Laura Purdie Salas (laurasalas) wrote,
Laura Purdie Salas

  • Mood:

Poetry Friday: Red Sings from Treetops


Look what came to my house while I was out of town on school visits last week! I'd been eager to see Joyce Sidman's newest poetry book, and here it is! Red Sings from Treetops: a year in colors(illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski).

Joyce, along with teacher Nicola Turner, gave a fantastic presentation about poetry at IRA earlier this week.

Joyce talked a bit about how she wanted to play with synesthesia (the unusual association of one sense with another--as in a person who associates certain music or certain color with every number) in poem form a little bit. The result was Red Sings from Treetops, in which colors morph and change throughout the seasons. Here's one of my favorite parts, from the Summer section.

And where is Blue?
Humming, shimmering,
snoozing in the lazy haze.
Dancing on water
with Yellow and Green.
In summer,
Blue grows new names:

Purple pours
into summer evenings one shadow at a time,
so slowly
I don't notice until
       book in my hand,
and Pup's
                Brown spots
are all

That image of purple pouring into shadows--yum!

Pup appears briefly here and there in the text, but on every spread, I think, in the illustrations. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because this idea of color as a thing, as a personality, feels so exotic and enchanted that I want to stay in that world. Pup startles me every time he or she is mentioned.

But that's a tiny quibble. This book is gorgeous, both in words and in art. It's not a series of standalone poems. Instead, there is a section for each season, but the whole thing flows completely smoothly. It wants to be read in one sitting, not teased apart. Regardless, here are a couple more favorite bits:

Green floats through rain-dark trees,
and glows, mossy-soft, at my feet.


Red splashes fall trees,
seeps into
every vein
of every five-fingered leaf.
Red swells
on branches bent low.

This is a whole new way of seeing the world, and I love it. When my younger daughter was little, she made everything into families. Where I saw salt and pepper shakers and red pepper, she saw Mom and Dad and Baby. Everything fit into families--numbers, colors, butter (yes, butter), and all manner of things. Sometimes I could see the connection, and sometimes it eluded me. It wasn't just make believe--it was actually how she perceived things. I remember reading a bit about synesthesia around that time and thinking that my daughter's family filter was just a few branches away on that tree of oddness.

Anyway, when I read this lovely picture book, I felt like I had been handed a new pair of magical glasses through which to see the world. So put on a pair and read this book:>)

The Poetry Friday Roundup this week is at Anastasia Suen's Picture Book of the Day!
Tags: joyce sidman, poetry friday
Comments for this post were disabled by the author