Cover image for Jabberwalking
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2 audio discs (1 hr., 32 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact discs.
A former United States Poet Laureate shares secrets about viewing the world from a poet's perspective, explaining how "jabberwalking" poets draw inspiration from everything they experience to express themselves in creative ways.


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Audiobook SCD J 808.1 HER 2 DISCS 1 1
Audiobook SCD J 808.1 HER 2 DISCS 1 1

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U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is sharing secrets: how to turn your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry.

Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabber Walk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you're in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is here to teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonified, jabberwalking poet Jabberwalkers write and speak for themselves and others no matter where their feet may take them -- to jabberwalk is to be a poet on the move. And there's no stopping once you're a Jabberwalker, writing fast, fast, fast, scribble-poem-burbles-on-the-run. Scribble what you see Scribble what you hear It's all out there -- v monos

Author Notes

Juan Felipe Herrara was named at the Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress. He was Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2014 and is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Poets are Jabber Walkers "with eyes of flame" in Herrera's latest for young adults. Applying this extended metaphor from Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," Herrera, former Poet Laureate of the United States, empowers teens to move with their feet and their voices, using written words to break down walls erected by themselves and others. Divided into 15 instructional chapters, Herrera details the life of a Jabber Walker, offering practical guidance to speak one's truth through poetry. The poet is a master at enticing readers, asking them to read quickly or stop and slow down with an inspired use of vocabulary and alliterative combinations ("screechy, scratchy, crackly clouds"); this is further encouraged by black-and-white illustrations, a smart use of white space, and text in varying sizes. "Jabber Notebook" prose entries provide glimpses into Herrera's life: the day his father died, and how he started walking downtown like his Papá Felipe; the first school teacher who believed in him; and being forced to only speak English in school ("Does that happen to you?" he asks readers). Herrera provides space for budding poets to learn how to write and encourages them to practice using the first secret of this collection: "You do not have to know where you are going! Or what you are saying!" VERDICT Deeply personal and profoundly unique, this is a highly recommended purchase for every young adult yearning to be heard.-Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Using the made-up words of Carroll's "Jabberwocky" as a jumping-off point, former U.S. poet laureate Herrera shows children how riotous verbal exuberance births poetry: "whatever pours out of your bubbly burrito head down to your paper pad thing or liquid screen." He's full of bold techniques for releasing the poems inside his readers ("Scribble what you see/ Scribble what you hear/ Scribble out the electric Jabber worms crawling out of your head & eyes"), and his own free verse zigs, zags, and leaps, punc-tuated with scribbled drawings, playful grammar and spelling, and detours into interplanetary surrealism ("It's me! Zandunga García! From Bunion Junction!"). Along the way, he remembers his farm-worker parents, speaks of being a poet of color in the U.S., and declares that what matters most is "to make all life so beautiful your heart becomes a diamond galaxy." Most of all, he wants readers to understand that they can be writers, right now: "Let's go! ¡Vámanos! Slide on your Jabber Booots!" Poetry manuals can make students roll their eyes, but this one may open their hearts. Ages 10-up. Agent: Kendra Marcus, Bookstop Literary. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

