The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects by Paul B. Janeczko (Mod 6)


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Janeczko, Paul B. The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects. Candlewick Press: Somerville, Massachusetts, 2015. ISBN 9780763669638

Plot Summary:

This book is an anthology of poems collected throughout history. Starting with poems written in the Middle Ages and spanning to modern day poems, this book is delightful and sure to entertain children.

It’s interesting to see all the poems written years ago. What surprised me was the lack of structured poems. I used to think that traditionally, poems used to always rhyme. I’m surprised to see that that’s not the case.

Critical Analysis:

This is a beautiful collection of poems.I do love how the different poems in here make you think. If you look at an object, what strikes your mind concerning it? What would you write about it? What do you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel? How does it make you feel? These are all questions you ask when you write a poem, and these are all the things answered when you read this book. The poems are consistently beautiful. I was able to appreciate all of them. Not all the poems were the same type, they all had their own rhyme schemes, imagery, metaphors, and other elements. They were each unique. Street Lanterns by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge is a poem consisting of eight rhyming couplets. The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe has an ABAB rhyme scheme. Some are short, like Fan-Piece for Her Imperial Lord by Ezra Pound, which is three lines long, where as some, like The Cat by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, are two pages long.  This is a great books for kids, because it will make them look at the world  and the object and people in it differently.

Example Poem: 

“Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the clud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Evan as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.”

Snow-Flakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This poem is found on page 43, and it is beautiful. This is by far my favorite poem. Each stanza ends with a rhyming couplet. The word choices, such as “countenance” are beautiful and are easy enough for kids to read without being overwhelming. I thought this poem in particular was well written. The imagery is beautiful, I can see the “woodlands brown and bare” and the “troubled sky”.


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Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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