Books / Culture

Happy National Poetry Month! Go Read Some Verse.

Woman rests in a large hammock

Somewhere in my house, in a box, there’s one of those diaries with the wrap-around lock and two tiny aluminum keys. Well, there used to be keys, now lost in the landfill of time. The diary was once made of faux-leather, which wore out and was replaced with duct tape (super trendy). It’s full of poetry that I wrote in middle and high school.

And since April is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share some.

Ha! Just kidding.

Truthfully, high school ruined poetry for me. I wrote a lot, and I did time on the student-run monthly literary magazine. Between those two things I have spent a lot of the last eleven years pretty sure I never wanted to look at a rhyming couplet again.

Enter Jetpack.

Even as a baby, Jetpack loved poetry. I think it was the melodic ebb and flow of words, the rhymes, the song-like aspects of poetry. And for me, reading Shel Silverstein was a nice change from endless repetitions of Sandra Boynton’s timeless classic Moo, Baa, La La La.

So who knew? There’s some good poetry out there. And as it is still National Poetry Month, we should read some. You should, too. Here are some fabulous and accessible places to start:

  • Shel Silverstein: Probably my favorite writer of kid-friendly poetry. There’s pictures to keep little eyes occupied, and an incredible depth to his words that make them really powerful to read no matter what your age. This is my partner’s favorite.
  • Lewis Carroll: Pretty kid friendly, though some of it will go over the heads of younger ones. There are books out there of just his poetry (rather than trying to find all of the poetry-bits in, say, Alice In Wonderland). Here’s The Jabberwocky, which can be tons of fun to struggle through out loud, especially if your family likes to laugh at you. Take one for the team!
  • Pablo Neruda: Don’t read Neruda out loud to your kids. Definitely read his poetry to your partner – if you can manage a date. Here’s a good one to start your date off on the right foot. Warning: Very Adult Content
  • Adrienne Rich: Rich’s poetry is really difficult. It is gorgeous and important and really, really difficult. Here’s a good introductory one. Rich’s poetry would probably be awesome to share with your older kids.
  • Emily Dickinson: Dickinson is my favorite poet-you-have-to-read-in-english-class, and I think she’s accessible for smaller ones as well. As a teenager I think it was partially her words and partially her rebellious story that got me. I can’t even choose one: here’s two.
  • The Bard: While I love Shakespeare, I don’t pretend that he’s accessible. It’s hard to read Shakespeare! Luckily, there are gorgeous dreamy talented actors like David Tenant to read sonnets to you. Well, only one, but you can replay it a couple times. I won’t tell.

Here’s a couple more lists for your reading pleasure.

Happy Poetry Month! Do you have favorite poets? Favorite poetry to read with your kids? Please share!

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: SIMPLEINSOMNIA via PHOTOPIN cc

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One Comment

  1. Miguel is doing a big poetry thing in school right now. I skipped the Adrienne Rich and gave him an old Robert Frost book instead.

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