J. Patrick Lewis, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate,?has yet another new book out, this one a glorious anthology for National Geographic called Book of Animal Poetry.
Where do I begin? Well, the poems, of course. There are 200 of them, by classic poets, modern poets, names you’ll recognize (including several Poetry Friday regulars,’such as?Kelly Fineman and Julie Larios), and names you’ve never heard of. And Pat himself, editor of this anthology, contributed 7 himself. These poems cover every mood, with awe and humor represented equally well. Here’s one I love:
The buffaloes are gone.
And those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
????? Those who saw the buffaloes by the thousands and how they
????? pawed the prairie sod into dust with their hoofs,
????? their great heads down pawing on in a great pageant
????? of dusk,
Those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
And the buffaloes are gone.
I’m sharing this one partially because tomorrow is 100,000 Poets for Change Day, and wildlife conservation is an issue close to my heart. Although American buffaloes are not protected by the Endangered Species Act, their numbers are greatly diminished. This poem, and the amazing photo that accompanies it, makes me feel the relative loss of this creature I’ve never seen. Exposing people to the terrific variety of amazing animals on our planet can only help us appreciate them more, I hope.
Speaking of photos, this book is full of stunning ones. Would you expect anything less from National Geographic?I also love that there are so many indices, so that you can find poems by poet, animal, first line, poetic form, etc.
Want some more? You can watch Pat Lewis read another gorgeous poem from this book, too!
And there’s a terrific classroom guide for it, but I haven’t been able to find it available online yet. Hopefully by the next time I post about this anthology (I’ll share a funny poem next time, for variety), I’ll be able to post a link to that guide.
If you buy this book–and why wouldn’t you?–be sure to remove the dustjacket and read the wonderful poem right on the book cover!
Marjorie at Paper Tigers?has the Poetry Friday roundup. Go enjoy!