Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets , by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth

I am officially a monster.

I checked this book out weeks and weeks ago, I read it once, twice, three times, and then I stopped counting.

I have brought it with me to work every single day since reading it that first time, and every single day, I have been unable to part with it.

That’s what a beautiful, rich, joyful book Out of Wonder is—I haven’t been able to pry it out of MY OWN HANDS.

Oh, sure, I’ve been SHOWING it to patrons.

But then when they look like they want to take it from me I turn into Gollum and scamper away.

Clearly I will have to buy a personal copy to put an end to this cycle. [UPDATE: OH MY STARS AND GARTERS, I JUST CHECKED AND AMAZON IS SELLING THE HARDBACK FOR $8.49 AHHHHHHH THERE IS NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT A COPY ON ITS WAY TO MEEEEE. I have no idea how long that pricing will last, take advantage while you can, if you can.]

From Kwame Alexander’s Preface:

I believe that by reading other poets we can discover our own wonder. For me, poems have always been muses. The poems in this book pay tribute to the poets being celebrated by adopting their style, extending their ideas, and offering gratitude to their wisdom and inspiration.

Enjoy the poems. We hope to use them as stepping-stones to wonder, leading you to write, to read the works of the poets celebrated in this book, to seek out more about their lives and their work, or to simply read and explore more poetry. At the very least, maybe you can memorize one or two.

We all wonder how you will wonder.

YES, YES, AND YES AGAIN. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I make it a point, at the library, to always have poetry prominently displayed in the children’s area; and I always include at least one poetry square on our monthly Reading Bingo cards. It’s part of my passive-aggressive-ish fight against the assumption that poetry is boring, difficult, inaccessible, etc.

From what I can see, little kids have no issue with poetry whatsoever—it’s their grown-ups who do. I assume that’s because they’ve been conditioned to think of poetry as something you have to struggle through in high school literature classes or whatever? So picture books have become my go-to sneaky way of pushing back against that fear.

But back to the book. There’s a broad range of poets featured in terms of identity and era and location and style and form and subject. Ekua Holmes’ artwork captures the tone of each piece, sometimes warm, sometimes playful, sometimes, I dunno, holy; some of her pieces feel like responses or illustrations of the poems themselves, others feel like an encapsulation of who the poet is or was, either way, I want prints of a whole bunch of them. There’s an appendix in the back with short biographies of all of the poets, and the clear passion with which even those biographies were written would make it hard to read any part of this book and NOT be inspired to springboard off into reading more, more, more.

I’m sure that at this point, you get the gist: I loved—and love—this book.

So I’ll finish this post off with one of my favorites—largely because, I think, it’s so warm and flirty and twinkly?:

Interior featuring Kwame Alexander’s e.e. cummings poem from  Out of Wonder .

Interior featuring Kwame Alexander’s e.e. cummings poem from Out of Wonder.