And then it was the last Friday of September...how?
When Boyds Mills Press asked if I'd like to review This Poem is a Nest by Irene Latham (2020) I answered with a quick
Truth is, I'm inclined to love this book. I've liked all of the books that Irene has written. I enjoy her blogs, Live Your Poem, and Artspeak. I find her writing sensitive and sincere and extraordinarily creative.
I wasn't quite prepared for how much This Poem is a Nest startled me a bit as a reader and a writer (Spoiler--this is a positive review).
This Poem is a Nest begins with a four-part prose poem about a nest in each season. The following pages hold nestlings or small found poems from the original prose poem.
I know, right? What a concept! So creative. Thankfully, Latham understands that readers are bound to ask, How did you write this? and includes thoughtful Tips From a Nest-Builder: How to Find Nestlings (101-103) as well as a sweet invitation to write (101-103).
This Poem is a Nest is filled with all kinds of fantastic words that are soft, spongy, or connective or glittery or weather resistant....very much like bits of stuff birds build with. Here's a small sampling:
The nestlings from these words and more knocked my socks off. Each is not only a surprising visual image but a moment captured in a way that delights. Nestlings are magical.
These nestlings provoked too--which surprised me. Why? I wondered, is she using this word again here...and here. She already used that word.
But, I was only beginning to discover Latham's gemstone path. After reading several sections of the collection I grew more anchored in the various shades and layers of meaning her words hold. I'm in awe of the crafting Latham and her editor must have enjoyed together. This Poem is a Nest is for language-lovers, word-lovers, and thinkers too.
I also wondered ...why are titles of many poems longer than the poems themselves? After holding several nestlings in my gaze, however, I see that Latham delivers experiences in a different, new, and surprising way...which is a feat in the world of poetry. Aren't all poets cutting edge creative? Latham surely stands out with This Poem is a Nest.
I look forward to sharing this collection with my middle school students. Young people often describe life in ways that charm me in the way that these nestlings do. There is delightful wordplay at work in This Poem is a Nest. I know my students will love reading these short poems together.
This Poem is a Nest is a collection for children of any age and the adults that share a world with them.
Do not miss the delight of this nest.
In Latham's words, I wish you a cup of stars this week, (Hope 56)...and the boat and sky and the ladder and mouse squeaks. I hope you find all the nestlings and bring them to your reader's heart.
PS: Because this author is our Poetry Friday friend, Irene, I'm sharing one of the sweetest pages of the book.
Isn't this page quintessentially our kind poetry friend? Well done Irene. This is a beautiful book and you should be proud. I predict awards!
Please visit Jone's NEW website for the rest of Poetry Friday! Thanks for hosting, Jone!