Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poetry Book Review--Janeczko

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

Selected by Paul B. Janecko
Illustsrated by Chris Raschka

Publisher: Candlewick Press; 2005

ISBN #: 978-0-7636-0662-6


This collection of poetic forms is as entertaining as it is educational. The twenty-nine poetic forms included in this collection are accompanied by an excellent example of that form. Each form presented in the collection includes a concise, easy to understand description of the type of form and the "rules" it follows. An introduction prepares the reader by describing how some poetic forms have rules as to how many words or lines that form might have. Janeczko also informs the reader in the introduction of the best way to read the poetry in this book to experience the unique forms and try to figure out how the poem follows its required format.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This book was quite an education for me! I knew the name of many of the forms Janeczko includes in this compilation, but did not know the exact rules each form follows. After reading the poems and their descriptions, I am inspired to try some of these forms myself! This book is a must have for anyone who teaches writing especially the writing of poetry. The poems that accompany each poetic form are excellent choices that allow for students to easily see the requirements for that form and recreate those requirements in their own poem.

Chris Raschka's colorful illustrations that accompany each page are art lessons in themselves. The medium used (watercolor, ink, and torn paper) add a playfulness to the collection that invites readers to try their hand at becoming a poet.

Review Excerpts:

From Booklist (Starred Review): This is the introduction that will ignite enthusiasm. The airy spaces between the words and images will invite readers to find their own responses to the poems and encourage their interest in the underlying rules, which, Janeczko says, "make poetry--like sports--more fun."

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