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A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems
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A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  476 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
Even kids who don’t know they like poetry will love this playful, visually accessible collection of thirty concrete poems—illustrated by a Caldecott Honor artist!

Concrete poems startle and delight the eye and mind. The size and arrangement of words—or even just letters on the page can add or alter meaning, and poems can take the shape of crows and fly off the page. Or beco
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published 2001 by Candlewick Press
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(NS) Sue
Nov 18, 2009 (NS) Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a colorful collection of concrete poems by an assortment of authors. Some are only one word, but the arrangement of the letters conveys the message beautifully, as in "Stowaway" by Robert Carola. Others have playful words swirling across two pages such as "Skipping Rope Spell" by John Agard. The often zany illustrations made of torn paper, ink, and watercolor captivate the reader without taking away from the arrangement of the poems themselves. This is a unique book for grades K-6 which ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
This book offers an interesting and unusual collection of concrete poems, some of which only consist of one word, some merely taking the shape of the theme of the poem, others comprised of nonsensical words.

The poems are fun to read aloud and the watercolor, ink and torn paper illustrations really complement the poems nicely. We enjoyed reading this book together.

I would recommend this book for older children, as they can more fully appreciate the interaction of the shape and flow of the poem
Charlie Beck
Apr 04, 2013 Charlie Beck rated it really liked it
A collection of children's "concrete poetry" poetry that includes a visual element- words arranged a certain, specific fonts and sizes, etc.
Mitchell Thacker
I don't necessarily like poetry books. I think this one is for littler kids ages somewhere between 5-7. But, if I was that age I would probably like it a little more.
Chris Calzolaio
Nov 04, 2016 Chris Calzolaio rated it liked it
This is an illustrated book of concrete poems written by a variety of authors and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The poems are arranged according to subject. For example, pages 28 and 29 both have poems about zoo animals, pages 16 and 17 have poems about popsicles.

I liked some of the poetry in this book, but I didn't really love the book as a whole. A couple poems really stand out to me though. I liked "queue" but I really loved "Tennis Anyone?" That was really a fun poem to read!
Nov 14, 2014 Rhayne rated it really liked it
When I first heard the term concrete poem I imagined a large piece of cement laid out in front of me. In my gloved hands I carried a chisel along with other tools, preparing myself to shape the block in front of me into something which reads as realistic. Although concrete poems in no way involve cement, unless of course in subject matter, my original interpretation is not far off of what a concrete poem actually is. A concrete poem is a poem which acts as a picture, in other words the subject m ...more
Alison Flemming
Sep 21, 2012 Alison Flemming rated it really liked it
A Poke In The I a collection of concrete poems by Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka. (Candlewick Press 2002) 35p. Poetry.

Summary: This book explains what concrete poems are and shows many examples of concrete poems. There are unique illustrations throughout the book to go along with each poem.

a. This book on poems can be very helpful for students when studying concrete poems. There are many examples throughout the book to help students get a grasp for understanding poetry. There were m
Lana Harriman
Feb 23, 2015 Lana Harriman rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-children
Personal reflection - This was a super ironic, super silly, yet super fun poetry book. The imagination of some people really blows my mind. I found many of these poems to be cute and creative. In the first few pages I found a poem titled, A Poem, and all it reads is..."a poem moves down a page faster than a novel." This was funny to me because it is short and sweet and so very true. As a child I used to love reading poetry books because I felt accomplished when I would finish a whole book even t ...more
Grace Willits
Nov 23, 2013 Grace Willits rated it it was amazing
This book is a great display of concrete poems! "A Poke in The I" is a collection of special poems, categorized as concrete. The editor supplies a description of concrete poems at the beginning of the picture book. This would be a great resource for teaching students about different types of poetry. Students will be inspired to create poems that show what they are saying, or their structure supports what they theme of the poem is. Chris Raschka’s illustrations for each poem further the visual ap ...more
Kyra Calnan
Nov 09, 2013 Kyra Calnan rated it really liked it
A Poke in The I is a collection of special poems, categorized as concrete. The editor supplies a description of concrete poems at the beginning of the picture book. This would be a great resource for teaching students about different types of poetry. Students will be inspired to create poems that show what they are saying, or their structure supports what they theme of the poem is. Raschka’s illustrations for each poem further the visual appeal of the book. He uses different patterns to create i ...more
Jazmin Lomeli
Apr 30, 2016 Jazmin Lomeli rated it it was amazing
A Poke in the I is a collection of fun and easy to read concrete poems that are intended for ages 6-10. I found this book to be super awesome because it give skids a chance to dive into poetry which is something that a lot of kids don't find interesting and this is a fun way to do poetry. Taking this from the editors note "Concrete poems are different from regular poems; in fact, they're a lot more playful, as you might guess from the title of this book. What are they, you ask? Well, a concrete ...more
Mar 18, 2016 Merle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A Poke in the I by Paul Janeczko
Grade level: 2nd-6th
Genre: Poetry

