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Are rhyming PB's or stories considered 'Poetry?'

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I'd love feedback on this from those of you who write verse or rhyming PB/stories.  I was told that these are the same thing, but I don't think that they are. Unfortunately I am not versed enough in the topic of Poetry to explain the 'why' of it to others.  HELP!!!!!!!!!!!  :hug1:
#1 - July 16, 2007, 06:39 PM
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Mmmmm...braaaaains...
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Any takers on this one??  I made a plate of double chocolate brownies... :yup
#2 - July 16, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Donna

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ooh Brownies -- I'm in. :)

I am not an editor and I don't yet have a published book. But from everything I've read and the way I understand it, poetry and rhyming PB's are different animals. If you have a book of poetry, it's different than having a rhyming PB. One is a compilation of different poems that may or may not have a running theme. A rhyming PB has a beginning, middle and end that happens to rhyme.

That is probably as clear as mud. But I answered, nonetheless -- so hand over the brownies. Do it quickly and no one gets hurt.

Hugs,
Donna
#3 - July 16, 2007, 07:35 PM

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Yikes!  Here--take them, take them!

*throws brownies and runs*

I found this on line: Poetry began in prehistoric times when people passed down their oral history in poetic language and song. Through the years, three main kinds of poetry have developed: lyric, narrative, and dramatic. Lyric poetry is any short poem. Narrative poems are ones that tell stories, an epic or ballad. Dramatic poetry also tells a story, but in this case one or more of the poem's characters acts out the story.

So, my understanding is, unless we're talking about an epic or ballad, a poem is an idea or a feeling/emotion/description exploration. Rhyming PB's and stories are just like prose stories except they have meter and/or rhyme. They contain all the elements of a story--plot, characters, theme, etc.  And I in the ballpark?
#4 - July 16, 2007, 07:40 PM
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 07:42 PM by Momzilla »
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shelly

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I think it all depends how you define poetry. Below is the definition of poetry from dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/poetry):

po·et·ry      /ˈpoʊɪtri/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[poh-i-tree] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun 1. the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts. 
2. literary work in metrical form; verse. 
3. prose with poetic qualities. 
4. poetic qualities however manifested: the poetry of simple acts and things. 
5. poetic spirit or feeling: The pianist played the prelude with poetry. 
6. something suggestive of or likened to poetry: the pure poetry of a beautiful view on a clear day

According to this definition, a rhyming picture book could definitely be considered poetry, IMHO.

#5 - July 16, 2007, 07:49 PM

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Hmmm...Good point. But still, don't most PB's have more to them than descriptive, evocative words? Most seem to still tell a story, or allude to one...but them maybe poetry does too.  I'm so confused... :confused2:
#6 - July 16, 2007, 07:57 PM
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Donna

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I think you have to be able to write good poetry in order to have a good rhyming PB -- but I don't think I can agree that a PB is considered a book of poetry. It is a story that rhymes, not a book of poetry.

Here's a good link to an interview with Marilyn Singer. Her books are described in terms of poetry books and rhyming picture books. Different stories, different categories. If they were the same, wouldn't all the books be lumped together?  http://www.writing-world.com/children/singer.shtml

Joy,
Donna


BTW -- BUUURP. The brownies were delicious. You don't happen to have any milk, do you?



#7 - July 16, 2007, 08:00 PM

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Thanks for the link, Donna!  I'll check it out.  I'm getting flack from some users on another board I moderate because we allow rhyming picture books and stories to be critiqued, but not poems in general. I'm trying to figure out how to explain the difference, but as I said, this isn't something I'm an expert on. 
#8 - July 16, 2007, 08:04 PM
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shelly

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don't most PB's have more to them than descriptive, evocative words? Most seem to still tell a story, or allude to one...but them maybe poetry does too.  I'm so confused... :confused2:

Just because a rhyming PB is poetry doesn't mean that poetry is a rhyming PB.

