This is What it Means to See
and giving voice to those children
who don’t yet know their power
is to open the world.
knows how to woo her student Jack,
understands how to draw from him
phrases that play with shapes and sounds,
stanzas that speak to the pain
During a school year
where poetry is a regular part of things,
words work deep,
as Jack does from a boy who thinks
writing poetry is to
to one who finds the courage —
through the voice and style of others —
to speak his own.
“Was it like me
when I didn’t think
Jack asks Mrs. Stretchberry,
and I am firm in the knowing
teachers reach into lives,
authors speak directly to their readers,
words make impact,
as sweet as
a dog lolling in the afternoon sun,
as painful as
“that straggly furry
hit by a car,
sprawled on the road
“with his legs bent funny,”
taken in a moment from the boy
who’d picked him from the shelter
“with his paws curled
around the wire
and his long red tongue
and his big black eyes
looking a little sad
and his long tail
as if he were saying
Me me me! Choose me!”
It is in the writing down
that loss becomes more than sorrow:
It becomes a touchstone for all who encounter
even when it’s not their own.
a battle cry,
a picture that says
this is what it means to see.
Some like to debate
the merit of the verse novel:
Is it a collection of poems tied together through narrative?
A hybrid form somehow lesser than true poetry?
Something from English class — stories spoken by a blind man?
A tale stripped bare, chopped to pieces for effect?
whatever the definition,
there is no denying verse novels
open the way of rhythm,
expose through brevity
give readers room to live in the midst of language
rich and intricate,
beautiful and barren.
Sharon Creech tells a complete story
with a handful of poems,
and in doing so
accents Jack’s world with authenticity
that would have been lost in a jumble of prose.
Jack the room to experiment with writing
and pushes him beyond,
allows him to dream
an Important Poet cares —
when Walter Dean Myers,
who inspires Jack’s bravest work,
walks into Jack’s fictitious world,
takes notice of the boy who
Loves That Dog.
Ride On, Will Cody! Is now available for pre-order. Click through to learn more!