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Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  215 ratings  ·  40 reviews
What do we feel when we look at a great work of art? What does a poet feel? Heart to Heart offers an original way to approach poetry and art -- with new works by distinguished American poets, specially commissioned for this book by editor Jan Greenberg. Prompted by paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs by American artists working in the 20th century, these poems le ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Harry N. Abrams
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List for #nerdprintz
23rd out of 62 books — 13 voters
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73rd out of 77 books — 898 voters

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Community Reviews

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Erin Ramai
Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art is appropriate for students in grades 6 and up. It received a Printz Honor Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2002.

In Heart to Heart, poets and artists are involved in silent, meditative and creative conversation. The artwork speaks to the poet and the poet speaks for or about the artwork in the form of poetry that tells a story either about the art or the poet's life, gives a voice to the object or person depic
(NS) Lauren
Grade/Interest Level: 6-12

Heart to Heart offers an original way to approach poetry and art—with new works by distinguished American poets, specially commissioned for this book by editor Jan Greenberg. Prompted by paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs by American artists working in the 20th century, these poems lend a new meaning to “art appreciation” and make each page of Heart to Heart an exciting discovery.

This anthology of original poems inspired by American artwork was a true integr
Krista Stevens
Famous and not so famous American artwork accompanied by poems by famous and no so famous American poets. Would be great in the classroom with a document camera. Consider for Creative Writing, 4-12. (At SHS)

My favorites:
"Stag at Sharkey's" oil of two boxers by George Bellows paired with "Ringside" by Ron Koertge

"Tar Beach" acrylic on canvas bordered with printed, painted, quilted and pieced cloth by Faith Ringgold paired with "From Above" by Angela Johnson (absolutely brilliant - both pieces)

Jessica Hanley
This collection is a great read for people of all ages. It features poerty melded with artwork to truly appeal to all different types of creative minds and learners. This collection highlights the different physical ways that poems can the laid out. It was important to me to find great examples using this, because I think it will appeal to my students to get to do this. One of my favorite poems is " Fresh from the Island Angel," which is about a child moving somewhere different, but holding on t ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: Sonlight Curriculum
This certainly isn't the most conventional book of poetry, as it is all new and inspired by certain 20th-century works of art (which are also included in this book). It's not something that everyone would enjoy, but I know I did immensely.

I think one of my favorites in this slim volume was "The World, Starring You" by Naomi Shihab Nye. How I long to have been alive to see Broadway in the Roaring Twenties! I also remember really enjoying "Fresh from the Island Angel" by David Mura.

I'd really reco
Greenberg introduces this collection by stating that the poems, which are inspired by the images, are arranges in “four distinct but complimentary motifs:” there are stories, which are “poems that conjured a memory or tell an anecdote.” Some examples of poem/art pairings include “Woman at the Piano” (poem) by William Jay Smith with “Woman at the Piano” (painting) by Elie Nadelman; “The Bison Returns” (poem) by Tony Johnston and “Standing Buffalo” (sculpture) by Charles M. Russell; and “Early Sun ...more
I read and used this book when I taught teens about poetry and creative writing one summer. We used it to guide our own trip to the Art Museum and writing creatively about that art (I subsequently had a piece published from this project, too, inspired by an Edmund Teske photograph).

Rereading it, I'm surprised (and pleased) how many well-known poets are included. The art selected is a nice range of styles and the poetry, too, ranges from really restricted form poems to free verse.

Staci Browning
I enjoyed this book of poems. It was interesting because it really focused on different variety of poems and it gives a different perspective of the way poems can be written. The authors were all different and I really enjoyed almost all of their works.

One of my favorite poems was by Carol Boston Weatherford, titled "The Brown Bomber" This poem was about a fighter named Joe, who they called "The Brown Bomber". This poem was interesting in the diction she used, and the story was really interesti
Art/poetry combo that was a Printz Honor book. Not a bad intro to 20th c. art, but I found the poetry to be somewhat forgettable.
Penny Ziegler
Michael Printz Book

VOYA Book Review Codes ~ Quality 5Q; Popularity 2P; Grade Level Interest M, J, S

Developmental Assets: None

This book is a magnificent book! The numerous art works represented are top notch and the accompanying poems by a variety of poets are first rate and relate well to the art work.

The book is divided into four sections. The poems accompanying the art pieces "Woman at the Piano," "The Brown Bomber," "Early Sunday Morning" and "Big French Bread" were particularly interesting.
An anthology of original poetry inspired by American art. An impressive cast of poets is featured, including: Jane Yolen, Nancy Willard, X. J. Kennedy, Naomi Shihab Nye, David Mura, and Angela Johnson, among others. Artworks by Thomas Hart Benton, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Grandma Moses, Faith Ringgold, Man Ray, Georgia O'Keeffe, and more serve as subject matter. Each poem is presented next to a photograph of the artwork. The book includes biographical notes on the poets and artists, as we ...more
Todd Burleson
This is an additional title for 520

With the premise that a photo is worth a thousand words, I love the idea that images can inspire so many different poems. Jan Greenberg organized the poems in this book around four central ideas: Stories, Voices, Impressions and Expressions. These four themes provide the link between the sometimes disparate poems. As one who loves photography, I was drawn particularly to the photographs. My favorite image in the book is by Alfred Stieglitz entitled: The Steerag
1. Genre: poetry, junior books

2. Summary: This is a collection of poems, each one inspired by a twentieth-century American work of art. It features famous artists such as Jackson Pollock and Georgia O'Keefe.

