Posts Tagged ‘Poets’

5 Poems for Library Lovers and Bibliophiles


What are your favorite library- and book-themed poems?

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Poetry for Children

Robert Frost once defined poetry as “serious play.” Poetry does many things to help children learn about their lives and feelings. Poems can be silly or funny while providing serious messages. Rhyming makes poems easier to memorize and fun to read aloud. Countless authors have written poetry for children. SIRS Discoverer also provides content on these authors as well as further reading about children’s poetry.

Limerick by Edward Lear

Limerick by Edward Lear
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are 10 authors who write poetry for children. Who is your favorite?

  1. Dr. Seuss
    One of the most famous and beloved authors for children. Most of his writings are in verse. All kids know The Cat in the Hat.
  2. Edward Lear
    This English humorist popularized the limerick. His most famous nonsense poem is The Owl and the Pussycat.
  3. J. Patrick Lewis
    Inspired by Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, Lewis has written over 50 books of poetry for children on a wide variety of subjects.
  4. Jack Prelutsky
    In 2006, Prelutsky became the first Children’s Poet Laureate. His popular books delight readers with poems and illustrations of made-up creatures.
  5. Jacqueline Woodson
    Woodson began writing poetry as a child. She has won numerous literary awards and was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate in 2015.
  6. Jane Yolen
    Yolen writes poetry based on science and history. Her book Owl Moon is written in verse and is intended to help owl species.
  7. Mary Ann Hoberman
    Hoberman also served as the Children’s Poet Laureate. Her poems are about everyday topics such as family, animals, and nature.
  8. Roald Dahl
    Another big name in children’s literature, Dahl’s poems subverted nursery rhymes and fairy tales and often contained surprise endings.
  9. Shel Silverstein
    Silverstein remains hugely popular for his quirky wit and style. His iconic works include Falling Up and Runny Babbit.
  10. Kenn Nesbitt
    Nesbitt served as the Children’s Poet Laureate in 2013. His poems are humorous and he often visits schools to teach children about poetry writing.

Whose Lives Will You Enrich with Poetry This April?

Poetry can be wondrous, mysterious, mystical, beautiful, breathtaking, provoking, distressing, funny, and surprising—even startling.

It can also be confusing.

I have a school-aged child. She recently read Emily Dickinson’s “A Bird Came Down the Walk” for homework, and had to answer a few questions. It’s a pretty straightforward poem about a bird out for a meal, happily hopping along the path until he sees the narrator, who offers him a crumb.

Drawing of Dickinson done from a painting made when she was nine <br \> by The print version of Parker, Peter. "New Feet Within My Garden Go : Emily Dickinson's Herbarium", The Daily Telegraph, 30 June 2007, p. G9, via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

Drawing of Dickinson done from a painting made when she was nine.
By The Daily Telegraph via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

“Hey Mom, what does ‘And he unrolled his feathers/And rowed him softer home’ mean?”

It’s an integral part of the poem—the narrator offers the bird a crumb, which startles the bird, and thus the bird flies away.

But she’s in elementary school, and she can read poetry, but she doesn’t always get it.

I started thinking about the inclusion of poetry in school curricula these days, especially in the upper grades. What sort of poetry exposure will she get in high school? As a student and fan of poetry myself, I hope she gets a lot.

But I also hope that she simply doesn’t discover poetry as a timeless literary form and learn the art of absorbing and then dissecting a poem. I hope she meets the poets and understands how their lives and times influenced and inspired their works.

Photo of American poet Walt Whitman holding a (fake) butterfly. From Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Published by M. Kennerley, 1897. <br \> by Photographer unidentified, from "Phillips & Taylor, Philadelphia," via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]


I want her to know that Walt Whitman cared for injured soldiers during the Civil War and wrote beautiful poetry honoring their suffering. I want her to know that he was alive when President Lincoln was assassinated, and that Whitman memorialized him in a poem. I want her to know that he bared his soul in his collection Leaves of Grass, in which he admits his humanity in “Song of Myself”:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

And he even acknowledges his inevitable passing: I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love.

