I am not a poet, but I do love to write verse.
I don’t make that distinction out of false humility but out of reverence for poetry and for those who create it.
True poetry requires a freshness of language, the kind of unexpected encounter with words that can make the hair rise on the back of your neck. A longtime friend of mine, the poet Barbara Esbensen, used to talk to children about bringing two words together that had never met one another before. I can do that once in a while, but the encounter requires a fair amount of serendipity.
What I can produce intentionally and reliably is work that is lyrical. I revel in rhythm and sound and the shape of the words on the page. I can write succinctly, too, and with close attention to what is left out, the unspoken that will resonate in my reader’s psyche.
Picture books, every picture book worthy of the multiple readings young children so often call for, use all of these techniques. And they are, of course, the techniques of poetry whether they reach the full status of poetry or not.~ read more ~