Mary Ann Hoberman is one of my favorite poets. I read A House is a House for Me to my children countless times, and my students love the You Read to Me, I’ ll Read to You series. But somehow I missed The Tree that Time Built (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009). This anthology, selected by Hoberman and cultural anthropologist Linda Winston, is a “celebration of nature, science, and imagination.” It is a beautiful book: poems are centered on cream-colored pages and line drawings by Barbara Fortin add just the right amount of accent. The poems are organized thematically and notes throughout the book add information about the poets, their craft, and poetic forms. A glossary is included, as well as a list of suggested reading. There is even a CD of selected poems being read by Hoberman, Winston, and others!
I was particularly struck by this poem:
You And I
Only one I in the whole wide world
And millions and millions of you,
But every you is an I to itself
And I am a you to you, too!
But if I am a you and you are an I
And the opposite also is true,
It makes us both the same somehow
Yet splits us each in two.
It’s more and more mysterious,
The more I think it through:
Every you everywhere in the world is an I;
Every I in the world is a you!
by Mary Ann Hoberman
The fifth graders I’ve been working with (more about that here) are fascinated by alliteration. This poem is a perfect example of alliteration’s close cousin, assonance, which they are not familiar with. It also gets to the heart of poetry. When I asked the students the other day why we were reading and studying poetry, I was met by a lot of blank stares. But one brave soul timidly raised her had and said something to the effect of “It let’s us know what people feel.” I told her I agreed with her one hundred percent. “You and I” helps us see that we have more in common than we think, feelings and all.
I wish you all a wonderful Poetry Friday!
Mary Lee (who wrote a much more extensive review of this book here) has the round up at A Year of Reading. Be sure to stop by to read more poetry posts. Thank you also to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting this Slice of Life Challenge!