3. Critique:

a.) My favorite part about this book of poems is the artwork.

b.) Artwork can be defined as many different things. It could include what most people consider art, asthetically appealing paintings, drawings, etc. but it can also include words strung together to create a beautiful po
Initially, I thought this book was amazing and had decided I was going to get a copy for the kids to have. I really liked that you had poetry inspired by and about art. I also read this a little while after we'd finished going through a pretty solid poetry unit with the Corbin. Following that assignment, I felt compelled to find poetry books for the kids to have so that they could broaden their minds a bit and start to become intelligent and worthwhile persons. (I'm sure people who knew me when ...more
Eileen Corbett
Heart to Heart is a unique collection of poetry. Each poem was inspired by a work of 20th century American art. The artwork represents some of the most important artistic movements of the past century. The poetry was written by distinguished American poets whose work allows the reader an opportunity to see the artwork from a new perspective. Together the artwork and poetry form a beautiful image which highlights the power of art and language to touch the soul. Sections in the book include storie ...more
I loved my high school English teacher's assignments to write in response to art; perhaps that's why I enjoyed "Heart to Heart" so much. The editor has collected art from such luminaries as Georgia O'Keefe, Christo and Jackson Pollock, and put them side by side with poetry inspired by the pieces. The writers and poets are excellent, too, including a few who write for children, like Naomi Shihab Nye. Some of the poems are abstract and difficult; others are light and amusing. There's a whole wide ...more
I thought this anthology of poems was quite entertaining. Each poem was written by a different person and was somehow inspired by a twentieth-century American work of art. What made it even better was the fact that the poem appeared on the page next to the artwork that inspired it. That made it easier to see how the poet was impacted by the art and made it more friendly to read too. It is in color with large pictures and is divided into four section based on the themes of the poetry. For someone ...more
I am really confused as to why this won a Printz Honor. I found nothing remarkable about this book. In fact, I was a little bored while reading it. The artwork was not very impressive, I didn't feel moved by the pieces. I was also unfascinated with the poetry. I did not feel as if they added to the artwork and vice versa. The reason this book doesn't have the lowest rating is because it just was not absolutely horrible. I would not recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.
This is a book of poems created by various famous writers. Each poem was inspired by a work of twentieth century American art which appears on the page with it. The pictures, unfortunately, were the best part of this book. Some of the poems were well-crafted and offered a unique idea, but most of them failed to draw a meaningful interpretation from the art they were connected to and came across as sloppy and tired. A cool idea poorly executed. Recommended to people interested in art, but not so ...more
This book is a fine introduction to ekphrastic poetry. I will use this collection in my creative writing class. Some of the poems could have been stronger, but I think this book was geared toward middle schoolers, perhaps even younger students, and this could explain why some truly excellent art pieces merely got a diamante or exclamatory outburst splattered over the page in response. My favorite poem, though, is Ron Koertge's "Ringside."
(Young Adult Poetry) This book was a lot of fun. Poems were written about Twentieth-Century American Art. Some were joyful and funny, while others were contemplative and sad. It's a great start to poetry for any reluctant poetry readers. I kept showing the book to my husband while I was reading it because it so visually stimulating. My favorite poem-art marriage was "From Above" by Angela Johnson, written for Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.
The wonderful thing about this book is how no two people will respond in the exact same way to the individual works it contains. While I thought all of the poems were well-written, the ones that I really stopped to think about were the ones by Janet S. Wong, David Harrison, and Bobbi Katz. I would definitely recommend this book to those with a special interest in poetry as the premise and its execution would be of particular interest to them.
Lisbeth Solberg
I checked this out from the children's section of the library, and while idly reading, not too focused, I came across a poem about Christo's umbrellas. We went to see the California ones; the poem reminded me of our excursion.

"...somewhere/ north of Los Angeles/ one cold day/ a child walks past grassy hills/ and remembers how/ yellow/ sprang from the earth/ to soak up the sun."
I enjoyed this collection of 20th century American art and poems. Each poem is written by a different poet, and the written works range from narrative to emotional. The paintings also range from photo-realism to abstract to sculpture. It was a fun collection and a neat way to see how people view art and to meet new poems and art pieces.
I gave it a 4 because there's no halves. I gave it a four because of it's good selection of art for YA and accessible poetry. I liked "Naming" by Joy Harjo the best. Only one, in my opinion, missed the work it inspired. Not naming. But an easy read for an adult.
Apr 23, 2012 Megan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 7th grade and up
Recommended to Megan by: "Why I Write Poetry" School Library Journal April 2012
Works of twentieth-century art are paired with poems. Students who resist poetry might find this a good place to start because the poet's inspiration is shown in the art work; they can see where the poem is coming from and maybe understand it a little better.
What a clever idea for a book! However it lacked the WOW factor on both the poems and artist images. I'm not a big poetry fan but some of the poems did have me re-look at the art work. Also interesting that most of the poets were from the Midwest.
I wasn't too impressed with this collection of poems. I had really high expectations before reading it, and I thought the concept of combining contemporary poems with modern art was great, but the book really didn't live up to my expectations.
Beautiful teaching resource that combines powerful poetry with amazing artwork. I could easily adapt this resource into a student project where each writes a poem inspired by the American works of art in this book.
This is a beautiful collection of poetry and art. A couple of the poems even inspired me to pick up a notebook and pen. My personal favorite was 'Lessons from a Painting by Rothko’ by Robbi Katz.
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