Tuesday, November 18, 2014
History in Poetry
by J. Patrick Lewis
illustrated by Gary Kelley
Creative Editions, 2014
As I noted last Wednesday, J. Patrick Lewis' anthology title says it all: "Everything is a Poem." On Thursday, we looked at science in poetry, and yesterday we looked at nature in poetry. Today, the focus is on history in poetry. Upcoming posts include biography and imagination in poetry.
This gorgeously illustrated book of poetry for older readers teaches about 369th Infantry Regiment in World War I. Originally mobilized as the 15th New York National Guard, this group of 2,000 black American soldiers became famous not just for their tenacity on the battle field, but for the music they brought with them and which helped them to survive.
The tragic death of the band leader, James "Big Jim" Reese Europe, just a year after Armistice Day, gives this little-known story from WWI an extra measure of poignancy.