This new collection of poetry from Zaro Weil is a real delight. Beautifully written poems that shout out to be read aloud and a perfect collection as we emerge from lockdown into a bright new spring. I loved it!
Annie Everall OBE, Director Authors Aloud UK.
Troika Books to publish poetry from Zaro Weil
Published February 26, 2021 by Tamsin Hackett
Troika Books will publish When Poems Fall From the Sky, a new poetry anthology by Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award-winner Zaro Weil in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The publisher holds world rights to the anthology, which was an in-house project devised and created with Weil. Publication is slated for June 2021, with full colour illustrations throughout by Junli Song.
The synopsis reads: “At its heart this new anthology of poems, raps, rhymes, haiku and little plays is a tender and thoughtful love-letter to earth, promising children a riot of imagination, humour and joy. In exquisitely illustrated full-colour pages trees, birds, animals, rivers, flowers, mountains and insects each share their own magical stories. And the stories they tell, the ‘poems’ that fall from the sky, subtly and powerfully illuminate our hope and collective role as guardians of our earth.”
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will sell When Poems Fall From the Sky through its shops and website and will support with promotion of the title.
Roy Johnson, commercial director at Troika Books said: “Troika is delighted to be involved in the publishing of this wonderful book and a special thanks to RBK for all their help and support in making this book happen.”
Weil commented: “It has been an incomparable thrill to write this poetry book in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Not only because, like the rest of the world, I stand in awe of Kew’s scientific exploration and guardianship of the natural world, but because I believe that science and poetry are simply meant for each other and that our particularly human appreciation of the natural world is, at heart, poetic. Writing this book has given me the opportunity to share my personal view of nature through the prism of the extraordinary, enchanted and thoroughly magical Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.”
Gina Fullerlove, head of publishing at Kew said: “We are delighted to be associated with this beautiful little book inspired by our gardens. Connecting with and understanding nature is ever more important in these times and this anthology provides an enchanting way for children and adults to do just this.”
Weil and Song also worked together on the poetry anthology Cherry Moon, also published by Troika in 2019, which won the CLiPPA award in 2020.
POETRY AND NATURE
A Wonderful Double Act
What child doesn’t want to wake up and feel free as the breeze. To go through the day on a whistle and hum. And to conjure up all the magic, mystery, curiosity and wildness they can at the same time.
Yep. One happy child. Something each of us wants for all those kids in our charge. And what is it that nourishes, creates mystery, promotes curiosity and provides that ultimate whistle and hum? Not hard to guess. Nature. The ever-present universe of creatures, plants and atmosphere here on earth. Pure and simple.
Now, let’s you and I take a walk outdoors. What do we see? Hear? Maybe there is sun. Or wind. A bird flies by. Some leaves rustle. Of course there are many other things going on. Problem is most of us don’t always catch a lot of the comings and goings of the natural world: the scuttling of bugs, the intricacy of veins on an oak leaf, the shape and colours of ever-shifting clouds or the candied scent of rotting leaves.
Now ask a child when they are outside. It doesn’t matter if they are outside in a park, on some patch of rough ground in the city or walking through a wild and woolly forest. They are in their ‘outdoor’ world. A world of play. Of running hard. Laughing hard. Looking hard. Tangling with nature. Even if nature is a scraggly weed popping out of asphalt, a patch of smooth lawn or a leaf-covered woodland floor. It doesn’t matter. For wherever outdoor lies, the child is inordinately serious about it all.
Children perceive and experience the world of nature with a closeness, excitement and clarity of vision we adults often lack or have forgotten. The child will not just point to a worm wriggling in the ground. He reaches down to get closer. To see it. Maybe to pick it up.
There’s more. Nature encourages imagination. A whipped-up ocean may trigger the possibility for unfettered ideas. A beautiful meadow or sparkling stream could offer a chance to dream big. The quietness of a dark sky perhaps allows us to feel at ease with our own silence. Or maybe the shape of some dead creature floating on a canal at night might unleash hidden thoughts that lurk deep within.
For if we look or listen to something long enough and hard enough the object in view magically . . .transforms. A new identity is born. Rocks become figures, shadows grow real, a single leaf rustle can tell a whole story.
Nature looms large with children’s emotions as well. Biting cold wind, gentle snow falling, a hot sun, a swirling river or the glimmer of moonlight on rooftops; these things we experience on the outside can shape inner experience and emotions to a high degree for a child.
How does poetry fit in with this romp in nature?
The first place to start is words. And meaning. And imagination.
Poetry is created through a particular and unexpected musical placement of words. Words which encourage the reader to see and ‘get’ things in a new – almost tickling – way.
Just imagine for a moment the adult ‘you’ steps outside and sees a dandelion. Most of us see…well…a dandelion. ‘What is that dandelion doing?’ someone asks. ‘It is waving in the breeze,’ you might reply.
Then ask a child what that dandelion is up to. They might say without blinking twice, ‘It’s tickling the sky.’ Or, ‘It’s telling the sky a secret.’
