poemcrazy, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldrigdge, Three Rivers Press, 1996.
I first read this book about twelve years ago when I was housesitting for the senior partner at the law firm where I was working. He had a house full of cats and one very needy little dog. I was surprised to find this little book on his bookshelf, so I read it. I was intrigued by her relationship with words, and inspired enough to consider the weight of my own words. I liked it enough to buy my own copy.
Now, twelve years and four books and one kid later, I re-read this book. The second reading did not impact me as much as the first, but the fault is not with the book or the author. The fact is, my six-year-old son is a natural word-collecter. Whenever he hears a new word, he tests it and weighs it and considers it and then uses it. He makes up word to work with his new words. There is a natural poetry -- the kind promoted in this book -- in his speech and writing. And I think that is the key; this book is not so much about writing poetry as it is about loving words and how they fit together. We should all be word-collectors. We should all know the value of the words we use.