OK, I’ve whined already about my bad week. But at least one good thing happened!
On Wednesday, I found in my inbox an email with a sender of jplewis. I have a sister named J.P., and another sister with the last name of Lewis, and without consciously thinking about it, I expected it to be something family-related. But I started reading the email, fully of intoxicatingly lovely words about my website and blog and poems, and I was confused. My family isn’t this nice. Ha! That’s not true. My sisters are fabulous. But they aren’t really into poetry. To say the least. So I skipped to the bottom of the email and discovered this email was from J. Patrick Lewis.
J. Patrick Lewis. Seriously.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, whom you know is one of my absolute favorite poets, had passed along my name to him, and he had checked out my online presence. And in this charming email, he was offering up a couple of baseball ditties to see if I would like to share them with you. Would I? Um…yeah!
You know I blogged about the video of the Minnesota Twins baseball players reciting haiku sent in by fans earlier this week. So the baseball theme continues with these wonderful tombstone sayings for two baseball players.
For a Second Baseman
Missed the ball
Missed the tag
Missed the call
Missed the bag
Missed the flies
Missed the liners
Missed the guys
Sent to minors
–J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved
* * *
For a Pitcher
–J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved
I love these funny epitaphs. Any short funny poem has to have a good punch line at the end. And, really, “Sent to minors” and “No heirs” fit the bill perfectly.
I love his picture book collection of epitaphs, Once Upon a Tomb: Gravely Humorous Verses (Candlewick, 2006). These baseball epitaphs are not from that collection, but here are a couple of my favorites that are.
Roger didn’t kow.
(Except that red
Does not mean Go!)
Here lie the bones of Mabel Grady
Extremely thoughtful school-lunch lady.
She never served a Jell-O mold
If it was more than six weeks old.
Too funny! And the illustrations by Simon Bartram are wry and kids will love them (a teacher being decapitated by a paper airplane? Come on!).
One thing I really enjoy about J. Patrick Lewis‘ work is the sheer variety of it. He writes lots of funny verse, fantastic riddle poems, stunning haiku, and excellent poetry on more serious topics, as well. Is that enough superlatives for you?
I’ve mentioned several times his Black Swan White Crow as the most gorgeous haiku collection ever, in my opinion. Click here to see the column I wrote that started a great discussion on whether true haiku include figurative language. That discussion started over my excerpts from Black Swan White Crow.
And recently, I’ve been reading and re-reading two collections from the more serious side of J. Patrick Lewis. Both books were first recommended to me by the wonderful Elaine Magliaro at Wild Rose Reader.
Freedom Like Sunlight celebrates, through poetry, the lives of 13 legendary African-Americans. The different voices and shows of strength really drew me in. This book really made me think, and I love poetry that does that.
And The Brothers’ War: Civil War Voices in Verse, is astonishing. I was trying to include a poem from this book in a school visit I’m doing soon, but I can’t read it without crying. I’m a sap, as y’all know, when it comes to poetry that moves me. It doesn’t even have to be sad. But if it touches me deeply, the tears start flowing. It’s embarrassing, and it would cause the 4th-6th graders to come in for the kill, so I can’t do it. But I’ll be ordering my own copy of this book soon, because the voices in it are haunting me, even after I don’t have it in hand anymore. Anyway, perhaps I’ll post in a bit more depth about that collection another time.
While I was aware of a good deal of Lewis’ work, in delving deeper, I found there’s tons of it I haven’t read yet. I will be remedying that situation shortly!
So, while my week has not been wonderful, I did hear from a charming, fantastic poet! And I discovered that I have a lot more of his work to discover. Two terrific things!
Elaine at Wild Rose Reader has the Poetry Friday roundup today.