poetry friday…a meal of the stars

nest from etc usf edu clipartToday’s poem is from A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down, by Dana Jensen, illustrated by Tricia Tusa.

If you read the title of the book carefully, you will get a clue to help you read this untitled poem:

again

hatch

to

songs

and

birds

and

eggs

and

spring

for

wait

can’t

boughs

tree

highest

the

in

nest

the

long

winter

all

Did you get it?!

a meal of the stars cover imageThis tall, thin book of poetry holds fifteen poems, all written in this format — one word lines, no capitalization, nearly no punctuation, no titles — some of which are to be read top-to-bottom as usual, while others, like this one, are read bottom’s-up! Such fun! Very few words mean beginning readers could tackle these and experience the joy of reading higgledy-piggledy! What a treat, when everything normally marches in such an orderly, left-to-right fashion.

Heights are the common denominator in the poems’ ideas, from ferris wheels to kites to stars,  each entry comprised of just one wisp of a thought. As we lean our heads back and gaze up  in our imaginations, so the poem climbs in a slender line up the page. Delightful! The poems, their riddlish form, and the artwork, give this book a frolicsome,a meal of the stars poem by dana jensen illustration by tricia tusa happy air.

Tricia Tusa’s watercolor and ink illustrations have a lilting, summer breeze, lemon pudding,  feel.  Her perspectives capturing the sort of aerial, highrise content of the poems do a lovely job of reinforcing that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-y feeling of the whole package.

Just the ticket as we shake off the cocooning of winter and welcome spring with outstretched arms (well…we’re getting closer, anyhow, up here in the North!).. After reading these, I bet your kids would enjoy writing their own upside-downside poems as well.

Always love to plug a Minnesota author! Dana is from Minneapolis, and this is his first book.

For a truly inspiring feast of poetry and marvelous ideas for exploring poetry with children, check out the Poetry Friday round-up, which is being hosted this week by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

And here’s the Amazon link for Dana and Tricia’s topsy-turvy book!  A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down