Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry Friday with a review of Book of Nature Poetry

For me going out into nature is a healing, calming thing to do. When everything else seems to be spinning out of control I go up into the hills above my town and spend time amongst the tall trees, the manzanita shrubs, the little wild flowers, the ravens, and the stellar jays. I feel very lucky that I am able to do this, and am quite content to trade the joys of city living for the wilderness.
   Today's poetry title celebrates nature through poems and beautiful photographs. It is a book for anyone who has looked at a sunset, watched a wild bird. or admired a robust little flower growing up through a crack in the sidewalk.

 Book of Nature PoetryBook of Nature Poetry 
Edited by J. Patrick Lewis
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
National Geographic, 2015, 978-1-4263-2094-1
Henry David Thoreau, who famously spent many months in a tiny little building next to a place called Walden Pond, felt that “I have a room all to myself; it is nature.” He knew that the pond and woods just outside his door were places that would give him inspiration and sooth his soul. Amongst the trees and flowers, and in the company of the woodland animals, he found the words that he so needed to share with others.
   Unfortunately, many of us don’t take the time to connect with nature. If we are city dwellers we believe that nature is out of our reach and we don’t even try to seek it out. We are disconnected from the natural world, which is a terrible shame for many reasons.
   More and more we humans are learning that being in nature is healing, and being able to spend time in nature is essential for our emotional, and therefore our general, wellbeing.
   In this incredible book, poems written by poets from around the world are paired with gorgeous pictures of nature in all its glory. Readers are given an armchair journey to far off places, and to places that could be just outside their window. We travel to a beach in California, and a wood in Ireland, we see an African elephant in Mozambique, and a tiger in Bengal. We travel up into the sky, deep under the sea, across open lands, and through forests. We watch the seasons unfold in places all over the world. We also see what Mother Nature can look like when she is riled up. Avalanches, volcanic eruptions, great storms, earthquakes, giant waves, fires and floods are also a part of nature’s story.
   For this collection J. Patrick Lewis, the former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, has brought together over 200 poems written in a variety of forms. Some of the poets’ names will be familiar, while others will be new to readers. Some of the poems will be old friends, while others will become new ones.
   This is the kind of book that a young person can grow up with and cherish. It is a book that adults will also enjoy, and even people who are not naturally drawn to poetry will find the combination of photos and words to be captivating.

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