Lewis, J. Patrick. 2005. Monumental Verses. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society. ISBN: 0792271351.
"A bow to all who hoist the spirit high/And carve imagination into stone/…/A thought: No matter who the builders were,/ They gave to time a timeless monument/A human star-chitecture signature." These verses come from the introductory poem that sets the mood for this collection of thirteen poems that pay homage to the awe-inspiring architecture from around the world. For each of the thirteen well- and little-known monuments, which include Stonehenge, Easter Island, the Great Pyramid of Cheops, the Empire State Building, the Arc de Triomphe, Rose City of Petra, Mount Rushmore, and Palace of Versailles, Lewis works his craft and presents the readers with an array of poems that vary form and range from blank verse, acoustic, shape, rhyming and more. Along with a chosen form, Lewis also matches the magnificence and sometimes mysterious feeling that is expressed by each monument. A beautiful example of this artistry is seen in the poem for Machu Piccu: "Above the raintree country of their birth,/In ancient days the Inca hid from earth/A testament–'Old Peak'¬–in massive stone/A secret sacred city all their own/Invisible to enemies below." Along with each of the poems are dramatic photographs of each monument that were taken during different times of the day, angles, and weather, to provide an extra punch of impressive imagery that is already seen in the text. With information of location, chief engineer or builder and physical facts and epilogue that includes a world map, additional details on each monument and a message from the poet himself, this is an extraordinary example of combining the art of poetry and education of geography that everyone will enjoy and learn from.
*Read more geographic poems with J. Patrick Lewis’ book A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme.
*For teachers, create a fun “quiz” by reading the poems to the students and have them guess at which monument it is about.