"this lively collection...blends immediate physical experience with the wonder of opposites"

Here are a few of the juicy poems in Squeeze, along with comments on why they were written and some reviews.      

Get your copy at your local indie bookstore or online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.                                   

I am an early bird and always have been.  I like the feeling of being up before anyone else:  in an empty, quiet world there's room to notice things, room to lay grand plans--
and room to make up new words if I want to.

                                                                      Kirkus Reviews
“Mordhorst's collection of 24 non-rhyming poems is a juicy treat itself, full of evocative images and insightful glimpses into childhood activities, many inspired by her own Southern childhood. She takes ordinary slice-of-life events such as a scraped knee or lying on a sandy beach and turns each into a fresh, adventurous experience that is quite out of the ordinary. In surprising twists, birds grow from birdseed, sand dunes are elephants and a rug turns into a geographic structure for toy cars. The titular poem, "Squeeze," is especially memorable, comparing a lemon in the hand to one's own little universe, sometimes sour and sometimes sweet. Torrey's photographic montages add just the right touch of sugar and spice to the collection: flowers, trees, smiling children and darker shots of the moon, a starlit sky and sparklers twinkling to illustrate a poem about brainpower. Teachers will find this a welcome classroom resource for many age groups."


I noticed a sign like this one when I was out walking in Rock Creek Park.  I liked the idea that stopping for horses might actually make them appear on the bridge, and it became a poem about expectation and disappointment--one of those sour mouthfuls that you get some days.  Recently I noticed that this poem depends on all our senses: looking, listening, catching a whiff, the laying on of hands.  Oh--but not tasting!                 

                                                                       School Library Journal
"Familiar elements of a child's world are explored in these sensitive, free-form verses. The 24 original poems capture an imaginative view of commonplace things and happenings, such as "Wherever you are/is somewhere sour or sweet-/a lemon heaven/full of juice to squeeze." The emergence of spring crocuses, a sandy beach, a honeysuckle vine, a full moon, swinging high on a swing, and riding in the backseat of a car take on new dimensions as the poet's imagination enlarges the ordinary, creating new visions and possibilities.  Artistic, full-page color photos add to the attractiveness of the book." 

Nowadays I'm the driver of the family car most of the time, but this poem is from the time when I was always a passenger, stuck in the back seat with no control over the car or the routes we took.

So... no map to look at?  Make one up out of the lines and leaves and wires.  Headed someplace not very interesting? Go somewhere better: through the doorway of that ramshackle house, through the tall grass of that field, through the spaces between those chunks of gravel, into a whole new world....                                                   

                                                                           ALA Booklist
 “'Let loose . . . hold safe.’ In a poem about soaring high on a swing, Mordhorst captures the rhythm and movement of holding on tight as a swing swoops back and rushes forward. Many of the other poems in this lively collection also blend immediate physical experience with the wonder of opposites in a child’s daily life, whether it’s the combination of noise and quiet that cause a child to wake in the morning or how being alone allows a child’s imagination to fly (“what’s inside me rushes out”). The best poem, “How to Run Away,” could be a picture book in itself. Some of the color photos overwhelm the poetry; it’s sometimes hard to get near the words printed on the bright, big images. Most pictures, however, leave space to imagine the fun. A book for writing classes as well as for reading aloud.” ––Hazel Rochman


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