A mix of titles currently on my shelves.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fiddling Around with Poetry

April is National Poetry Month so what better time to talk about Ken Waldman, a.k.a. Alaska’s fiddling poet. Ken is all about two things: making poems and playing his fiddle. Frequently, he puts the two together.

While most of Ken’s poetry books are for adults, he also has a book for kids: D is for Dog Team: Alaska Acrostics from A-Z. Turn the book over and upside down and you’ll find a second title, D is for Denali, between the same covers. The book contains two acrostic poems, each covering the alphabet from A-Z as it traverses Alaska. Some poems, like “P is for Palmer” and “E is for Eek Author’s Festival,” are about places, while others, like “G is for Glacier,” focus on specific aspects of living in Alaska. Ken has seen more of this vast state than most, having travelled just about everywhere for decades, performing, teaching, and writing. His poems reflect that intimacy.

D is for Dog Team comes with a CD that records Ken’s unique blend of music sprinkled with poems, including his two Alaska acrostics. Also for kids is Fiddling Poets on Parade: Alaskan Fiddling Poet Music for kids of all ages. (Follow the links for a sample listen.)

In honor of Poetry Month and Ken’s inspirational dedication to the calling, I offer my own small acrostic.

Ken is Ken,
energetic and eclectic, a rambling
North country guy.

Words flow and meander
as Alaska’s fiddling poet plays. He
lends his poems to
down-home, old-timey
music, the unpretentious kind.
Adds his own
nomadic observations.

 I’m thinking that D is for Dog Team will inspire some Alaska acrostic writing among my students, too. Thanks, Ken!

P.S. Ken is the featured writer this month at 49 Writers. Check out his John Haines poems!

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