April is National Poetry Month. We have been celebrating all month at the library with a display of some of poetry titles - funny, quirky, beautiful, and more. I just ran across an initiative called "Poem in Your Pocket Day," sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. While the official day was last Thursday, any day can be a poem in your pocket day. All you have to do is find a poem you like, write it on a piece of paper, and put it in your pocket to share with friends, co-workers, the mailman, the barista - the possibilities are limitless!
There are so many great collections of poetry - maybe you have some favorites from childhood? Here are some new collections from our new book shelf.
One of the cool trends in poetry publishing is the combination of poems and facts on a single theme all in the same book. Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space by Amy E. Sklansky and illustrated by Stacey Schuett does this really nicely. J. Patrick Lewis has been using wacky themes to create equally wacky poetry. His most recent book is World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of. My personal favorite is "The Rat Is," where he changes the spelling of "trash" to match the "ache" in mustache.
Famous people have published collections, most recently Julie Andrews with "Julie Andrews' Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year" and illustrated by the talented Marjorie Priceman. Caroline Kennedy's "Poems to Learn by Heart" joins her previous collection, "A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poems for Children." Both Andrews and Kennedy pull from classic and new poetry. Another source of classic poetry for children is a series called "Poetry for Young People." This series by Sterling publishers introduces classics by individual poets, or themes, like the new "African American Poetry," edited by Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount and freshly illustrated by Karen Barbour.
Poetry collections often highlight popular topics with kids. "Cat Talk" by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest (illustrated by Barry Moser) and "Pug and Other Animal Poems" by the late Valerie Worth (illustrated by the cut-paper artist Steve Jenkins) will satisfy the animal-lovers out there.
A great online source in addition to the Poets.org mentioned above, is the Poetry Foundation website, which includes a section on children's poetry.
I thought I would end with a poem. This poem is not from a new collection, but a favorite one - "Iguanas in the Snow" by Francisco X. Alarcon: "A Blank White Page / is a meadow / after a snowfall / that a poem / hopes to cross ("Una hoja en blanco / es un campo recien / cubierto de nieve / que un poema / espera cruzar").
Do you have that piece of paper ready? Happy sharing! - Elaine