“A Poke in the I”, is a collection of 30 concrete poems that were written by different visual poets. I liked the author’s explanation of concrete poems. He said, “The words may wiggle about, curve around, or hurtle down the page, but they will always startle and delight the eye”. Every poem has a unique shape; even the Table of Contents and Notes from the Editor are written in concrete form. This is now one of my favorit
Feb 23, 2014 Michaela rated it it was ok
Shelves: 642
This is a children's poetry book for ages Kindergarten - 3rd grade

This is a concrete poetry book with selections that will have you turning the book to read some of the poems and pulling the book in close to read others. Each one is visually unique. And there are even some directions on the flaps on how to write concrete poems. I love some of the poems in the book. They capture the essence of childhood things so perfectly. the popsicle, the balloon, jumping rope. Others are just fun to read like
Oct 30, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fab-40-file, poetry
1. Genre- Poetry
2. Awards- None
3. Grade Level- 3-4
4. This is an incredible book to use to introduce the idea of concrete poems to students. It is a collection of fun concrete poems that students will find very entertaining. As a follow-up activity, I will first discuss what the elements of a concrete poem are. Every element my students tell me, I will ask them to find an example in the book to make sure everyone truly understands the concept. I will then have students pick from a series of rando
Sep 18, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
A Publishers Weekly Cuffie Award Winner: Best Book of Poems
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book
An ALA Notable Children's Book
A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Winner

This collection of concrete poems invites curiosity and humor. Readers can explore each page, as the words of the poems are formatting in clever, witty ways. While not all poems might make sense to chi
(NS) Becca
Nov 17, 2009 (NS) Becca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
see goodreads review

This book was an immediate hit with my students. The children love to see all the different ways that a poet can arrange words to express ideas. This book teaches children that poetry is about expressing oneself through words. The poems have various elements of poetry interspersed, including imagery and rhyme. There is one poem that plays with sound and is called "visual soundpoem". I believe the poem is trying to express the word gong and how the sound reverberates through t
Jordan Parker
Sep 09, 2016 Jordan Parker added it
Shelves: poetry
This poetry book of concrete poems demonstrates for students how form changes meaning. This connects to the units’ understandings: students will understand that change has purpose and power. I would ask students: If we changed the form of this poem, how would it affect the ideas, themes, and overall meaning? I’d have them choose a poem and reformulate it to a different form. Afterwards, I would have students create their own concrete poem, using the book as a model text, and by playing with diff ...more
Amanda Rutledge
Sep 26, 2012 Amanda Rutledge rated it it was amazing
"A Poke in the I" is a fabulous collection of concrete poetry, all written by different authors but illustrated by the same person (Chris Rashka). I truly enjoyed every single poem in this book. Not only does it help introduce the idea of concrete poetry to students, but I feel that it may help some students actually find enjoyment out of poetry. The concrete poems are designed to stimulate the eye and the brain, and they almost seem like a puzzle to challenge the reader. Because of this, it is ...more
Nikole Rettman
This is a poetry book. Solid ballads startle and enjoyment the eye and psyche. The size and game plan of words—or even just letters on the page can include or modify importance, and ballads can take the state of crows and take off the page. Alternately turn into an inflatable loaded with rhyme floating away from outstretched hands. On the other hand fourteen overflowing lines can get to be "Happiness Poem in an Irregular Universe." Here in a solitary remarkable volume are thirty sonnets from a p ...more
Jessica Peacock
Mar 24, 2016 Jessica Peacock rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book for upper elementary students (2nd grade -6th grade) who need a little inspiration during writer's workshop! This book is fun to read and provides creative visuals for students to enjoy. Allowing students to explore this book at their own pace would be a good idea because the book's visuals are somewhat busy! It would be hard to capture the true essence of some of the poems if the book is being read to students. However, as a teacher, I would only consider this book as a ...more
Demi Burns
Dec 03, 2015 Demi Burns rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-books
A Poke in the I is a book that is only full of concrete poems. It is humorous, friendly, and for all ages. It is full of large, abstract, and colorful illustrations. The poems in this book can be as short as the word "CAT" on a chair, meaning “cat chair,” to a tennis poem, with the words reading from side to side (like on a tennis table), to a complex poem about a dove swimming in the water with its reflection showing, all written in the shape of a swan. This has been one of my favorite books to ...more
Fisal Ansari
Jul 08, 2011 Fisal Ansari rated it it was amazing
Grades 9-12

Poetry "Concrete Poems"

Perspectives by various multicultural authors.

