cover image Thunderboom!: Poems for Everyone

Thunderboom!: Poems for Everyone

Charlotte Pomerantz. Front Street, $17.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-932425-40-6

The 41 poems in this uneven volume feature a jumble of topics and styles. A clever pairing of a poem of gratitude, ""Song of the Humpback Whale,"" with ""Jonah's Song,"" the subject of whom editorial cartoonist Shepperson depicts with just Jonah's eyes staring out of the whale's mouth, typifies the best of the offerings. But too often Pomerantz (The Outside Dog) ignores an already established rhythm, invents a nonsense word to complete a rhyme or substitutes sound for sense. Poems often seem oddly juxtaposed: a fanciful verse that describes when ""Anna Livia Oysterface Steps Out"" sits next to a silly Passover poem (""So who cares if we can't have challah?/ 'Tis the season to be jolla""). The entries frequently echo devices and even lines from familiar works. ""Would You Care to Share Your Pear?"" features a bear as dangerous as the Jabberwock who says, ""Beware the froshus Growly Bear."" Another poem satirically updates Goodnight Moon (""In the great green room/ There was a cellular phone/ And a Mylar balloon""). The higgledy-piggledy collection includes ballads and limericks geared for a wildly varied audience (the allusion to ""a lady called Molly-yes!-Bloom/ who kept Leopold plants in her room,"" for instance, will undoubtedly be lost on young readers). Shepperson's cartoonish illustrations add some humor, but the details do not always reflect those found in the poetry (e.g., Grandpa tells his granddaughter that ""next time"" she'll be able to grab a brass ring in ""Merry-Go-Round,"" but the picture shows her taking hold of it). All ages.