For readers who want to know more about poetry itself, poet and teacher Paul B. Janeczko has teamed with Caldecott Honor illustrator Chris Raschka to create A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. What a fun, informative collection (and perfect to have around when it comes time to help with poetry-related homework assignments!). In his introduction, Janeczko addresses the question young writers often ask: why do some poems have to have rules, anyway? The book includes 29 different poetry forms, from haiku to quatrain, elegy to epitaph. There are also a few that I never knew: Villanelle and Clerihew! (Forgive me, but even a non-poet can’t resist finding her poetic side in April.) As usual, Raschka’s illustrations are bold, witty and clever. And while there’s a lot of information here, the book design is deceptively simple and clean, with lots of white space setting off the poems. A separate section at the end of the book describes the forms in more detail. The poets included range from classic masters like William Blake to contemporary newcomers.
Deborah Hopkinson is a writer (though not a poet.