Thursday, April 2, 2020

STONES and ILLUSIONS: Poetry Collections by Charles Ghigna, Part I: Reviews

Charles Ghigna, aka Father Goose, is known by many readers for fun poetry for kids. The last time I featured him, I shared his book, Strange, Unusual, Gross and Cool Animals. (You can see two of his other children's books that I've reviewed here: First Times, and Who Can?). This time I'm showcasing his two new poetry collections, STONES: The Collected Short Poems of Charles Ghigna and ILLUSIONS: Poetry & Art for the Young At Heart. No question about it: as entertaining as Ghigna's poems are for children, his poems for adults are thought-provoking.  

In this post, I'll provide poetry samples from each book. In the next post, you'll get a peek inside Charles's writing process. Leave a comment on each blog post and you'll be entered into a special giveaway. I'm giving away my copy of STONES and Charles is giving away a copy of ILLUSIONS--autographed by himself and his illustrator--who just happens to be his son! 

If you are new to my blog, please leave your email address with your comment so I can add your name to the giveaway list.


Almost all of the poems in this collection are four lines or less. The description that came to my mind when I read them was "poetry snippets." As you read some of my favorites, consider the imagery and figurative language that Ghigna uses. (I wish I was teaching a creative writing class right now so I could use these as examples!)

Some of Charles' poems rhyme:

Picket Fence

Around the summer house it stands
like rows of children holding hands.


But most don't:


The hot whip enters,
holding at the end
a fragrant man.


Many of the poems make you look at something in a different way. Like this one:


Sturgeon swim into the eye of liquid moon, 
leave shining sleeves of self and salt,
hide upside-down from each new birth of sun
like bats without wings.


His poems can make you smile, 

Homerun Voyeur

Again the crowd rises,
watches Gravity lift
her heavy skirt of down.


or think:

The Ballet of a Boxing Fan

A crushed program in his fist,
he moves in his ringside seat
at spotlight's gauzy edge
like a dancer with no legs.


Some poems are sad,

Attic Haiku

Stacks of old phone books
hide in the shadows like bound


Some are puzzles.

Honest Lies

You weave words
in webs of fire.
You turn Truth
into a liar.


And many are philosophical:

Loco Motion

Time, a runaway train,
races through the tunnel vision of our future
while we sit and stare at the mirrored windows
of our past.


The poems in Illusions are longer, but just as thought-provoking. Here is a sample, along with a few illustrations by Chip Ghigna, Charles' son.


I'm going on vacation in my mind
I'm going there to see what I might find.
If I'm not back by half-past eight,
Please don't stay. Please don't wait.

Please don't call. Please don't write.
I'm going, going out of sight.
Please don't cry and carry on.
I'm going, going, going--gone.

Earth Bound

In the vastness of time and space
We ride this one little star
Never stopping to ponder our fate
Or how fragile and fleeting we are.

Optical Allusion

Like the baby who first 
sees himself in the mirror
and thinks he has met a stranger,

we shuffle through the old photographs
searching for the one we used to be.
But no matter how many times we smiled,

no matter how many times
we combed our hair and acted coy,
no matter how many times

the camera made us small,
we can only guess the fate 
of this smiling, young stranger

who once resembled us
this smiling, young stranger
we hold like a fortune, in our hands.

The last poem in this book is so beautiful, I had to include it.

Final Lines

Artist. Poet.
Creative minds.
We spend our lives
Making lines.

We paint.
We write.
All day.
All night.

Lines connect.
Father. Son
Lines that bind
To make us one.

Chip and Charles Ghigna

Poetry Month

Celebrate National Poetry Month--buy a book of poems! And now that many of you are spending more time at home with your children--read them poems and help them develop a love for wordplay. Come back next week for an interview with Charles and more information about the giveaway. Remember, leave a comment on both blog posts and your name will be counted twice!


Theresa Milstein said...

Oh, I love all these poems!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you Theresa, so do I!

Danielle H. said...

Poetry is so much fun to read and try to write. Thank you for kicking off my poetry month.

Carol Baldwin said...

You are welcome, Danielle. You have lots of time to write poetry now!

JDSchein said...

So proud to have grown up with the Chip & the Ghignas and to see their works meshing beautifully together 20 years later!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, JD! What a neat person to grow up with! Please leave me your email address in case your name is drawn next week.

Linda Phillips said...

Ok, so you know I want this!! Posting now!

Carol Baldwin said...

You;d love it, Linda!

Charles Ghigna said...

Thank you, Carol! Chip and I are honored to have our work featured on your beautiful blog today. These books are our first father-son collaborations. You and your blog are an inspiration to us all.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
thanks for doing a review of these poems by Charles Ghigna. My favorite was

Attic Haiku
Stacks of old phone books
hide in the shadows like bound

Celebrate you and Charles.
Never Give Up

Carol Baldwin said...

That poem hit me too, Joan. Your name is on the list!

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