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Saturday, October 27, 2018

HIDDEN CITY: POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE by Sarah Grace Tuttle



I live in the heart of Denver. Although I live at least 30 minutes from any area I would describe as "wooded or rural," I regularly glimpse raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and of course, squirrels, and all kinds of bugs and birds, when I am out working in the yard or walking my dog.

In HIDDEN CITY: POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE debut poet, Sarah Grace Tuttle celebrates the wildlife of the city. In her poems, readers find all kinds of animals- including mice, skunks, sparrows, and several kinds of insects, as well as plants like mushrooms, moss, and wildflowers.

Tuttle has a dual degree in English and environmental studies, and as someone who loves a few facts with her poetry, I love the information she embedded in each poem, as well as the followup endnotes, "Fun Facts About the Wildlife in These Poems."

Readers of HIDDEN CITY learn to watch carefully for the natural wonders in their own world. I could see reading the poems and then heading out with writers' notebooks to capture the wonders that we might find. Kids could definitely use the poems as mentors for their own wildlife/nature poems.

Artist Amy Schimler-Safford is an illustrator that is new to me, but her collage artwork is perfect for the poems in HIDDEN CITY.

"Community Garden"
An empty lot has
grown over with
wild tangles of grass and aster,
bright dandelions,
wood sorrel, clover.
Now
bees and butterflies feast on nectar
ants build
snails crawl
and garden snakes sun themselves
by the graffitied wall.


"Under Cover"
On the side of a house
ladybugs
tuck under shingles
in clumps and rows,
crawl into cracks
in clusters and droves
slow
slow
slow
their heartbeats,
and snuggle in tight
for their long winter sleep.


"The Hunting Lesson"
A mother raccoon
teaches her kits:
place paws firmly and
push
push again
push again
until
CRASH!
a feast spills out of the bin.
Bagels and fish heads and broccoli
all for the taking.

I'm looking forward to sharing this book with students in my urban setting.

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