Friday, November 16, 2012

Poetry Covers

I like looking at cover art. For instance, I've posted covers from Shirley Jackson's works, Les Misérables, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's The Magic Flute, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

This week, I took a look at poetry book covers. I found that children's poetry book covers are often more fun, more exciting, more intriguing than the ones for adults. Maybe publishers think children need the bells and whistles and adults don't. Still, it would be nice for more covers for adults' poetry books to reflect that something special is happening inside. Why not have a remarkable container for a remarkable work?

Many of us who celebrate Poetry Friday are probably familiar with wonderful children's poetry covers, so I am mostly including great adult covers below. But I'll start with a few kids' covers...yes, I know we're all already familiar with Shel Silverstein's books, but I think it's worth taking a moment to admire the art. He did it right.

I think a good cover makes you linger over it for a moment.

New and Collected Poems for Children
by Carol Ann Duffy

Poke in the I
by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Adult works:

Every Dress a Decision
by Elizabeth Austen

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, translated by Red Pine
Designed by Valerie Brewster

Poem, Revised: 54 Poems, Revisions, Discussions
Edited by Robert Hartwell Fiske and Laura Cherry
Book cover art by Judy Benson

Beauty is a verb

A magazine:

32 Poems

And two album covers:

Break Beat Poems

Poems about the Ocean

Yesterday's post featured gifts for art-lovers.

Anastasia at Booktalking is our Poetry Friday host.


madelyn said...

Like looking at at the album covers, too.

jama said...

Oh, thanks for these -- you've found some great adult covers.

Interesting observation about adult poetry covers in general. Too many of them are staid and serious, bound to frighten off any prospective readers. Do you think it's because many are published by small indie presses with limited budgets? Much of the art used on adult covers feels too static to me. Not emotive enough. And poetry is all about emotion -- or so I thought.

Ed DeCaria said...

Good thought starter. I was just in B&N looking at poetry books Wednesday night and I agree they are subdued. I suppose one could say "respectful" -- but it's valid to question whether or not adult poetry could be more successful commercially if the entire genre was marketed on shelf in a more lively way.

Robyn Hood Black said...

I love these, Tabatha! Thanks for sharing. Must say I'm not always crazy about the POETRY magazine covers. Though I like the one you featured here.

Author Amok said...

Thanks for posting this, Tabatha. Covers are so important. Every issue of Little Patuxent Review, our contributing editor for art proposes a cover artist and a specific work, then we have to run it by the designer to see whether the image will translate to a journal cover. I remember the Silverstein covers making a big impression on me. A cover does set the tone for your experience with a book.

Anastasia Suen said...

I love that last one - the ocean with fingers! Wow!

Susan Taylor Brown said...

What a different way of looking at poetry books. I loved seeing all these covers. Thanks for sharing them with us. Some seems so perfect, like the ocean book, others (not pictured here) make me scratch my head and wonder what the marketing group was thinking.

Violet N. said...

What fun! Book covers intrigue me in any case, so looking at poetry book covers is doubly interesting.

I'm thinking of joining Pinterest, and book covers would be one of my pin boards (or whatever they're called). May be back to 'pin' these!

Linda B said...

Great to see all the different ones, Tabatha, & I do love the covers of the ones for chldren best, I agree with you. I looked through some of my own adult anthologies, & they are rather bland. I do like this Cold Mountain cover & love all things by Paul Janeczko, & look who did that one: Chris Raschka! Thanks for calling attention to these!

Renee LaTulippe said...

I LOVE book covers and am the first to admit that I do indeed judge a book by its cover. In fact, I've noticed that cover art doesn't seem to have much importance in Italy (or my aesthetic is just completely different), but the books here depress me, so I don't buy them. I'm a visual gal and I want a wow factor to pull me in - especially since I never start a book without first studying the art, rubbing my hand over it, and then reading every single word on front, back, spine, and front matter. It's a pre-reading ritual I can't do without.

I see what people are saying about the staid adult poetry covers conveying some sort of respect, but that's exactly what's wrong with it in my opinion. The majority of people already think poetry is dull or scary or something to be revered and whispered about, and those dishrag covers aren't helping the cause. Why must poetry, even serious poetry, be approached in hushed tones? I don't get it.

Anyway, little rant there. But I'm glad you found these covers, especially that last one with the wave-hands. That would (did) grab my attention!

Ruth said...

What a wonderful collection of covers! Thank you!