MET Pairs Art with Poetry in Stunning New Children’s Book
World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, is a compilation of eighteen works of art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Abrams Books, each paired with an original poem inspired by the piece. This beautiful combination of art and poetry was created with the intention of introducing younger audiences to the seductive world of art and its interpretations.
While taking a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art may be out of reach for many children, a book is not. Showcased within the pages of World Make Way are pieces from China to Egypt to Mexico and beyond, along with poems from writers across the United States.
In Paint Me, inspired by Mäda Primavesi (Gustav Klimt, 1912-1913), Marilyn Singer writes: “Hurry up and / paint me. / I have things to do, / more than you. / Streets, countries, continents to see / outside of this atelier,” personifying the young girl in the portrait as adventurous and outspoken. Creating an air of tranquility, Julie Fogliano spins the lines “so silent and certain / a spider / can cause / a watchful and wondering cat / to pause / all prowl and prance / and teeth and claws,” in her poem Cat Watching a Spider, a title she borrowed from Ōide Tōkō’s painting of the same name (1888-1892).
These poems act as extensions of the artworks, exposing readers to unique styles of language, different cultures, and points of view that would remain unfamiliar to them otherwise; they are also stepping stones into the world of art interpretation.
Fogliano sees Ōide Tōkō’s piece to be about patience and being small yet powerful—but readers may disagree. Maybe it’s about the hunt or a connection between two animals or possibly nothing at all; the beauty of art interpretation is that it’s deeply personal and endless in its manifestations. In the foreword, Hopkins explains “you may see and feel things differently than your friends or classmates. … Looking at a work of art can produce a range of emotions and reactions,” as an introduction to this expansive world of interpreting art. World Make Way is a perfect beginner’s tool to exercise this skill because each poem commands the reader to pause and truly observe the art in front of them.
By reading World Make Way, kids of all ages will learn about art and poetry, and gain appreciation for varying opinions while thinking for themselves. While aimed at younger readers, World Make Way contains delightful original poems, incredible works of art, and an alluring layout that is pleasing for all ages.