Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, by Paul Fleischman, was published in 1988 by HarperCollins.
This review will be short, as befitting an incredibly
short book. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two
Voices is—as the title suggests—a book of poetry specifically formatted for
two people to read out loud. The poetry is in two columns, designed for one
reader to read the left and the other to read the right. Sometimes the lines
overlap, sometimes not. This makes for some interesting poetry, such as
“Honeybees” where the two columns say opposite things about the queen bee, or
to sort of emulate the hopping of grasshoppers or the whirring of cicadas by
having separate, overlapping lines like a round in a song.
I don’t really have much to say about the book,
however. I thought the format was clever, though the effect is a little loss as
a single reader, and the poems, all about different insects, communicated
different aspects of those insects well (also thanks to the format). I’m not
overly fond of poetry, so I didn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the poems
beyond “Hm, cool,” and then moving on. I
am glad that a book of poetry won the Newbery Medal, however.