Poetry Friday: Happy New Year and Two Book Reviews

Happy Poetry Friday to all participants in this welcoming and gracious community of poets!

Today, I’ll review the other poetry book I was gifted from Sarah Grace Tuttle and also, one I received in the mail, entitled Feel The Beat by Marilyn Singer. I’m afraid I do not remember which blog or Twitter feed I commented on to win the Singer book, but if it was one of your feeds, I thank you, wholeheartedly! It was truly a nice surprise when it arrived yesterday.

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson (2005) is a lengthy poem written in iambic pentameter. that follows the Petrarchan rhyme scheme. The poet goes on to explain that the poem, about the lynching of a 14-year-old boy in 1955, is written as a heroic crown of sonnets. This style consists of a sequence of fifteen interlinked sonnets in which the last sonnet is made up of the first lines of the fourteen sonnets that came before. As you can imagine, it is a huge undertaking.

Although beautiful, the sonnets are haunting and sad, filled with symbolic imagery created by the poet’s words. As a naturalist and environmental educator, I glommed on to the parts of the sonnets that contained plant life, birds, and other natural organisms and scenes.

Some of the words Nelson chose to use that resonated with me are:

Moonbeams

Dendrochronology

Bough

Bloodroot

Indian pipe

Full Moon

Rosemary

Patchwork and

Bloom.

Bloodroot on a nature trail in my town last spring. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021.
Indian pipe (AKA Ghost Pipe) on our land at the lake. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021.

Nelson has written a beautiful book on a sensitive and sad subject, the death of a boy because of the color of his skin. It is horrendous to even contemplate but she somehow made a story out of it. The book is the recipient of two awards, the Printz Honor and the Coretta Scott King Honor. I am glad I own it. Thank you again, Sarah Grace! I would recommend this book as a mentor text for writing heroic crown sonnets but not for young students due to its horrific subject matter.

Image by Lars Peter Witt from Pixabay 

The book, Feel The Beat by Marilyn Singer (2017) is entirely different than the one described in the above text. It is joyous and celebratory. The book shows what can be accomplished if a single topic is explored…in this case dances! The cadence of the language is not as easy to pick up as one might think in these simple, celebratory poems. The book comes with a CD, read by the author as the poems are set to music. Since I just received this book yesterday, I have not had a chance to listen to the CD but I will. I need some help finding the bounce (or beat) of the words. Marilyn Singer has written more than 100 books for children and a good portion of them are poems. I found a bio of her at Poetryfoundation.org. Check out the three poems on her page there. They are short and fun to read! This book would be fun to have in any elementary classroom, especially since there is a CD with music. Some of the children will recognize the names of the dances (polka, square dance), from their own lives and heritage.

As for me, I have been working on some poetry that I’m not ready to share yet. I wrote another on my perennial visitor, insomnia, that I think might be good enough to submit somewhere for publication. And I’m trying to come up with some poems to share on the New Year Post Card exchange, as well. I’m excited to be participating in that for the second year in a row – Thanks to Jone Rush MacCulloch for organizing it again!

I plan to finish my NaNoWriMo novel during January – I’ve had a long pause in working on it but my goal is to have it finished by the time we go on vacation in February. I think I can do it! I always try to get a lot done creatively in the winter months following the holiday season – creating new jewelry, some sewing, and planning spring gardens are all things I’ll be doing to pass the time.

Image by Sambeet D from Pixabay 

I’ll leave you with a poem about the New Year that I found on Poets.org. It is by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, a Wisconsin-born poet. The Year is in the public domain.

The Year

Ella Wheeler Wilcox – 1850-1919

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

This poem is in the public domain.

Winter Storm. December 2022. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022.

You can find my writing now on both Medium and Vocal. I’d be honored if you checked it out!

Thank you!

https://carollabuzzetta.medium.com/the-importance-of-travelling-abroad-when-you-are-young-3a180f9a3217?sk=13c88cc129004b563ca7a961417b6fb2

https://vocal.media/earth/the-amazing-world-of-fungi

https://vocal.media/geeks/the-top-ten-books-i-read-this-year-2022

Sunset on our lake. November 2022. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022.

Our Poetry Friday Post of the last round-up of 2022, is Patricia at her blog Reverie.

Thank you for hosting Patricia.

Happy New Year!

17 thoughts

  1. Carol, thank you for these book reviews. I am of late intrigued about studying sonnets – have no idea where this has grown from, but I may pursue learning more about how to do it. Though I don’t know that I am ready to read the Emmett Till poem– yet. I have loved so many of Marilyn Singer’s poems. This book will be a fun one to explore. The images you’ve included today are gorgeous. Your lake looks a bit like ours. I hope you will enjoy these winter spaces. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol, you have pieced together a beautiful patchwork of a post–I admire your productivity! Also very happy to find the Ella Wheeler poem here just in time for the close of 2022. Happy new year to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Where I live, the new year is almost six hours old, and it’s looking pretty good so far. Thank you, Carol, for this post, the reviews, and especially the poem and photos. May this year be filled with good things for you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol, thanks for sharing these books. A Wreath for Emmett Till is wrenching. I haven’t read it in many years, but it’s time for a re-read. And I love Marilyn Singer’s work, too. Thanks for reminding me of her dance book. Marilyn and her husband dance through life! I hadn’t read this Wilcox poem before–thank you, and Happy New Year to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy New Year! And, this is a new New Years poem for me. Thank you! I do love, ‘A Wreath for Emmett Till.’ It’s a difficult book but a necessary book. The sonnets do what prose text books cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read the Wilcox poem earlier last week, a gem for us to welcome the new year, Carol. I love all your post, know about each book but still haven’t read them. It is a blessing for Emmett Till that Marilyn wrote about him. And I love your photos, especially that Indian Pipe – awesome & intriguing to see. Happy New Year! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda. I wrote a couple of poems based on my mushroom foraging this year – I know that Indian Pipe is a plant not a fungi and would like to incorporate that into a poem somehow. It is a unique specimen and I felt connected to the book when I saw that it had been included in the sonnets for Emmett Till! I hope you have a wonderful and productive New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

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