My dad likes to tell the story of being a kid in Michigan during summer when the June bugs had hatched and died all over the sidewalks and roads. He can still remember the sound of them crunching underfoot as he ran thru town. My memories of Michigan summers include that unique high-pitched buzz only cicadas make – and always on the hottest days – or so I remember. It’s summer now: have you heard a cricket lately? Or a dragon fly. Living in the city it’s so rare to hear these natural sounds anymore. Here’s an odd assortment of titles that play with this idea of bugs and sound.
David Rothenberg’s latest book Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise, considers the radical idea that we humans get our idea of rhythm, synchronization, and even dance from the world of insect sounds that have whizzed, clicked, and chirped around us as we evolved over millions of years. This book is a continuation of thought following Why Birds Sing and Thousand Mile Song, that explores human’s relationship with nature and sound, our place in nature, and the interconnectedness of species.
In addition to rhythm, bugs have given us noise in the form of poetry. Bugs : Poems About Creeping Things David L. Harrison and Nasty Bugs : Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins are books for children, while Carole Gerber’s delightful Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More! : Poems for Two Voices becomes performance art for children and adults who read it out-loud together. — Erin