Hi Guys! Gael here. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but poetry was my first love as a writer, long before I started writing fiction. I took some playwriting courses too while earning my Literature degree, but fiction was where I ultimately ended up. (All three are very, very different and take different skill sets, of course.) In any case, I no longer write poems, but I still love all kinds of poetry, and since April is National Poetry Month, I picked a few to share with my blog visitors, ones that I especially think kids will enjoy.
If poetry frightens you, here's my opinion on the matter. The trick to enjoying a poem is not to overanalyze it. Parsing a poem to try to "get the meaning out of it" is a little like dissecting a butterfly to figure out how it can fly. You kill the thing.
A poem is not a linear experience for the most part. There's a wholeness to a great poem that tickles your brain and moves your heart at the same time. Here's a great example by e.e. cummings . Feel his delight in the language! And notice how "the children" are the only ones who understand that a devoted love story is happening between the characters, "no one" and "anyone" - who could be anybody! It's universal like that. Just don't overthink it. (Reproduced here courtesy of poets.org with the original punctuation - or lack thereof!) Enjoy!
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did
Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
Here's another great poem for kids and kids-at-heart. Again, the delight in the language - not needing words with clear definitions to express the story and emotions. Look at how much he expresses his meaning merely through the rhythm. And - Bonus! You can make up your own definition for what exactly a Bandersnatch might be. I hope I never meet one in a dark alley. ;)
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
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