Poetry Friday: Remembering Paul Janezcko

Thank, Robyn for hosting today at Life on the Deckle Edge. I’m glad you’re part of the Poetry Friday community.

Winter can be a cruel season. Just last month, we month, we mourned the passing of Mary Oliver. This week, just about one month after Oliver’s death Jan. 17, 2019), the poetry world lost another incredible poet, Paul Janeczko (Feb. 19, 2019).

In 2011, the CYBILS Poetry committee selected REQUIEM, Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul Janeczko. This is the blurb that was used at the CYBILS site.

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto
by Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Tricia Stohr-Hunt

 “I am a watcher/sitting with those about to die.” These are the words of Elisha Schorr/25565 as imagined by poet Paul Janeczko. In  Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto, we all become watchers, viewing snapshots of the Holocaust, one after the other, each one deepening the grief and raising questions to which there are no answers.

We watch, but we also hear the story of Terezin, voice by voice, insistent and haunting, so that the effect by the end of the collection is almost choral. For each song of despair, there is a concordant and essential song of anger, tenderness or resignation; like a recurring melodic theme, the voice of one child appears and fades and appears again. We hear the violin of one victim playing “as only the heartbroken can play.”

Cybils committee members agreed early in the deliberations that this slim volume of poems was a strong contender for the prize, with words like “stunning” and “haunting” coming up repeatedly in our conversation. Ultimately, the voices Janeczko created could not be forgotten.

I also interviewed Janeczko on March 14, 2012. And featured his favorite book from REQUIEM for Poetry Friday, March is 15, 2012.

This fall, at the Poetry For Children workshop at Highlights, we were gifted with a copy of A KICK IN THE HEAD, AN EVERYDAY GUIDE to POETIC FORMS. These were selected by Janeczko. It’s a book that resides near my desk as a reference.

I’m sharing a couple of pages that from the Highlights workshop in which I played with ideas for a Persona poem. (AKA Mask or Apostrophe).


Thank you, Paul Janezcko for sharing so much poetry over the years.

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7 Responses to Poetry Friday: Remembering Paul Janezcko

  1. Michelle Kogan says:

    Beautiful and rich tribute post to Paul B. Janeczko Jone. I have a number of his anthologies, I’ll have to get “Requiem.” I also have a “A Kick in the Head” our from the library, and it’s all marked up with post-its for I used it in a poetry class I started teaching this past year–thanks.

  2. maryleehahn says:

    Thank you for this tribute.

  3. lindabaie says:

    This is another favorite book, and I do love that mask poem, “don’t howl at the moon” – too sneaky! I also remember our talk about Requiem, so many great books from Paul Janeczko to be grateful for. Thanks for another sweet post about PBJ!

  4. Janet F. says:

    A moving and wonderful post, Jone. Thank you. Loved seeing your journal writing.

  5. Ramona says:

    Love this peek into your notebook pages (I wish mine were as neat as yours). Thanks for the link to your conversation with Paul. It was fun to have this personal glimpse via your conversation with him.

  6. Thank you for this lovely tribute to such a brilliant star, Jone – XO

  7. Gail Aldous says:

    It is sad to lose two great poets. Thank you for reminding me about theses two great books that I have been meaning to read.

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