Thursday, December 31, 2015

AMAZING PLACES- collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Happy New Year! Several years ago, my friend Terri introduced me to a new practice. Rather than make New Year's resolutions, she makes a bucket list on New Year's Eve. The list has to have the same number of items as the years in her age. That makes perfect sense to me, so I guess tonight I will start making a list with umm, well, never mind, a lot of things on it.

One of the things that will appear on my list will definitely be travel. It's one of my favorite things, and something I have not gotten to do very much in the last few years. It makes sense, then, that I would start 2016 by reviewing AMAZING PLACES, one of Lee Bennett Hopkins' newest compilations.

AMAZING PLACES includes poems about some really well known places- the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Missisippi River, the Liberty Bell, Fenway Park, and Harlem. It also includes a lot of less well-known places- the Oneida Nation Museum, the Watkins Museum of History in Lawrence, Kansas, Chinatown in San Francisco,  Ringling Circus Museum in Florida, National Museum of the American Indian, and Sandy Hook Lighthouse.

The list of poets included in this collection is pretty darn impressive- Alma Flor Ada, Jaime Adoff, Joseph Bruchac, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Kristine O'Connell George, Joan Bransfield Graham, Nikki Grimes,  Lee Bennett Hopkins, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Medina, Linda Sue Park,   Prince Redcloud, Charles Waters, and  Janet Wong. Illustrations are by one of my favorites- Chris Soenpiet and also Christy Hale, who has illustrated a number of children's books.

Back matter includes informational paragraphs about each place, which would be a great resource when studying settings, or for multi-genre research reports. End pages locate each place on a map of the United States.

Here they come again
those pale, rootless humans
squinting at the far country
where gorge meets sky.
How they gawk at me,
thinking I'm lonely!
Yes, I am one of only
a handful of trees
clinging to these
sun-striped cliffs,
branches suspended
over a clear drop
more miles down
than the number of rings
circling my middle.
But lonely?
What do they know?
Daily, I listen to the echo
of the Colorado River rapids
bouncing off red-purple ridges
sculpted by water and time.
Each moring, I witness the swoop and swirl
of hawks dancing in the air
we share.
Each evening,
I happily offer my lmbs
as respite for majestic eagles.
Oh, yes,
this home of mine
stitched to the horizon
is Grand.
I will cling here forever,
waiting to be found
by those lost
in the endless beauty
of the Canyon.
Nikki Grimes

Mary Lee Hahn is hosting POETRY FRIDAY at YEAR OF READING. In case you didn't know, Mary Lee wrote a haiku every day during the month of December, so be sure to go to her poetry blog, POETREPOSITORY, to read those.


Mary Lee said...

Maybe I'll make a bucket list for 2016. This probably won't be a good year for travel, but there's nothing wrong with wishing and hoping, is there?

Happy New Year, Friend. And anyone who reads this comment, know that Carol ALSO wrote a haiku a day in December. Browse back through her posts to read them.

Diane Mayr said...

Happy New Year, Carol! I hope you make it to every destination on your list!

Steve Peterson said...

What a wonderful poem! And thanks for a reminder to pick up Amazing Places, it had slipped my mind. I also like the idea of creating a bucket list rather than a list of resolutions. (Never been a fan of those!) I think I'll try that this year, but will limit the items to a smaller number than my age, otherwise I'll need a time machine to finish them all!

Thanks for sharing your writing this last month. I really enjoyed reading and talking about poetry and writing.

Ruth said...

Happy New Year!

Tara said...

I have this cook, and love it so. Whenever we return from school breaks, we share one or two of these poems based on where my students have traveled - such fun! Happy New Year, Carol!

Ramona said...

I NEED to request this book. There, I just stopped and did it. And true to my ease in being distracted, I had to request another book that popped up when I searched for this one - National Geographic's, Destinations of a Lifetime. It fits with your plans for travel. The bucket list idea sounds fun, but I'm shortening mine to decades lived for now. Happy New Year, Carol.