gertrude is a rose

Fall 2013 will forever be remembered in this household as the season of ModPo--the 10 weeks where mama was always trying to get back to the computer to watch “those people who like poems as much as the baby likes milk,” as Nicolas described them.  one of the deep pleasures of the course for me was discovering Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein (read in the online edition at Bartleby).  because of all the reading aloud that we do around here, my ear was ready for her play and exploration.  Mabel and i even illustrated a few of her poems.

then AP heard on NPR that there will be a new edition of her book for children called The Earth Is Round with illustrations by Clement Hurd who also did the drawings for Goodnight Moon.  oh!  the sample pages that i’ve read look simply wonderful!  i think my two will love to hear it.

so that sent me to the library to see what else might exist…well, to start with, there’s a new edition of Tender Buttons with illustrations by Lisa Congdon.  again, i haven’t seen this book yet, but the images look oh so good.  there is another book called To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays….also with illustrations.  so, my urge to illustrate Ms. Stein’s poems was a good one!  the thought of all these books waiting for me on the holds shelf at the library is almost too sweet to bear.

we’re also reading Mary Oliver’s new book of poems together called Dog Songs.  happily, it too is illustrated.  one of the first poems we read caught our ear!  is it any wonder?

How It Begins
A puppy is a puppy is a puppy.
He’s probably in a basket with a bunch
     of other puppies.
Then he’s a little older and he’s nothing
     but a bundle of longing.
He doesn’t even understand it.
Then someone picks him up and says,
     “I want this one.”

poetry friday on a saturdaymore poems to be found at Jama’s Alphabet Soup!



  1. I don’t know enough about Gertrude Stein (really, that means I know nothing). You given me a place to start! Many thanks.

    1. i’m so glad you want to make a start with Stein! Tender Buttons was a good beginning for me.

    1. oh, Tabitha! so sorry to hear of your loss. i recommend Dog Songs highly. i think you might find comfort there.

  2. Oh, this is beyond lovely! I too shall scurry off to find a copy of Tender Buttons–thanks for the heads up!

    1. we got To Do from the library…it’s a real hoot. i love that the children are not at all bothered by the “hard” parts and utterly delighted by the strange turns the language takes.

      we also just put Ponyo on hold via your tweet…Rilla-schooling, i call it!

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