I love this picture taken by verse novelist Sarah Tregay, who is working on a verse novel alphabet for National Poetry Month.
This is the first time in years that I haven’t devoted the entire month of April to poetry here on the blog. Part of this might stem from the fact I’ve written over a dozen guests posts and interviews of late, many focusing on poetry. Part certainly comes from a lack of preparation. I didn’t think to put out word to potential guest post writers ahead of time. And perhaps spotlighting poetry all of April has run its course for me. I’m not sure, really, where the truth lies. But I believe this month with poetry at its core is essential in the world of literature and a wonderful part of a rich and satisfying life.
I’ve gone through some of those guest posts I’ve worked on of late, pulling quotes that I hope might inspire you to speak of poetry joyfully to children:
On sharing poetry with children:
Because poets use line and stanza breaks to communicate, I feel like it’s helpful to both see and hear poetry. But please don’t let this stop you from sharing poetry with your children in a more informal way.
My love of poetry started with A.A. Milne. Hearing and then reciting his words, I could feel the rhythm, rhyme, and repetition that is such a mainstay in his style. Poetry’s word play and its similarity to music where the things that fired me up as a girl.
Share all sorts of poetry with your children. Let it be playful, joyful, fun. — Simple Homeschool
On encouraging children to try verse novels:
My plea to well-read and well-intentioned adults is to not let your biases or perceptions discourage a child from trying a verse novel. I’ve heard a librarian say she’ll only buy the books her students will read. How is she sure exactly what that is? Is she just serving the largest reading audience in her library? Is there a smaller number of readers who would pick a verse novel first thing and is waiting for the opportunity? And what about exposure to all types of books, whether it’s a child’s first choice or not? Our job as adults is to inspire children to read and to celebrate literature in all its forms. Let’s make sure verse novels are a part of the reading materials we make available to the young people in our lives. — Clear Eyes, Full Shelves
And finally, from the brilliant Billy Collins, consider coming to poetry this way:
…take a poem
and hold it up to the lightlike a color slideor press an ear against its hive.I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
— Introduction to Poetry