I want her to dig deep into the blues poetics of Gwendolyn Brooks, who meditated on the struggles and aftermath of the Montgomery bus boycott of the Civil Rights movement, and who called for leaders and strength among the many:

We who are weak and wonderful, wicked,
bewildered, wistful and wild
Are saying direct Good mornings through the fever.
It is the giant-hour.
Nothing, less than gianthood will do.

I also want her to know Brooks’ familial history and the extent of her literary talents: granddaughter of a runaway slave, daughter of a supportive schoolteacher, participant in the Great Migration, regular contributor to the Chicago Defender newspaper’s poetry column at age sixteen, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.

Library Walk New City <br \> Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]


I want her to know Robert Frost as a brilliant man who struggled and suffered and ultimately captivated the nation with his words and imagery. I want her to read his well-known”The Road Not Taken” and go beyond seeing the poem’s last lines as simply oft-quoted verse and instead integrate them as words to live by:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

April is National Poetry Month. How are you celebrating in your classroom? Reading selected poems? Listening to poetry readings? Writing haiku, free verse, or limericks? Perhaps you will introduce students to the works of notable poets and discuss how their lives impacted their poetry. You can get some help from SIRS Knowledge Source. Visit the April SKS Spotlight of the Month for articles and Web sites on poets and poetry, and a quiz on poetry collectives. SKS is the perfect resource for helping students research and learn about poets from across the centuries and from around the world, and is a great way to bring them into your classroom. Who will you inspire with poetry this April?

ProQuest SIRS: National Poetry Month

Throughout history, poetry has been a force behind social and political transformation.

Picture dated October 21,1971 of writer, poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda, then Chilean ambassador to France, after being awarded the 1971 Nobel Literature Prize. <br \> by AFP/Getty Images, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Picture dated October 21,1971 of writer, poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda, then Chilean ambassador to France, after being awarded the 1971 Nobel Literature Prize.
by AFP/Getty Images, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Sometimes its influence is intense and all-encompassing, as in ancient Egypt. The philosopher Plato spoke and wrote at length about poetry, considering it an unacceptable part of the political rhetoric –despite poetry’s incredible popularity. Homer’s epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, for example, were probably two of the most influential writings of the time.

Allen Ginsburg’s poem “Howl” also ignited social and political fury. Ginsberg’s confessional poem, initially read to an audience in San Francisco in 1955, inspired many of the Beat generation and ignited a new form of poetry. Some people considered the poem to be offensive, and in 1957 it became the center of a well-known obscenity trial.

Some poets’ writings make a quiet, steady impact upon the cultural zeitgeist, such as the poems of Maya Angelou. Her decades of poetry have touched upon many aspects of society, from feminism and civil rights to self- and political expression.

Join ProQuest SIRS in celebrating National Poetry Month during the month of April. Learn more about poets throughout history and the impact their works have made on their era and beyond.

Anniversary of “The Raven”: Why Poe’s Famous Poem Lives On Forevermore

On this day in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative poem, “The Raven,” was published in the New York Evening Mirror. Although the poem earned him a mere nine dollars upon its publication, it immediately captured readers’ imaginations and made Poe a household name. More than a century and a half later, our continued fascination with Poe and his mythical bird are evident throughout popular culture. What other poem can be said to have inspired an NFL football team (the Baltimore Ravens), a rock album (Lou Reed’s “The Raven”), a Hollywood film (“The Raven,” starring John Cusack as Poe) and an episode of “The Simpsons” (“Treehouse of Horror”)? Even those who’ve never read the poem are likely to recognize its most famous line: Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

Poe considered the death of a beautiful woman the “most poetical topic in the world,” and he believed that bereaved lovers made great narrators. Thus “The Raven” follows an unnamed narrator who is beset with grief over the death of his beloved Lenore. Late one dreary December night while reading a book in an effort to distract himself from his sorrow, the narrator is visited by a mysterious guest—the raven, who answers the narrator’s every inquiry with a single, maddening word: Nevermore. The poem’s supernatural atmosphere and gothic setting give “The Raven” its spooky appeal. But the narrator’s mental anguish gives the poem its emotional power. By the end of the poem, the bereaved narrator, so distraught at the prospect of never seeing his love again, has lost his sanity. If you’ve never gotten around to reading this most famous of American poems, give it a shot! Find out why “The Raven” continues to haunt and enthrall readers. After you’ve read it, visit the Literary Corner in SIRS Renaissance to learn more about the poem and its legendary author.

