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Post 9: I don’t Like Poetry, but Children Do

Do you write poetry,

Neither do I,

In fact if I were forced to read it,

I’d probably die.

 

Poetry is for some,

adults here, and children there,

but as for me,

I really couldn’t care.

 

I read a book called “Booked”

and it was neat, though in verse,

about a boy who played soccer,

who’s parents got divorced.

 

Books like that are good for kids,

it makes poetry seem less confusing

and still tells a story,

and therefore is amusing.

 

But I still do not like poetry, not here or there, not anywhere.

 

I’m no poet, no Robert Frost

or even a John Ciardi,

but even I know,

poetry can cause a party…

in one’s head…

What does this MEAN?

Why are letters rEpEating?

Shouldn’t it rhyme… all of the time?

 

Maybe I should change my mind,

maybe the imagery could be good,

if only I could get the hang of poetry,

then maybe I could.

 

Maybe kids like to hear a rhyme,

see smelly socks stink somewhere,

or even hear the thunder go BOOM,

or a plane go ZOOM.

 

Maybe Robert Frost isn’t for me, or you,

Maybe I should read some of Fisher,

about horses’s tails swishing,

wait, what rhymes with fisher?

 

Maybe I should change my mind,

and read about how poetry loves to play

with words and exclamation marks,

…maybe it’ll make my day.

 

Maybe I should read some of Shel Silverstein,

or William Jay Smith,

throw the rules out the window,

alongside Tracy K. Smith.

 

Maybe poetry isn’t so bad,

I might even try to write some of it.

No, I still don’t like dissecting,

So I’ll stick with Chick Lit.

*With this said, you might not be surprised that I’m not completely committed to poetry, however, I can still see the value and benefits of sharing it with children. If you write poetry, or are looking for good books on poetry, here are some things to keep in mind:

Poetry that rhymes is generally appreciated more amongst the younger crowd. Think of elementary schools. Though, I like that kind of poetry more than any, despite being an adult.

Poetry that doesn’t rhyme and is without any kind of rules is called free verse and is generally more appreciated by adults and some high schoolers.

Most people think you have to dissect poetry and feel forced to find some deeper meaning. When they do this, they miss the point and become stressed and burned out with poetry. Those are the people who generally hate it. However, if you dish out some poetry for the sake of enjoying it (and I’d recommend starting with children’s poetry and working my way up) you might find that you don’t have to be keen on all of it’s conventions and still get some joy out of it.

As a writer, however, it’s going to be useful to you if you incorporate things like: assonance, personification, rhymes and rhythm, as well as hyperbole and onomatopoeia. Tutorials on YouTube cover this and make writing much more fun.

Here is a sample of a cute and fun poem that you can emulate to get the hang of writing poetry, or finding quality poetry books. Click Mommy Slept Late to find a larger version.

youread-spread-final.jpg

Writing poetry, or reading it, is a form of expression and even though I prefer to express myself in other ways, if you want to try writing or reading poetry, besides starting small, I’d recommend researching and reading others to get a good feel for it.

In the context of poetry for young adults, or the YA audience, it helps if it’s a narrative; it’s key to tell a story. Just as the story, “Booked” by Kwame Alexander told a story, your’s should too.

Be relatable. The point of poetry besides expressing one’s self is to relate to others. If you’re looking for YA poetry, or creating it, then consider these questions: Does the poem make sense? Does it address modern day issues and conflicts? Will it engage the reader? Is it age appropriate? Most eighth graders won’t appreciate Emily Dickinson – that’s generally for an older audience.

Does your title and choice of words appeal to readers? Are they familiar with those words? Don’t forget that vocabulary is an important aspect of to which children you will and will not reach.

Are you using imagery? Imagery is important in ALL writing. Make sure they can visualize it. It’ll make for a far more enjoying and satisfying read.

Keep in mind that there are various forms of poetry; try your hand at various types. Try reading various types to kids and see what they like. Take their opinions seriously.

*I will say this: While I don’t generally have poetry as one of my go-to’s, I still enjoy and appreciate the way we can play with language. I will be keeping an eye out for good poetry and remember that it can be used to entertain, to teach, and express ourselves – these are the key elements I will be looking for when evaluating poetry.

As always, I hope this helps, if not, send me a yelp… Okay, see why I don’t do poetry?

Anyway, happy writing!

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