Poetry Foundation names children's laureate, humor winner - Mary Ann Hoberman

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Poetry Foundation names children's laureate, humor winner

"When I grow up," begins a poem by Mary Ann Hoberman, "I want to be/A grown-up who remembers me/And what it felt like to be small. ... " Hoberman is that...

By Charles Storch
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — "When I grow up," begins a poem by Mary Ann Hoberman, "I want to be/A grown-up who remembers me/And what it felt like to be small. ..."

Hoberman is that kind of grown-up. Now at age 78 and a grandmother, she claims a vivid recall of her young childhood in Connecticut. Her memories, fashioned in catchy rhymes and wordplay, have rung true with two generations of young readers in a 51-year career that has produced 45 books and netted such prizes as a National Book Award (for "A House Is a House for Me").

In honor of her career, Chicago's Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, has named her its children's poet laureate.

Foundation President John Barr said her poems "tease young minds even as they please young ears with rhythm and rhyme."

At an event in Chicago on Oct. 7, the foundation presented Hoberman as its child laureate, and named Albert Goldbarth as winner of its Mark Twain Poetry Award for humor in verse.

Goldbarth, 60, Chicago-born but now living in Kansas, has written 25 poetry collections and twice won a National Book Critics Circle Award. He and Hoberman each received $25,000.

Her laureateship is for a two-year term, during which she is to help the foundation promote poetry for children.

"I want to be a Pied Piper for poetry," Hoberman said when reached recently at her Greenwich, Conn., home.

Pat Scales, president of the Association for Library Service to Children, said Hoberman's verse "engages parent and child in a playful celebration of language, and learning to love language is the basis of learning to read."

Bookstores place Hoberman's works in their picture books section for pre- and early readers. But Hoberman said on school visits she has found older students also enjoying her books, particularly the literacy series "You Read to Me, I'll Read to You."

"That's going to be part of my mission as laureate, to push poetry for the middle school as well as very young kids," she said. "Poetry gets cut off. It isn't cool after, say, second or third grade. But when you recite to the older kids and you get them to recite with you, they love it."

She added, "Poetry is pleasure. I don't like it when a four-line poem of mine is in a teacher's manual, and there are three pages on how to use it across the curriculum and it's analyzed to death. That's not what poetry is for. It's for joy. That's what I hope to convey."

Hoberman said her verses "are very rhythmical. They rhyme, they scan. I use a lot of assonance and internal rhyme."

As for her writing process, she said the "best things come spontaneously and pop into your head or feet. I get a lot of ideas when I'm on walks because of the rhythm."

Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2008270965_zboo15childrenpoetlaureate.html
Ο λόγος είναι μεγάλη ανάγκη της ψυχής. (Γιώργος Ιωάννου)


 

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