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Friday, November 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--Catch Your Breath

The book I want to share with you today includes a haiku that I wrote! It's Catch Your Breath: Writing Poignant Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas [808.1 SAL].
autumn wind
the cat in a frenzy
chasing leaves

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I'm not writing about the book just to toot my own horn, but because it is a fabulous book for teens (and adults, too) who want a little direction in writing poetry.

There is so much to admire in this slim volume. It is concise. It's conversational and easily understood, for example, I like this paragraph about rhyme:
Rhyme takes over meaning, resulting in nonsense or overused words. If you write a rhyming poem about a girl who skis, and you mention that she has fleas, your reader will know that you put that in just for the rhyme. Try to make your rhymes sound natural--like it's a coincidence that the perfect words for your poem happen to rhyme!

One feature that tickled my fancy is the section headings, such as this: Look Around (It's Like I've Never Seen a Jelly Bean Before!). Doesn't that make you want to read more? There are also short "Author Profiles" of contemporary poets and others who fall into the "dead poets" category, writing prompts, and scads of poems that illustrate the forms being covered.

The design is awesome--lots of white space, and colorful graphic elements, which are sure to be attractive to teens.

I only have one minor complaint. The subtitle is "Writing Poignant Poetry." I understand it is alliterative, but I can see it being a turn-off for some people who think poignant means poems that will tear at your heart, make you sad, or otherwise discomfort the reader. The subject of poignancy doesn't seem to be addressed within the book itself. It's a shame such a great book may not find its audience due to an unfortunate subtitle.

Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week.


  1. Good review, Diane! The title did concern me, too, but folks I've shown it to or who have otherwise seen it, love it!

    1. Nice to know, but were those you showed it to, adolescents? The subtle issue aside, it is a great book!

    2. Subtle? I can't even blame autocorrect! That should read subtitle.

  2. Yay, the second link you posted worked! So glad I found this post, too, as I am ordering this book ASAP - your review sold me! (the risk of poignancy didn't put me off)

    1. I'm happy to be proved wrong!

  3. Terrific review, Diane– it gives me a real flavor of the book. (I have just the writer in mind to give it to.)
    Love that frenzied cat haiku too!

    1. I think the writer you have in mind will enjoy it, and the holidays are coming...