SKS Spotlight: National Poetry Month

Phillis Wheatley, Poet <br \> by Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Phillis Wheatley, Poet
by Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Poetry quietly abounds throughout the world. Perhaps you don’t even realize it, but you hear poetry in popular music, in corporate jingles and advertisements, in the speeches of world leaders, and in the inspired words of those who are passionate about a cause. April provides an opportunity to celebrate the poetry we hear every day, and to encounter the words of eminent poets of past and present.

This month’s SKS Spotlight of the Month on National Poetry Month commemorates poetry in all of its forms and profiles poets who impacted the world with their words. Delve into the complex works—and lives—of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Vietnamese poet Nguyen Chi Thien, Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, and American poets Maya Angelou and Walt Whitman. Consider prominent and influential poetic themes, learn about the longevity and significance of poetry magazines and anthologies, and even meet a new generation of teen poets. Test your knowledge of ancient poetry with this month’s Spotlight Quiz. Above all else, immerse yourself in the beauty and substance of poetry…and consider jotting a few lines of verse yourself!

SIRS Discoverer and World Poetry Day

"Angle by Shel Silverstein." Photo credit: dustynrobots / Foter / CC BY-SA

“Angle by Shel Silverstein.” Photo credit: dustynrobots / Foter / CC BY-SA

Designated by UNESCO, March 21 is World Poetry Day. A day to promote poetry and its significance, it’s an opportunity to share poetic works with students and have discussions about what makes certain writers so well-known throughout generations. In SIRS Discoverer, explore the world through poetry. There are Shakespearean works, folklore, literature from places as far reaching as China and Korea, poetry listed by author and poems for multiple age-groups. Our collection of poets covers a wide variety of topics and issues that can be relevant to the subjects of literature, history, and even art.  Poets such as Emily Dickinson and Ralph Waldo Emerson can be found within SIRS Discoverer along with many other historic, lyrical and creative poets, authors and writers. Writing activities located within SIRS Discoverer are wonderful accompaniments to any lesson or project. One example of a poetry writing activity includes distinguishing the differences between poem structures. By accessing our wide array of poetry, creativity will flourish as students learn to write their own. Once you’ve found an inspiring poem for your lesson, project or presentation, pair it with a graphic of the poet or his or her work.


Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)Happy 182nd birthday, Emily Dickinson!  (Apologies for going against the adage that one should never ask or reveal a lady’s age.)  Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily lived and wrote in seclusion most of her life with the majority of her nearly 1800 poems published after her death in 1886.  Despite early criticism of her work, Emily is now regarded as one of America’s finest poets.

eLibrary offers a wealth of information on Emily Dickinson.  Articles on her life, her poetry and critical review of her work can all be found in eLibrary.  One place to begin your research is The Emily Dickinson Journal.  This journal can be accessed via the Publications tab.  Just type the name in the search box or click on the E in the Publications list to find the journal. Emily Dickinson Publication Search Another offering is the Emily Dickinson Research Topic.  Find it by typing Emily Dickinson in the basic or advanced search box or by clicking on Browse Research Topics on the basic search main page.  Click on the E and you will find Emily listed there. Browse Research Topics Finally, try searching Emily under the Topics tab.  Here you will retrieve targeted biographical information on Emily as well as information on her catalog of works.Emily Dickinson Topic Search

Celebrate Emily Dickinson’s birthday and give yourself a gift by learning more about her life and poetry in eLibrary!

Rhonda Sheehan