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Voices: Poetry and Art from Around the World

Voices: Poetry and Art from Around the World

by Barbara Brenner

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In photographs, poetry, and paintings we travel to villages and cities on all seven continents. Each continent is introduced with a full color photograph of something unique to that region--the Grand Canyon in North America, Machu Picchu in South America, the Cambodian temple, Angkor Wat, in Asia. We hear and see both poignant and even silly voices as artwork and poetry complement each other on every page. The Spanish poet Garcia Lorca writes that "the guitar makes dreams cry," next to a reproduction of Picasso's Three Musicians. An American boy writes of rolling down the street "one complete somersault after another like a bagel." There are Chinese nursery rhymes, Japanese haiku, Irish folksongs and African chants. This elegant compilation fits neatly into the "voices" theme that frequently shows up as a unit in literature curricula, especially at the secondary level. The selections offer rich possibilities for discussion or essays and could be read aloud or independently, in class or as a family. 2000, National Geographic Society,
Building on the concept that art and literature cross boundaries of culture, country, and time, Brenner selects remarkable poetry and art from the world over to include in this anthology. The result is a striking and accessible collection of image and verse in a picture book format that will appeal to readers of all ages. Arranged by continent, the poetry (some translated) ranges from ancient to traditional to contemporary and is accompanied by full-color reproductions of art from each land. The representative art includes needlework, paintings, carvings, photographs, sculpture, and more. For instance, a traditional poem from South America is accompanied by a reproduction of the oil painting The Presidential Family by Fernando Botero. Another selection features Australian poetry alongside an aboriginal sculpture of a turtle. Short details about selected artists, cultures, translators, or poets are integrated on most pages, adding to the breadth of knowledge to be gleaned from each entry. Brenner succeeds well in pulling together a balanced collection of evocative poetry and extraordinary art that will prove useful to cross-cultural studies or for pure enjoyment. Extensive poetry and illustration credits are included as well as an index for artists and poets. Index. Illus. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, National Geographic Society, 96p,
— Bette Ammon
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-A remarkably visual collection of world poetry, reminding readers of their humanity, their oneness as people, and their delight in the unexpected beauty of nature. Breathtaking photographs introduce six sections based on the continents; within each one is an array of poems featuring a diversity of topics, styles, age appeal, and traditions. Brenner has masterfully selected poems that come from the past-including the Bible, Aboriginal songs, Aesop, nursery rhymes, haiku, and chants-as well as the work of present-day writers and poets such as Jean Little (Canada), Sheenagh Pugh (Wales), and Rutger Kopland (Netherlands). Each double-page spread is magnificently enhanced by dramatic visual images from ancient sculptures and carvings to modern ceramics and embroideries. Readers will initially appreciate this anthology for the photographs, and later for the power and beauty of the words. An enriching experience.-Ronald Jobe, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Our garden / doesn't spread out very far, it's a little affair / in which we won't lose each other. / For you and me it's enough." Though hung on a geographical framework, with a section for each inhabited continent, this generous array of short poems, gathered from dozens of countries, covers a universe of topics, as do the accompanying folk- and fine-art illustrations. The selections are mostly free verse, mostly less than a century old, and although the work of many translators, form a harmonious chorus, whether the poet is singing to the sun-as-warrior ("The fearful night sinks / trembling into the depth / before your lightning eye . . .") or chasing a wind-blown bagel down the street, mourning a lost child, or joyfully exclaiming,"my stomach / shouts with hunger / when I smell / the delicious / tortillas." The art, too, forms a seamless tapestry, despite diverse visions and styles, so that a lush Diego Rivera scene shares a spread nicely with a riotously colored Aztec bas-relief, a piece of kente cloth with an ancient bust of Nefertiti. The poetry is all reprinted, and there is seldom information about poets or artists beyond country of origin and dates, but this handsome, readable collection outdoes even Kenneth Koch's and Kate Farrell's Talking to the Sun (1985) in demonstrating the unity beneath the diversity of human artistic vision. (credits, index) (Poetry/art. 8+)

Product Details

National Geographic Society
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.48(w) x 11.16(h) x 0.50(d)
NP (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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