Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Teasing young minds and pleasing young ears

Poetry Foundation President John Barr said her works "tease young minds even as they please young ears with rhythm and rhyme."

No, he's not talking about Britney Spears. He's talking about Mary Ann Hoberman, who became the Foundation's new children's poet laureate yesterday at an event in Chicago.

At that same shin-dig, Albert Goldbarth was named the winner of the Mark Twain Poetry Award for humor in verse. I saw Goldbarth read two years ago and I have to say he must have been holding back the funny. I don't remember much about the reading, though I do remember he talked a lot and I thought it would never end. Not that I'm judging him.

I'm not familar with Hoberman's work, but I like the way this lady talks. She told the Chicago Tribune that part of her mission as laureate will be to push poetry to middle schoolers. "Poetry gets cut off. It isn't cool after, say, 2nd or 3rd grade," she said. "But when you recite to the older kids and you get them to recite with you, they love it."

She added, "Poetry is pleasure. I don't like it when a four-line poem of mine is in a teacher's manual, and there are three pages on how to use it across the curriculum and it's analyzed to death. That's not what poetry is for. It's for joy. That's what I hope to convey."

Here's a cool haiku by Hoberman from her Website:

The thick black pythons
Are braided tight together.
How do they untwine?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Were you at the shindig? I must have missed seeing you!