Author: Juan Felipe Herrera
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
GoodReads Summary: Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Mexican-American Poet Laureate in the USA, 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 Jabberwalk? 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 -- vamonos!
What I Think: I love this! It's part writing strategy, part humorous fiction, and part autobiographical. Juan Felipe takes us on a wonderful journey. Even though I read this in one sitting at my kitchen table, it was like I was off and zipping around with him on writing adventures. He shares ideas for how to gather up ideas around you or from things you have read. And he shares stories from his life and how he became a poet. This book exudes voice like salsa juice running down your wrist as you try to eat an over-stuffed burrito.
As a mentor text you can totally share this book with students as you talk through how to gather up ideas. You can ask them to try jabber walking or even go on a jabber walk with them yourself. You can also look at voice because his voice to distinctly jumps out at you. No one else could have written this book. Voice is such a hard idea to grasp and having examples like Jabber-Walking is great because it's so obvious. It's so easy to see and hear his voice so it makes a perfect mentor text to study for voice. I would pair it with another poet to show the difference. Robert Frost comes to mind because he clearly writes poem about nature and about walking around and observing things but his style is so different from Herrera.
Snatch of Text:
"SCRIBBLE your burbles, your words of things --- that you see and think and feel but it is really not thinking or even feeling. It is plain ole bonified, fuzzy, puffy, blue-cheesy, incandescent, brave Jabber!
Jabberwalking is not for the neat, polished, well-combed aesthete --- it is as stated in the epigraph by Señor Lewis Carroll at the start of this fine volume. Jabberwalking is for the Jabber Walker with "eyes of flame."
Writing Prompt: Try going for a jabber walk! Grab your notebook or anything to write on and write with. Wander somewhere new or different and jot down what you see and notice. Then turn it into a poem.
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