Poetry Friday: Joyce Sidman’s “First Life”


I’m immersed in a poetry project that is challenging me in every way imaginable, so I’ve been reading stacks of poetry books for guidance and inspiration. Over the past week, I’ve returned to Joyce Sidman’s Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010) again and again, savoring Sidman’s masterful use of language and form.

The book’s opening poem, “First Life” has become one of my favorites.


Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 1.29.26 PM

This screen shot comes the excellent Teacher’s Guide Joyce wrote, which is available here.

Sidman finds beauty and wonder in all these species, from the lowliest bacteria to wolves, sharks, and humans. The poems in this collection truly are celebrations of  these survivors. In her author’s note, Sidman tells readers that “…99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct…the ones who made it, and are thriving, are indeed remarkable.

Please be sure to visit Katie at The Logonauts for the Poetry Friday Round Up.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Joyce Sidman’s “First Life”

  1. What a beautifully written and illustrated page! I marvel at the precision and the just right words she uses in such a simple form. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Delightful! I love how she takes a poetry form that often seems only to exist in poetry primers for elementary students and turns it into something informative and fabulous!

    (My library request for her This is Just to Say can’t come fast enough!)


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