Bill Traylor & the Third Graders
Listening to Books, January 2013

Poetry Friday: Walk This Way


In case you're reading this post on a mobile phone, the above work of art reads,

A poem doesn't do everything for you.
You are supposed to go on with your thinking.
You are supposed to enrich
the other person's poem with your extensions,
your uniquely personal understandings,
thus making the poem serve you.

Gwendolyn Brooks, (1917-[2000]), "Song of Winnie"

The sidewalk on the south side of 41t Street leading up to the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue is called Library Way, and contains many of bronze plaques like the one above with quotations about literature and writing. Sponsored by the New York Public Library and the Grand Central Partnership, Library Way stretches from Park Avenue to Fifth, and was created by the artist Gregg LeFevre.

The Gwendolyn Brooks excerpt is about poetry, sure, but it's also an extended metaphor, encouraging an active engagement with life and the world around you. That's why I liked it so much, and took a picture one sunny morning last summer.

For other poetry posts this morning, see the roundup at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.


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I love finding poetry "in the wild."

Yes, it's so much fun! I liked the poetry in the subways some years back, too.

This is great! Thank you for telling us about Library Way. I want to go there! You and Tabatha have extended our horizons today by showing us locations we may not be able to access easily.

My brother has sent me some of those quotes (he lives in NYC). Someday I want to see them for myself!!

In case you didn't make it back to my PF post for the answer to your question in the comments -- Yes, I'm 5th grade this year. Fifth grade language arts. We switch classes in 5th at our building, so I have one group for 2 hours in the morning and another group for 2 hours in the afternoon. Reading, writing, and word study. It's one kind of heaven!

Joyce, you are welcome. I'm always interested in the intersection of words and geography!

Mary Lee, yes, it's lots of fun to read the sidewalk! Literature in unexpected places... Your new gig sounds really good. I bet the kids are reading all sorts of good books. The reading workshop approach really worked for Jacob in fourth and fifth grades; he read a lot of books in school during those years.

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