In a loose and jazzy style (and with a nod to Lewis Carroll), the former U.S. Poet Laureate offers instructions for Jabberwalking, or writing poetry while in motion: You have to move fast! / Move, move, movewith your Jabber paper pad in arm and handwell, most of all with your Jabber, Jabberyour burbleswhatever pours out of your bubbly burrito head. The volume is divided into amusingly titled chapters ([The Incredible Chapter Uno] [The Grumbling and Most Gratifying Chapter Doce]) and it weaves elements of the poets day-to-day life (e.g., walking his dog, Lotus) with writing advice and recollection of a plane trip to Washington, DC, to visit the Library of Congress, during which he writes nonstop until he has an ALMOST-BOOK! His punctuation, spacing on the page, and freehand drawings all send the message of encouraging young writers to let their words flow unstopped by convention or constraint, and to allow themselves to jump around and go on tangents and not worry about it: A Jabber poem is a fast poem, remember? A wild poem. An unkempt, messy, dirty poem. An enticing explosion of paint colors on the book jacket and a lot of white space on the large square pages will help sell this to teens who might not think of themselves as poets. susan dove lempke (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In the spirit of Alice's madcap adventure down the rabbit hole, this stream-of-consciousness, metafictive exploration of the poetic process dips in and out of imagined reality as easily as the Cheshire Cat winks in and out of sight. Herrera, a former United States Poet Laureate, launches with an exhortation to "Slide on your Jabber Booots!" Taking writing pad in hand, "You have to move fast!" if "Your burbles are going to become a / Seismic Crazy Epic Poem!" Herrera's rules for Jabberwalking-poets-in-waiting are simple: 1) "You do not have to know where you are going! / Or what you are saying!" 2) "move!" 3) "SCRIBBLE your burbles, your words of thingsJabber!" In this topsy-turvy vision, the brain is really a burrito that spews cosmos-changing revelations to anyone paying attention. "After four hours of nonstop Jabberwriting / YOU! In four hourswill have an / ALMOST-BOOK!" The challenge is to interpret the resulting scribbled "burbles," but fear not, the challenge isn't really a challenge because no one is expected to "understand" or "decipher." A Jabberwalker's sole directive is to create something that's not a "typical poem!" Between looking for the narrator's dog, Lotus, flying to the Library of Congress, landing on the word planet Pluto, and meeting a couple of Jabberbloggers, Jabberwalkers everywhere will have hopped, flown, and leapt through shape-changing exultations that have freed their "Mind-Brains." In the right hands, all the wacky assignments and Herrera's autobiographical "Jabber Notebook" entries will ultimately spawn incandescent thinkers who will leap to the "flamey / Stars!"or so Herrera hopes.An uncommon DIY for exuberant rule breakers. (Nonfiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Poet laureate Herrera conveys his enthusiasm for composing verse in this energetic how-to guide. In 15 brief chapters, he encourages brainstorming (i.e., Jabberwalking) and then quickly scribbling ideas on paper; reviewing for words and phrases that make sense; constructing poems with attention to shape, type size, and font; publishing; and, hopefully, achieving acclaim. Most of the text is conveyed in lively free verse English, with a generous sprinkling of Spanish that brims with references to contemporary life: And if / you are Jabberwalking, that is, moving your blue-cheesy body / across the knobby, bumpy, bean-frijol planet, you too will possess an / honest-to-most-goodness, long, long / Jabber / Poem burble! Including several biographical vignettes (some recalling encouragement from his mother) and frequent line-drawn cartoons, this book may be the best opportunity most of us will ever have to experiencing a Herrera presentation. And although the casual preteen browser may be left confused, in the hands of a gifted educator, this book has the potential to inspire and encourage young writers.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2018 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

