Today is the first day of April (aka National Poetry Month) and I thought it would be appropriate to start with a tribute to Paul B. Janeczko, who recently passed away (leaving our world a little bit colder without him).
I didn’t know Paul personally and I felt like my own grief wasn’t worth sharing as I was just a fan. It feels like I only recently discovered his work (a little too late in life–though it was actually several years ago now). I first fell in love with his work in “The Death of the Hat” and was slowly working my way through any of his previous anthologies I could get my hands on. I also loved hearing that he had a teaching background like me (that always makes me feel an instant affinity for someone).
Last fall, at my Highlights poetry retreat (which you might hear me refer to a couple more times!), the ladies handed out a copy of his collection “A Kick in the Head” as a great resource of form poetry (and it is). Form poetry is NOT my forte. They are more like my bane. I am a free verse poet, though I’ve dabbled with a few forms over the years (mostly assignments in college or challenges, etc.), but I LOVE this anthology. I thought I would pick only one poem that I liked from it (oh how hard that is to do!) to share and it seemed doubly appropriate to share one of his own (as he was a wonderful poet as well). It is a cinquain (which he makes look SO easy) which is like a haiku in that it has a set number of syllables per line: 2-4-6-8-2 (for a total of 22 syllables). It is also about a cat (one of my favorite animals, so how could I not love it). See it below with Chris Raschka’s beautiful illustrations (also deceptively simple).