Title: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams
Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Genre: Nonfiction, poetry
Reviewed by: Alexander J., Grade IV
The book is about the story of William Carlos Williams who was a poet and a doctor. Williams grew up in Rutherford New Jersey and wrote poems about things he saw every day, such as wheelbarrows, plums and trees. The book has his poems in the beginning, his life story in the middle, and more of his poems at the end. The book also has a timeline and an author's and illustrator's note.
Most of his poems are short but a few are long. No matter how hard he worked as a doctor he still wrote poems all his life. He started writing poems in high school because he was inspired by the poetry of the English writers that he studied. He only wrote poems about things he saw every day.
I didn't know that he lived so close to where I live and I have never heard of Rutherford, New Jersey before. The timeline shows a period of his life in the middle, the world events during that time on the right and the poems he wrote at that time on the left.
The illustrator drew a lot of illustrations but she said they weren't good enough to match his poems so she cut out scraps from books and magazines and made a collage instead. The collages are interesting because she uses Williams poems on top of the scenery. The illustrations seem 3-dimensional and not realistic. It has a random effect.
The captions have his poems and so do the illustrations. Some of them are unfinished, like he is still writing them. His friend Charles Demuth was inspired by Williams' poem, The Great Figure, to paint Figure 5 in Gold.
I really recommend it. I feel that if you read it you would like it. If you are interested in poetry and biographies of famous people, this book is for you. I like Williams' poems because they are more simple than other poems I've read.
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