Bagert, Brod 1947–

views updated

Bagert, Brod 1947–

Personal

Born November 22, 1947, in New Orleans, LA; son of Bernard J., Sr. (a judge) and Philomene (a homemaker) Bagert; married Debby Kerne (a realtor), August 1, 1970; children: Jennifer, Colette, Brod, Jr., John David. Education: Loyola University, J.D. Hobbies and other interests: Playing the guitar, harmonica, and violin; cycling, jogging, swimming; reading poetry, mythology, psychology, history.

Addresses

Office—Brod Bagert Poetry, 2413 Metairie Ct., Metairie, LA 70003. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Poet and performer. Also worked as an attorney in New Orleans, LA, for twenty-one years; served on New Orleans City Council and Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

If Only I Could Fly (poems), illustrated by Stephen Morillo, Juliahouse, 1984.

Let Me Be … the Boss: Poems for Kids to Perform, illustrated by G.L. Smith, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1992.

Chicken Socks and Other Contagious Poems, illustrated by Tim Ellis, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1994.

(Editor) Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Carolynn Cobleigh, Sterling (New York, NY), 1995.

Elephant Games and Other Playful Poems to Perform, illustrated by Tim Ellis, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1995.

The Gooch Machine: Poems for Children to Perform, illustrated by Tim Ellis, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1997.

(Editor, with Frances Schoonmaker Bolin and Gary D. Schmidt) The Blackbirch Treasury of American Poetry, illustrated by Steven Arcella, Blackbirch Press (Woodbridge, CT), 2001.

Giant Children, illustrated by Tedd Arnold, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2002.

Hormone Jungle: Coming of Age in Middle School, Maupin House (Gainesville, FL), 2006.

Shout!: Little Poems That Roar, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.

School Fever, illustrated by Robert Neubecker, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2008.

FOR ADULTS

A Bullfrog at Café du Monde (poetry), illustrated with photographs by Christopher R. Harris, Juliahouse, 1986, reissued, Maupin House (Gainesville, FL), 2008.

Alaska—Twenty Poems and a Journal, illustrated by Stephen Morillo, Juliahouse, 1988.

Steel Cables: The Poetry of Permanent Love (poetry), illustrated by Julia Nead, Juliahouse, 1992, reprinted, Maupin House (Gainesville, FL), 2008.

Rainbows, Head Lice, and Pea-Green Tile: Poems in the Voice of the Classroom Teacher, illustrated by Kim Doner, Maupin House (Gainesville, FL), 1999.

Also author of Throw Me Somethin', Mistuh!: The Mardi Gras Book, Juliahouse.

Sidelights

Brod Bagert compares himself to Johnny Appleseed because he travels around America, planting a love of verse in children. Bagert spends more than 200 days a year performing poetry for children, and he instructs teachers in what he calls the Performance Method, "a system which recognizes that poetry is an oral art, and that, for children, a poem comes alive when they perform it," Bagert once told SATA. He has also written a number of highly regarded verse collections for young readers, including Giant Children and Shout!: Little Poems That Roar.

A former practicing attorney and New Orleans city council member, the author began writing poetry for youngsters when his own children needed to perform in school programs. In an Authors on the Web.com interview, Bagert stated, "For me poetry is a communication in words from artist to audience, situated somewhere between literature (words written to be read from the page) and drama (words written to be heard from the stage) that entertains the audience, evokes in the audience emotion and intellectual responses, and, at its best, permits the audience to experience a sense of the timeless universal in a moment of the particular."

One of Bagert's earliest works, Chicken Socks and Other Contagious Poems, contains twenty-two poems that address a range of topics of interest to youngsters, including bicycle riding and summer vacation. Writing in School Library Journal, Barbara Chatton praised the "lighthearted, sassy tone of most of the poems." In The Gooch Machine: Poems for Children to Perform, the author presents "The Food Cheer," "Alien Eyes?," "The Homework Guarantee," and other poems that are designed to be acted and recited. "The subject matter of Bagert's 19 poems (grouchy teachers, homework, procrastination, etc.) has child appeal," observed School Library Journal contributor Barbara McGinn.

A later verse collection, Giant Children, is a "funny peek at the pleasures and (growing) pains of childhood," remarked a critic in Publishers Weekly. In the work, Bagert examines such diverse subjects as sibling rivalry, monster trucks, nose-picking, and the Tooth Fairy. "While some poems are devious … and some are motivating …, all are true-to-life and sure to please," a Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote. According to Booklist reviewer Diane Foote, the "entertaining collection of poems will have children chuckling with recognition and surprise."

In Shout! Bagert offers twenty-one poems, including "Snack Time" and "Alphabet Boogie," that explore the world of preschoolers and feature energetic, rhythmic verse. School Library Journal reviewer Sally R. Dow complimented Bagert's "brisk, snappy rhymes," and a contributor in Kirkus Reviews stated that "most of these repetitive poems seem tailor-made for setting to music."

Hormone Jungle: Coming of Age in Middle School, a work for older readers, follows the efforts of eleven schoolmates to chronicle their lives through poetry. In School Library Journal, Kathleen Whalin noted that the work "may motivate readers to get a blank notebook and start recording their own observations about their lives and friends."

Bagert revels in the opportunity to bring poetry alive through his readings. As he stated in the Authors on the Web.com interview, "I really believe in the performance of poetry. Sometimes I get carried away and say something like this—‘A poem does not exist on the page; it exists in the air as sound spoken from the mouth of a human being.’ That's probably a little overboard and you certainly don't have to believe it. But this is a promise: you will enjoy poetry more fully when you read it out loud."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 5, 2002, Diane Foote, review of Giant Children, p. 1966; February 1, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Shout!: Little Poems that Roar, p. 48.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 1997, review of The Gooch Machine: Poems for Children to Perform, p. 240.

Florida Times Union, February 12, 2005, Sandy Strickland, "Politics or Poetry? That's Easy; He's Got a Delighted Constituency at St. Mark's School," p. W1.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1997, review of The Gooch Machine, p. 56; September 15, 2002, review of Giant Children, p. 1383; December 15, 2006, review of Shout!, p. 1263.

Publishers Weekly, September 9, 2002, review of Giant Children, p. 67.

St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, FL), November 23, 2005, Michelle Miller, "It's So Kids-Love-It Icky," p. 3.

School Library Journal, August, 1992, Sally R. Dow, review of Let Me Be … the Boss: Poems for Kids to Perform, p. 150; March, 1994, Barbara Chatton, review of Chicken Socks and Other Contagious Poems, p. 213; August, 2002, Gay Lyn Van Vleck, review of Giant Children, p. 173; June, 2006, Kathleen Whalin, review of Hormone Jungle: Coming of Age in Middle School, p. 168; February, 2007, Sally R. Dow, review of Shout!, p. 99.

Stockton Record (Stockton, CA), September 16, 2006, Keith Reid, "Children's Author Blends Humor with Tips on Writing."

Tampa Tribune (Tampa, FL), November 28, 2005, Megan Hussey, "Poetry In Motion: Bard Brod Bagert Brings Verses To Life For Local Schoolchildren," p. 1.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2007, Jeff Mann, review of Hormone Jungle, p. 137.

ONLINE

Authors on the Web.com,http://www.authorsontheweb.com/ (August 1, 2008), "Poet Roundtable with Children's Poets."

Brod Bagert Home Page,http://www.brodbagert.com (August 1, 2008).