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From the Editor – April 2016

What Makes a Good...?I can’t think of a genre that scares more book reviewers than poetry (maybe sports books). Perhaps they are afraid that some eagle-eyed reader is going to find out the reviewer doesn’t know the difference between a spondee and a dactyl, but, really, this is making the task more difficult than it needs to be. Treat a poem like a picture book: read it, read it again, read it aloud, look at it. Where prose encourages linear reading from first word to last, poetry asks us to dawdle, stopping here and there, re-examining a previous line in the light of a later one, wondering why a line break — just like a picture book’s page turn — happens where it does. If a novel’s job is to make us curious about what happens next, a poem — more sculpture than movie — is always gently reminding us that there’s no rush. You and it have no place else to be soon. Pull up a chair.

And a note to Chicagoland poetry lovers: please join me at this year’s Sutherland Lecture on May 6th at the Harold Washington Library Center, where our speaker will be the wonderful poet Marilyn Nelson. Admission is free but you need to reserve a seat.


Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

From the April 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?: “What Makes Good Poetry?”

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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