National Poetry Month #1

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).

Kick CoverLast 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).

Paul Poem

About jenabenton

I'm an elementary school teacher, writer, illustrator and storyteller.

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