This personalization of the environment is the beginning of metaphor. The first sparks of poetry. How does the fog come? It comes on little cat feet.
by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet
it sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on
My point is that the child’s first response to nature is poetic. They endow nature with a special quality. The dandelion is like something else. It is like THEM because the dandelion sees the sky like a person would. SO the child has anthropomorphized something in nature. Nature has given the child the wide-open freedom to see, question, and imagine anything they want. Trees become figures. Those clouds are battling dragons. The wind is telling me a secret. Nature is personal. Things are LIKE something else. And at once we have metaphor. The heart and soul of poetry.
This rich world, this world of spectacular imagination and poetic play is also the world of language. For stories and poetry are the way information has been shared and passed down through generations.
Interaction with language is vital for exercising the imagination. When we hear a powerful poem we visualize it. . .feel it. . .and even become it a little. And not only that. We learn to ‘super’ listen. To hear both the words and the silence between them. To see both the trees and the spaces between them. Our experience is enriched until we are magically transformed. And the more exacting and exciting the language, the further and deeper our visions can travel.
William Wordsworth didn’t just see or describe the daffodils dancing outside. He got inside and became them. Tangled with them. He danced with daffodils in his poems. He understood nature from the inside out.
‘And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils’
( from I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth)
A child gathers in the world and learns through the senses. And through play. And what better place to harness senses than that great provider. . .nature. Because when these senses are fed, nurtured and developed they become a bustling exciting storehouse of sense memories. A great learning-pad and enabler of understanding, perception and problem-solving.
The child is poised at the beginning of a long quest for definition and self-identity. And what better way to fill in the mystery of who you are on the inside, than by looking at and becoming part of the mystery that is nature, outside
With poetry we can, with a brief wave of an enchanted wand, imagine a different world and provide the child with a set of new resources. Resources where an inside-out, upside-down and made-up world is taken seriously and having tea with an elephant is normal.
Not only does poetry allow us to be who we are, but it gives us the opportunity to be many of the things that we cannot imagine ourselves to be. Listening to a poem, writing a poem, sharing a poem, hearing and feeling the swing and sway of the words, experiencing them, seeing them in our mind’s-eye, grips us. Even if we may not understand every single word, it is all part of a magical and evocative inter-active learning process.
As teachers, librarians, educators, parents, poets and artists, our challenge is to help keep young minds not just listening but involved, curious, questioning and open.
And what finer way to enable our kids to live and learn free as a breeze with a whistle and hum, than through that wonderful energizing double act of . . . nature and poetry.
Children’s Poetry Summit
AUTHOR AND POET
Zaro Weil: A Glimpse; Adult Poetry and Children’s Poetry
A few years ago, after a talk about children and poetry, I was asked about the difference between adult poetry and kids’ poetry.
A Cheshire cat grin rolled over me. I didn’t have to think twice. ‘There really is none,’ I replied with a smile. ‘A good poem is a good poem is a good poem. Of course themes and language will be different. Age and emotional suitability may vary. But poetry for children is not – at its heart – different from other poetry.’
Let’s take a glimpse at the basics. Just a glimpse.
What is it we expect when we read a poem?
The first thing is simple. There is an invitation. Something in the title or opening line says, Come on in. I have an idea you’re going to like.
Sounds good. We decide not to close the book or turn the page. We read further. The poet is communicating a vision we intuitively like. He or she is talking to us the way a friend might.
Zaro’s Cherry Moon won the CLiPPA Award for Children’s Poetry this year.
From that first invitation a good poem offers, the child is often more than willing to suspend what they already think and allow themselves to be transported into another world. Indeed, kids are often more eager and open than adults to step inside and treat the poet as a new friend.
But the words themselves must also spark magic; the swing and sway of the rhythms, meter and sound need to be dynamic. And feel right. It is the poet’s craft with words which creates excitement and meaning for us. Because our brains buzz and light up when the exact right words both sound great and go together. Like they were meant to be.
As for sound musicality and language acquisition, these are the child’s very own domain; one filled with the joy of rhyme, the thrill of rhythm and the love of onomatopoeia to name a few.
And what is it the poet says to us? Is it clear and sunny enough that we can relate to it? Are the words bright enough in the lines we read for us to ‘get’ it.
Next we ask if this poem inspires us. Do we feel the poet’s unseen presence in his words? Does the poem burrow down to ignite those misty moon-lit thoughts we have but don’t know very well? The thoughts that are deeper and richer than our everyday words and ideas. The ones that allow us to imagine a new way of seeing things.
For imagination relies upon the senses; of what we have seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled and remembered. A good poem creates the words and sensations that call upon the reader’s personal memory store and then graciously offers up the possibility to re-imagine, re-pattern and re-position the reader’s own understandings.
Children grow in the ambiguity of light and dark. In the bright logic of facts and ideas about the world. But they also grow in the belief that there is something else. Something unknown, dark and uncontrollable. Being close to and accepting the mysterious plays an important role in a child’s development. A child is open to being moved by a poem.
