Leap into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry

Overview

Poet Avis Harley continues her winning combination of poetic forms and bright illustrations in a handsome new collection. For anyone who delights in playing with words, Leap Into Poetry celebrates the world of tiny creatures in this clever array of original poetry. Each letter of the alphabet introduces an insect or a spider along with its corresponding poetry form--from ants to zebra butterflies, from alliteration to zéjel. Fledgling poets of all ages will be inspired to try their wings and discover new ...

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Overview

Poet Avis Harley continues her winning combination of poetic forms and bright illustrations in a handsome new collection. For anyone who delights in playing with words, Leap Into Poetry celebrates the world of tiny creatures in this clever array of original poetry. Each letter of the alphabet introduces an insect or a spider along with its corresponding poetry form--from ants to zebra butterflies, from alliteration to zéjel. Fledgling poets of all ages will be inspired to try their wings and discover new pleasures in language structure. Brief, intriguing facts about each creature are listed in the back.

Avis Harley is the author of Fly With Poetry. She teaches poetry at the University of British Columbia and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Defines and provides examples of various forms and techniques of poetry, such as ballad, epitaph, and palindrome, from Alliteration to Z§ejel.

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Editorial Reviews

Sherie Posesorski

from QUILL & QUIRE: Although adults may have forgotten this, any child who's been captivated by the rhymes, rhythms, riddles, and wordplay of Dennis Lee, Mother Goose, or Dr. Seuss instinctively knows that 'spieltrieb' (as the German critic Baumgarten called the impulse to play) is central to poetry.

In LEAP INTO POETRY, Vancouver poet, illustrator, and teacher Avis Harley adeptly demonstrates and defines the many playful pleasures of poetry. Using an alphabetical format, each of Harley's poems, which feature insects and spiders, embodies a poetic form, technique, or device. The book is a cleverly inventive amalgam of poetic glossary, entertaining poetry, and insect encyclopedia.

The insect poems delineate familiar poetic terms, like alliteration in a poem about ants catching sight of an amber necklace with an ancestor encased in a brooch, and the ballad form in a poem about a bluebottle fly. Most fun is Harley's treatment of uncommon poetic forms like the clerihew (a biographical poem) in a poem about Lambert the crane fly who falls in love with a light bulb. "My love turns on when twilight dims. Watt fun!" Harley makes the gradatio technique (a parallel construction of ideas in ascending order) crystal clear in a poem about a restless grasshopper: "I twitch. I hop. I leap. I fly."

Harley's lively, charming poems dexterously explain what could have been esoteric terms in an easly understandable and vividly concrete fashion. They are accompanied by her whimsical, colourful portrait gallery of eccentric insects.

In her poem illustrating the zejel form, Harley describes the beauty of a zebra butterfly in flight, and wonders "who can capture such a pleasure?" Harley does, and her poems show children all the fun there is in the chase of the right words and ways to make a poem.
the author of ESCAPE PLANS, a children's novel

School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In this companion to Fly with Poetry (Boyds Mills, 2000), Harley presents 26 poems about insects, each demonstrating a poetic form or literary term, in an alphabetical arrangement. "Iamb," "Jargon," "Karanamala," and "List Poem" indicate the variety of ideas she introduces, from broad to specific terms dealing with parts or the whole of a poem. Each term is defined in a single line across the bottom of the page, which won't always be enough to communicate the concept to readers, even with the poem as an example. For instance, the definition of an iamb may be difficult for some youngsters to understand without an illustration of the scansion. In Harley's example, the iambs mostly fall across the words that, taken on their own out of context of the line, are actually trochees-the opposite of iambs. For "Alliteration," the example uses the vowel "a" in an imprecise demonstration of the term, since her letter "a" makes different sounds throughout the poem. Harley finishes with a "Did You Know?" section about the insects, confusing the scope of the book. Too bad-her poems are fun, as are her colorful illustrations, and they may inspire kids to create poetry of their own. However, her explanations of terms are not adequate for young writers working independently. Direct them to more comprehensive sources for help, such as X. J. and Dorothy Kennedy's Knock at a Star (Little, Brown, 2001) or Paul Janeczko's How to Write Poetry (Scholastic, 2001).-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A combination poetry book, instruction manual, and collection of bug facts is the latest companion to Harley's Fly with Poetry (not reviewed). For each letter of the alphabet, a bug poem and an illustration demonstrate a different type of poetic form, which also happens to start with the same letter. From the well-known alliteration and epitaph, to the obscure univocalic verse or the visual rhyme, this covers a wide range of both simple and difficult poetic forms. However, the strict form of many of the types presented here makes them inherently difficult to read. For example, the purseweb spider's palindrome: "Spider spots evil: alive! Stops. Redips / eye. Radar-eye / sees / raw and tangy gnat. DNA war!" At the end, there's a short listing (2-5 lines) of interesting facts about each of the insects. Several of Harley's colored-pencil drawings humorously anthropomorphize the insects to illustrate a poem that will tickle the funny bone. A relative brings flowers to a grave in the epitaph: "Here lies an earwig who didn't hear / the predator that came too near." Others show beautiful natural settings. Poetry buffs and teachers will enjoy the varied types of poetry, kids, the humorous poems, but otherwise this is a more of a stumble than a leap. (Poetry. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563974380
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Avis Harley was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been involved in education for many years, having taught in schools in Canada and England, as well as at the University of British Columbia. She has written and three books of poetry for children, two of which she also illustrated, and all of which have received high praise. The Parent Council Ltd. selected Fly With Poetry: An ABC of Poetry as an Outstanding Book, and Learning magazine honored the book with a Teachers' Choice Award. Her Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry received the ASPCA's Henry Bergh Children's Book Poetry Honor Award and Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems has received glowing critical acclaim from review journals. Ms. Harley lives in Vancouver with her husband.

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