Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets, is an awesome poetry anthology compiled by Paul. B. Janeczko. Although the target audience is the Young Adult group, this book is a must for anyone who may be trying to find their way in the literary world of writing poetry. Thirty-two well known poets are featured. The collection includes a letter-style entry and a sample poem from each poet. Each entry feels like a personal letter of encouragement and advice to the reader. Common themes that run through the poets' letters are: the need for revision, seeing everyday things in a new light and then writing about it, the importance of reading and keeping a journal.
Some of the featured poets include, Kalli Dakos, Douglas Florian, Jack Prelutsky and Jane Yolen, just to name a few. One of my favorite entries is by X.J. Kennedy. He encourages the fledgling poet to go a step beyond writing about "something you know" and writing something you care deeply about, be it something you love or hate. Good poems arise from strong feelings. Both are equally strong emotions and both are good fodder for great poetry. His poem Who Clogged Up Our Schoolbell with Bubblegum? is loads of fun.
Writing tips and advice by the best in the poetry business are little nuggets of gold for new writers. Young writers learn that they don't have to write about the "big stuff of life" to write a successful poem. Writing about bubblegum, spaghetti or a man with a metal detector, in fact all facets of life, are fair play when writing poetry. There is a freeing sense to learning this truth, as if the doors are flung open to release the inner emotions and depths of a writer's soul.
This anthology is a helpful introduction to popular poets. It will be helpful to a young writer, teacher or librarian who may need to familiarize themselves with contemporary poets, but doesn't have the time to read each individual's work. In the back of the book there are notes about each poet/author, noting their books and other accomplishments. This is a helpful source for finding information on a favorite poet and their work. There is a picture of them as well, which is always a nice addition. I enjoyed reading this book and felt that I learned a lot. Every skill takes practice and that is what the poets in this book stress about writing poetry. It is a skill that requires practice and then some more practice. Read a lot, write a lot and then revise over and over. You'll get it right if you do.
Janeczko, Paul B., ed. 2002. SEEING THE BLUE BETWEEN: ADVICE AND INSPIRATION FOR YOUNG POETS. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press. ISBN: 0-7636-0881-5.