Ecologist and renowned poetry master William Stanley Merwin passed away on March 15. He was 91 years old. The Pulitzer prize-winning poet was a true lover of nature who enjoyed truly seeing things up close and literally stopping to smell the roses, something that too few of us do today. In fact, I'd say it's something of a dying art.
We just checked out a book of silly poems as a family and many are just delightful. The collection, written by Jack Prelutsky with illustrations by Brandon Dorman, is called Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face and other poems. It's filled with fanciful creatures, from frogs who take on human characteristics to the dragons and ogres you'd expect from a Prelutsky book, and features over 100 verses about everything from elephants to tigers, witches to dinosaurs and everything in between.
When Ben Hascomb told Beverly Marsh that her hair was like winter fire and his heart burned there, too, whose heart didn't melt? We're talking about Stephen King's It here, but it does seem like fall and winter poetry speaks so much more clearly than spring and summer poetry. No, it's not Naruda's cherry blossoms, but maybe that's because there's so much death and coldness in the fall and winter that the poetry warms us up in ways that we don't necessarily need in the spring and summer months.
Poet laureat Tracy K. Smith has a new podcast out called The Slowdown, which is due in November. The podcast is meant to be a very brief reading of poetry-only a few minutes long each day!-- intended to help us not only enjoy a poetry reading but to slow down, take a breath and just be still in the mad constant busy-ness which is life.
It's all-Halloween all the time right now in my house, which includes poetry! My daughter is on a "classic horror" streak this year, so in addition to the Halloween books we're diving into, we're checking out some Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe and Christina Rossetti. This means reading by candlelight, holding skeletons while reciting Shakespeare and yes, lots of (fake) ravens. Yes, it's the BEST.
National Poetry Month is well underway and we've been writing little poems every day. The Academy of American Poets has a wonderful list of ways to celebrate National Poetry Month available if you're looking for fun ways to participate in the event! Did you know that they have a free poster they'll send you if you request it by the middle of the month? Don't wait any longer than that, though, or else you will miss out!
Have you ever read any classical or romantic poetry and thought, "What on EARTH were they thinking?" Just because your English teacher loved it doesn't mean that your class poetry assignments were sensible or even sane. Some of them are so rambling and chaotic that they seem to have been crafted in a drunken rage--which, to be fair, some may have been.
No matter your faith or lack thereof, The Daily Goddess is a wonderful book filled with classical poetry and interpretations that you and your family may enjoy. It's a daily book that has a poem or excerpt each day followed by an interpretation to help you better understand the text.
Do you love poetry? Maybe you know some youths who enjoy poems, or you're teaching them about poetry in general. Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander is a great resource of poetry to use when you explore the subject. It's a gorgeous picture book that displays poems by famous poets such as William Carlos Williams and Robert Frost in full, two-page spreads alongside beautiful watercolors.