BY SHARING POETRY with young people, we are holding a seashell up to their ears. We are giving them an entire ocean of voices, of experiences and possibilities, in a tiny, but beautiful, package. Sometimes, those voices might seem far off and hard to decipher; other times they might sound like home. But they need to be heard. Here are four new books of verse for young readers that should not be ignored. KWAME ALEXANDER BRINGS hIS signature verse to REBOUND (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 4i4pp., $16.99; ages io to 12) It's the summer of 1988 and 12-year-old Charlie Bell struggles to find his footing after his father's death. ("Rebound" is the prequel to Alexander's Newbery Award-winning "The Crossover.") When "soaring above / the sorrow and grief / seemed impossible," Charlie retreats from his mother and friends into the world of comic books. As his relationship with his mother grows strained, and Charlie is caught stealing from a neighbor, he is shipped off to his grandparents for the summer. There, he spends his days doing chores for his "hustle and grind, peace of mind" Granddad, and tagging along while Granddad volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club. There, his basketball-loving cousin, Roxie, gets him back into the game. As Charlie allows himself to enjoy the things he once shared with his father, he begins to pick up the pieces of his shattered universe. I feel a little more normal like maybe he's still here, but not in a ghost kind of way, more like in a as long as I remember him he's still right here in my heart kind of way "Rebound" grapples with grief and loss, but never buckles under the weight of it. Alexander's verse, although slightly more subdued than in "The Crossover," maintains energy and momentum, and Charlie's sadness is skillfully counterbalanced by occasional pages of graphic novel panels (illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile), as well as by fast-paced basketball sequences and pop culture references. Readers familiar with "The Crossover" will find themselves smiling as details of Charlie's early life emerge that give us glimpses of the man and father he will later become; those who haven't read it will find it a strong and satisfying stand-alone book about grief, love and the power of family. THE POET X (HarperTeen, 357 pp., $17.99; ages 13 and up), the debut verse novel by the poet Elizabeth Acevedo, ventures farther into the topsy-turvy world of adolescence. It's almost as if it happens overnight: You wake up one morning and everything seems different - your body, your parents, your neighborhood, your biology lab partner. The things that were once a source of comfort and ease have become jagged with questions, doubt and new possibilities. Faced with all that, 15-year-old Xiomara ("see oh MAH ra") is lost. Although she still inhabits the same body, the same pious Dominican family and the same Harlem neighborhood, nothing is the same. Her body now "takes up more room" than her voice and has become a target for relentless catcalls from boys and insults from girls. Her once adored mother has become a constant source of rules and disapproval, and the church that was once a place of joy now feels like a house that is "no longer one I want to rent." Xiomara struggles to find a voice in this strange new world and resorts to using her fists instead of words. But, in the safety of her notebook, Xiomara finds refuge in poetry. To grab my notebook, and write, and write, and write all the things I wish I could have said. Make poems from the sharp feelings inside, that feel like they could carve me wide open Although reluctant to share her poetry at first, Xiomara finds a kind and open ear in her lab partner turned boyfriend, Aman, who shows her the joy and satisfaction of being truly heard. At the urging of her English teacher, Xiomara joins her school's slam poetry club, where she discovers the enormous power of her voice, both on and off the stage. Somehow, Acevedo's powerful free verse manages to stay contained within the book's covers. The force and intensity behind her words practically pushes them off the page, resulting in a verse novel that is felt as much as it is heard. This is a book from the heart, and for the heart. I wouldn't be surprised if I put my ear to its cover and found it had a heartbeat all its own. JABBERWALKING (Candlewick, 144 pp., $22.99; ages 10 and up) IS a bursting, bubbling, brain-bending adventure into poetry by the former poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Inspired by Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem "Jabberwocky," Herrera grabs readers and would-be poets by both hands and races them into his wild, word-flinging world of Jabberwalking: "That is, write & walk & write & walk nonstop." The poem you are writing "does not want to know where it is going or even what it is saying," so you just "Scribble what you see / Scribble what you hear / Scribble out the electric Jabber worms crawling out of your head & eyes." In Herrera's world, poetry is not meant to be precious and tidy. There is no talk of syllables or rhymes. "A jabber poem is a fast poem ... a wild poem. An unkempt, messy, dirty poem," he explains. It's meant to "BE FREE (wherever it lands) so it can loosen up your Mind-Brains so you can see things / you have not seen before." Interspersed with fun but useful techniques to turn your "burbles" into "Jabber poems," "Jabberwalking" is a riotous explosion of a how-to book. Herrera flings open the door, inviting even the most reluctant poets to join him. IN THE 95 POEMS in VOICES IN THE AIR: Poems for Listeners (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 208 pp., $17.99; ages 13 and up), Naomi Shihab Nye reminds our "obsessively tuned in" culture of the magic, power and necessity of "quiet inspiration." She reminds us that the more "connected" we've become, the more disconnected we actually are: "With so much vying for our attention," she asks, "how do we listen better?" Inspired and guided by the voices that surround her (voices from the past, the present and even the peonies), Nye's free verse tells of the wisdom, solace and beauty she has found and urges readers to join her, to listen with her, to create space to make sense of their experiences in an often difficult world. Lift those eyes. Take a look at the sea to your right, buildings full of mysteries, schools crackling with joy, open porches watch the world whirl by, all we are given without having to own ... Hope is the only drink you need to be drinking-jingle, jingle, step right up. While Nye's message is clear, it is never heavy-handed. The poems are loosely connected but just as powerful individually. Whether dealing with the mundane (a coffee cup) or the devastating (a girl shot by a stray bullet), Nye displays a palpable, unwavering empathy and hope for a better world. Although it's intended for teenagers, "Voices in the Air" speaks to adults, too - any, that is, who are willing to slow down and listen. JULIE fogliano is the author of the poetry collection "When Green Becomes Tomatoes." Her picture book "A House That Once Was," illustrated by Lane Smith, will be published in May.