Menu Close

New Poetry Books

Author John Cech
Air Date 4/13/2000

New Poetry Books Transcript

Every household should have a nice, thick volume of poetry on its shelves, for reading aloud or pouring over silently, for inspiration or comfort, or for the sheer pleasure of hearing language beautifully crafted. One doesn’t need to explicate the many possible meanings of any poem–just let the words and their sounds and the pictures they create wash over you, let yourself be puzzled or surprised, moved to tears or laughter. Here are a couple of volumes of poetry to help you and your children do just that.

The collection, Read-Aloud Poems for Young People, edited by Glorya Hale from Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, offers a range of poetry, from classics like Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees,” Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” or Poe’s “The Raven,” and dozens of other familiar poems for every occasion–to recent verse by Ted Hughes, Judith Viorst, and, of course, Shel Silverstein. Though the volume is heavy on traditional poetry (those old war horses that we used to have to memorize and recite in middle-school English classes in the good old days), there is plenty of new material to strike a balance. Why not try launching a new institution at your home and see what happens with–a poem after dinner. You might start with Jane Yolen’s “Homework,” which begins:

What is it about homework
That makes me want to write
My Great Aunt Myrt to thank her for
The sweater that’s too tight?

Another volume is The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury selected by Jack Prelutsky, from Alfred A Knopf publishers, that is jammed full of funny, clever, bright modern poems that will appeal immediately to contemporary American kids. Prelutsky, a poet himself with a finely tuned ear, groups these verses by subject–poems about people, or seasons, food, or wishes, birds, places, animals, or those events that loom large in every child’s life, like moving or dealing with unfavorite foods, or purely giddy experiences, like the one that energizes Dakari Hru’s wonderful poem for little ones, “Tickle Tickle”:

me papa tickle me feet
he call it “finger treat”
me scream and run each time he come
me papa tickle me feet

Remember the last time you were tickled, or a poem just rolled you up with delight?

Posted in Holidays, Poetry