I am always delighted when I encounter poets who are finding new ways to explore their craft. Bob Raczka is just such a person, and in today's poetry title you will see how he is able to create a poem using the letters that are found in just one word. Really. He does, and he does it so well too!
Illustrated by Nancy Doniger
For ages 8 to 12
Roaring Brook Press, 2011, 978-1-59643-541-4
Our lives as so full of words that we tend to take them for granted. We read the word “moonlight” and never imagine that the letters in this word can be mixed up in many different words to create not just new words, but also poetry. For this very clever and creative collection of poems, Bob Raczka has selected twenty-two words, and for each one he jumbles up the letters to create a poem. He pulls meaning and images out of each word, telling a story, or creating a picture that is funny or meaningful.
Some of the words, like “snowflakes,” “flowers,” and “spring,” conjure up images that are beautiful, While others, like “chocolate,” “television” and “bicycles,” are more mundane and everyday
In “Moonlight,” the jumbled up words flutter down the page to tell us about a “hot night” where the “thin light” illuminates a “moth in motion.” The images are silvery and soft. By contrast, in “Earthworms,” the words seem to wiggle around, telling us about what happens when worms come out of the ground after a storm. The poem ends abruptly after we are told to “wear shoes.” It is hard not to smile as one reads these words.
Young readers who explore how these unique poems work will be intrigued to see how one word can say so much if one is creative enough. They might even be tempted to try their own poems that are “squeezed from a single word.”