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A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2005


    If you give a child but one book this year let it be 'A Kick In The Head,' an eye-popping introduction to poetic forms. Now, don't be put off by the term 'poetic forms,' the examples win both young readers and adults. Who can resist Ogden Nash's 'In the world of mules, there are no rules.'? (A couplet, of course). Poet and teacher Paul B. Janeczko has included 29 poetic forms from haiku to a sonnet to an elegy. All are so thoughtfully chosen that one cannot suppress a smile or a catch in the throat. Among the authors represented are Shakespeare, Robert Service, Gary Soto, Georgia Heard, Richard Wilbur, the author himself, and, of course, everyone's favorite - anonymous. Among these pleasurable pages readers may learn why there are 17 syllables in a haiku, and 14 lines in a sonnet. Closing pages hold further notes on the various forms. An excellent suggestion from the author is to first read the poem, then read the explanatory note at the bottom of the page, next read the poem again to see if you can detect how it follows the stated form. Fairly bursting from the pages are Chris Raschka's watercolor, ink, and torn paper illustrations. Collage-like in appearance they capture the eye and couple perfectly with each poem. 'A Kick In the Head' is that rarity - a book to be enjoyed by both adults and children, and a joy to return to again and again. - Gail Cooke

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