Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Kwame Alexander, with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, illus. by Ekua Holmes. Candlewick, $16.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8094-7
Wisdom from Lucille Clifton (“Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing”) inspires the title for this collection from Newbery Medalist Alexander (The Crossover) and collaborators Colderley and Wentworth. Together, they supply poems honoring—and in the style of—20 poets, including Rumi, Langston Hughes, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The results range from simple description (“a trendsetter, and a rule breaker,” writes Colderley about William Carlos Williams) to Alexander’s fresh and startling love song à la E.E. Cummings (“It is such a happy thing to yes the next with you/ to walk on magic love rugs beneath the what”). Caldecott Honor–winner Holmes’s (Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer) textured-paper collages use bold, angular forms and sunlit colors to spotlight poets and their subject matter, such as the dancers in a poem inspired by Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek, their outstretched fingers echoed in the rays of the sun above. The exercise of celebrating poets in their own voices leads naturally to the idea of the classroom writing prompt—which Colderley, writing haiku in the style of Basho, seems to anticipate: “Pens scratching paper/ Syllables counted with care/ Poets blossoming.” Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2016
Release date: 03/14/2017
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