Books Paranormal and Carnivale Picture Book Challenge 2012 Picture Books Poetry Friday Reading Themes

Poetry Friday: whisperings of the eerie with e. e. cummings

whisperings of the eerie with e. e. cummings

Since we have no featured poet for Poet’s Sanctum this January/February – we will be sharing poems that are in keeping with our paranormal/circus/carnivale theme.

Poster courtesy of our treasured Iphigene

I bought this picture book hist whist by e.e. cummings and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray while I was in the Philippines July of last year (around 1.50 sgd). The soft yet reddish and greenish tints/hues used by Deborah, I felt, did the eerie poem justice. Poetry Friday is hosted this week by the beautiful Elaine Magliaro at Wild Rose Reader.

hist whist: Amazon | Book Depository

hist       whist
little ghostthings
little twitchy
witches and tingling
hob-a-nob         hob-a-nob
little hoppy happy
toad in tweeds
little itchy mousies
with scuttling
eyes        rustle and run       and
whisk        look out for the old woman
with the wart on her nose
what she’ll do to yer
nobody knows
for she knows the devil      ooch
the devil        ouch
the devil
ach         the great

hist whist by e.e. cummings, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. A Trumpet Club Special Edition, 1989. Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

PictureBook Challenge Update: 9 of 120

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

28 comments on “Poetry Friday: whisperings of the eerie with e. e. cummings

  1. Another great one!


  2. It’s a gorgeous book and poem! I have this and just bought Little Tree over the Christmas break, Myra. I have used it as a mentor text when I’ve had students write and illustrate their poems. And it does fit so well in your theme. Don’t you just love that ‘devil devil devil devil wheeEEE’ and the illustration? Thank you for your comments. I’m excited about the challenge! I know others this week have been blocked by Blogger. Don’t know what happened.


    • Hi Linda! I did try looking for Little Tree in our community library (in vain, I’m afraid) – I thought it was perfect for our Poetry-Inspired Yuletide theme from last month’s. Alas, I wasn’t able to find it. Yes, I did enjoy the last illustration a great deal. Softens the text a bit.


  3. ee cummings…what a treat. Found this through the blog comment challenge and love it and the illustrations too.


  4. Beautiful looking book! Oh, Myra. I’ve been in touch with JoAnn Balingit, the poet laureate of Delaware. I’m posting a review of her new chapbook soon. She has many poems about her father, who came from the Philippines, and her mother, a much younger woman, from the Midwest. The title of the book is Forage.


  5. Oh, love this…especially

    with scuttling

    eyes rustle and run and


    Ew. Scuttling eyes! That cover art is so haunting. I need to get this book!


  6. Love cummings! My favorite part of this poem has always been the “hob-a- nob, hob-a-nob.” The little itchy mousies are great too. Cool theme!


  7. Super–I didn’t know there was another title illustrated by Ray. I abridged this poem into a little song for preschoolers using some minor guitar chords–I’d forgotten how much they LOVED it.

    The new blogstyle looks great! Sorry if I haven’t been by to notice it before.


    • Hi Heidi, thanks for the kind words. Iphigene has been hard at work looking into restyling the entire website/blog before 2012. She has done a wonderful job indeed. Oh wow, you play the guitar? Nice!!! 🙂


  8. I love perfect pairings of poem + illustration. Thanks for the visual play-by-play. (Is that legal, btw? Just curious.)

    The line that grabbed me was:

    with the wart on her nose
    what she’ll do to yer
    nobody knows

    The word “yer” … the boldness of using a semi-fake word to add that touch of internal rhyme (with “her”) to make the entire stanza sing. Could have just as easily went with “you”, but it would not have had the same effect. Followed up with the ooch/ouch/ach and it’s just such an in your face, confident little poem.

    Loved it.



    • Hi Ed – thanks for asking that question. Another blogger (Joanna Marple) and myself discussed it a few days back. Let me copy and paste my response from the question that she raised as well:

      I really wouldn’t know the answer to the question, since I think the rules vary and there are a lot of gray areas regarding copyright infringement. That has also been at the back of our minds – so far we haven’t gotten in trouble (yet) despite our detailed photographs of picture books as well as quotes from books/poems – I think the motivations behind the presentation of the material also comes into play. Essentially copyright infringement is meant to protect the rights of the authors/writers such that people will not take credit for the material that they have written – and since we make certain that the authors are acknowledged (nay, featured actually is the word) and it’s crystal clear that it’s fragments from their writing and we often link our readers to the actual websites of authors/illustrators (if they are available), we haven’t received any complaints as yet.

      in the event that we do face an issue in the future, we’d be more than happy to put the post down too. so i suppose it shouldn’t really be a problem. plus, we don’t earn anything from the website, it has no ads, no sponsorship, no nothing. again, i suppose the problem would arise if you intend to make money from the ‘infringement’ of the material.

      I hope that answers your question – I really am no expert when it comes to this, and as I said, we’d be happy to put down the post in the event that it runs into any problem/issues. Our intention is merely to share the joy that we get from these lovely books and their beautiful (often breathtaking) illustrations.


  9. Pingback: Comment Challenge 2012 « Think Kid, Think!

  10. I’m glad Heidi said something about your blog style. I THOUGHT things looked different when I walked in, but I didn’t trust my eyes. Looks GREAT!! Bright and cheery!

    I agree with your answer to Ed. The only thing that might make your case stronger is if you had a link to a place where your readers could purchase the book. Then you could also say that you had provided the author/illustrator with free advertising and helped to sell the book. (I don’t know if that provides actual legal traction, but it’s the story I tell myself when I grab a book cover image for a book review or use a whole poem even if there is an opportunity to excerpt and link back and especially when that opportunity doesn’t exist.)

    My 2 cents.


    • Hi Mary Lee, for months now we have been exploring that option as well – Iphigene usually handles these things better more than I do – we know quite vaguely that there’s that kind of option but we haven’t been successful in gaining info about that yet. Hopefully, we find out more this year – and perhaps we can link to Amazon or Book Depository or whatnot. 🙂


  11. This was so much fun to read…I loved the way you inserted those gorgeous illustrations as well. I’, glad, too, to follow the thread of the conversation about copyright stuff. It’s hard to know what is okay and what is not – after all, the intent is not to claim credit for the work but to showcase it and celebrate it, right??!


    • Hi Tara, that’s true – and you’ve basically summed it up so beautifully. It’s really the excitement and the joy of sharing these lovely books with fellow bibliophiles who instantly get what we’re talking about – that lovely connection that ties this entire network together. 🙂


  12. I have this little book around here somewhere, and now I long to find it! Cummings has a certain magic to every word, every line…I love that mystery. a.


  13. I became acquainted with histwhist several years ago, when a friend used it as a “performance poem” with her first graders. Fell in love with it then, and have used it many times since. My fourth graders loved it this fall!


  14. I am up early in our hotel and so I thought I’d check out PF before everyone else wakes up. Beautiful illustrations!!

    I always figure that book covers are fair game. End papers, too. I’d be interested in hear what you discover about copyright rules in your travels.

    How interesting to hear that this poem has been made into songs and performance art! Wonderful.


  15. Pingback: List of Novels in Verse and Poetry Books for Children and Round-up for January 2012 «

  16. Pingback: List of Circus, Carnivale, Paranormal Themed Books for All Ages «

  17. Pingback: Monday Reading: Poetry for Christmas Eve «

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: