The Arrow Finds Its Mark

A Book of Found Poems
, ed. The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems. illus. by Antoine Guilloppé. 48p. Roaring Brook. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-665-7. LC number unavailable.
Gr 3–6—The intent of this collection is to awaken readers to the poetry that "exists all around us." A host of children's poets accepted the challenge to find inspiration anywhere-a Facebook page, a hardware store, the Burpee catalog—and reassemble the words without much embellishment in pursuit of poetry. Minimally illustrated with plain black-and-white drawings, the poems rely largely on the poet's inventiveness. There is no table of contents or index of poets; however a heading for each selection gives the author and the original source. Juanita Havill, Lee Bennett Hopkins, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joyce Sidman, Jane Yolen, and Bob Raczka are among the contributors. Laura Purdie Salas creates an amusing context for words found on a road sign in Northern England, "red squirrels/drive slowly" by adding the title: "They Don't Want Speeding Tickets, So…." A sign on a hardware store is made rhythmically interesting. This unassuming book may help young writers notice words and see how poems can be made. Pair it with other books that spark an imaginative flame, such as Paul B. Janeczko's A Kick in the Head (Candlewick, 2005).—Tess Pfeifer, Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA
Thirty poets, including Marilyn Singer, Kristine O'Connell George, J. Patrick Lewis, and Joyce Sidman, offer poems taken from text messages, basketball nicknames, bird calls, book titles, and other sources. The collection broadly illustrates what a found poem can be; an introduction explains the form. The blocky drawings work well when they're simple; some figure drawings are awkward.
The freewheeling spirit of this collection makes the form approachable and exciting. Authors include such talented poets as Joyce Sidman, Jane Yolen, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Bob Raczka, and Marilyn Singer. Nicely exemplifies the concept that poetry is all around us. Take, for example, Janet Wong’s poem culled from a box of OxiClean detergent: “Keep cool. / See a brighter solution. / Maintain freshness. / Boost your power!” An excellent prelude to a class assignment. Students can use the guidelines from the introduction to discover their own found verse. (For their poems, contributors were instructed not to change or rearrange existing passages, but learning that they took creative liberties may give kids extra confidence with their projects.) The effect of the book is likely to linger as readers see their text-filled environments with new appreciation. Antoine Guilloppé’s lighthearted drawings increase the appeal.

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