Friday, April 29, 2011

Poetry Friday: A Kick in the Head (by Paul B. Janeczko)

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic FormsIn honor of Poetry Friday, I am highlighting A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms by Paul B. Janeczko.   Check out other Poetry Friday posts at The Opposite of Indifference

Overview and Review:
A Kick in the Head  highlights works from well-known poets like Ogden Nash, William Shakespeare, and William Blake as well as lesser known writers like Bobbi Katz, Gary Soto, and Joan Bransfield Graham.   The book begins with depicting (and defining) line groupings—couplet, tercet, and quatrain—in poetry. Twenty-six different types of poems are included from the simple—haiku, limerick, and cinquain—to the more complex—ode, sonnet, and villanelle.  Brief definitions are in small print on the corresponding pages.  The back of the book includes more details on each poetic form.  A few of my favorites are “Back to School Blues,” “Ode to Pablo’s Tennis Shoe,” and “Is there a Villain in Your Villanelle.”  Many of the poems are whimsical and humorous.  Here are a couple examples:

Senryu by Kristine O’Connell George
First day, new school year,
backpack harbors a fossil…
last June’s cheese sandwich.   

“Epitaph for a Book Editor” by J. Patrick Lewis
Miss Spelling’s
Exclamation points
Were myriad!!!
She lived on
The margin.
And died.

A Kick in the Head is an entertaing read.  Parents and educators may want to use it to introduce poetry to youngsters or as a spring board for children to experiement with creating poems of their own. 


  1. This is one of my favorite books to bring to elementary poetry workshops. I use Gary Soto's "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" as a model/writing prompt for kids.

  2. I like this book a lot too. Thanks for reviewing it.

  3. This is one of my favorite books, too, both for its inspiring content and fabulous illustrations. Thanks for spotlighting it today.

  4. ... Or I should say, spotlighting it yesterday.(My Poetry Friday extends over the weekend!)


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