Poetry Friday: All about Reverso Poems

poetry friday logoIt’s Poetry Friday! Please visit my friend Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for today’s round-up of blog links.

I promise I won’t bore you with posts related to my OWL, mirror, for the next year. But today I’m acting on Tabatha’s suggestion to talk about reverso poems.

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Image via Amazon

Marilyn Singer made quite a splash in 2010 with the release of her picture book of poems, Mirror, Mirror. She is credited with creating a new poetry form called the “reverso.” The poem can be read down the page, and again in reverse or up the page, with changes only in punctuation and capitalization to create a poem with a new meaning. Read this fine interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast & see examples. (Bonus: another mirror book is mentioned in the post.) Josee Masse’s illustrations take these poems from “cool idea” to “Wow!”

In my opinion, one of the reasons these two collections work so well is the fairytale theme — readers are familiar with the subject matter and can pick up on the nuances of meaning changes in certain words.

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Image via Amazon

The team paired for another fairy tale-themed book of reversos in 2013, titled Follow, Follow (which my favorite librarian, Denise, gave to me!) Read a great review here.

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Image via Curiouser and Curiouser by Sherry Dill

Several poets we know and love have written reverso poems:

Amy Ludwig Van Der Water

April Halprin Wayland

Tabatha Yeatts

(And Tabatha offers some great links to learn more about reverso poems and the book Mirror, Mirror.)

Mary Lee Hahn, Julie Larios and others from our Poetry Friday family participated in a challenge.

Marilyn Singer won the 2015 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to masterfully managing a challenging poetic form, she has a significant body of work — more than 100 books for children and young adults.

Do you have a reverso to share? Please post it or a link in the comments!

Author: Keri

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: All about Reverso Poems

  1. I think you’re right that writing about stories we know helps readers pick up on the nuances in Singer’s reversos.
    Love the ones you shared by Amy and April! Is that a tarantula on Amy’s page in the photo? I had a nightmare about tarantulas last night, so that particularly surprised me!! (I should probably get over my tarantula issues…)

    1. I think it *is* a tarantula — but not on Amy, on a different teacher. I’m not overly fond of spiders, myself. Much like Ron in Harry Potter, I’d rather follow the butterflies!

  2. I went to Marilyn’s presentation at NCTE this year and won a copy of Follow/ Follow. We read them and tried in my class but found it extremely challenging. She has a new reverso book out this year, I think. Taking a clue from the use of fairy tales, maybe we should try writing about a common class novel.

    I will check out your links. Thanks!

  3. Marilyn’s brilliant — reverso poems must be very challenging to write. They’re such fun to read. She has a third book of reverso poems too, right?

  4. I am in awe of reversos. Methinks I’ve found a challenge for this Month of Poetry I am doing. Thank-you for sharing all the links! 🙂

    1. Please post here again when you have something to share! I’ve not written any myself and am quite intimidated, because I want it to be as good as Marilyn Singer’s! 🙂

  5. I’ve never written, indeed, never tried to write a reverso. Frankly, they scare me. But thank you for this wonderful post, full of links to reverso examples and resources. I am putting it in my “pocket” to review at more length later.

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