It’s been a great long while since I last participated in Poetry Friday, but when I happened upon this beautiful picture book, I wanted to share it. Actually, it took a close examination of the book itself for me to realize that while the illustrations in the book are new, the poem itself is not. I don’t remember ever having read any of Philip Booth’s poetry before, so this was a nice introduction.
“Crossing” is a poem in which Booth really captures the feel and sound of a freight train going down the tracks. You can read the poem in its entirety here, as well as get a feel for how I assume Booth originally composed it: as a concrete poem.
It was actually the illustrator of the picture book, not the author, that first caught my attention at the library. Bagram Ibatoulline illustrated Crossing, and as usual, his illustrations beautifully capture the bygone days of country roads criss-crossed by railroad tracks and children who played around (and almost under!) the zooming trains. My girls got a kick out of the fact that Mobile is mentioned in the poem, since we were headed to Mobile ourselves a few days after we read it. I don’t think I appreciated the poem fully in picture book format, but for me, this book is more about the illustrations than the poem. It would be fun to pair the original poem (in its concrete form) with the picture book and discuss the effect the form has on perception of the poem.