Friday, March 2, 2012

Poetry Friday: For a New Generation of Voters

Poet Janet Wong

Poet Janet Wong has just brought out an upbeat new collection of poems titled Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. When I say Janet brought it out, that's exactly what I mean - the book is not only part of Janet's Poetry Suitcase line of e-books available through Amazon,  but it's also available as a limited-edition paperback the author designed and had printed up in a lovely perfect-bound format with cover art by Julie Paschkis.

The book, perfect for classroom use (Teachers: Heads up!), contains twenty poems about "liberty, kids’ rights, free speech, political debates, unusual presidential candidates, the two-party system, voting, a declaration of interdependence, and a dozen writing prompts." One of my favorite poems in the book shows just how fractured our points of view about a candidate have become: 


You're So "In"
                     Easy to Ignore
Smooth Sweet Talker
                     Grouch Out of Touch
                     Thinks Too Much

 To encourage classroom conversations about our electoral process (and we could use a new generation of pro-active voters who understand the need for civility and interdependence in that area, couldn't we?) Janet includes  "A Voter's Journal" at the end of the book where kids from the youngest right up through young adults can jot down their thoughts about issues and candidates.

If you're local to the Seattle area, the paperback is available through Sue Nevins' wonderful all-kid bookstore, Mockingbird Books, over in the Green Lake neighborhood. It's also available, along with a Kindle-ready edition, online through Amazon.

Janet's books Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams and Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions occupy a special place on my poetry-for-kids bookshelf. She cares deeply about poetry for kids, and she is a model of energy, enthusiasm and community-building for all who know her. We sometimes have lunch together, along with other writer friends, when she visits family in the Pacific Northwest, and I always come away from out conversations scribbling down ideas for new books! I admire her for finding and embracing new ways to publish her books and for sharing all she knows about how to do it. She and Sylvia Vardell have been busy putting together the Poetry Tag, P*Tag and Gift Tag e-book anthologies, which I'm proud to say I contributed to. Check out what Janet has to say about e-books at her website.

And you can read a few more excerpts from The Declaration of Interdependence over at Elaine Magliaro's wonderful blog, The Wild Rose Reader.
The Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by Dori over at Dori Reads. Head over there to see what people are sharing.


  1. I still haven't done it, but must download this, & share with the teachers at my school. I've seen it reviewed somewhere else & loved the poem there too, like the one you shared just begs for conversation! Thanks for all the info Julie!

  2. Hi Julie, this does sound like a book that would be perfect in the classroom/ My ten year old daughter is beginning to learn about the elections, political parties and such, I thought that this would be a lovely supplemental material. Will look for it in our community library, many thanks for sharing.

  3. Linda and Myra: I'm so glad that you like the book and will look for it! FYI, is having a "buy X, get Y free" promo now. Go to their website, click on "children's books," and look for my Meet the Author book (this is the X), and you'll get DECLARATION for free--a pretty good deal.

    Julie: thank you for your post! I love seeing which poems are chosen by which bloggers. I'm not surprised that you like "The Two-Party System" because that is one of the more subtly discussion-provoking poems in the book.