Monday, April 13, 2009
MOTHER POEMS by Hope Anita Smith
We are so lucky in Columbus. Each year, The Thurber House host a children's author for a month in its Writer in Residence program. This year, we are excited that Hope Anita Smith will be in Columbus at The Thurber House. This is the first time that the Thurber House has chosen a poet and we are thrilled.
I didn't know that Smith's newest book MOTHER POEMS was available and was happy to see it at the workshop yesterday. I picked it up and had to share. It is one of those books that I have been carrying around the house with me.
The book is filled with poems that explore the close relationship between a young girl and her mother. Each poem shares a moment or experience that shows the love the mother and daughter have for each other. But, in the middle of the book, the little girl's mother dies and the rest of the book is her about her grief and healing process. Somehow the books are powerful and also have the voice of a young child.
You don't realize right off that this book is a story. The poems stand alone as amazing poems that explore the mother/daughter relationship. I can't begin to choose my favorite poem because they are all amazing. The tone of the book changes when the mother dies but the memories help. I had seen this book advertised earlier with the title "Instructions on How to Lose a Mother and Other Poems". This is the title of one of the last poems in the book. I am glad that they chose the new title for the book because this book is about more than How to Lose A Mother. It is about mothers and daughters so I think this new title fits perfectly.
I can see this book being read by older elementary and middle school students. So many of the poems can be used alone--to read for pleasure, as mentor poems for writing. The book as a whole--a type of novel in verse--can be read several times since there is such depth to the story and the relationship. It is amazing how well the reader comes to know the little girl in just 70 pages.
I think that this is the first book that Hope Anita Smith did her own artwork. Her artwork is STUNNING. I can't even begin to explain it or do it justice on this blog but it is gorgeous and powerful. I spent a great deal of time just looking at the art. Her art makes a statement of its own. Combined with her poetry, it makes an even bigger impact.
Anita Hope Smith is a poet I am so happy to have gotten to know. I can't tell you how happy I am that she'll be spending time as the Writer-in-Residence at the Thurber House this summer. I am hoping I get a chance to hear her speak while she is here. If not, I can't wait to see whatever she decides to write next.