Maybe it's like saying that an apple is a fruit, but not all fruit are apples. Does that make sense?
#9 - July 16, 2007, 08:08 PM

shelly

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Donna, I didn't check the link, but I think usually a poetry book is a collection of many poems. That's not the same thing as a PB, which is one story, or one book length story poem. :) Again, I'm not answering about this specific link because I didn't have a chance to read it, but that would be my guess. 

Momzilla, why don't you just say that you only critique book-length manuscripts. That way you avoid the question of whether PBs are considered poetry.
#10 - July 16, 2007, 08:13 PM

Donna

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Donna, I didn't check the link, but I think usually a poetry book is a collection of many poems. That's not the same thing as a PB, which is one story, or one book length story poem. :) Again, I'm not answering about this specific link because I didn't have a chance to read it, but that would be my guess. 

Momzilla, why don't you just say that you only critique book-length manuscripts. That way you avoid the question of whether PBs are considered poetry.

That's what I was trying to say, but didn't do a very good job of it. :) A rhyming PB is written in RHYME -- but it's NOT a book of poetry NOR is it one big rhyme. My online crit group critiques rhyming PB's AND poems -- but we know the difference between the two. Perhaps suggest they read up on the different genres?

Joy,
Donna
#11 - July 16, 2007, 08:19 PM

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Great--thank you guys.  This is just the answers I was looking for.  :)
#12 - July 16, 2007, 08:22 PM
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shelly

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A rhyming PB is written in RHYME -- but it's NOT a book of poetry

Right. Basically, a rhyming PB is poetry, but not A BOOK OF poetry. :)
#13 - July 16, 2007, 08:34 PM

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The other thing I think makes the difference is even in the cases of PB's that don't actually form a story in the traditional sense through their text, they definitely do through the help of their illustrations.  The two work in tandem to create a story, not just to express a feeling or create an image like a poem might.
#14 - July 16, 2007, 08:38 PM
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There are often differences, of course, but there are certainly many fine poems that could be turned into a rhyming picture book.  For example, "Casey at the Bat" is a poem, but it is easy to imagine it being set out over several pages with illustrations and being a compelling picture book.  If the words are metrical and rhyme, but can stand alone and be appreciated, it doesn't mean that they can't also be adapted to a picture book format.  The full verses of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" are a wonderful children's poem, but could also be the text of a picture book.   In fact, the ideal rhyming story/picture book would have words that are good enough to stand on their own and do not need to use pictures as a crutch to be appreciated.  Take those words and give them beautiful and insightful illustrations, and the book is a treasure.

If the question is a practical one, however, to deal with agents and publishers who say "no poetry," my guess is that they would still consider rhyming picture books and that they mean no collections of poems.
#15 - July 17, 2007, 05:47 PM

Caroline

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What an interesting thread!

I think you guys really helped describe and differentiate the two. Well done! I'm gonna print this off in case anyone ever asks me that very question!
#16 - July 18, 2007, 12:25 PM

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Hi Momzilla,

The only difference is how it is sold.  Green Eggs and Ham could have been sold as a poem to a magazine.  I think it would be impossible to make such a distinction.  I guess you might make it clear in your goup that all material subbed for crit is material that is to be marketed as PB text.

BTW: There are PBs produced with a collection of poems by Douglas Florian and Calef Brown.   Call these books what you want, but they're sold in the 32 page format in the picture book section.  You might need to clarify your rules.  It sounds like no one likes critting verse;)

Quote
I'm getting flack from some users on another board I moderate because we allow rhyming picture books and stories to be critiqued, but not poems in general. I'm trying to figure out how to explain the difference, but as I said, this isn't something I'm an expert on. 


