them here. : )
And, as a bonus, I wrote the teachers’ guide for this gorgeous book!
Cool! Just added a link in the post!
Janice scully says
Gibran was big, I believe, in the sixties but I don’t hear him quoted much lately. I agree that there is much to admire in his work. McCarthy’s book looks like a good place to start to get to know him better. I’ll check it out.
Michelle Kogan says
Gorgeous imagery in these passages you’ve shared Laura, and beautiful art, I’m looking forward to spending time with this new book, thanks Laura!