Poetry Friday Roundup, January 26th
Beatrix Potter's Farm, and a New Biography

Poetry Friday: "Hugging the Rock"

This morning I started reading Susan Taylor Brown's Hugging the Rock, a novel in verse that was just named to the American Library Association's notable children's books list for 2007. I can tell I'm going to like it, although the beginning breaks my heart. The first poem "No Room" opens with these lines,

When my mom decides to run away
she packs up her car
with all the things that matter most
to her.

(That "to her" standing on one line all on its own is good, isn't it? Very effective.)

As an adult reader, judging from the title and that opening sequence, I foresee this first poem's inevitable conclusion:

By the time she's done
there's no room left for anything else.
No room left for Dad.

And no room left for me.

I want to find out what happens to Rachel, the preteen daughter of a woman I'm guessing is bipolar.  I'll find out more as I read. I'll sit down later on this Poetry Friday and finish Hugging the Rock

See the blog Book Moot for a full review of the novel, which is written for 9 to 12 year olds, and visit author Susan Taylor Brown's own blog while you're out and about. [Updated to add: I finished this wonderful book; its mature emotional theme, the adjustment of a preteen to her mother's abandonment of her, makes it most appropriate for 12+ readers, in my opinion.]

I am on Poetry Friday roundup duty today, so please leave in a link in the comments in the post below this one. Thanks!


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I reviewed Hugging the Rock back in September. I can still come pretty darn close to quoting that opening sentence/stanza verbatim, because it packed such a punch. Even without moving past it, you already know that Rachel's not getting in the car. Talk about packing a wallop.

I'm sure you're going to enjoy the rest of the book -- Susan did a spectacular job with it.


I've posted three wintry poems written by Dorothy Aldis at Blue Rose Girls.

Thanks for mentioning Hugging the Rock for Poetry Friday. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book.

Loved "Hugging the Rock"! It's really stayed with me over this year too.

Thanks, Susan, for rounding up PF. I'll be back next week.

Here's my link:


We had a Poetry Friday entry today, though I'm late in reporting it: Eisha muses on needing some snow already here.

I particularly liked the blog post Susan Taylor Brown did several months ago where she walked through the various edit-versions of that beginning.

Love, love, love this book.

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