Poetry Friday: Echo & Echo

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Carol Wilcox @ Carol’s Corner

Image result for echo and echo singer

Writing poetry does not come easily to me no matter how hard I try to wrestle carefully chosen words, weighted with meaning, into well proportioned lines and stanzas.  So, poets and the poetry they create remain on an never to be attained pedestal for me.  Then, there are those poets who are able to take this craft and create a new invention of the form, which leaves me all the more envious and dumbfounded: such is the invention of reverso poems by Marilyn Singer.  This is how she describes what reverso poems are:

A reverso consists of two poems. You read the first poem from top to bottom.  Then, you read the poem again with the lines reversed, with changes only on punctuation and capitalization, and that second poem says something completely different.

Echo & Echois Singer’s third collection of reverso poems, here are the previous two, which I now need to order as soon as possible:

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poems  Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems

Seeing two sides to every story is habit we as a country would do well to cultivate, especially, it seems, these days.  In my classroom, we encourage each other to share and explore  perspectives, it is one way to become more empathetic to each other, to discover deeper meanings in what we say and what we do.  This is the power of Singer’s poems, too.  Read one way we see one experience, reversed, we see the same words shape shift into another, equally important meaning.

Here’s my favorite one, the story of Icarus and Daedalus:


and here is the same poem as it appears in the book, gorgeously illustrated by Josee Masse:

 Image result for echo and echo singer

I can’t wait to share this collection with my students – and to try this form of poetry, however poor the efforts, in my own poetry notebook.


13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Echo & Echo

  1. I have tried reversos and they are nearly impossible. Marilyn makes them seem easy. She is a master. I have the first two books but want to add this one to my collection.

  2. Marilyn Singer is flat out amazing with this form! So glad these books finally crossed paths with you…right form at the right time.

  3. Marilyn Singer’s reverso poems really are amazing! I would love to read an interview where she described her process, because I can’t even imagine how she goes about creating these. I have ECHO ECHO on my coffee table right now– it’s a CYBILS nominee!

  4. Reversos are a form I love, love, love playing with. They are hard….but so fun. Thank you for sharing this. I know your students will love them….and think deeper about meaning when they read and play with them. Have a great week.

  5. All these books of poetry are amazing, I agree. I do like that it’s such a clever way to look at POV. Glad to read your ideas about this one, Tara.

  6. I am in awe of Singer’s ability with the reverso form. Your insight as to how to use these is stunning. To see both sides of a story is a necessary for ourselves and our students.

  7. Haven’t yet gotten my hands on this one, Tara – thank you for sharing. Still seems so fresh, and this the third one. Love this poem pair you featured.

    And, by the way, amazing teachers are on pedastels in my book. You rock.

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