cover image Inner Chimes: Poems on Poetry

Inner Chimes: Poems on Poetry

. Boyds Mills Press, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56397-040-5

The linen-like endpapers and intricate, gold-on-black cover design of this elegant volume of 20 poems about writing poetry announce a somewhat advanced book, but inside readers will find accessible verses that investigate the creation, joy, frustration and delight to be found in the poet's craft. Zalben's illustrations, like cameo miniatures, are intricate and tightly designed ornaments that evoke the poem's likeness without overwhelming its imagery. For example, Gerda Mayer's suggestion that the poet carries a poem ``carefully, / nervously, / in his head / like a saucer of milk'' is illustrated with a blue willow cup. Not all of the verses achieve the grace and thoughtfulness of the initial poems (by Eve Merriam and Karla Kuskin), but the wide-ranging selection should appeal to readers of varying ages. Poet Naoshi Koriyama compares a poem to a water-lily bud, which, like the book itself, will allow readers to see a poem ``gradually unfolding / Revealing its rich inner self / As one reads it / Again / And over again.'' Ages 3-12. (Oct.)