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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Poetry Meets Photographs

The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry has been my companion as I eat my morning oatmeal and drink my after school tea. I knew I'd love this book. A companion to the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, it is filled with beautiful images captured from around the world by obviously talented photographers and perfectly paired with exceptional poems by the world's best poets. I looked many times to the photo credits to see if by chance the photographer might also have been the poet! I knew, of course, that Robert Louis Stevenson did not take the photo of the blue origami boat that floats alongside his poem "Where Go the Boats?" and that neither Robert Frost nor Henry David Thoreau captured the image of Lopez Island in Washington State. But Joyce Sidman has stood upon a Moeraki Boulder in New Zealand, so it is possible her own photograph might be the backdrop for her words (in concrete form), and Naomi Shihab Nye must have visited the Badlands to write "Fossil Beds at the Badlands." No matter. All the pairings are engagingly beautiful.

Grouped into ten sections, the old and new poems reflect nature's wonders in the sky and sea, on the land and in action, in brightness and shade, in distress and through the seasons. J. Patrick Lewis's curation of this volume must have provided him and the many who helped organize it with delight and gratitude. Both his introduction and his closing words (in a thoughtful and encouraging piece entitled "Who is Mother Nature?") frame the choices included in the book. His photograph on the dust jacket shows him with a stack of books from which he selected poems. 

This book is a gem. I hate to return it to the library!


  1. Ah, thank you for the tip because photography and poetry are two of my favorite pastimes and activities. Now to the library to request the book! Hope you are having a happy school term!

  2. I just requested both books from the St. Paul library system, I know that I will enjoy both of them. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I picked up Nature Poetry today, and the first page I opened had "the Peace of Wild Things," one of my favorites and one that I had posted on FB yesterday. It must be a sign of some kind!