cover image Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

Bob Raczka. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62672-236-1

Raczka (Lemonade) returns to the subject of concrete poetry with a virtuoso gathering of 21 poems, in which he plays with the layout and form of both the poems and their titles. (Not to be left out, the table of contents is shaped into a T, and the copyright information forms a copyright symbol.) Raczka sets a high bar with the first poem, “Takeoff,” in which the airborne T in the title becomes the Wright brothers’ airplane, with the playful accompanying poem (“Wright on course, headed for heaven./ One two three four five six seven”) a small hill below. Elsewhere, mazes, dominoes, pencil erasers, and the subway (“a citified-just-slide-inside-and-take-a-ride electric mole”) provide ample fodder for Raczka’s inspired typographical experiments: in a recipe-style tribute to icicles, “Mother Nature’s freeze pops,” the spacing between letters makes some of the vertically oriented lines appear to drip. This is arguably Raczka’s best poetry work to date. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)