And precisely because children play and because imagination is the currency for this play, a good poem can ignite a child’s mind. And as children are close to both their sensory understandings and memories, a good poem has the potential to fly them into a universe pulsing with possibility.
To finish my reply to the question, I think we all, at every age, respond to the same human impulses; the ones which lead us to better understand and illuminate the world we find ourselves in.
And that is why my Cheshire cat can’t help but smile.
Zaro Weil lives in southern France with her husband and Spot Guevara Hero Dog, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, hares and loads more. She has been a lot of things; dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector, historian, author and publisher. Zaro’s two poetry collections, Firecrackers and Cherry Moon were widely praised; with Cherry Moon being awarded the CliPPA Poetry Award for 2020.
Zaro Weil is like a child in a candy shop of our planet. Cherry Moon is like an outpouring of her joy and interaction with the natural world, a celebration of life. Therefore we exalt in the ‘crayon- box wildflowers’ that ‘hurtle and tumble/ skimble-skamble/ harum-skarum/ helter-skelter’– After the Purple Rains. Then we wonder upon ‘This Tiny Bean’ which has ‘sprung from a bean flower’ This bean is ‘never in a million years/ just any old/ bean’ for it has been ‘sought‘ by ‘weightless butterflies’ and ‘generations of insects‘.
There is advice offered to readers, for example upon ‘How to Get Lost‘ that we should ‘dive into the notes of [our] favourite song’// ‘hitch a ride on anything exploring anywhere’. Even something as solitary and passive as a rock is reckoned with as in ‘Don’t Be Bored Rock‘, for ‘once you were orange fire/ thundering down some/ mountain slope/ or hurtling silver sleek/ through deep sky’.
Cherry Moon is so generous, not only in the wealth of wonderful poems, but in the depth of its celebration. Furthermore Junli Song’s prints elevate each poem; they capture each theme and feeling perfectly in their decoration.
We travel through seasons, time, bird, beast and nature, landscapes, styles and feelings. I’m reminded of William Carlos Williams, for example in Plum Tree, which we visit through the seasons. In winter it’s reminded that if we ‘wait a little while/ juicy things will fall into [my] mouth/ like sweet snow’.
Finally, haiku is used wonderfully throughout this book. Every poem captures the essence of its subject succinctly and confidently.
Cherry Moon is a bold, bounteous and bursting book of poems. Bookwagonloves it and recommends it thoroughly to all readers, writers and poetry lovers.
LOVEREADING VIEW ON CHERRY MOON
100 poems inspired by the natural world and filled with a sense of joy and wonder
Winner of 2020 CLiPPA
At a time when children need nature more than they ever have, Cherry Moon is a book to treasure. It contains one hundred short poems – intense bursts of colour, sound and sensation, all inspired by the natural world – a plum tree coming into fruit , the moon in a rosy twilight sky, that noise your feet make walking through mud… Though they seem over in a moment, there’s a thoughtfulness and depth to the poems that will make you pause and images that will stay with you, so that you’ll find yourself returning to them again and again. It’s a superb introduction to poetry for the very young and a wonderful book to share; beautiful to look at too, thanks to Junli Song’s stunning screen print illustrations.
Culture et loisirs
Zaro Weil remporte le prix britannique Clippa
Zaro Weil nommée.
Le jury du prix a constaté : “Au cours d’une année de publication de poésie
exceptionnelle pour la jeunesse, le jury a été particulièrement impressionné par la
variété de la poésie de Zaro Weil, les opportunités qu’offre Cherry Moon pour partager
des poèmes à haute voix et parce qu’après des mois de confinement, son livre répond
au besoin grandissant des enfants pour la poésie et la nature. Cherry Moon répond
exactement à ce dont nous avons besoin en ce moment. Un voyage magique, ancré
dans la beauté naturelle et un sentiment d’émerveillement et d’espoir commun.”
Un recueil de poèmes merveilleusement évocateur, une célébration joyeuse de la
nature et du langage, la nature des Cévennes et du Salavès, bien sûr. “L’exubérance
ludique du texte et les illustrations complémentaires ont un immense attrait pour les
enfants mais il y a aussi une attention sous-jacente à l’environnement que les parents
et les enseignants, partageant le livre avec des jeunes, apprécieront. C’est un livre à lire
et à relire”, conclut le jury.
L’annonce du prix 2020 a été révélée lors d’un spectacle de poésie en direct, dans le
cadre du The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.
“Cherry Moon”, est illustré par Junli Song, aux éditions Troika Books.
Correspondant Midi Libre : 06 14 70 17 95
Littérature, Gard, Sauve
Publié le 23/11/2020 à 05:06 , mis à jour à 05:14
Poète résidant à Montpellier et à Sauve depuis
bientôt trente ans, Zaro Weil a reçu le prestigieux
prix britannique Clippa (Centre for literacy in
primary education) pour son livre Cherry Moon
(Lune de Cerise en français), un livre de poésie