Poetry Friday: “Amazing Places” – Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Janet @ Poetry For Children


How to resist this invitation, especially if it involves poetry?

The United States is a vast country full of amazing places.  Come travel the nation and explore beautiful landscapes, fascinating historical sites, and entertaining cultural destinations.  Witness the grandeur of Denali on a summer night, the lively street life of Harlem’s West 125th. Street, the thrill of “flying” while touring a miniature circus, the thundering power of water of Niagara Falls, the enticing array of food and shops in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and more!

Impossible!  That’s how I felt, while reading this collection of poems, Amazing Places,  selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and gorgeously illustrated by Chris Soentpiet and Christy Hale.  Each poem evokes something special about a particularly American place – from Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey to the banks of the great Mississippi River.  I loved the exuberant celebrations of each place, and the particular voice of each poet celebrating it.

Here are two I found especially irresistible, a poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins that celebrates Langston Hughes, and the Watkins Museum in Lawrence, Kansas:


And this one, celebrating a place I hold very dear, Fenway Park, home of my beloved Red Sox:


This is a lovely collection – one I can’t wait to share with my kids, the majority of whom are New York Yankees fans (sigh), but also lovers of great poetry.

15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Amazing Places” – Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

  1. I’m not surprised you loved Charles Waters’ Fenway Park! Wonderful that it’s in this lovely book. I love Amazing Faces, saw Chris Soentpiet last year present. His work belongs in a book with Amazing in the title, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy Christy Hale’s art too. Thanks for the introduction, Tara.

  2. That sound like a fascinating collection! I love the two poems you shared.- especially Fenway Park. My father got recruited for the Red Sox farm team out of high school, but because of WWII, went into the military instead. Needless to say, baseball and the Red Sox were big at our house!

  3. Tara, what a wonderful inside look at a new book for me. The illustrations are great and Lee’s tribute to Langston Hughes provides additional background knowledge and a wonderful last line.

  4. I have never set food in the US, but I like poems about places and poems that capture the essence of a country. The two poems you shared brings those ideas to mind. It gives me a glimpse of the amazing places. -iphigene

  5. Thanks for joining our Poetry Friday crew this week and for this review of Lee’s new book– a marvelous companion to AMAZING FACES!

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