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Eating Words

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When you know
that vore means eat,
you will know
that insectivores feed
            on grasshoppers, moths, and butterflies,
            mosquitoes, bees, and plain-old flies.

When you know
that carni means meat,
you will know
that carnivores eat
            snakes and lizards, deer and lamb,
            carrion, birds, fish, and ham.

When you know
that herb means plant,
you will know
that herbivores CAN'T
            eat anything that moves on a foot,
            just foods that spring up from a root.

When you know
that omni means all,
you will know
that omnivores call

            they can suck or chew—
            sometimes even me or you—

Katherine Hauth, "Eating Words" from What’s for Dinner. Copyright © 2011 by Katherine Hauth.  Reprinted by permission of Charlesbridge.
Source: What's For Dinner? (Charlesbridge, 2011)
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Eating Words

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  • Children’s author and poet Katherine B. Hauth grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After leaving a career as a personnel analyst in Seattle, she found herself drawn to the natural rhythms she encountered in the Southwest. “The longer I lived away from city noises and distractions, the more I found nature to be essentially poetic, but I don’t mean that in a sentimental sense,” Hauth explains in a 2011 author’s statement on her publisher’s website. “I responded to its patterns, rhythms, sensuous qualities, hyperbole, and onomatopoeia. As I became more in tune with the land, it seemed natural to write its stories in the language of poetry. And so—aided by reading poetry and taking poetry classes and workshops—I became a poet.”
    A 2010 writer for Kirkus Reviews described What’s for Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World (2011) as an “enriching overview of the natural world spiced with a Dorothy...

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