Bill

P.S.  Casey at the Bat has been sold as a picture book.  So has the poem 'Twas the night before Christmas.
#17 - July 19, 2007, 01:22 AM

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Thanks Bill.  :)  That's pretty much how I worded it--that the verse/rhyming PB's were book length on their own and therefore fine for submission.
#18 - July 19, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Scotti

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A collection of poems can be marketed as a PB. A friend of mine has her second one coming out this spring from McElderry. There is a "theme" for each book, but the books contain separate poems, each standing on its own. There is no "story" (beginning, middle, end).
#19 - November 07, 2007, 02:13 PM

kellyr

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Rhyming pbs usually tell a story. The poems Bill referenced, Casey at the Bat and Twas the Night Before Christmas (and Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat) all convey a full story.  Andrew Clements's recent book, Dogku, tells one unified story through interlocking haiku -- it's sold with the picture books, not the poetry books. Jack Prelutsky's collection of individual haikus, If Not for the Cat, was a collection of individual poems, not a unified story. It is stocked with the poetry books.

A poetry collection is a collection of poems, not a rhyming (or free verse) poem that tells a single story.  Collecting up enough poems to fill a picture book doesn't make it a picture book text -- it'd still be a poetry collection of individual poems. 

Fuzzier would be something like Carole Boston Weatherfor'ds Dear Mr. Rosenwald, which is in free verse, in individual poems, which when read together, tell a complete story.  I could argue for having a crit group look at that, if the "rules" are picture books only. But probably not individual poems which couldn't be their own book.
#20 - November 07, 2007, 02:20 PM

shelly

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A poetry collection is a collection of poems, not a rhyming (or free verse) poem that tells a single story.  Collecting up enough poems to fill a picture book doesn't make it a picture book text -- it'd still be a poetry collection of individual poems. 

I agree with this fully, Kelly.

I wonder if Scotti is trying to say that a poetry collection can be published in a pb-like format? In other words, when it's sitting on the shelf, it can look just like a pb. Is that what you mean, Scotti?
#21 - November 07, 2007, 04:01 PM

picturebookwriter

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OK. So if an agent/editor says they don't rep poetry, then we can't submit our rhyming pbs to them?
#22 - November 07, 2007, 06:52 PM

shelly

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OK. So if an agent/editor says they don't rep poetry, then we can't submit our rhyming pbs to them?

Poetry and rhyming pbs are two different genres. So you'd be fine to sub a rhyming pb to an agent or editor who doesn't want poetry.

Now if they say they don't want RHYME, that's a different story. 
#23 - November 07, 2007, 06:58 PM

Anastasia

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I'd like to add a word..."narrative." (That's what I teach: narrative poetry and poetry collections in the picture book format.) A narrative poem is a poem that tells a story.

Picture books that have rhyming stories fit into this category - so do longer poems for adults. 

The picture book is a format - a way we print books.
Poetry is a genre (like fiction and nonfiction.)

These can overlap is all sorts of ways! That's what makes it fun! 

:-) Anastasia
Learn accentual meter, the meter used in nursery rhymes.
Picture Book Poetry Workshop * http://www.asuen.com/w.poet.html
#24 - November 08, 2007, 05:37 PM

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Reading this thread has made me smile.  I love all the different opinions.  I tend to agree with Anastasia. I believe that agents and editors who say they don't want poetry are meaning that they don't want rhyming PBs because many times the meter is off and the rhyming is forced. 

Judith
#25 - March 08, 2008, 10:20 PM
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zoetman

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Verse is one kind of poetry, frequently used in children's picture books.  All verse is poetry but not all poetry is verse.  There are different kinds of poetry, such as epic poetry, free verse -- no rhyming --, etc. Verse is only one kind of poetry.
#26 - April 06, 2008, 02:01 PM

Rena

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I'd like to add a word..."narrative." (That's what I teach: narrative poetry and poetry collections in the picture book format.) A narrative poem is a poem that tells a story.

Picture books that have rhyming stories fit into this category - so do longer poems for adults. 

The picture book is a format - a way we print books.
Poetry is a genre (like fiction and nonfiction.)

Thanks Anastasia -- that helps a lot.  Very interesting thread too.
#27 - June 19, 2008, 09:14 AM

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