Amazing artwork to go along wtih each poem. This can be classified as image narrative.

Personal response:
I thought this book stood out the most to me so far. It has poetic form and gives us a new way of looking at poems and thinking about poems. Some of the poems take many different shapes and are written in circular form whisping around and others are very abstract and go along with
Wendy Daniel
Nov 05, 2013 Wendy Daniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: lis-4510, lis-4700
I had no idea what a concrete poem was until I checked out this book after a friend recommended it to me. It is an entirely different way to look at poetry, and I can see how a kid who "doesn't like poetry" would be intrigued. They are about visually interesting and often cannot be easily read out loud. It's all about how they look - their shape, color, movement, and flow. I liked it and found it incredibly creative. It's fun and enjoyable but not necessary relaxing because it takes energy to ab ...more
Kelli McKenna
Feb 26, 2015 Kelli McKenna rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems was an amusing read. The poetry throughout the book was a bit obscure at times, making the poems entertaining. I would recommend A Poke in the I for the younger level readers like first or second graders because the vocabulary is not too difficult and first or second graders would enjoy the easy to follow flow of the poetry. This collection of poetry would make for a fun read aloud at the start or end of each day because it is not full of informati ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
Published 2001.

This is a unique collection of concrete poems. Concrete poems are visually related to the content of the poem. The words may be arranged in a shape that connects to the text of the poem or the font/type may illustrate the text of the poem. The illustrations by Chris Raschka make this unusual collection even more eccentric and enjoyable.

The themes in this collection are as varied as the poems themselves, but include love, sight, food and nature.

This is a superb way to introduce con
Stephanie Kahn
A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems is a collection of thirty poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The thick black text cleverly takes the shape of the subject it describes. Some are simple like “Cat Chair” which is a picture of a chair with the word cat sitting on it. Some are more interesting like “Tennis Anyone” in which the text is set on the far left and right sides of two pages encouraging the eye to alternate between the sides simulating a tenni ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
This is an unusual collection of concrete poetry in that includes poetry from every different angle of concrete poetry. I liked it. It was an unusual collection that readers from a variety of different levels could appreciate. I'm a big Janeczko fan, so this was a treat for me, though I wish he'd written some of the poetry and that Raschka only illustrated some of the book, allowing for other illustrators to contribute where the style fit better. An unusual collection, but a pleasure to find. I ...more
Mackenzie W
Mar 05, 2012 Mackenzie W rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the first poetry books that I've actually enjoyed. The book is a collection of "concrete poems" and they don't take on the form that most people associate with poems. The poems are clever and whimsical. My favorite poem in the book is "Skipping Rope Spell" by John Agard. It reminds me of what it was like to jump rope as a young girl. The words curl around themselves on the page, almost in the same way that a jump rope curls around the jumper while they play.

Although this
Laura Schroeder
Apr 21, 2009 Laura Schroeder rated it liked it
This was an odd book. The format of the concrete poems was very interest, which helped make the book for me. A concrete poem is a poem where the poem is written to look like a shape, usually a shape that the poem is about. For example a poem entitled balloon was in the shape of a balloon. I liked the variety of subjects, pictures, and literary elements used in this book. It was a good collection of concrete poems. It is book worth looking at just to see the wide variety of shapes words can make ...more
Kassie Houston
Oct 31, 2013 Kassie Houston rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fab-40-file, poetry
Genre: poetry
Grade: 3-4
Award(s): none

This is a collection of concrete poems. A concrete poem is in which the visual elements are as important as the text. I will explain to my children the oncepts of a concrete poem. After, I will have students pick out what image on their worksheet is concrete and what elements allowed them to know it was concrete? This will let me know that my children understand what a concrete poem looks like. For an activity I would assign them to write a concrete poem for
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Paul B. Janeczko is a poet and teacher and has edited more than twenty award-winning poetry anthologies for young people, including STONE BENCH IN AN EMPTY PARK, LOOKING FOR YOUR NAME, SEEING THE BLUE BETWEEN, and A POKE IN THE I, which was an American Library Association Notable Book.
More about Paul B. Janeczko...

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