The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is an action-packed novel in verse; where twin brother basketball players, Josh and Jordan navigate their different emotions while tackling issues of growing up, basketball life, and their father's health. Filled with a collection of poems Alexander explores the lives of the brothers using various poetry forms. Let's explore my favorite forms of poetry used throughout the novel.
In this day and time for most people, text messaging is intertwined throughout our daily life and that is no different for the characters in the novel. Alexander uses haikus in the novel to represent those messages. A haiku is a short poem that originated in Japan and was made popular by Matsuo Bashō. A haiku uses a syllabic pattern typically and focuses on short instances in time perfect for a text message. A basic haiku will have only three lines and uses a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. So, line one will have five syllables, line two will use seven syllables, and line three will use five syllables. These poems do not have to rhyme, and your typical punctuations and capitalizations can be left out completely. Which is something also symbolic to a text thread. Since the beginning poets have been putting their flare on these poems and Alexander is no different.
Listen to Kwame Alexander explaining his thought process in picking the forms of poetry used in The Crossover.
Is he better? You and JB
coming to practice?
Filthy, you there?
In the poem Text Messages from Vondie, he breaks each message sent to Josh from Vondie into three-line Haiku’s using the timestamps as subtitles for each one. In this poem, Josh’s teammate Vondie is giving him updates on the basketball game while also checking on him. In the text thread Josh does not respond he just reads the messages. At this moment Josh is dealing with a lot. Not being able to play in the game and dealing with his father's health issues. His reading the message without giving a response is another one of Josh’s passive-aggressive responses to dealing with his own emotions.
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