"The first important thing to understand about this book,” writes Shirley McPhillips, “is that it is based on my belief that poetry is not an academic subject but an art. And therefore it belongs where life is.”
And right away, I'm hooked. I'm in. I'm taking this train all the way to the station.
Billed as a place where people and poems meet, Poem Central: Word Journeys with Readers and Writers is true to its title. Packed with tips, techniques and practical tools, this book is a focused and valuable resource for poets, teachers, and poets-in-the-making.
Author-editor Shirley McPhillips is a seasoned teacher, speaker, writer, and poet laureate for Choice Literacy. Her path to poetry is road-tested and real, and she deftly combines solid structure, thorough research, and genuine encouragement.
Divided into three parts — weaving poetry into lives and classrooms, reading poems, and writing poems — Poem Central gathers a range of voices: professional poets, inspired teachers, known and unknown writers, artists, illustrators, musicians, editors, and students, who offer examples and samples of how poetry plays a part in their lives. This down-to-earth approach gives the book an encouraging and inclusive vibe. [Disclosure: I’m one of those "unknown writers." McPhillips found my poem, Instructions, exactly and asked for permission to include it in the book.]
This toothy and well-designed resource stands proudly with other gems in its genre — The Crafty Poet by Diane Lockward and Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard, for example — and the book’s elaborate resources and reference sections lead to even more treasures.
Best of all, McPhillips speaks my language:
“One of poetry’s gifts, for me, is the nourishment of an inner life — the outside brought in, rearranged, and sent back out again,” she writes. “It is a meeting place for the objects and activity of the outside world and the inner world of consciousness and imagination. Recognizing, attuning, reaching out, connecting, responding. This is the place for poetry; this is the attitude of poetry. This is how it shows us a way we might face life.”
Win this book!
To enter a drawing to win a Poem Central by Shirley McPhillips, simply add your name and contact info in the blog comments section by August 12, 2014. I'll randomly (eyes closed!) choose a name from the entries. The winner will be announced on August 13, 2014.