Friday, November 14, 2014

I'm going to drown no matter what Marco Polo biography I read

It's Coupon Week at one of my favorite used bookstores!

Just a few days ago I read and greatly enjoyed a poem by James Whitcomb Riley on my mom's blog, Dear Hannah Jane, so I was delighted to find a book of his poetry so fast.  

I made the mistake of passing up one of Maryjo Koch's books the last time I was at the bookstore so I not only grabbed Dragonfly Beetle Butterfly Bee, I also nabbed Pond Lake River Sea.  

I just checked out Fairies, Trolls, & Goblins Galore: Poems about Fantastic Creatures from the library last week and had to discard it after reading it because some child with grown-up handwriting wrote all kinds of appalling things in the margins such as, ''nuh-uh', 'this is bullshit' and 'goblins suck more than feet.'  

The Haiku Handbook will come in handy for the poetry workshop that I facilitate.  To be quite honest, the regulars in that workshop have been asking about the haiku, and even though I wanted to deliver the best haiku workshop experience ever, my time is running out, because my regulars are haiku fans and want the 411 pronto.  I am thinking about combining the haiku with the exquisite corpse method for a prompt, but am not sure yet.  I keep telling myself, just one more haiku book, just one more!

My favorite part of this bookstore visit was the children's clearance section.  I found a step stool and plopped down rather like a building being whacked with a wrecking ball.  My knee barely responds to walking, let alone anything else yet. The stool made me just a bit shorter and gave me an entirely new viewpoint of the books.  I might just have to use the step stool approach more often.

The best find was Marco Polo by Demi.  After listening to Billy Collins read Hangover recently, I knew I had to read about Marco Polo asap because it would break my heart if Billy Collins ever had a reason to not like me.  Fortunately, I found a children's book about Marco Polo with big words and lots of pictures, which is a fair compromise considering that I'm going to drown no matter what Marco Polo biography I read.    

Hangover by Billy Collins

If I were crowned emperor this morning,
every child who is playing Marco Polo
in the swimming pool of this motel,
shouting the name Marco Polo back and forth

Marco Polo Marco Polo

would be required to read a biography
of Marco Polo-a long one with fine print-
as well as a history of China and of Venice,
the birthplace of the venerated explorer

Marco Polo Marco Polo

after which each child would be quizzed
by me then executed by drowning
regardless how much they managed
to retain about the glorious life and times of

Marco Polo Marco Polo 


  1. Exquisite corpse, also known as exquisite cadaver (from the original French term cadavre exquis) or rotating corpse, is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun", as in "The green duck sweetly sang the dreadful dirge") or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.

  2. There is a time when a daughter surpasses the mother in knowledge. I am so happy and proud that this time is upon me. I am learning so much from you - as everyone knows when you stop learning you grow old and you are my fountain of youth. Awesome. Wish I lived closer so I could take one of your classes.