What comes to mind when you read this title?
If you’re a child, well, it’s obvious, right? Ew!
But if you’re a poet like Michael Odom, it’s secret code, a play on words, for ekphrastic.
Odom explains that ekphrastic is “a very big, very cool word that will impress a teacher and probably earn you an ‘A’ on your report card. If somebody asks you what it means….Just say it means writing that is inspired by, prompted by, or responding to a picture.” I would expand that to include poetry inspired by any work of art.
In this book, Odom bases his poems on paintings with an eye toward making the poems resonate with children.
Can you tell he’s a parent? Odom’s poems are playful and not the least bit childish. I also appreciate that he doesn’t “write down” to his reader.
He encourages readers to let the paintings on these pages inspire their own poems—which is exactly what I did.
Here’s my ekphrastic take on that sleeping mama and baby:
The babe’s asleep, or so I think.
Perhaps it’s time to catch a wink—
Or two, or ten, or twelve, a score?
My brain’s now locked behind the door
of never-never-land. The cradle rocks
beneath my hand, and I,
I dream the dream
of sweet deep sleep. No need
to count those pesky sheep.
This chapbook would be an excellent resource for teachers and parents, alike, to inspire poetry in children—and perhaps in more than a few adults.
Title: Ick! Fran’s Tick!
Author: Michael Odom
Publisher: CreateSpace, 2018
It’s now available on Amazon.