Poetry Friday: Sydell Rosenberg’s H is for Haiku

“It’s amazing what you can see when you just sit quietly and look.”
Jacqueline Kelly, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Looking closely and seeing familiar objects in new and unique ways is the essence of poetry. H is For Haiku is a joyful collection of haiku by Sydell Rosenberg, a poet and New York City public school teacher who passed away in 1996, that celebrates everyday life 17 syllables at a time. Rosenberg’s daughter, Amy Losak, has lovingly gathered 26 poems to fulfill her mother’s dream of publishing a book of haiku for children. (Read more about this journey here.)

I love that this collection begins with the word adventure, for that’s exactly what H is For Haiku is. Readers step into a world where children’s daily lives and dreams spill across the page, just as the universe seems to be pouring out of a cat’s tail in the first poem. What child hasn’t thought of monsters when they see lobsters in a tank or wondered about turtles perched on a rock?

Rosenberg’s haiku are also full of the joy of language. Young readers may not know what a jaunt is, but they will to go on one with a “wide-eyed doll” after reading the poem for the letter C. The subject of each poem does not necessarily begin with the letter the poem represents. This inventiveness shows children how playful language can be. After reading “a squirrel sweeps up sunbeams/with her transparent tail,” who won’t be inspired to notice the world in new way?

 This collection is spirited, inventive, and fun. Sawsan Chalabi’s whimsical illustrations fill H is For Haiku with a diverse cast of expressive characters that perfectly complement the tone of Rosenberg’s poems. After reading H is For Haiku, children of all ages will pay closer attention as they go about their day, always on the lookout for the poetry hiding in unexpected corners of their world.

Honoring Syd’s life,
crafted with her daughter’s love:
H is For Haiku

Thank you, Amy Losak, for giving us the gift of your mother’s poetry.

Please be sure to visit Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

 

 

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Poetry Friday: The Wondrous Wonderpus

Without intending to, I ended up taking a hiatus from blogging during October. I have missed all my poetry pals, though, so I’m determined to at least get pack to posting on Fridays.

In September, the lovely and generous Irene Latham invited her readers and friends to share “some octopus poems and art” to be featured on her blog during October, otherwise known as #NationalOctopusMonth. I’ve never been a huge fan of octopuses, but I am a HUGE fan of Irene and all her writing, so I dove into learning more about the fascinating creatures.

I soon discovered the wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus)who lives in the coastal waters near Indonesia and Malaysia. This beautiful little octopus inspired this poem, “The Wondrous Wonderpus.”

 

 

By Jenny (JennyHuang) from Taipei (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Thank you again to Irene, for always being such an inspiration. Please be sure to visit Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup!