edited by Carol Ann Hoyte
photography by Norie Wasserman
Create Space, 2015
You might be surprised to read poems addressed to food and agriculture, but I hope you won’t be surprised if you’re delighted by them. Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems is an insightful, inspiring collection of poetry about the food we grow, eat, waste, and celebrate.
I should declare my bias from the top: I love poetry and would like to see much more poetry in schools and life. The poems in Dear Tomato range from simple and accessible to complex and intricate and encompass a variety of forms, which the editor identifies. One of my favourites was “The Diversity of Dirt” by Charles Waters, which could easily be modelled and extended in the classroom. The contributors are international and reflect various ages, backgrounds, and perspectives, from gourmand to social activist. This range, so often a weakness in anthologies, was a strength in this volume and added greatly to my enjoyment of the collection. Two features particularly stood out for me: the number of humorous poems, which can be a gentle way to bring reluctant readers to poetry, and the photography, which reflects and elaborates the themes of the collection.
I truly enjoyed Dear Tomato and would love to see this slender book in school and community libraries. It would make an excellent addition to classroom libraries, particularly for teachers looking for environmentally thoughtful cross-curricular materials.
This review was originally published in Resource Links, October 2015.